The names of music superstars reportedly negotiating to become judges on “American Idol” continue to surface as an additional rumor is beginning to circulate that long-time judge Randy Jackson is poised to step aside.
The newest names being floated as potential judges are pop star Nick Jonas, 19, and rapper and producer Pharrell Williams, 39, according to a story on the Us Weekly Web site here.
The story cites unnamed sources as saying Jonas in particular "is pretty close to signing to be the 'Idol' judge. They flew him in to L.A. last week for final meetings."
As for Williams, this unnamed source told the magazine, “Everything is looking good, but they’re still working out details” of Williams’ deal.
But even more surprising to us was this story’s assertion that Jackson, 56, the last remaining of the revered Fox show’s original lineup of judges, is abdicating his judge’s position in favor of an undefined “mentoring role.”
The Us story cites an unnamed source for this tidbit also. To us, this is big news because no one has yet confirmed Jackson's status for the next season of "Idol" and speculation that he would follow all of his fellow judges out to pasture has been rampant.
Jackson’s exit would mean that two judges’ positions are now open on the show. Mariah Carey was recently named as a judge, replacing either Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler — both of whom have decided to leave.
And if Randy was to leave, it would leave only Ryan Seacrest as the sole original personality on the series that ushered in an entire generation of competition-talent shows.
Our take: The recruitment of superstars to work as judges on “Idol” and other such shows such as “The Voice” and “The X Factor” really represents a change in character for the shows. Why? Because one of the great attractions of “American Idol” in its formative (and biggest) years was the serendipitous chemistry stemming from the combination of personalities on the judges’ panel, which, in its original state, consisted of a little-known rock bassist (Randy Jackson of Journey), a former pop star whose career was, ahem, on hold (Paula Abdul) and an outspoken Brit who nobody in the U.S. had ever heard of (Simon Cowell). Truth is, we miss that.