The Jury is Out on Adam Lambert as AI Judge

There’s a pesky little rumor floating about all over the internet, newscasts, and print media that supposes that American Idol producers are negotiating with Adam Lambert to replace Simon Cowell as judge on the show after Cowell leaves at the end of this season. And as is usually the case with pesky rumors and contagious diseases, one can rarely pin down their original source, yet they spread with alarming replication. This rumor is spreading like the flu in a middle school classroom.

Who floated this rumor? American Idol? Are they courting Adam Lambert and hoping the response to the rumor is positive? Positive enough to get him to sign his name in glittery ink on the dotted line?

Could it be Adam’s management, or possibly Adam himself? Maybe Adam is desirous of filling the seat of the man whose standing ovation lent sway to the future of his own career. Could Adam be putting feelers out to his fanbase to gauge their reaction?

Or is the rumor the brainchild of a rabid tabloid press that banks on the certainty of the golden goose that is Adam Lambert?

No matter the source, the subject makes for lively and revealing discussion around the dinner table or internet message board, the latter likely being a rich and revealing source for the-powers-that-be to mine the state of public opinion. What will they find there?

No doubt a game is being played here. If the rumor is true, it’s a game with high stakes.

So let’s play the game. Let’s assume the rumor is true. What effect could Adam replacing Simon Cowell as a judge on American Idol have on his career? Is it a win for him or a losing game?

On the one hand, Adam is engaging, articulate, smart, charming, witty, personable, funny, insightful, charismatic and handsome. He brings a huge presence to any place he hangs his hat. He’d be sheer pleasure to watch each week. He proved in his stint as mentor to the contestants during Elvis week that he has what it takes to discern their strengths and weaknesses, gleaned from over 10 years of stage performing. He also proved he can tell it like it is with the candor of a Simon, but laced with the friendliness, kindness and supportive spirit of a Paula. He’s developing a poise and polish that sets a fine example of how a star should conduct himself in the public eye. He has a wonderfully contagious confidence. And he’s a ratings magnet. He would bring all that to the judge’s chair that will be vacant come season’s end.

Yes, he would make an excellent judge. And fans of American Idol, the contestants, the other judges, and the producers of AI, would all reap great benefit from his consent to fill that role.

But what benefit, aside from monetary gain and increased notoriety, would Adam stand to gain from this?

Adam Lambert is poised on the edge of what many believe will be a career of stratospheric proportions. Paula Abdul predicted he would be “iconic”. His first North American tour, aptly named The Glam Nation Tour, was recently announced to take place this summer, and as his first solo concerts proved, will sell out. Just today, his current single, Whataya Want From Me, broke into the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at number 10 and is approaching platinum status in sales. His singles are charting in the top ten in several countries, his album platinum in Singapore and double platinum in Canada. His WWFM music video placed in the top 3 of VH1’s Top 20 Countdown for several weeks, taking the # 1 spot for 5 of those. He embarks today on a European promo tour as his album releases in the UK and word is they are waiting for him with baited breath. The list of his successes continues to increase at the speed of a shooting star.

So, is this the right time, just as his star is rising high, for Adam to commit to a gig that will plant him as firmly in terra firma as will a judge’s role on a reality show? Even the reality show that started it all? Shouldn’t the man his brother Neil dubbed as Glittery Alien from the Planet Fierce keep sparkling up there among the stars above the Earth? The weather has been mighty fine up there and the atmosphere suits him.

Adam Lambert doesn’t need American Idol to do him any favors by handing him a cushy job with a big paycheck, by planting his derriere in a seat more suited to a music mogul than a singing superstar space alien. But maybe American Idol needs someone like Adam to stay afloat. Without Simon and Paula and the fans that loved and hated them, without the excitement Adam brought to season 8, and the lackluster of season 9, American Idol may be starting to sink, and reaching out to Adam Lambert as a life preserver.

But can Adam plug the holes and keep it afloat? Is the risk worth taking? Does Adam need to take it? Or is it American Idol that needs a fresh new rising star like Adam Lambert to keep its leaky ship from sinking? And if the ship sinks anyway, Adam could be setting himself up to take the blame. His detractors will surely gather to cast it on him. Why should he take that on?

Another thing for Adam to consider is the effect this could have on his Rockstar image. No matter how many concerts he plays or albums he releases, watching him twice a week for months, sitting in a chair pronouncing thumbs up or down for each contestant’s performance, trading rehearsed quips with Ryan Seacrest, could render him too familiar and passé. Some will say he's there due to a struggling career, as many reality show judges are. And if he does replace Simon there may be pressure for him to play the bad guy. That might not fare so well for him with his fans who value his sweet, kind, generous nature.

Asking Adam to be a judge in a reality show at this point in his career would be like asking Michael Jackson to do the same just after his Off the Wall album came out and revealed his amazing and unique gifts, or Celine Dion just after her debut album. Adam’s album, For Your Entertainment, may not compare to the likes of those artists, having been rushed into production as all post Idol albums are, but the potential it has revealed in its artist IS comparable, and the star quality Adam exudes as an entertainer is almost universally acknowledged to be the stuff superstars are made of. It's just absurd to even imagine him settling for the cheap notoriety of the reality TV show world and the dust that would gather on his glitter, when he is right on the cusp of true greatness. It would be like setting a rare diamond in gold plate or clipping the wings of an exotic, brilliantly colored bird. Adam has the potential to be one of the GREAT ones, to soar to the highest heights, if he makes wise decisions. If he takes this earthy gig, he may never attain to that level of stratospheric iconic greatness that legends are made of, and the world will be a lot less glittery for the loss.

Ok, so maybe the rumor IS false. I can tell you of one author who will be very relieved. She's made her case. Now it goes to the jury. That's you. Vote in my poll below and give your verdict.


Read my update to this article addressing Adam's subsequent denial of this rumor. He discusses many subjects, including Lady Gaga, his Glam Nation tour, his worst fear and much more in a live video webchat.

Adam Lambert Squashes AI Judge Rumor in Live Webchat

What's the verdict?

Should Adam Lambert replace Simon Cowell as judge for American Idol?

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Comments 26 comments

Ariana 6 years ago

I could see him a guest judge - otherwise - not a good idea. AI10 could bring in a series of guest judges. It was so successful in the past, but the show has evolved, for good or for bad. I would rather see Adam concentrating on his music and/or acting career.


Ali 6 years ago

Adam is an entertainer first and he should focus on HIS music! I think him being an AI judge would be a step backwards for his musical career. Perhaps, it would launch another type of career, but I personally want to see him on a stage doing what he does best!! I think its time he moves on from AI anyway (other than returning for a musical appearance each season).


Canadiann 6 years ago

Adam could guest judge (maybe) but a resounding NO to permanent judge status. Adam has often expressed his gratitude to American Idol for its role in launching his career but Adam's amazing talent and magnetic personality should be focused on furthering that career, not rescuing American Idol.


joely 6 years ago

Other than doing ads for term life insurance, I can't think of a quicker way to put Adam out to pasture. He won't make this mistake.


glam2215 6 years ago

Very nice article. I think it would be fun to see Adam as a GUEST judge.


Sandra 6 years ago

Didn't vote because there wasn't one for "He would be GREAT, but not now"

He is too busy building his OWN career to do this, I would think. Perhaps as a Guest judge would be the answer...


vickiluvsadam 6 years ago

i honestly believe that, although adam would be a fantastic judge, he is going to so much bigger than this t.v. show. his career is just starting out, and he has come out of the blocks with a bang. i believe his focus should be on his singing career with concerts, appearances, etc... yes, AI is a top rated show and would give adam more exposure, but wouldn't that be with just the u.s? isn't his goal to be huge around the world? he is doing so well with his album in other countries right now and he should continue to capitalize on this and making his name worldwide. AI is actually a small fish in a huge pond if you consider the many countries that haven't even heard of the show. my vote... hoping that adam continues to do exactly what he's doing now, getting himself out there globally and becoming an icon all over the world:-)


cat 6 years ago

It didn't hurt Cheryl Cole on the X-factor. She became very successful after being a judge but again she doesn't have the talent that Adam has.


Glambert2550 6 years ago

Adam would make a superb replacement for Cowell. He showed during his mentoring gig that he is more than up for the job. He knows what he is talking about, and isn't afraid to tell the truth. His personality and charisma would bring new viewers, and his devoted fans would tune in just to see him. Now, all of that being said, I agree with you Katie. Terrible career move. Adam is a recording artist. Didn't he go on that show to realize his dream of being a singer? He didn't go on there just to return a year later to critique other singers. Plus, in the industry as a whole, despite their popularity, reality tv stars don't get the kind of respect that people that made it the old fashioned way do. Due to the Kate Gosselins and Kim Kardashians of the world, they have to be twice as good as traditionally made artists to achieve A list status.Many of the stars are rich and famous,sure, but they are also little more than jokes on the front pages of tabloids. Adam needs to break away from that show. He isn't just an idol runner up/also ran. He is a superstar in the making. Cushy job/big paycheck? Sure, that sounds great. But he's better than that. The people that have sat and are sitting on that panel are folks that haven't made it as pop stars. Simon probably couldn't play a kazoo if you paid him to. Paula(love her,btw) is a washed up pop star, Kara is a songwriter that couldn't be a pop star, and Randy is a pop star that never was. The only one that breaks that mold is Ellen, who knows nothing about the recording industry and is more or less a 'people's judge.' Run, Adam. Run far Far, FAR away from this offer if it is indeed true. Not saying forsake and turn your back on the show that made you, no, not at all. Do a mentoring gig or a guest judging stint during auditions. But DO NOT give up your dreams of recording and performing for a cheesy karaoke reality tv show. You're too good for that, and we, your devoted fans, would miss the music like we'd miss one of our limbs.


Karen 6 years ago

joely..... but him doing a term insurance ad would be FANTASTIC for my career as a financial advisor!


Bill 6 years ago

Adam would make an awesome judge. Where is it written he couldn't do both? Idol only takes 2 days/week. 4 months/year. He would have PLENTY of time to write and record, and then tour after the Idol season finishes yearly. Personally, I would never turn down a guaranteed, fantastic income from a second source when I could actually do both!!!!!!!!!!


Katie Sheridan profile image

Katie Sheridan 6 years ago from Florida, U.S.A. Author

@Bill. Thanks for your comment. I mentioned him doing both, but it's irrelevant if it adversely affects his image. I believe it could.


Lauriellen 6 years ago

Simon Cowel is one of the most recognized faces on TV. Idol, although not doing as well this year, is still a #1 show. Remember David Cassidy and the Partidge Family (dating myself here)TV is a great promoter. It's a 4 hour per week gig for a couple months. I don't think it would require him to be "mean". He would do fine just being himself without having to be snarky or make people cry. Come on. He told Andrew he was boring and Lee that he had nothing going on from the neck up. And he did it with such cuteness. I think he can't lose. Another thing, Adam ruined Idol. So he should take the responsibility to fix it.


pamcake 6 years ago

I believe Adam has all the qualifications to be an outstanding Idol judge, including vocal skill, stage presence, creative vision, perception, and non-acidic honesty, and would definitely bring a sadly lacking sense of professionalism to the panel.

I also believe that Adam loves the creative process, entertaining,and performing on stage, and that he is well on his way to achieving international pop/rock superstardom. It seems certain to me that he's carving out his own unique niche within the industry and will occupy it for many many years to come.

Since, at this point, the judging thing is just a rumor, my humble opinion (what do I know?) would be for him to keep doing what he's doing and maybe do a guest judge appearance now and then.

So, after all that, I will support whatever decision he makes about anything - I just want him to be happy and successful.


Dru 6 years ago

Let's not forget that next year is most likely Idol's last season, so it's not like Adam would be locked into a contract for several years. Being on camera in the public eye on a regular basis could open up more opportunities for him in television and film, and he has said he wants to do that as well. I guess it all would come down to what Adam feels is best for him at this point in time. We can talk until we are blue in the face about it, but only Adam knows what he wants and what is best for him.

I actually think X-Factor would be a better fit for him. The judges on that show interact with the contestants and influence their performances, so it would allow him to keep the focus on his music while being on TV at the same time.

That all being said, my gut tells me that this is merely another rumor and nothing more.


i hope no 6 years ago

Of course he would make a great juge etc...but I don't want him on there....I want to hear him sing - not him coaching people who can't. He is SOOOOOO much better than that show. I tried to watch once this year....and it now seems like...reality television...Adam made it shine last year....this year it's just an average boring reality show..


rational one 6 years ago

No no no no no no and no. Do not do it Adam!! We are being selfish in wanting him to b/c we can't get enough of him and will do anything to see him on TV as much as possible. But, we all know this would NOT be good for him right now. Patience people!!!


jan lynn 6 years ago

I love Adam and would enjoy seeing him every week for very

selfish reasons, however, ADAM IS A STAR and he needs to

concentrate on his music and entertainment. I think being a

judge on idol would bury his music career. Adam is toooooooo talented for such a position, maybe if he was re-

tiring from music and wanted something to do, okay maybe, but definitely not now. I'm sure Adam will make the right

decision.


Anon 6 years ago

I think Adam should do whatever he WANTS to do.


joely 6 years ago

@Karen - you are too funny!!


Linda 6 years ago

As much as we'd all LOVE to see Adam twice a week, I don't think he should do it. American Idol doesn't deserve Adam, first of all!!! And secondly, he needs to focus on his music because that is where his heart is. Adam doesn't need American Idol, but they sure need him!!!!! He is a smart man, if this "rumor" is true, he will do what he feels is best for his career!!!!


MEGANM 6 years ago

First, what you said about Simon and Seacrest is wrong. Simon does not rehearse quips. He does not rehearse period. I totally disagree with your assessment. The American Idol audience is huge. What you call a failing show is still the most popular show on American television having slipped to second place just once this season. When you call Adam "engaging, articulate, smart, charming, witty, personable, funny, insightful, charismatic" these are things that you realize because you are a more intense fan then many of the millions who watch American Idol who know he can sing but do not realize what the man is like. Adam will gain respect for his intellect and wit and the parents who will not let their children attend his tour will think again when they realize what a nice man he is. Adam as a judge could gain the kind of financial security very few have. Adam could bring new life to the show. If they change the voting to be more like the voting on Dancing With the Stars I think the show could go on for at least a few more years. .


Nobody 6 years ago

Adam just said in a Web Chat from the UK that this is a rumor. He wants to concentrate on his music right now, but would be honored to be considered. He could see guest judging.


Kevin 6 years ago

Obviously no Adam fans or music lovers would want to see this happen. I'm expecting a lot more from him, to be honest.


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lovebuglena 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY

I would love to see Adam Lambert as a guest judge during the audition round and I think he'd even make a great judge on the show. He not only has experience recording an album, songwriting, touring, interviews, etc. but he has also gone through American Idol, which means he will relate to the contestants on a much bigger level. I don't think that having him as a regular judge would diminish his credibility as an artist in anyway.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

Interesting article! I guess he did not end up a judge after all. I agree with you that it would not have been a good career move for him, although the audience would have enjoyed seeing him.

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