The 3 Best Choices for Simon Cowell's Idol Replacement Have Scheduling Conflicts

Simon Cowell's abrupt announcement that he's leaving American Idol after this season and headlining the U.S. version of X Factor is, at best, unsettling. The defining television presence of the decade has given us a juggernaut, and his flagship talent search will certainly go on without him. Randy Jackson's contract seems to agree. The problem is, replacing Simon Cowell is a herculean task, and the three finest candidates* for his chair have other plans in their datebooks.


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Phil Spector

Qualifications: Invented the great American talent search, pioneered the "wall of sound," and primed plenty of musical sensations. He made chirpy women walk around with books on their heads. That is the torture equivalent of Idol's Grand Ole Opry week. Plus, his personality really pops!

Setback: What's this scrawled in Crayola Washable at the foot of his cover letter? Oh: He is a cold-blooded murderer. Serving 19 years to life is not very convenient for the purposes of 2011's Idol cast.


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Lou Pearlman

Qualifications: Conquered the '90s pop scene by assembling the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, knows the music industry is full of ups and downs, can write and rewrite a contract very quickly when by himself

Setback: Hard to read this "letter of non-recommendation" from Kevin Richardson since it appears to be written in jagged capital letters, but I can make out that Lou Pearlman was sent to jail for operating a mammoth Ponzi scheme, and he was also accused of (though not formally charged for) inappropriate sexual conduct with several boy band members. With Paula gone, he could've really made the contestants dance in rigidly choreographed unison. Let's inquire again in 25 years.


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Tom Morello

Qualifications: Proved he can outsell Simon Cowell's starmaker machinery, makes incendiary quotes, is willing to dictate what makes a musician good or bad.

Setback: Morello has quipped that Simon Cowell's proteges are "goofy," and thus it seems the Rage Against the Machine firestarter has too much artistic integrity to waste on Idol. It's a shame, since like Cowell he has a high bar for what he considers worthy music, and -- like Cowell -- that bar is egged on by a bit of a complex. His impassioned sneering is just as watchable as it is newsworthy. At the very least, he'd be quotable, and unless he starts cawing about his own legitimacy again, he'd mark a provocative, even titllating turn for Idol.

*I just had a terrible thought that P. Diddy will replace Simon Cowell. Doesn't that seem too correct? With Making the Band and all? Let's pretend we didn't think of it. Quick, look like you're pondering the fate of The Vulturess.



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