'American Idol': Jessica Simpson met with execs; Fox 'dream scenario' is to reveal judges Monday

Simpson-Timberlake-EltonImage Credit: Sylvain Gaboury/PR Photos(2); Bob Charlotte/PR PhotosHer boots are made for…judging? Reality TV staple and singer Jessica Simpson has met with American Idol producers about joining the show’s judging panel, a source close to the show tells EW, confirming a report on TMZ this afternoon. “I’m not sure whether her people approached Idol, or if it was the other way around,” said the source, who added that Simpson is just one of “dozens” of candidates who’ve been considered for an Idol gig when it returns to the air in January 2011.

As was widely reported yesterday, former Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is all but certain to return to the show for its tenth season, and he went on the record last spring saying he favored an entirely new slate of judges for Fox’s ratings juggernaut. Translation? The network may be looking for more than a replacement for the departing Simon Cowell, who jumped ship at the end of Idol‘s ninth season in order to launch a U.S.-based version of his popular British series The X Factor. Complicating matters could be the fact that current judge Randy Jackson is reportedly signed through next year, and his colleague Ellen DeGeneres has only completed the first year of a multi-year deal.

“The network’s dream scenario would be to make a splashy announcement at TCA on Monday morning,” said the source, referring to Fox’s presentation at the 2010 TCA Press Tour that is scheduled for August 2. “They’d be the talk of TCA, and the message to other networks would essentially be, ‘Follow that!'”

EW has also learned that despite their names surfacing as potential Cowell replacements earlier this week, both Justin Timberlake and Elton John’s meetings with Idol producers took place “a couple months ago.”

[Related: ‘American Idol’ 15 Ways to Fix It; ‘Idolatry': Allison Iraheta performs acoustic ‘Holiday,’ talks ‘Glam Nation’ tour; ‘American Idol’ season 9 tour review: Newark, we have a problem!; follow Slezak on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.]

Comments (182 total) Add your comment
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  • MsDaisy

    FOX wants to announce the Idol judges on Monday? Perfect timing I’d have to say. “Shark Week” starts Sunday night.

    • darcy’s evil twin

      LOL. I LOVE shark week!

    • darclyte

      Can they replace the judges now? Haven’t Randy, Kara & Ellen been out doing the early auditions already? To replace them at this point would be jarring. Adding a judge in Hollywood (like they did last year with Ellen) wouldn’t be so bad, but suddenly having a completely new set of judges would be awkward and also would “stick” those judges with people not chosen by them.

      • LAMusic

        No, the TV judges don’t attend the cattle calls at all. They’ll be there for call backs later, presumably late August or early September. It’s the magic of TV and editing that makes you think all this is done in a day. The actual TV judges only see a handful (compartively speaking) of auditions.

    • Jammy

      I think any perfomer is not a good idea as a judge..because they are not good at giving criticism ..because they think how can I judge? hence – Paula & just bout every performer mentor they have brought on the show has been too complimentary …the best judge would be to have someone in the “music biz” which is why Randy works because he is a producer – his commentary has merit – my choices for judges would be Simon Fuller – Ellen – Randy Jackson – someone like Pebbles ..Perri Reed – who signed/mgd TLC

  • DruggyBear

    all new judges PLEASE!

    • Erin

      Except for Jessica Simpson.

      I can not think of a worse person to judge other people’s talent.

      • Jaded

        No jive!!! She would be terrible!

      • Uncle Arthur

        Not only does she struggle to convey a coherent thought, she can’t sing either. Please, no.

      • Anna

        Jessica would be the final straw to make me break the Idol habit.

      • Nathan

        I can think of a worse singing judge; Paula Abdul.

      • Bill

        I had the same thought about Paula when AI came on in 2003. At least she was a pop star with an actual career, though. Jessica Simpson is a no-talent with a non-career.

      • Brianna

        Jessica Simpson is a very nice person. Maybe she will end up shutting that unfair bi… Kara up. So I am going to have to say..YES!!!! She may surprise you folks. She definitely can help these contestants get what it takes to have star quality. Jessica has a lot of motivation. Music, acting and designing have made her a successful example on how to gain a lot of great accomplishments in life. And she has such a passionate and fun personality. Fun entertainer too.

      • the_payne

        But she’s dopey enough to be the NEW Paula. I think it’d be hilarious.

      • Diggity

        Jessica Simpson is really funny. I’d actually watch again if she were on.

      • JJ

        I’d rather see Jessica’s ex- Nick Lachey – than her. How low can they go? She wouldn’t even make the cuts in the auditions.

      • geri

        I agree. I do not like Jessica Simpson, do not want to watch her at all, must less on a weekly program that I do enjoy watching. If she is there, I’m not.

      • Darla

        The show would be so much more fun if they had either Bret or Jessica. They need to get someone with a great personality. Someone who will make it more entertaining. Like reality show entertaining. Then they could help the contestants with personality, charming and fun performances. Jessica would do great at giving contestants advice on how to do a performance so that it is not boring. She could help them on how to be amazing even if your struggling.

      • Daisy

        Just for your information people, Jessica still has a great music career. She switched to doing country music. Her 2008 country album did great on the billboard charts. Jessica told Allure magazine in march that she is working on her new album. She also said that she will be producing some of the songs on her album.

    • Cathy

      Jessica Simpson has no talent, If they picked her as a judge it would be a disaster!

  • bruno

    i smell a weekly rotating guest judge/mentor….and randy ellen and kara stay (sigh)….

    • bruno

      and now after lithgow’s “slip” (coughs, intentional, coughs) on SYTYCD i’m not so sure the dancer brit won’t be on the panel as a permanent judge after all…which makes me really think, the only way to revamp idol is to REALLY revamp it. and an entire new panel would do that…

      • bruno

        unless lithgow’s just returning as EP, not a judge….in which case i’m thinking he’d change the entire panel…

      • calistoga

        His name is Nigel Lythgoe…
        We’re going to see a lot more of it, so let’s get it right!

  • Erin

    please god not Jessica

  • Theresa

    Nooooooooooo! Jessica Simpson as an AI judge would be such a bad decision and one that I, personally, could not overcome. She is so full of herself and there would be no room for the contestants. Shame, Shame, Shame on AI producers for even thinking of her in this role.

  • Barb

    Oh gawd Theresa…you personally know her huh? Full of herself?? I highly doubt it moron!!! Nice to judge someone u dont even know.

    • Erin

      Yet you yourself are judging Theresa to be a moron, yet you do not know her.

      • Anthony

        Erin must be a bus because she just took Barb to school.

      • bringbackrocky

        Erin, I believe the term to use for what you just did to Barb is “you got served”. Bravo.

    • Kathy

      Did any of you people dissing on Jessica Simpson watch one episode of her recent VHI show “Price of Beauty”? It was very, very touching, emotional, funny and entertaining and it showed a side of Jessica that i don’t believe we’ve seen before – vulnerability! She’s human just like us and actually gets/got upset at all the tabloid speculation about her weight (which is no one’s business but hers!). But it just showed that she’s not superficial at all.

      • Kathy

        of course, saying the above and liking Jessica Simpson does not mean i think she’d make a good AI judge. Nah, we need someone more brutal and willing to hurt someone’s feelings

      • Erin

        Jessica is not superficial? She’s a frakin’ TV host, you think those feelings are honest?

        FYI, yes the tabloids speculated about her weight, but then she went on a bunch of magazine covers to talk about her weight.

      • Dignan

        @Erin: She’s not that good of an actress.

  • KC

    Tabula rasa, Fox.

    • KWise


  • Minnie

    If Jessica has such good advice to offer aspiring pop stars, why is her own music career in the toilet? They HAVE to be able to do better than her. She seems like a sweet girl and I’m sure she’s supposed to be Paula 2.0 – sweet, ditsy, but supportive. But at least Paula had a music career at one point! I have serious doubts about tuning in if this pans out. Feels like rumors planted by her Dad-ager, though.

    • Mac

      Great comment. I think you are exactly right.

    • Drew

      Jessica had a music career at one point too. She’s had several top 20 hits. And she IS a good singer.

      • Uncle Arthur

        Umm, no, she’s not a good singer. She’s all sizzle and no steak.

      • Minnie

        The key word is “had”. As in, 10 years ago. How is she supposed to help other young singers become relevant if she can’t do it herself? Is she going to tell them all to try country music if pop doesn’t work out?

      • Drew

        You said “at least paula had a music career at one point” and i was pointing that Jessica had one at one point also. And @arthur go listen to I Wanna Love You Forever – she is a good singer. She’s not Whitney circa the 80’s, but people hate on her for no reason. She is talented, just not popular.

      • calistoga

        Totally agree! OMG!!! It would be WACKO Paula all over again with a blond wig! “Here I am camera! Here I am!! Put the camera on me! ME!! M E ! !

      • @Drew

        You obviously haven’t heard any of her songs. And if you still consider her a successful singer, you not only are a poor judge of talent, but also a poor judge of good music.

      • mike

        ummm, at least Paula had hit songs that people still recognize to this day. Jessica is just a pretty blonde with very little talent.

      • reason

        Simpson is talented, and definitely had at one point a hot career…that died when she got divorced. Newlyweds catapulted her to fame, she was everywhere: a successful TV show, big album sales and hit singles, and for a minute it looked like she might be a movie star too….her divorce and market saturation was her downfall.

      • lilkunta

        @ drew: Jess ISNT a good singer. She sings to breathy. She got by bc in 98/99/00 there were all those teen groups
        (jess,britney, xtina, 98 degrees,nsync, backstreet, LFO, etc)
        that sold bc teens liked looks & music, so vocals didnt matter.

      • Saphron

        I have to agree with Drew, b/c I was there when her first single dropped and everyone was all over it, talking about how well she could sing, did you hear that note she hit, yadda yadda. That was then. But she decided to go the route of less integrity, became an empty-headed playmate type, and gave up value and meaning for money and infamy. It’s very sad.

    • Jonny

      Not that I’m a fan, but I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss Jessica as a judge. Look at Kara DioGuardi. She might not have had a huge singing career herself, but she’s offered a lot of good advice this past season. I can think of several actors with so-so on-camera resumes who turned out to be very successful directors. She’d certainly have more insight into the music business than Ellen!

      • Uncle Arthur

        Correction: Kara had NO singing career. She’s so fake, too. Get rid of her!

      • Anon

        This would make sense if she had ever opened her mouth and proven that she had a brain capable of analytical, constructive thinking. Not every judge needs to be a singer (i.e. Simon hasn’t had a top single either!), but they have to be able to cogently offer actionable advice. Not sure I buy that Jess can pull that off.

      • Suzanne

        Kara Dioguardi was hired for AI because she’s a successful songwriter who would wear glamorous skimpy clothes on the show. Not because she’s a singer.

      • calistoga

        Paula’s one danceable chartmaker in NO WAY a career! Her voice was overdubbed about 20 times!!!

        I’m not a big fan of Kara’s either, but let’s keep the facts on the table. Kara is a highly respected songwriter in the music industry. She writes to suit certain singers and/or styles.
        Fake? No way!
        Speaks her mind? Of course!
        Skimpy clothes? Sounds like you haven’t seen much of the world lately!

      • Brianna

        Jonny please don’t insult Jessica by comparing her to Kara! Jessica is great. Kara is not. And Calistoga-Kara is very fake. She is a chatterbox so that people can think she is the best. It should be-say something fast and move it along. She just keeps talking and arguing because she wants people to think she is so great. Randy says something fast so that they don’t waste time. He is secure whether it be one, two or only three sentences. Kara just likes to fool people. I see it has worked on you! And also Calistoga-looking sexy and classy is just fine. But looking like a hooker who is full of themself is not classy and certainly not charming.

      • Miranda

        Very well said Brianna! I totally agree with you!

      • Jonny

        Brianna, take a deep breath and then re-read my post. How exactly did I insult Jessica? I suggested that in spite of her lack of a genuinely big singing career (a fact she herself has acknowledged), she could have something positive to offer as a judge. She is a good singer, and Kara has also demonstrated that, (like her or not) she also sings well. Both have the ability to offer advice from a vocalist’s point of view, as opposed to Randy and Ellen. Thems the facts, sweetie. Whether Jessica or Kara are great are simply opinions, and I’m not so presumptuous as to tell someone their opinion is wrong. Feel free to worship Jessica Simpson until the cows come home, but also try to recognize when someone is actually paying her a compliment, dear.

      • calistoga

        Brianna, please get a grip. Your defense of Simpson almost sounds obsessive, which is not healthy. I respect your opinion, dear, as I would think you would respect mine. At the same time, we must try not to let our opinions blind us to the facts. That is what I do when it comes to Paula (look at me!) Abdul. My comment in this reply thread has nothing to do with Simpson. My comment earlier to that is based solely that Simpson would be sooo much like Abdul with the ME!ME!ME! agenda.

        When I said “Fake? No Way!”, it was based mainly on Kara’s experience and credentials, which makes her opinion of new singing talent viable and relevant.

        WTH are you talking about when referring to my “Skimpy clothes” comment? Earlier in this thread, Suzanne said, “Kara…was hired…because she’s a successful songwriter who would wear glamorous skimpy clothes…Not because she’s a singer.” I think Kara looks sexy and classy! Did you think I was talking about Simpson, and that’s why you got so defensive?? BTW, your comment about what a hooker “looks like” is also misguided.

        I totally agree with the above earlier comment of REASON, “…her divorce and market saturation was her downfall.” She was taking some very bad advice at that time.

        IN CONCLUSION: You will see, Brianna, with around 200 comments, you’re clearly in the minority. Am still concerned about the obsessive position you have shown. As suggested earlier in this forum, possibly “Brianna” is in fact “Joe S”?

      • Cheryl D

        For all you Jessica lovers:
        While taking the Pop Quiz this a.m., I noted that below “You might be interested in:” on the Pop Quiz page is a pic of Jessica Simpson with her new boyfriend. At the bottom of the pic, it noted “Paid Distribution”. It tickles me to no end to know that she/her people paid the media to show this pic. What a famewh***!!!

    • BHM1304

      Haven’t Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood both had much more profitable careers than Jessica Simpson? If you are going to bring someone to judge why go to someone with a career that was completely handled by her skeezy father? And why bring on someone with such heavy baggage as the skeeziest of all celebrity fathers, Joe Simpson?

    • kahuna

      Your expecting rationale to the same people that gave Ellen a multi-year contract?

    • BlackIrish4094

      I actually like the idea of Jessica Simpson as a judge, she is in a similar position career wise that Paula was. She could fill the “Paula role” quite well IMO

  • abby

    Jessica might have made a good replacement for Paula since she’s just as big of an airhead. Why didn’t you put in the article that both Elton’s and Justin’s rep’s said pretty much no well in hell were they interested.

  • Antoine

    Jessica Simpson judging musical talent? When her last 2-3 musical efforts have tanked? NooooooooOooo! That would kill ‘American Idol’. It’d be like Amy Winehouse being a sponsor on ‘Celebrity Rehab’

    • snasha

      Hate to break it to you but AI is already dead!

      • Miranda

        It’s not dead! Stop being so negative!

      • Phil

        I agree whole heartedly. Last season was a very “stale” experience. With Simon gone, this will probably be the last season. I predict the ratings will plummet after the auditions shows. X-Factor is going to clean house on AI. Adios AI.

    • BlackIrish4094

      If you don’t like her, that’s fine but your logic makes no sense. Before the show became a hit most people would have had the same opinion of Paula Abdul judgning singing talent (she was more dancer than singer) but in retrospect many people say she may have ben the best one at spotting talent. Don’t have to be talented to know talented.

  • idoljunkie

    Hope all this speculation is just to keep the idol name out there. If not, this show is doomed with Randy, Ellen & Jessica….NOOOOO is right!

    • Miss Talk

      The show is on downhill but since FOX can’t let go the millions of $ the show brings, we’re in for at least three more years!
      IMO, Ellen HAS to leave, she knows nothing about music. Justin Timberlake needs to work on how to get Esmee Denters where he promised her before giving advice to others. Sir Elton has definitely better things to do than listening to those average singers during six months.
      Since Randy is a (the only) music connoisseur there, they gotta keep him. I like Kara, her comments are usually on point. Jessica Simpson, believe or not, could be a great addition, especially to draw the public’s attention to the show. As for Simon Cowell’s replacement, I don’t know; nobody does it better than Simon, sorry ^^

  • Larry

    Adding Jessica Simpson would be the end of AI and basically life as we know it

    • Tracy

      I have to agree. Would be the last straw for AI. I certainly would never watch it again.

      • BlackIrish4094

        People lie so much when they say stuff like that. See you in here posting next year.

    • Andrei

      Oh yeah, she’s definitely penrgant! That’s not just a pudge there, it’s definitely a baby belly! She’s been wearing a lot of black lately, and if you look, that shirt is pretty sheer, and you can see there the leggings come up OVER her belly, like maternity leggings!

  • UGH

    2 no talents that should never be spoken in the same breath as Sir Elton.

    • miss m

      I think Justin is worthy of being called talent…….but certainly Simpson would have trouble being credible

  • kris

    It’s just a joke, right? At least I hope it is!

  • Sharlin

    Randy Jackson only has two words in his vocabulary. Dawg and Pitchy. THAT IS NOT JUDGING.

    • orville

      You forgot “A’ight.” Oh, and “Mad props.” He’s sort of like a random word generator program.

      • mari

        wait… you forgot “you’re the bomb!!”

      • Kiki

        And “you did your thing.” :-)

      • Brianna

        Did you think that American Idol is a talk show? If a judge is truly secure about their knowledge on music, then they could say something quick and move it along. Maybe you people don’t know music well enough to know when someone gives good advice. Randy is a great music manager who knows what to say to someone to help them survive the music world.

      • Randy Jackson Random Comment Generator

        Orville, dammit! You discovered my secret!

    • Mac

      About 5 seconds into his critique, Randy starts fumbling over his words and then defaults to the old standbys – “Pitchy”, “You’re the bomb”, “… Dawg”, “For you, for me…” Engough already! In the past, Paula’s actions and Simon’s comments were enough to overshadow Jackson’s inability to offer meaningful advice, but now it sticks out like a sore thumb. I tend to fast forward through the judging and by doing so, I’m left with about 20 – 30 mins singing.

      • chris ford

        For Randy’s verbal flaws, his laziness, his becoming a caricature of S1-S7 Randy – his bad, and if he didn’t have a year left I’d say dump the Dawg.

        But if I had to do it, I’d send clueless Ellen to be MC, something she can do well, on performance and Specials nights. That also takes care of the Problem of too much Seacrest. Let him do some dumb questioning during auditions and the half hour results nights and his 20 other shows.
        And fire Kara. Her contract’s up, and she is ratings poison. She isn’t that good a judge, completely dishonest depending on who is a favorite of hers and who she wishes to see gone. And the most contradictory and confusing of judges to contestants.Get rid of Ellen and Kara, you are close to a clean sweep. If you get three with great chemistry, including a couple of talented unknowns and JUST ONE CELEB…that work great together, are smart and very good entertaining judges, but any two of them don’t work with Randy, get rid of him, too!

    • For Me, For You

      You forgot one of my all time favs: “yo dawg, for me, for you that was”…..

      This past season he also added “wheelhouse” to the critique list. “Yo dawg you did your thing. That was definetly in your wheelhouse.”

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