- Steve Etheridge, ESPN Playbook
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Reanimated corpse Steven Tyler announced on Thursday that he’d be leaving as judge on “American Idol” to return to his role as the banshee on the Iron Maiden T-shirts. Or something like that. Then, on Friday, “Anaconda” star Jennifer Lopez followed suit and announced her departure, leaving two vacant judges' chairs for the upcoming season.
While there’s buzz that Adam Lambert and Mariah Carey could assume the roles, I think the “Idol” producers would be wise to reconsider what they’re looking for in talent appraisers.
Contestants on the show are emotionally coddled, strung along gingerly. And they don’t need that.
If the contestants want to make a name for themselves in a cutthroat music industry, they don’t need judges. They need guys who cultivate talent with the patience of a drill instructor and the emotional regard of an F5 tornado. They need sports guys, and only the orneriest will do.
• Nick Saban. If you wanna teach cute young starlets how to assert themselves and be tough with vulturous industry folk, I think Saban’s your man.
• Béla Károlyi. He might give off a grandfatherly vibe on camera, but Google his name along with “brutal” or “dictator” and you’ll get a lot of evidence to the contrary. “SING BETTER OR NO CHRISTMAS FOR YOU!”
• Ozzie Guillen. He’d make Simon Cowell seem like Joel Osteen. And if you’re wondering how many F-bombs a 16-year-old can withstand before having a psychological breakdown, Ozzie would be sure to satisfy your curiosity.
Other strong picks: Bobby Bowden, Kane, Dick Butkus, Bill Belichick, zombie Johnny Unitas, Hiroki Kuroda’s boyhood coaches, Yogi Berra with a cattle prod.
Have any suggestions of your own? Feel free to leave 'em in the comments.