×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘American Idol’ Veterans Vote for a Reboot, With Former Finalists as Judges

Hollywood is abuzz — yet again — about prospects of an “American Idol” reboot, this time at ABC with a return slated for spring of 2018. Will the once formidable music competition show, which spent 15 years at Fox, fly again?

Former “Idol” associate musical director Michael Orland, who coached hundreds of finalists during his decade-and-a-half working on the show, thinks the franchise is ripe for a refresh. “‘American Idol’ was, and still is, the biggest and best of all of the entertainment competition shows,” he tells Variety. “It also produced so many people that came out of the show that still continue to make an incredible living as a result of their exposure on the show.”

Orland says that some of that talent nurtured on the series — which turned out stars that included Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Fantasia, Phillip Phillips, and Adam Lambert, among others — are prime candidates to take the show into the next phase if it winds up at ABC — not coincidentally the new employer of “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest.

“I say, do a reboot and get some of these past ‘Idol’ performers and not just winners to come sit in the judges’ chairs,” Orland said. “I think there’s more than a handful that would be really great at it.”

Tony-nominated Broadway star Constantine Maroulis, who appeared in the show’s competitive fourth season, agrees that former contestants have a unique perspective that can add something fresh to the show’s future. “I believe involving former contestants would be a huge bonus and a great way to win audiences back [and] make the show about the contestants again,” says the stage veteran, who has appeared in “Rock of Ages,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” and on the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.” “So many great careers and so many stories have come from ‘American Idol.’ It would be compelling to see contestants from varying backgrounds and genres, all who have ‘Idol’ in common.”

Former vocal coach Peisha McPhee, who recently coached Disney star Auli’I Cravalho through her star-making turn in the movie “Moana,” says that if “Idol” comes back, it will need a fresh approach, but should stick to the basics that made the show a success in the first place. While many of the “Idol” kids possessed natural singing ability, coaching was required to take them to the next level, she explains, and the television audience was along for the ride. “People love to watch people grow and change,” McPhee said.

Others from the show’s music brain-trust, like Grammy-winning producer and former musical director Rickey Minor, are open to a return as well, but the seesawing rumors seemed to have dampened some spirits.

“I’m always hopeful … to make music,” Minor tells Variety. “I had a great time on that show. I’m happy to do it, or I’m happy to move on.”

Whether or not a reboot would include Seacrest — who recently accepted a co-hosting gig on ABC’s “Live With Kelly,” in addition to his syndicated “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” radio show on Los Angeles’ KIIS-FM — remains to be seen. Says Orland: “Ryan Seacrest was such a huge part of ‘Idol’s’ success, and we’d just have to work around his schedule. It’s that easy. That’s what private jets are for, right, ABC? And while we’re at it: Can I have a one-time private tour guide at Disney?”

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • This photo provided by the California

    Josh Turner Tour Bus Crash Kills Sound Engineer, Leaves 7 from Crew Hospitalized

    A bus carrying crew members for country singer Josh Turner’s tour went off an embankment after leaving a show in Paso Robles, California, killing sound engineer David Turner and leaving seven others hospitalized. Turner and his band were on a separate bus following the crew bus and reportedly stopped to assist after the deadly accident [...]

  • WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 18:

    Billie Eilish Tells Crowd She Plans to Tour Behind... Her 2017 EP

    Okay, so it may just have been a way to get some crowd members who were dead-set on calling out requests off her back. But she seemed to mean it. At a show for SiriusXM and Pandora at L.A.’s Troubadour club Wednesday, Billie Eilish made an interesting vow to the crowd: She plans to tour [...]

  • UTA lobby in Nashville

    UTA's Nashville Office Sets 2020 for Move to Historic Downtown Library Building

    UTA has announced a forthcoming move to much bigger digs in Nashville, with plans to leave its current home at the Cummins Station complex in the first quarter of 2020 to make good on a signed lease on a major library building in the heart of downtown that’s being renovated for office use. Once construction [...]

  • Toni Cornell

    Chris Cornell's Daughter Toni Releases First Single, 'Far Away Places'

    Toni Cornell, the daughter of late Grammy-winning rockstar Chris Cornell, is carrying on her father’s musical legacy with her first single, titled “Far Away Places.” The song, which the 15-year-old wrote at 12 years old, was produced by her father in his home studio in Miami, known to be one of the last songs he [...]

  • Depeche Mode - Dave GahanLes Vieilles

    Depeche Mode Documentary Gets One-Night Theatrical Release

    Depeche Mode has reunited with the group’s long-time filmographer, Anton Corbjn, for a combination documentary/concert film, “Spirits in the Forest,” which Trafalgar Releasing has announced it will put on approximately 2400 screens worldwide for one night Nov. 21. The film documents performance footage from the Berlin dates of Depeche Mode’s 115-gig Global Spirit Tour of [...]

  • Patti SmithVariety's 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Patti Smith Talks Biopics, Beats and Losing Her Cool in Front of Bob Dylan

    On Thursday afternoon Variety partnered with IFP for the first “10 Storytellers to Watch” event, and among the novelists, lyricists, podcasters, playwrights, graphic novelists and brand storytellers who were honored was the pioneering singer, poet and author Patti Smith. The legendary artist received the Impact in Storytelling honor not only for her formidable body of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content