By Roland S. Martin
Fox’s hit music show, “American Idol,” lost two stars this week when Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez announced they would not be returning to the show, but they could gain themselves The Queen.
Aretha Franklin, a 19-time Grammy Award winner who Rolling Stone proclaimed the greatest female singer of all-time, told me exclusively in an email today that she is interested in joining the show as a judge.
Franklin, who wowed the Essence Music Festival crowd last week in New Orleans and is now performing in Las Vegas, says she has long been a fan of the show. Now instead of watching it with the rest of us, she’s ready to play a vital role in choosing the next “American Idol.”
And as The Queen would do, she’s already thinking about bringing along a sidekick: songstress Patti LaBelle.
Can you imagine two of the greatest divas of all-time giving the thumbs up and down to the American Idol performers?
The addition of Franklin could very well help Fox stop the ratings slide of the show, which saw it lose its spot as the top show of the year to NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
The plethora of musical shows on broadcast television has made the need for star power that more important. Fox’s The X-Factor recently added Brittany Spears after booting Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. On NBC’s “The Voice” – Idol’s closest competitor – they have gained ground with Ceelo Green, Adam Levine, Christine Aguilera, and Blake Shelton.
But none of the shows have ever had someone of the caliber of Aretha Franklin.