Aretha Franklin Pushes For 'American Idol' Role
Really, when there's a turnover amid a prime-time singing competition show, how often is it that a major name makes the first public overture announcing that he or she wants to fill a vacancy?
In an e-mail to CNN Saturday, 18-time Grammy winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and forever-and-ever reigning Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin declared that she's ready, able and more than willing to fill one of the vacancies left at the judges' table by departing diva Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.
Franklin, 70, told CNN that she's been a fan of the show for some time. If she's really this interested, she joins a lengthy, distinguished list of stars Fox brass would love to have take a seat.
The recent rumor mill has producers after Season Eight runner-up Adam Lambert, and Lambert has said he'd discuss it if there is indeed official interest. About a day after her name surfaced last week as an artist of interest, Katy Perry declared publicly that she's not interested in judging the next season. Rumors surfaced Friday that Mariah Carey has already entered discussions with producers, supposedly due in no small part to her professional history with current judge Randy Jackson.
Other bandied-about but unconfirmed names include: Black Eyed Peas Fergie and Will.I.Am; rapper Nicki Minaj; and spawn of Disney Miley Cyrus. Amid all the chatter, it shouldn't go unmentioned that Jackson himself hasn't signed up officially for the next season.
One wonders if Franklin will remain as interested if Fox is forced to provide a low-ball offer. Word from The Hollywood Reporter surfaced Saturday that the show is headed for budget cuts, layoffs and salary reductions in the wake of a previous season with declining ad revenue and ratings. For the year, "Idol" was bumped from its most-watched throne by "ESPN Sunday Night Football," despite still claiming around 20 million viewers.
Fox declined to officially address Franklin's rumored interest.