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Chris Isaak for Idol: Wicked Good Idea or Bad, Bad Thing?

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The latest trial balloon launched in the replace-Simon-Cowell sweepstakes: singer-songwriter Chris Isaak. The obvious pluses: Isaak has plenty of recording experience (“Wicked Game,” “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing”) and experience in front of the camera (his charming Showtime comedy of the early 2000s, plus guest spots like the above, singing “Smelly Cat” on Friends). Also, he’s coolly charismatic and easy on the eyes.

The minuses: the fact that I personally would want to see a potential judge on Idol is probably a strike against him. I loved Ben Folds as a judge on The Sing-Off, but there is no way Idol would or should cast him, were he even available. Isaak is telegenic and dryly funny, but I’m not sure his low-key, laconic style is right for Idol; I suppose he could be harshly critical, but I’m having a hard time seeing it.

Also: he appeals to me, and I am a gross old man. Forbes’ youthful TV writer Lacey Rose notes that she had to Google Isaak when the news broke. Ouch. Granted that Idol has plenty of older viewers, and its audience is aging, TV economics suggests it does not want to encourage the trend.

Tell me if you disagree. Also, I’m now wondering: has anyone ever covered “Wicked Game” on Idol, and if not, why in the world not? (Update: How soon we forget! It was Siobhan Magnus just last season. Foreshadowing? Thanks to kcgeek4vocab on the Twitter.)

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