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American Idol, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson, Sarah Palin

Michael Becker/FOX, AP Photo/ Chris Miller


So now we know: American Idol didn't want to replace Paula Abdul with a singer, songwriter or Paula Abdul. It wanted someone who would judge its pop-star hopefuls from "the people's point of view," as Ellen DeGeneres put it.

And that's fine. And Ellen DeGeneres, who got the gig, is more than fine—as a performer, personality, wit and world-class enthusiastic dancer. But as a people's judge?

If that's what Idol wanted, then Idol didn't do fine. It failed. It failed to see that there is but one woman who represents the voice of the people. And her name isn't Ellen DeGeneres.

It's Sarah Palin.

We've thought long and hard about this for a couple of minutes now, and we keep coming to same conclusion: Palin would've been the most authentic presence on American Idol since William Hung's audition.


1. Palin competed in beauty pageants. Unlike DeGeneres, but like most of Idol's contestant pool, if not its audience, she knows what it's like to sell yourself when you have little to no discernable talent.

2. Palin can't sing. And while DeGeneres can't either, she can move, which Palin, judging by her Tin Man-esque turn on the flute, can't do, either.   

3. Palin watches a lot of TV. And while we believe DeGeneres when she says she watches TV, too, and Idol, specifically, we don't believe DeGeneres watches TV like this: According to ex-future son-in-law Levi Johnston in Vanity Fair, Palin "sat on the living-room couch in her two-piece pajama set from Wal-Mart...watching house shows and wedding shows on TV." Norman Rockwell couldn't paint a better picture of America.

4. Palin calls 'em like she sees 'em. Unlike DeGeneres, who's gone out of her way to be considerate of Abdul, Palin's not afraid to call a health-care proposal a death panel.    

5. Palin is the embodiment of an American Idol finalist, Roger Ebert wrote last year of the then-vice-presidential candidate: "There's a reason American Idol gets such high ratings. People identify with the candidates. They think, 'Hey, that could be me up there on the show!' " In other words, Palin's one of us. She doesn't make you feel bad because you know there's no way you could ever host a live show like the Oscars without coming off really bad.

And so we lament a missed golden opportunity. And we miss all the Tina Fey sketches we're not going to see. And we deny that our desire to see Palin empaneled on Idol has anything to do with our desire to keep her too busy to pursue the White House in 2012.

To be honest, we're kind of worried that DeGeneres, for all her supposed weaknesses as Idol judge material (i.e., not a singer, not a songwriter, not Paula), will be the just jolt the show needed—and we'll have to start watching every week again.

And just when we got used to reading the recaps…