Chris Isaak, Simon Cowell, Bret Michaels, Harry Connick Jr.

Jeffrey Mayer/; Michael Simon/Startraks ; Ali Goldstein/NBC; AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

Bret Michaels is out. Ditto Howard Stern. Now a new player has emerged to fill Simon Cowell's empty Coke cup on American Idol: Chris Isaak.

With the 10th season looming, the easy-rocking "Wicked Game" hitmaker has suddenly become a leading candidate, according to the Hollywood Reporter, meeting twice with Fox producers about potentially taking over one of the most high-profile gigs in TV land.

Isaak, whose TV credits include his trippy Showtime comedy Chris Isaak Show along with appearances on Smallville and Cold Case, is no lock, however. Producers have also shown an interest in Harry Connick Jr.. and Donald Trump has even reportedly lobbied for the part.

Cowell exited Idol in May to focus on his own Fox talent context, X-Factor, premiering in August 2011.

Auditions for the new season have already begun with guest judges. A new full-time judge announcement is expected by September.


Dear American Idol: Stop picking the same dude!

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