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Image: Simon Cowell
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Simon Cowell will be tough to replace. That’s why “American Idol” shouldn't rush into it.
By The Scoop
TODAY.com
updated 5/26/2010 9:03:01 PM ET 2010-05-27T01:03:01

Knowing for the entire season that Simon Cowell was leaving “American Idol” was a little like finding out in January that you’ve got a cavity, but you can’t get it filled until May. But unlike the cavity, Cowell’s absence is going to be tough to fill.

And that is why it might be time for “Idol” to do something revolutionary. Instead of attempting to replace the judge and come back next winter, the show should think about taking a little hiatus. Here’s why: The show needs a new talent strategy.

Based on the contestants who made it to Hollywood week this year, one might conclude that there’s a dearth of fantastic singers to be had out there. But in a country of more than 300 million, that shouldn’t be the case.

“Idol” needs some time to rethink the way it’s screening contestants. Maybe it’s time to bring in YouTube submissions. What if Justin Bieber brought talent that he handpicked to the table? There’s got to be a way to change the rules and find some Susan Boyles of our own. The show should just take some time and figure out the best way to do it.

Another reason to take some extra time off is because quite simply, Simon’s seat cannot be filled. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the judges’ table this year, it’s that it was a table completely devoid of any chemistry.

Cowell phoned it in, Ellen DeGeneres never really fit, Randy Jackson dawged his way through and Kara DioGuardi didn’t connect with anyone whose names weren’t Simon Cowell or Casey James. Simply filling the Simon seat with another human isn’t going to make this panel work together any better, and the contestants really need the judges to work as a team in order for the process to pan out the way it should.

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When it was Cowell, Jackson and Paula Abdul, they didn’t all agree, but they all had clear roles and opinions that worked together in a way that actually helped contestants. In this ninth season, the lack of chemistry among the foursome led to conflicting advice that resulted in the singers not being able to learn and make the smart choices that are necessary in knowing what kind of artist you are. Some real, thoughtful housecleaning needs to take place to make the judges’ table work.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that big changes at “Idol” is just an exercise in deck-chair rearrangement. I believe in the show, and I believe that it can survive without Cowell. It’s just time for an extreme “Idol” makeover, one that’s probably been due for several years.

With Cowell’s departure, the timing for such a thing couldn’t be better.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on today.msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Video: Simon's top insults

  1. Closed captioning of: Simon's top insults

    >> judges who started the whole deal. simon cowell is leaving the show. i thought fwas a good one. with simon leaving our top three today, our favorite insults from simon cowell over the years. we could have filled up an entire hour with these. here is number three.

    >> it sounded like a cat jumping off the empire state building . and the noise it would make before it hit the floor .

    >> the poor girl's face. simon cowell showed off a surprising knowledge of animals for the next one take a listen. creatures that live in the jungle with those massive eyes.

    >> simon , you're justdoofus, what a jerk.

    >>> number one gets to the heart of simon 's brutal honesty. we have to thank jimmy kimmel for the special message.

Photos: ‘American Idol’ season 9 finale

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  1. A true Idol

    Country superstar Carrie Underwood, who was the season 3 winner, performs "Undo It" during at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 26. (Vince Bucci / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. School daze

    Alice Cooper, center, joins the 12 finalists to perform his hit "School's Out" during the "American Idol" finale. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Guitar gal

    Orianthi helped to kick off the "American Idol" finale, joining the top 12 finalists and Alice Cooper in a rendition of "School's Out." (Frank Micelotta / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Taking it to the finale

    Former Doobie Brothers singer Michael McDonald, left, and finalist Michael "Big Mike" Lynche perform "Taking It To The Streets" during Wednesday night's finale. (Vince Bucci / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. He's baaaack

    William Hung returned to perform "Pants On The Ground" with its writer, Gen. Larry Platt (on the ground, center), during Wednesday night's show. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Can't keep him down

    Newly crowned "Celebrity Apprentice" Bret Michaels and Idol finalist Casey James team up on Poison's hit "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Oh yeah, they know

    Crystal Bowersox gets a little help from Alanis Morissette, right, on Morissette's hit single "You Ought To Know." (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A little bit of soul

    Darryl Hall, top left, and Jon Oates, top right, otherwise known as Hall & Oates, perform "I Can't Go For That" and "Maneater" with the top 12 male finalists. (Vince Bucci / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. She is beautiful

    Christina Aguilera was among the music superstars to perform at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday. (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Sweet home Chicago

    Lee DeWyze, who hails from Mt. Prospect, Ill., joins the band Chicago to perform a medley of their hits during Wednesday's "American Idol" finale. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Happy reunion

    Ex-judge Paula Abdul, left, who often played Simon Cowell’s sparring partner during the seasons the shared, returned to say goodbye to the acerbic British judge. "I've loved all the fun we've had together," Abdul told Cowell. "'American Idol's' not gonna be the same without you." (Vince Bucci / PictureGroup) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Swan song

    Simon Cowell, left, next to Kara DioGuardi, made his final appearance as a judge on "American Idol" on Wednesday night. The caustic Brit will launch a new show, "X-Factor," in 2011. (Michael Becker / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. No, her first name isn't baby

    Janet Jackson performs her hit "Nasty" during the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 26. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Simon takes his bow

    Simon Cowell gets a hug from Ryan Seacrest, center, while receiving an ovation from past "Idols" and fans in the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday. (Ray Mickshaw / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. They are the champions

    "Idol" winners Carrie Underwood, left, Ruben Studdard, center, and Kelly Clarkson were among the former contestants who took the stage Wednesday to pay tribute to Simon Cowell. (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A little help

    Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze are joined by Joe Cocker on "A Little Help From My Friends" in the closing minutes of the "American Idol" finale. (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Awaiting the results

    Crystal Bowersox, left, and Lee DeWyze, center, await the announcement from host Ryan Seacrest of the "American Idol" season nine winner. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Lee's first song

    Season nine winner Lee DeWyze performs "Beautiful Day" during the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. American Idol Grand Finale 2010 - Show
    Vince Bucci / PictureGroup via AP
    Above: Slideshow (18) ‘American Idol’ season 9 finale
  2. Fox's "24" Series Finale Party - Arrivals
    Fox
    Slideshow (82) ‘American Idol’ final 2 - Idol finalists
  3. Image: Idol Gives Back 2010 - Show
    Vince Bucci / PictureGroup via Fox
    Slideshow (16) ‘American Idol’ final 2 - Idol gives back
  4. Fox
    Slideshow (27) ‘American Idol’ final 2 - Final 24

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