1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Steven Tyler
Scanpix Sweden  /  Reuters
Steven Tyler is certainly a rock star, but his tendency to ramble in interviews leaves questions as to whether he can actually offer coherent critiques.
By
updated 8/19/2010 11:00:52 AM ET 2010-08-19T15:00:52
COMMENTARY

He is the face and lips of the Great American Rock ’n’ Roll band, but as dynamic as he can appear onstage with Aerosmith, Steven Tyler is a terrible choice for a new judge on “American Idol.”

Why?

He’s too damn old. He’s too damn dull.

“He’s a relic,” one industry observer said dismissively of the 62-year old frontman to me Tuesday, following all the reports that Tyler is a done deal for the Fox amateur-hour hit. “All he brings to the show is a scarf and giant lips.”

    1. Aaron Paul Talks Getting Chased by Fans During ‘Breaking Bad’ Scavenger Hunt (Video)
    2. ‘Big Brother’ Eviction Leads to Guest Spot on ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’
    3. ‘As Above, So Below’ Review: Deserves a Swift Burial
    4. The Wrap's ShortList Film Fest Crowns ‘Noah’ and ‘Not It’

Now, as both Tyler and Mick Jagger will tell you, there’s a lot of mileage to be had in a scarf and giant lips — but not necessarily a lot of judgment. And judgment, on both sides of the camera, is what you need to resurrect a former ratings behemoth like “Idol” — especially after the disappointing season it had last year and the departure of bitchy Brit Simon Cowell.

Of course, Tyler does provide the novelty factor of actually having a genuine rock star on “Idol.” And they always could have done worse.

Aerosmith bassist confirms Tyler is doing 'Idol'

When "Idol" started to look for new judges this year, Tyler — who between rehab and band tensions hasn't had the best of years — probably didn’t think twice about taking the plunge.

“American Idol,” on the other hand, should have.

For a show increasingly skewing and feeling older, “Idol” should have gone young and brave — Justin Timberlake being the ideal. The worst part is Tyler probably wasn’t the first one on returning “Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe‘s call sheet. Tyler’s the one you reach out to after Elton and Cher said "Not interested."

So what, besides a lot of Aerosmith tunes being sung by contestants, can we expect if Tyler actually gets the new gig?

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

True, Tyler can be saucy and sassy, but that’s in short sound-bitten bursts. In fact, left to his extended own devices — as too many interviewers and musicians have discovered — the hyperactive singer can ramble in a way that makes Paula Abdul look positively poetic.

His acting career, like the cameo as himself with John Travolta in “Be Cool,” never really blew anyone’s wig off. And while no one would undermine his love of his craft, Tyler’s never displayed the greatest of insights when it comes to talking about music.

If Ellen DeGeneres is the standard, that would make him the perfect “Idol” judge — but the point is not to limbo that low again.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Aerosmith. To me, it really is the Great American Rock 'n' Roll band — more than Van Halen, more than Kiss — and a truly great American tale of redemption.

Since they blew out of Beantown in 1972, Aerosmith brazenly stole from the Rolling Stones the way the Stones stole from the blues and brought it back home all wrapped up in stars-and-stripes sexbeat boogie. They were raunchy and rich in the '70s, then messed up, broken up, really messed up and resurrected in the late '80s with counseling and killer albums like “Pump” to be bigger than ever.

They were “Behind the Music” before “Behind the Music.” They were “Celebrity Rehab” before “Celebrity Rehab.” And as everyone from lightweights like Motley Crue to worthy successors like Guns’N’Roses have admitted, they paved the road American rock needed to travel down after the onslaught of the British Invasion.

After 40 years, rising from clubs to giant stadiums, Aerosmith has become a beloved American institution, playing the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, with their own Disney Theme Park ride and sold-out arenas around the entire world.

Then there's the dark side. Like their commercial and creative mentors the Stones, Aerosmith is now caught in a career revolving door of big tours and — because of the magnitude of hits like “Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Janie’s Got a Gun” and the Oscar-nominated “I Don’t Want to Miss aThing” from 1998’s “Armageddon” — irrelevant new material.

Which is exactly why spotlight-loving Tyler, who is touring with Aerosmith until Sept. 16 and actually hitting the Quest Center stage in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday, was probably looking for a change.

Like the acclaimed Roots deciding to become Jimmy Fallon’s houseband to get off endless touring, Tyler and Aerosmith needed to find a new direction or get off their own infinite road.

And if you think “American Idol” was the best exit ramp for Tyler, for the show and for us … well, let me quote a great American poet: “Dream on.”

Copyright 2012 by TheWrap.com

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Ariana Grande brings her ‘Everything,' huge crowd to TODAY plaza

    When you’ve got pop’s reigning princess making a royal visit to your show, what do you do? In the case of TODAY Friday, you just hand over the keys to the kingdom.

    8/29/2014 12:46:14 PM +00:00 2014-08-29T12:46:14
  2. video Pop star sings latest hit and Al’s favorite song, ‘Bang Bang’

    video The 21-year-old singer performs her hit tune on TODAY, where fans lined up in the early morning hours to see her.

    8/29/2014 1:43:03 PM +00:00 2014-08-29T13:43:03
  3. video Ariana to fans: ‘I love you so much!’

    video The star joins TODAY to sing her tune “Break Free” on the TODAY plaza.

    8/29/2014 1:41:19 PM +00:00 2014-08-29T13:41:19
  4. TODAY
  1. TODAY

    video The dress, the ceremony: Details of Brad and Angelina’s wedding emerge

    8/29/2014 12:35:20 PM +00:00 2014-08-29T12:35:20
  1. Shanee Gibson Hart/Facebook

    Little boy wins our hearts with response to mom’s baby news: ‘This is exasperating!’

    8/28/2014 2:25:46 PM +00:00 2014-08-28T14:25:46