On Monday, only two days after Fox confirmed that longtime "American Idol" producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick are leaving the show, it was announced that Per Blankens, "Swedish Idol's" producer and show runner for the past five seasons, has been hired to retool and hopefully revive the U.S. version of the flagging franchise.
Will Blankens be the man to turn "American Idol" around? That obviously remains to be seen. But I'm tentatively optimistic. Here's what I'm hoping, praying, and dreaming might happen under this man's Swedish rule in Season 13:
There Will Be More ROCK
During Blankens' reign, "Swedish Idol" crowned Jay Smith, a metal man who covered Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box," and Billy Idol's "White Wedding," and Erik Gronwall, who auditioned with Skid Row's "18 & Life" and later rocked out to KISS's "Shout It Out Loud" and, even more awesomely, Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills." Iron friggin' Maiden, people! Hard rock is very popular in Scandinavia, and more importantly, it's pretty damn popular here in America, too. But "American Idol" Season 12 was sadly rock-free, and roll-free, too. Will Blankens make "AI" rock again? Maybe I'll finally get that Power Ballad Night I always wanted.
There Will Be More ABBA Covers
WHY HAS THERE NEVER BEEN AN ABBA NIGHT ON "AMERICAN IDOL"? Sorry for the caplocks there. But seriously. Think of all the opportunities and possibilities. The costumes. The Muriel's Wedding-style group numbers. The awesomeness. Is this just a publishing/legal issue or something? Surely Blankens can pull some strings here and get "Waterloo" cleared.
There Will Be a Max Martin Night
One-man Swedish songwriting machine Max Martin has co-penned such pop classics as Robyn's "Show Me Love," Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me," Jessie J's "Domino," Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," and a jillion Britney Spears, Pink, Ke$ha, and Katy Perry megahits. Want an "American Idol" season full of relevant, youthful songs instead of the teen-repelling Great American Songbook? Let's hope Blankens has Max on his speed-dial.
Howlin' Pelle Almqvist Will Be a New "AI" Judge
I've often wondered why no network has snatched up Pelle, the fabulous frontman for Swedish garage-rock sensations the Hives, to star in his own reality show (which, in a perfect world, would be televised 24 hours a day). A masterful master of ceremonies whose every quip is so brilliant, he could (and should) record a live album consisting entirely of his stage banter, the man is pure entertainment. He's my personal idol. And he's from Sweden. This is a no-brainer. Blankens needs to give this Howlin'-ly funny man a job, and in the process make the Your New Favorite Band singer America's new favorite judge.