For me, by far the most interesting news about the new "American Idol" lineup was the announcement that record producer/executive Jimmy Iovine will be the show's permanent mentor, replacing the week-to-week, almost unbearably frustrating procession of guest mentors. Some were great, some were awful. You just never knew.
I would suspect that few people in the Idol marketplace know much about Iovine, but consider this:
- In the mid-1970s, Iovine was engineering Harry Nilsson's "Pussy Cats" album, and commented to John Lennon, who was helping Nilsson record Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "wow, John, that's one of the best songs you've ever written."
- In 1978, Iovine engineered Bruce Springsteen's "Darkness on the Edge of Town."
- Also in 1978, Iovine produced Patti Smith's "Easter."
- In 1979, Iovine produced Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "Damn the Torpedoes."
- In 1980, Iovine produced Dire Straits' "Making Movies."
- He produced the first "A Very Special Christmas" album, and has been the mastermind behind all of the rest.
- He is credited with giving Eminem's demo tape to Dr. Dre.
- He produced U2's "Rattle and Hum" album.
Only time will tell whether Iovine's involvement results in interesting and/or entertaining television, but no one can argue that his involvement doesn't raise the level of the show's authenticity.
Of course, it's not like "American Idol" was ever about authenticity.