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Real critics as Idol judges

IDOL MINDS: With the American Idol judge situation, as they say, fluid, Pop & Hiss blogger Randall Roberts played some fanciful musical chairs over the weekend, vetting 10 of the better-known real-life musical judges, better known as critics. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of Roberts’ takes:

1. Robert Christgau, "Dean of American Rock Critics": Unafraid to offer his opinions, Christgau over the years has learned the fine art of honesty. He can draw on 40 years of analysis when faced with having to judge the merits of, say, Bo Bice.

2. Jann Wenner, co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone, Us Weekly and Men's Journal: At least the notoriously fastidious Wenner would ensure that the judges' desks will be tidy at all times.

3. Greil Marcus, author, music critic, cultural critic: No one would more infuriate the lowbrow element of the Idol viewership than the professorial Marcus. Imagine what he’d have to say about Sanjaya Malakar!

4. Ann Powers, L.A. Times pop music critic: Powers' insight about and passion for the show are unequaled among critics, and her ability to treat pop music seriously makes her a great fit for the job.

5. Christopher Weingarten, freelance writer, Twittering blabbermouth responsible for 1000TimesYes: Weingarten’s oft-repeated argument that criticism is dead will make the masses who hate criticism love him.

6. Jim DeRogatis & Greg Kot: The two Chicago critics are wonderfully combative on their weekly podcast, Sound Opinions. DeRogatis is an opinionated loudmouth, while Kot is a measured, smart analyst.

7. Chuck Klosterman, author of Fargo Rock City, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and others: Klosterman is smart and funny, and, bonus, he has hair like Justin Bieber.

8. Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone columnist, author of new book Talking to Girls About Duran Duran and the bestselling Love Is a Mix Tape: Sheffield writes about his passion for music and the way it interacts with him on a daily basis. Plus, he really thinks hard about Idol and its place in the American consciousness.

9. Sasha Frere-Jones, New Yorker music critic: Want a sure-fire way to find a judge to hate? Hire the one from the most intellectual East Coast magazine on the stands.

10. Whitney Pastorek, Entertainment Weekly: A contributor to the readable Popwatch blog, Pastorek captures the excitement of the show. (8/2a)

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