must need a gig

from popeater

A few weeks ago, murmurs started surfacing from the camp of famed producer Steve Lillywhite about possible involvement with 'American Idol' next year -- specifically, that he wants to be the next Simon Cowell. And he thinks there's room for improvement.

"People know my music, don't know my personality," Lillywhite tells PopEater. "People who know my personality don't see it as being a strange thing for me to do. I've been following the show closely and the more I see it, the more I feel I can do the job. I think I can improve the show. The current crop -- certainly of guys -- there's been no real standouts, and I can't believe that out of the thousands of people that auditioned, these are the 12 best guys. Simon knows that. You can tell by his body language that he's embarrassed by the choices they've made."

For those unfamiliar with Lillywhite's resume, it's certainly stacked. He's worked with U2, Dave Matthews Band and jam kings Phish, and he's currently in the studio with Evanescence, so it's safe to say he's got an eye and ear for pop music. To keep with 'American Idol's' tradition of employing a Brit, Lillywhite's UK origin and accent would fit the bill.

But he sees himself as potentially a different type of judge than Cowell. "I'm not mean," he says. "But I'm fair, based on the fact that I honestly believe that 99 percent of music is rubbish. And I'm not scared to say it, either. My definition of a star is slightly broader than Simon's -- what he perceives as a star is relatively narrow."

For Lillywhite, it's all about one thing. "Do I want to be in this person's world? Is there something that makes me want to find out more about them? I believe that the great artists, you buy into their world," he says. "I would try an instill that and try to work out the best way to do that. This is what I do when I produce records, and this is what I would do on 'American Idol.'"

As far as his chances go, Lillywhite is being cautiously optimistic. "The thing is, they might want to dumb it down," he says. "But if they don't want to dumb it down, and I think the American public believes in art, then why not take a chance and raise the bar a bit? That's what I would try and do."