I would take American Juniors Gladys Knight, but not American Idol Gladys. You never give only one contestant a nickname and expect your opinions to be viewed as fair.
I liked AI Gladys. I took her comment to Ruben to be an observation or comparison, I never thought she intended it to become a nickname. It just worked so perfectly as a nickname that the producers took it and ran with it. JMO.
I would love to see Deborah Gibson replace Paula. I thought she had the right mix of relevent criticism and compassion (as opposed to drug induced rants) on American Juniors (er, not that I watched it or anything, Shack!) and I think she could actually bring something to the show.
Though, there does need to be snark factor, so I would leave Simon on the panel.
As for Randy, I would get rid of him completely and have a permanent space open for alternating judges. Some just celebrity famewhores, but others maybe people who are part of the legitimate music industry. For example, one week we might be blessed with an actual vocal instuctor to the stars. This person could easily give constructive criticism about the contestants' technical singing skills and what they could do to improve, while Simon makes stupid, pointless comments and Deborah attempts to build up their shattered self-esteem. I think it would work perfectly! I think those are the shoes Randy was supposed to fill anyway (as a former musician, he should have been able to give good technical criticism but he lacks the proper vocabulary). Then, the next week, we could have a professional stylist as the third judge; who can tell the kids how to improve their "style" or whatever. The next week, it could be a professional songwriter (anyone but Shift-F1(tm Shack)
!!!) who might give them some insight as to what genre they might sound best singing, etc. I think that would give the show more staying power, and legitimize the process a bit.
I'm not sure how it would work in the earlier rounds, though. Any suggestions, anyone?