On the cusp of a new season of American Idol headed our way next week, including 3 new judges, I've decided to rank the past judges of American Idol from worst to first.  It reamins to be seen how Keith Urban, Nikki Minaj, and Mariah Carey will rank, but until then, here is my opinion.

7) Steven Tyler

Forget the fact that this once wild rocker, looks like a rich old lady with a hat fetish, Tyler is great at playing music...his music.  He proved time and time again that his brain cells were gone, and that he was just looking to give the most ridiculous quote or hit on the young girls.  Three words for this judge: 'Out of Touch.'

6) Paula Abdul

She may have been one of the original judges, but she was terrible.  About 97% of the time she appeared to be on drugs, and the other 3% she was giving advice that didn't make any sense.  Worst of all, she rarely could say anything bad about the act.  That is they key to being a judge, and if you can't be mean, the show will suffer.  And it did.

5) Jennifer Lopez

The only reason I can put JLo above Paula is because at least JLo seemed to be coherent MOST of the time.  Again, however, she almost never gave out a negative comment to the contestants.  Everyone was wonderful and she loved every performance.  I also hear she was quite the diva...that is until Mariah shows up.

4) Kara DioGuiardi

A lot of people didn't like Kara as a judge, but I think she knew what she was talking about.  Not only that, but she was the only female judge on AI to ever give actual criticism.  I think it's good to have someone on the panel that really gets the music busniess.  Randy does.  Simon does.  Kara did a nice job, she just liked to talk a bit much.  If the clip below is any indication, I'd like to see Katy Perry as a regular judge.

3) Ellen DeGeneres

Here's another judge that people didn't like.  I think she was awesome.  Ellen gave the perspective of us, the people who watch at home and don't have the inside scoop on the music biz.  She knew how to give positive reviews and if she didn't enjoy it, she wasn't afraid to tell the  contestant.  I would love to have Ellen back on the show full time.

2) Randy Jackson

I gotta give it to the dog for hanging around for so long.  He does have one of the best minds for the music business on the show.  A few of his phrases and quirks have gotten quite old, and he is a little inconsistent as to what he likes and doesn't, but for hanging in there, Randy is 'In It To Win It!'

1) Simon Cowell

A lot of people said that American Idol would fall after Simon left.  In a lot of ways it did.  I used to just wait and see what Simon said.  If he liked you, that was your calling card.  Lately, it's been a battle of which judge can say the nicest thing, the loudest.  Simon was the only judge that ever mattered, and he made Idol.  In some of the same ways, he's making X Factor a success.

I don't expect any of the new judges to surpass Simon on this list, but I do think Keith Urban may end up being a great judge.  We'll find out 1/16 on Fox when the new season begins!