Sheryl Lee Ralph brought up an interesting point on HLN's Showbiz Tonight. The door to a full-on Whitney Houston comeback may have just opened now that Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones have all been axed from the American version of The X Factor. Houston is already appearing opposite Jordin Sparks later this year in Sparkle, her first feature film since 1996's The Preacher's Wife, so she ought to be plotting her next move. Would The X Factor work for her?

Allow me to answer that question with a resounding YES! Not only is Houston the most legendary pop singer out there (could you imagine auditioning in front of her?), she's also got the finger-wagging personality and "God is great" sincerity to really turn the ratings around for X Factor. I have little doubt that the singer's millions of fans, having wandered through the Whitney-barren wilderness for all these years, would tune in just to squeal everytime she spoke, or made a face, or burst spontaneously into song, which she often does (or at least that's what we learned from Bravo's Being Bobby Brown when it aired in 2005).

But there's more to the Whitney-as-judge campaign than her one-of-a-kind vocal chops and battalions of fans. As Ralph put it, "Whitney Houston knows how to call it just the way it is." This is key. As anyone who's tried it can tell you, it may seem easy to look someone in the face and crush their dreams, but in reality it's kinda hard. Not for Whitney — she's not in the business of making people's dreams come true. She's in the business of telling the truth and hearing good music. And don't think she'll go soft on somebody just because they have a cute or touching story to tell. We don't have to imagine what she would have told four-year-old French singer Jordy when she saw him perform live, because her face says it all.

And as if that weren't enough, remember that Houston has always had a penchant for TV soundbites. When she told Diane Sawyer that "crack is whack," she wasn't trying to make headlines. She wasn't trying to come up with a cute rhyme / potential song lyric. In that moment, she spoke those words because they sprung to her mind. No forethought, no apologies. Houston is never anyone but herself. In a day and age of stars taking the politically correct path to high-paid, milquetoast appearances, an unimpeded voice like Whitney's is exactly what we're missing.

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