As “Empire” draws to the end of its first season, it’s gone through a meteoric rise, fueled in large part by Taraji P. Henson’s electric performance as the family’s one liner-dropping matriarch. But it’s also starting to attract some pretty impressive guest stars. By the end of the first season, Mary J. Blige, Courtney Love and Jennifer Hudson had all stopped by, and creator Lee Daniels has already announced that both Oprah and Common will be appearing next season. While we can’t wait to see who Oprah will play (we’re guessing a media mogul or a scandalous figure from someone’s past), we also brainstormed a few more potential guest stars who the show should try to snag.
1. Any of the ladies from “20 Feet from Stardom”
If you haven’t watched this doc about the women who performed some of the most iconic backing vocals on rock songs in the ’60s, and ’70s, you should. And we think almost any of them would make for a great addition to “Empire,” perhaps as part of an attempt by Lucious to cement his place as a serious music producer.
2. Janelle Monae
Can Janelle Monae act? Who knows? She’s got impeccable style, she’s a great singer and we can picture her as an up and coming star who clashes with Lucious and is only willing to be managed by Cookie (obviously, everyone the show should insist on being managed by Cookie).
3. Jamie Foxx
After “Annie” didn’t exactly set the world on fire this winter, we think Foxx might be ready for a visit to the small screen. Plus, we all know he’s a good singer. Or maybe he could play the cop who finally gets some real dirt on Lucious, unlike that guy from earlier in the season who couldn’t get his evidence together.
4. Kanye West
It’s probably a long shot (we’re not sure Mr. West is interested in acting), but it would be a serious casting coup. He’s already been referenced as a figure in the world of “Empire,” so we think he could get away with playing himself. Maybe he could provide a little mentoring to Hakeem?
5. Jennifer Lopez
Lopez’s record as a movie star is a bit mixed, with her most recent effort, “The Boy Next Door,” most memorable for its laughable mention of a “first edition” of “The Iliad.” We think she just needs to find the right role, and she’s already a Fox network star because of her time on “American Idol.” Head on over to “Empire!” Maybe she could be a prison pal of Cookie’s. We’re due to meet some of the people she met in her years in jail.