May 31, 2010 01:00 AM

Ten songs into Bret Michaels‘s recent concert in Biloxi, Miss., the rocker casually mentioned, “I don’t know if it’s true, but I could possibly be a judge on American Idol.”

Though no formal job offer has been extended, departing judge Simon Cowell suggested Michaels as a replacement when chatting with reporters at the Idol finale party last week.

The 47-year-old Michaels had performed on the show that night alongside finalist Casey James despite suffering life-threatening health problems. “I was honored that Simon said that,” Michaels tells PEOPLE, “and I would be honored to do it.”

The Poison frontman says he has all the qualifications that 23 years in the rough-and-tumble music business brings.

“I’m talking old-school, paying-my-dues experience,” he says. “I used to move the pool table out of the way to play for six nights a week, playing five sets a night, where I had to announce the dinner special. I grew up the old-fashioned way. I would have done anything to have a platform like American Idol when I was growing up.”

“For a lot of these young musicians, I’d be able to give them incredibly awesome and very, very real advice,” adds Michaels. “Not just the music, but their attitude and what it’s gonna take. Because everyone forgets one simple thing: Once you get chosen as the winner, you still have a big road ahead.”

Michaels already has quite the reality-show resume: He was a judge on Nashville Star, he wooed the ladies on three seasons of his own Rock of Love series, and he just won Celebrity Apprentice.

“I would bring my heart and my soul and amazingly honest and truthful advice,” he says. “And I would tell them if I thought their chances of making it were really slim — and how to fix that. Because my chances of making it were extremely slim. It’s come from brute determination.” – Anne Marie Cruz

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