UPDATE: According to Deadline, the idea was only considered breifly:
Here’s what I’ve learned. There was an idea at Fox about a month ago to replace new judge Mariah Carey with her predecessor Jennifer Lopez midway through the live shows. I hear Lopez was approached and was very interested. (She has a new single coming out.) However, I hear there was concern among some parties involved that the move could appear desperate and further damage the Idol brand. It is unclear how much in the loop on the replacement plot Carey and her team were but I hear they didn’t have to resort to legal action as the idea of a midstream judge switcheroo went away after a brief discussion.
This sounds more realistic. Briefly discussed–cooler heads prevailed Via Deadline
UPDATE: According to E Online, Idol considered replacing BOTH Mariah and Nicki:
American Idol is trying to figure that out. A source tells E! News exclusively that the show’s producers considered replacing both Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj midseason. “They considered everything,” explains the source. “Including replacing just one and replacing both.”
Do Idol producers want Nicki or not?
And while show producers “love Nicki,” her seat at the panel next season isn’t guaranteed. “She isn’t likely to go,” says a source. “But it depends on who else gets the other spots.”
IDK about these fishy reports… Also, Mariah supposedly is not happy with the prospect of Jlo returning for the finale. via E News
Insiders also say a search already has begun to replace Mariah, probably Nicki Minaj and possibly the entire judge’s panel for next season (Hm. Randy Jackson is going to outlast the cockroaches, so I wouldn’t bet on that.) Via The Hollywood Reporter
First of all..remember Jlo? She’s the judge who refused to criticize ANYBODY. Instead, she talked about goosies, and gave too many contestants standing ovations. It was like she was afraid viewers would stop buying her records or go to her movies if she was honest.
Mariah at least attempts to offer some constructive feedback, even if it takes her 1000 words to deliver it. How would replacing Mariah with freaking Jlo solve what’s ailing Idol this year? It’s too late. Stick a fork in Season 12 it’s done! That ship sailed weeks ago.
Anyway, I can’t believe FOX executives would think they could just FIRE Mariah when they signed a contract with her. Besides, swapping out a judge in the middle of a season would look absolutely DESPERATE. And like I said, solve nothing. This rumor is NOT passing the smell test, if I’m being honest.
Of course, a FOX spokesperson denied the rumors: “This is just another ridiculous Idol judge rumor, likely started by talks of Jennifer performing on the finale,” Nigel Lythgoe told THR: “I have not been included in any conversation regarding replacing Mariah with Jen this season.”
Sources say Fox reality chief Mike Darnell and Fremantle’s Cecile Frot-Coutaz have been especially concerned about the Idol ratings trajectory, and they hoped that a surprise shake-up on the judges’ panel would help. Carey, a multiplatinum and Grammy-winning singer, is perhaps Idol‘s most pedigreed judge ever. But despite her eight-figure salary, she has seemed passive and disengaged in her comments on the show, failing to generate the kind of fan following that Lopez had when she judged.
Really? Jlo had a fan following? WHERE?
Oh. And this:
By contrast, Minaj has turned into Idol’s sharp-tongued firebrand, especially seated next to more vanilla judge Keith Urban and stalwart Randy Jackson. Nonetheless, internal Fox research is said to show that Minaj is not a hit with some of the show’s audience. “The core viewer is a midwestern, Southern, older woman who is threatened by Nicki’s aggressiveness,” says one knowledgeable source.
Uhm. I could have spared FOX some expensive research. The minute news hit that Nicki was joining the panel, that core audience made their displeasure known, loud and clear, all over the internets. FOX HAD to have known, from the start, that they’d lose members of the Idol faithful if they hired Nicki. My guess is that they didn’t care. With the Idol audience aging every season, FOX was probably hoping Nicki would bring in younger viewers. And actually, she did–the average age decreased a couple of years this season–but not enough to cover overall ratings losses.
Besides, in order to snag that younger demo, executives needed to make far reaching changes. Allowing the contestants to sing songs from the 21st century would have been a start. That’s an exaggeration, but themes like “The Songs of Bacharach and David” and cleared song lists full of Celine Dion and Motown can’t be reeling in the younguns.
Since producers backed off their plan to shake up the show mid-season, attention is said to have already turned to next season. A source who has been approached as a possible judge replacement tells THR that Idol producers are looking for “not necessarily a star” to join the show. That might include a music professional with strong credentials.
THIS! Fans have been suggesting a label executive join the panel since Simon Cowell left. I think it’s pretty clear at this point (Hello Mariah, Hello Britney) that throwing money at a big star is a waste, unless that star clicks with viewers. The Voice has proved it’s the chemistry between the judges that makes for a good panel, not how famous they are.
But the changes CAN’T stop with the judges panel. Really, Idol needs a once over from top to bottom. The money they save on hiring expensive judges should be spent instead on clearing relevant songs for the Idols to sing. Cast the show with a diverse and talented group of contestants. Tweak the formula, but not too much so that the show becomes unrecognizable.
Please fix Idol TBTB. Despite it’s problems, it’s still my favorite singing show. I truly believe that it’s down, but not out.