The 'American Idol' Judge Morass

Fox's billion-dollar brand is facing another judging conundrum for season 12.

Mariah Carey is in, but who -- and how many for how much? -- will sit beside her on TV's top stage? Sources tell THR the show is looking for another Latin stunner, a country star and Nicki Minaj, whose ascent to pop superstardom has impressed the music industry. As for the dozen-plus names floated? THR evaluates the star power they would bring against their likelihood of saying yes.


  • Katy Perry: The pop star told THR a judgeship is too much of a time commitment. "It's not right for me yet," she said in July.
  • Adam Lambert: Season eight's alum has Glamberts at the ready, but beyond his feeling "flattered" at the prospect, buzz has fizzled.
  • Fergie: With Black Eyed Peas' gunning for the gig, Idol is likely a no-go for the former Stacy Ferguson.
  • Brad Paisley: The country star has TV chops (he has hosted the CMAs five times) and a home in L.A., but he spends almost half the year on the road.
  • Elton John: His name always comes up, but so far, no amount of money has managed to tear him away from a life of mostly leisure.


  • Nicki Minaj: Whether it's her big fashions, hyper-speed rhymes or multiple personalities (one is a British male), this Trinidadian firecracker defines destination viewing. She has nearly a dozen hits to her name, but will Mariah embrace her? Also, Idol sponsor Coke isn't happy with her Pepsi deal.
  • Enrique Iglesias: Who better to reach Idol's Latino viewers than Jennifer Lopez's current tourmate? Bonus: He'll be off the road just in time.
  • Kanye West: The rapper's 2007 lyric "Wait 'til I get my money right" foreshadowed his Idol hangup. Can they pay?
  • Keith Urban: A former judge on The Voice (in his native Australia), he could fill the Blake Shelton role on the show.


  • Alanis Morissette: She has guested on Idol, X Factor and The Voice but has never gone full time. "I'm in talks with somebody," she has joked.
  • Diddy: The rap mogul has expressed interest -- in a Mariah-sized paycheck. Idol only has room for one diva.
  • Snoop Dogg: "Get on it," the rapper told his manager upon learning of Mariah's $18 million payday. Sadly, shizzle subtitles are not in Idol's budget.
  • Bret Michaels: "Bret Michaels shoots down Idol rumors before they even begin," read an E! headline from early August.


  • Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul threw her name in early, but a fear of flying and aversion to air conditioning didn't bode well
  • The Peas frontman has judged on The Voice U.K. and is eager to prove his TV skills. Plus, he's pals with Jimmy Iovine.
  • Nick Jonas: The youngest of the Jonases went public with his Idol plea, tweeting, "It would be a dream come true." Not likely.
  • Pharrell: The rapper-producer is the least chatty of the bunch. Then again, Randy Jackson repeats "bomb" and "pitchy."




comments powered by Disqus