After watching American Idol cast-off judge Ellen Degeneres get down and boogie on the season finale of “So You Think You Can Dance,” the curious among American Idol fans may have begun to wonder what had become of the judge vacancy situation with the #1-rated show in the U.S. (five years in a row). The last anyone had heard, Nigel Lythgoe, who had reassumed executive producer duties at American Idol, had wanted to make sweeping changes and go back to the three-judge panel. Kara DioGuardi was out (sort of) and Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith and Jennifer Lopez were in (sort of). Nobody had been signed. Only show veteran Randy Jackson was staying for certain. Then came word, via People magazine, that Jennifer Lopez may not work out and TMZ revealed that Shania Twain may be the back-up plan.
What’s going on?
According to People magazine, Jennifer Lopez was reportedly being her famous diva self, demanding far too much to become a permanent judge for American Idol Season 10. A source told the magazine that Fox had just had enough and the talks broke down. As of Wednesday, Jennifer Lopez was said to be out of consideration as an American Idol judge.
Nigel Lythgoe, however, has since denied the rumors. He told Extra, “These people don’t know Jennifer Lopez. She’s a wonderful woman. I’ve never seen her be a diva in her life!”
Lythgoe also noted that rumors about a possible Paula Abdul return to judging on American Idol would not happen, no matter how much he would like to see it. She’s under contract to another company.
But what about reports that Shania Twain is “Plan B” if the Jennifer Lopez talks actually do break down? TMZ reported that the popular guest judge and mentor (during Season 9) is in consideration should something happen in the J-Lo negotiations.
As for Steven Tyler of Aerosmith? It seems there is nothing definite in that regard, either. Although he reportedly said a couple weeks ago that he was going on American Idol for Season 10, he told paparazzi Thursday, “I dunno. Is that the rumor you’ve heard? They haven’t called me yet. They gotta lay out the bread for me!”
Apparently the judges’ panel still has two vacancies, especially with Nigel Lythgoe’s insistence that there only be three judges. After popular judge Simon Cowell left at the end of Season 9 to produce and judge his own singing talent show “X Factor,” it seemed as if there would only be one chair to fill. Cowell’s leaving sparked a flurry of speculation, from Elton John to Justin Timberlake to Bret Michaels. But when Ellen Degeneres voluntarily stepped down and word came that Kara DioGuardi’s contract was not being renewed, speculation hit a fevered pitch. All rumors and guesswork solidified around Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler at the end of July but nothing definitive has been announced by either Fox, 19 Entertainment (producers of American Idol), or the stars and their representatives.
Some are still hoping for Harry Connick Jr. to be asked to judge as well. Apparently, there’s still room for such hope…