Report: American Idol's Plan to Replace Mariah Carey With Ex-Judge Jennifer Lopez Derailed

Jennifer Lopez American Idol ReturnIn the wake of continually decreasing ratings, American Idol‘s Powers That Be reportedly began plotting the return of former fan-fave judge Jennifer Lopez, with just weeks left in Season 12. That Hail Mary pass, however, was quickly derailed.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Idol EPs and Fox execs had been looking to shake things up (and potentially give viewership a boost) by replacing resident diva Mariah Carey with Lopez. But the plan is said to have hit a major snag when, upon learning of the behind-the-scenes scheme, Carey’s team “responded with a threat of litigation.”

RELATED | American Idol — Judges’ Save Expired: Contingency Plan Will Extend Season 12

While Fox, production company Fremantle NorthAmerica and Carey’s reps all declined to comment on THR‘s story, Idol boss Nigel Lythgoe told the trade, “I have not been included in any conversation regarding replacing Mariah with Jen this season.”

Lopez — who departed the series in Season 11 after two years at the judges’ table —  may still return to Idol this season, with producers in talks with the star to appear in the upcoming May finale.

Would you like to see Lopez back on Idol? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tahoe Mike says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful….. barf! I just couldn’t stand J-lo.
    I think that Steven Tyler would like to come back too, so how about this idea..
    We get Steven, Keith, Mariah, Nicki, J-lo, and Randy, we line them all up and make them all sing for their lives, a cappella. Top three stay. That would be one way to fill up the extra week this season. ;)

  2. Edward says:

    Throw a hail marry and make Michael Slezak apart of the panel for next year, who knows it might actually work, or hire him at least as like song adviser for the contestants

  3. Jasmine says:

    I love how y’all continue to diss JLo here as if any of your comments will affect their decision to bring her. She’s going to be great and y’all will continue to stay behind your devices talking smack about people, pathetic lot. If you don’t like the show don’t watch it.

    • Claudia says:

      Well, well. ONE fan of JLo. I wish you would point out the time that she was “great” in the 2 yrs she was on the show because I must have blinked & missed it.

      BTW, my words have just as much impact as yours, IOW none.

      • snail says:

        Ya, I must have blinked and missed that too. J-ho was a gawd awful judge and just used the show to promote her cr-p “music”.

  4. All shows die let it go!

  5. J says:

    Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert= best possible judging panel. THAT would get people to watch.

    • Not sure about Lambert, but I definitely agree that Kelly and Carrie would make an amazing judging panel!

      • snail says:

        IDK if Carrie could be critical enough but Kelly absolutely, and she has a huge personality, I think she’d be great. Actually having a rotating panel of various former AI contestants could be a brilliant idea! Viewers become so attached to their favorites, I’m sure they’d love to see them again.

        • Yeah, Carrie may not be able to be super critical, but Paula never was extremely critical. She gave constructive advice, but was never harsh. She always found a positive somewhere (unless it was super bad). I think it would be awesome to have two main judges and then a rotator. It would be awesome to have the top idols be the rotating judges once the contestants reach the Top 12. It’d be so refreshing to have them back!

        • MB says:

          This exactly what I thought of. Having a guest idol contestant who is successful be a guest mentor and then a judge would be great. The thing is it has to be someone who is making money with their music, not someone who has dropped off the face of the earth. Thy would not be believable.

  6. emilybaskin says:

    American Idol is still on TV?

  7. marygrace says:

    I would love, love to see Adam Lambert in that chair!

  8. Chacha says:

    Fox is in Charge of choosing the judges and has been for the past few years.

    Nigel said that in an article on Tvline posted about 2 weeks ago.

    I don’t believe that Jennifer Lopez is coming back or will come back.

    She seems content on finding the music career that left her around the time Ben did.

    As for Mariah being replaced, let it happen.

    Buyout her contract and avoid the litigation mess.

    As for Nicki, She seems like a sweetiepie and the only one who shouldn’t be replaced.

    Keith looks like he’s getting an Enema and Randy always looks confused.

    The judging panel needs to consist of people with perfect chemistry and people who know the in’s and out of the music business.

    Why not do guest judges every episode until Fox can figure out who the permanent judges will be?

    I personally think it should be:

    Herb Alpert/Gloria Estefan/Lily Allen/Nicki Minaj


    David Foster/Jessie J/Babyface/Nicki Minaj

  9. qj201 says:

    Boot Jimmy Iovine. Man is an *SSHOLE.

  10. jumpy says:

    Here’s a thought…get rid of Nicki and Mariah and put Jimmy Iovine at the table. He’s the only one the last few years that tells it like it is.

  11. ChrisK says:

    At the end of the season they need to turf Mariah and replace her with Jimmy. He’s not exactly a TV personality type, but he gives frank honest feedback, almost at Simon’s level, without the snark.

  12. jake says:

    It’s time to put this one out to pasture…A.I is boring and the judges suck. RIP AI

  13. joan says:

    I know alot of people quit watching because of Nikki. She is inappropriate in every since of the word.

  14. SallyinChicago says:

    It’s not true. Don’t believe the Press.

  15. Tim says:

    the judges are not the cause for the decline in this show. It is the content. this year’s contestants are pretty ordinary and you had one, Janelle, who was rejected the last 2 years make it to the Final 5!!! How does that happen? I tuned into the Voice last night and the contestants are more polished and have more talent. Good things don’t always last so this may be the end.

  16. Stella says:

    Would love to see Jennifer back but get rid of Nikki, not Marah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Amanda says:

    I personally can’t stand Nicki. Although her criticism has gotten better as the season’s progressed, it annoys me when she gives all of these pet names and relates performances to eating pancakes or doing whatever. I do believe Randy has outlived his ability to critique constructively. After 12 years, I’m tired of hearing “dawg” all the time.

    Keith is wonderful, I adore that man and I think he does give decent criticism. Mariah is a good judge, and does have moments when her comments take a while to come across or may not make total sense, but she is still a decent judge.

    I loved the J.Lo/Tyler combo. They were amazing on Idol, in my opinion. Shows like The Voice and X Factor have definitely experienced better ratings in the past few years. I enjoy watching the Voice just as much as Idol.

    But one thing about bringing on new judges that people may or may not think about…most of them have never had to critique up and coming artists. Heck, they’ve probably never critiqued someone’s performance period to where it affects their ability to stay in the business. It’s a learning process. There have been years on Idol where I did not agree with their choices. But not everyone is going to jump in and get it right every time.

    I do think a popular industry executive as a judge could be beneficial. Preferably not Jimmy, even though he is about as honest as they come and sometimes incredibly wrong (according to the judges and America). But he may hear and see things no one else does. Most of the voters are not knowledgable in the industry…they just like to see competition and hear music.

    So, that’s my two cents. :-)

  18. Name That Tune says:

    There is great comedy in the idea that JLo should replace anyone on that judges panel. She’d have no cute WGWG to get “goosies” over. What lunatic thought she would be an upgrade over Mariah? Or that she’d get along any better with Nicki?
    This will keep me laughing all day!

  19. Tammy says:

    Give me a break………….. JLo isn’t an upgrade for Mariah. They both say nothing when asked for their opinion. I have not seen what Mariah brings to the show at all but at least Nicki is constructive. Keith is funny but other than saying how he likes a song, he doesn’t offer much either. So now I just listen to the songs, fast forward through all the rest and then wait until TVLine tells me who got voted off. Takes me maybe 20 minutes to watch the show now.

    it’s a shame that we are getting to the point on The Voice where we don’t get the judges banter as much. The singing is better but once America starts voting, the songs become over produced (like X Factor) and I don’t enjoy it as much. The Voice has a great audition/battle round format. The singers are good to great, the song choices vary (not all ballads) and you get some comic relief from the judges. I have watched a couple of episodes each season of X factor and get turned off completely. It’s Idol on major major steriods. I would rather go back to the first couple of seasons of Idol. I like to watch the singer develop and grow. I don’t need back ground singers, special effects, dancers, choirs, etc.

    • Claudia says:

      I think Mariah’s critiques can be helpful but they should be done in a backstage, mentoring way because many times they are technical, also long-winded & are not of interest to the viewing public. But she isn’t useless – she just needs to become more TV-savvy. Hit the high points of her critique, then expand it only to the contestant afterwards.

  20. Bob says:

    Get rid of Randy, Mariah and that Minaj mess. Keep Keith and bring back both JLo and Aero-man.

    • Claudia says:

      JLo & Steven both had their lips firmly connected to Nigel’s butt & never said an unscripted word after the voting shows started. At least Steven was kind to the contestants – Jlo was an unmitigated bitch.

  21. Kevin Clark says:

    The ratings are down this year because of Nicki Minaj. Anyone who thinks otherwise is really out of it.

  22. Mikael says:

    I think bringing Jennifer Lopez back would be interesting because rumor has it that Mariah’s breakdown back in the day was because she was paranoid about J.Lo’s rising fame eclipsing her own.

  23. Gmnoore says:

    Really? The show is terrible because the talent has been so sub-par and now Idol is trying to plat catch up to Voice and XFactor. Idols reign is over. They need to go back t o trying to find talent instead of trying to sell sob stories.

  24. Guitar Blue says:

    Fox and the Idol machine piled mistakes on top of dumb decisions when they put this mega-priced Carey – Minaj situation together at an expense of around 30 million dollars or so…………. just think of how much half that money could buy in terms of expanding audition sites and levels, music licensing for new songbooks, expenses and show pay for contestants, etc.

    Nigel, Randy and the old gaurd of Fox Exec’s handling the show format — have no vision of how to modernize the show and draw a wider audience; now they are simply trying to rehash the past again —

    Lopez is more part of the problem than any solution — for them to even consider that as a partial solution, shows how deep-seated the problem with the Nigel/Randy/old Fox exec’s really is. They have/had the biggest Golden Goose in TV Land, and are now counting fewer eggs, for lack of vision as to how to keep the goose happy and productive.

    When Duck Dynasty starts beating the Goose, there’s something wrong in Idol land..

  25. dtroublemaker01 says:

    American Idol? It’s still airing? WOW …I thought that ship sunk a loooong time ago

  26. Ron B says:

    Nooooooooooo! Lopez was the absolute worst, ……actually second worst, second only to R Jackson, ever to be a “judge” on the show. Well, come to think of it, Ellen Degeneres was pretty bad, but, at least, she was funny, at times. The reason the ratings have gone down is because Simon is gone and Jackson is still there. Get rid of Jackson and add some “judges’ that are not “freaks” or “divas”, and stop manipulating the outcome, and the audience will come back.

  27. Jude says:

    Mariah >>>>> J-low
    Seriously, if they’re going to get rid of one of the current judges, it should be Nicki.
    And there’s no reason whatsoever to replace her because three judges is enough!

    • Jude says:

      And, if I might add, next season turf them all and start fresh. Get some peeps that will not only tell it like it is but also get along with and respect each other.

  28. j peterman says:

    Why hasn’t anyone stated the obvious. Get rid of the most annoying person on the show. Ryan Seacrest sucks! The whole show is horrible anyway.

  29. Shannon says:

    As a former Idol fan who stopped watching this season after 11 years because of judge drama and boring contestants, I have only one thing to say… yawn. Oh, and get Adam Lambert to judge next year. He’s smart, funny, extremely knowledgeable and very, very easy on the eyes.

  30. jacqui says:

    I DVR Idol and have to fast fwd over Nicki’s Nasal Whine voice & depressed look
    my vote would be replace Nicki & Mariah with Kelly & bring Steven back he made it fun

  31. Guitar Blue says:

    Seems like TPTB are also beginning to realize that this top 4 are not going to get them back to 20 + million viewers.

  32. soundscene says:

    The problem isn’t with any individual judge–it’s with all of them. As much as we rag on Randy (who does seem to have lost whatever usefulness he had) he did develop a great chemistry with Simon and Paula. And that’s what is wrong with all the other iterations of judging panels after season 7–the lack of chemistry between the judges. Even adding that fourth judge in season 8 messed things up. Why do people like the judges on The Voice better? Is it because they are so much better at critiquing during the live shows? No (they’re not). They have great chemistry with each other (even when they’re fighting), which makes the times when we’re forced to watch them instead of the contestants at least somewhat entertaining. The current panel has ZERO chemistry. They barely acknowledge each other. If Idol is going to change the panel yet again next year (and it looks like they will), they need to stop looking for gigantic names and start looking for people who mix well together. Likeable people. No love-’em-or-hate-’em people (like Nicki). I don’t care if these judges are megastars. I’ll take genre musicians that are known primarily in their own genre if they’re charismatic, likeable and blend with the other judges.

    • Amy says:

      While I agree…these judges are all like water and oil with each other…I only ever see Keith laugh sometimes and make comments to Nicki. But they don’t have much interplay or chemistry, and a good vibe between them would be better. Nicki basically dis’s and ignores everyone. (Though Simon basically used to be snarky to the rest of the panel too, maybe Uncle Nigel gave Nicki the “Simon rold” this year. Mariah only occasionally will make some nod to Randy, who seems like her security blanket, since they are tight. Randy makes a “play” at talking to the others “Whatchoo think Keith?…I think Angie’s IN-IT-TO-WIN-IT!!” But there was never a lot of banter between any of the Idol panels…and frankly in the Idol format, less about the judges is better…they are there as a panel to judge the contestants. And the show was best when it was ABOUT the contestants, not “backstories” or judge drama etc.
      That said…I don’t think you can compare it to the interaction and chemistry of the judges on The Voice. Because of The Voice’s different format, it is part of the actual show that the judges are competing with each other for contestants, and all that involves much more banter, joking, teasing, interaction. It’s never going to seem the same at Idol, even if they get judges with good chemistry…the format just doesn’t call for them to interact on Idol in the same way as The Voice.

      ps. Mariah over J-lo anyday…talent, singing cred, even diva-dahling personality and all. Not that I believe for one second this is anything but an attention-getting, bs, PR bluff…but anyway, J-lo’s “brand” got expanded enough from Idol…please, no more “baby” and “goosies”…she’s moved on, and gladly so have we.

      I do love Keith…he makes a lot of honest sense, is straight-forward and kind.

  33. Matt says:

    What’s dumber than this rumor? The mainstream media apparently because they are picking it up and running with it. Must be a slow news day. Can people stop and think for a change? All 4 judges have contracts for a year. Unless they do something pretty bad to violate the contracts, the producers can’t get rid of any without facing a major lawsuit. I’m pretty sure all the high priced lawyers over at fox and the show are very well aware of this and so are the shows producers if they have half a brain. Second, this show keeps signing Randy back despite being unpopular with fans for years now. third, does no one see the coincidence here? This story leaks on a performance day and it’s down to the top 4? A little too convenient no? Finally, this show has been in a decline for years, even with the original 3 judges, it declined little by little each year. Now after 12 years, countless rip offs saturating the market, and the producers not changing the format (i.e. The same themes and songs year after year, a lot of talent but no big voice singers that also have tremendous commercial appeal, the one very annoying contestant who always seems to make it to the 6 0r 7, the annoying and arrogant jimmy Iovine..) I could go on and on, but to blame one judge for the shows failure when it has been in a steady decline for years is absurd, and the idea of replacing her with another judge who was let go because she failed to deliver ratings just adds to the absurdity. I remember other “major news outlets” not long that blamed Nicki for the decline. I agree that Nicki was never a good fit due to the fact that she is not a singer and only has a few years of experience. I think that kind of hurt the shows credibility because they may as well have announced they were simply signing a big name. Not critiquing her as a judge, just an observation. Still hard to believe in this day and age people buy into these fabricated stories that are leaked to generate publicity. Even this being leaked by producers doesn’t float with me because I can’t see why they’d want to anger a judge during the season. That alone could give Mariah reason to sue if it were proven I’m sure.

  34. Everything about American Idol sucks. Replacing the judges will not bring the ratings up. Try shutting them up, stop the competition and petty crap between them, get better talent and stop trying to manipulate who we vote for and maybe you’ll have an honest competition and not some scripted crappy “reality” show.

  35. Joseph says:

    The show needs real singers that can help mentor the contestants without being prodded to force a show result down the throat of the audience ,

    I want this as a group of 4 Idol Judges

    Enrique Iglesias,
    Alicia Keys
    Carrie underwood
    John Mayer

  36. syb says:

    1. They don’t need 4 judges.
    2. Mariah = Jennifer 6 = Half Dozen

    What the show needs is a quick-witted, blunt, sharp-tongued personality who can say a lot in a few words. I was not a big fan of Simon as a constructive critic, but he was entertaining, he centered the table, and that is the type that the judges’ table needs.

  37. Amy says:

    I know I’m in the minority…but I’m not a fan of the idea of past Idol’s being judges. I think it just muddies the waters, for me (I realize not for others, it’s just something I feel about it.) I just like my Idols to go on and have music careers…not come back and sit on the other side and play the “reality show game”….to me it dilutes something in them as Idols once they are in on the game from the other side. I’d rather know they are all out there doing their thing, then coming back to be puppets on Nigel’s string again.

  38. Favel says:

    Mark my words. The 2014 judging lineup will comprise of JLO, Randy and Keith. I don’t like it but that’s what we will be getting. The dumb and dumber pair of Nigel and Ken will give themselves a pat on the back thinking that their problems have been solved, and in 12 months from now they will be scratching their heads trying to figure out another solution when the change has no effect on the ratings.

  39. Danny says:

    JLo must have blackmale pictures of someone high up at Idol. She was terrible. If they were going to replace a judge midseason, it should be NM. At least if JLo replaced her, she’d be replacing someone she’s better than. Mariah is brutal too, but not as bad as the others.

  40. Salvld says:

    I think that they should put Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, or Carrie Underwood as Judges, there are no great judges than former contestants of Idol, and besides they are well-known and adored by people, that includes kids :)

  41. Simon Cowell says:

    Just cancel the show. No one under the age of 60 watches. The music is horrible, the show has sucked for years. It doesn’t matter who the judges are, no one will watch.
    By the way, is the guy who says “Dawg” still on the show. I swear he’s mentally retarded.

  42. TVfan says:

    The ratings don’t necessarily reflect Moriah’s presence. Personally, I don’t watch because of Nicki. If she wasn’t there I would watch it. Maybe a lot more people would.

  43. Julius R Dicks says:

    The judges are not the problem America does not vote the best talent this is all fan favorites I stop watching because some people that won was a joke I think you need a system change thats true to talent.

  44. lala says:

    that’s harsh..the cost for Mariah is her years of experience in the industry. She speaks with wisdom. She may not be able to gather her ideas easily but it’s well thought and decent like a diva should. I get her style. Mariah does not emphasize the weakness that’s why we seldom hear her give a bad comment. She focuses on the strengths.
    If the performance is not “tour de force” for her, she does not give a standing O, but she does not bluntly verbalize what is there to criticize. But she tells what could have been done better. She applies the law of attraction approach. It takes years and maturity to adapt this attitude.

    Mariah is a mother. In whatever manner she treats the contestants, it can happen to her kids. You can’t expect her to act like Nicki. Put yourself in a mother’s shoes.

    Nicki on the other hand is really interesting. However, she needs guidance. She sometimes appear as someone with Attention Deficit Disorder. Some of her critiques are irrelevant to the talent, but is interesting to the audience and that serves the show’s ratings. But when she gives relevant critiques, she really makes a lot of sense.

    Keith is lovable.

    Randy gives relevant comments too he just needs to lessen exaggeration

    • Mafs95 says:

      I kinda agree with you, except with Randy giving “relevant comments”. And the problem about Mariah is that sometimes she’s too afraid to say the performance wasn’t so good. She should be a bit more direct. On the other hand, Nicki needs to calm down a little bit. These two ladies should learn from each other: what lacks in one of them, the other one has it.

  45. Lola says:

    Do it. Bring JLo back. I’ve spent the entire season wishing for last year’s crew. These people (aside from Keith) are too flakey.

  46. Marla says:

    I believe this rumor was started by JLo herself who hasn’t done anything of notice in the industry lately..Way of bringing her back from the idol did in the first place..the ratings are dropping because the show is stale,and boring..Can’t even watch it anymore..And its true 3 judges is enough but so is 2 hours of Idol..

  47. Mafs95 says:

    J-Lo? No, no!!! I’d rather they brought Kara Dio Guardi (and that’s saying a lot because I didn’t like her very much either)… Why don’t they choose someone likable, funny and who’s not afraid to tell the truth? No “Hey baby”, “I love your courage” or “Your legs are giving me everything I need in my life” but rather REAL constructive criticism. The Voice really got it right with Shakira,,,,

  48. kailor says:

    They need to bring in music insiders like exec that will speak the truth and help the contestants grow as singers and performers. Bringing in another celeb will just be nothing more than another tool that will act as Nigel Lythgowe’s mouthpiece and we basically have had that on Idol since Simon’s departure. Think of the mistreatment of Haley Reinhardt, Hollie Cavanagh, Elisse Testone, etc… Do we really want another season of that blind judging. Just like this season which they are starting to devalue Kree and Candice in favor of Amber. The downfall of Idol is favortism and also the judges are not really judging. Their favortism and being a mouthpiece for Uncle Nigel is really bringing down the potential quality that the singers could bring. Also I find that celeb singers often are too afraid of being mean and there is always some sort of niceties in their critique. I mean why not just give your honest opinion. Why worry if it is mean if it is constructive and will help the individual grow in the process?

  49. Rose says:

    oh my I just had to find somewhere to comment on this Mariah Carey thing. I can not believe that they would get rid of Mariah Carey before Nicki . We had to fast forward through every time Nicki spoke in the beginning of the season. She almost completely ruined the show for my family. Her voice itself is annoying . Every girl has listened to Mariah Carely she is one of the most successful Divas of all time! I mean Nicki cant even sing!