It’s cleanup time over at American Idol…allegedly. Rumors are swirling that Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and the other judges won’t return next season, news that just happened to leak ahead of next week’s finale.
“Yes, we want to do a whole new panel—but, just like last time around, it depends on who we get,” a Fox source confirmed to E! News.
The source went on to say that there will “definitely be no Mariah,” while decisions on Minaj and country star Keith Urban, have yet to be made. “The others, it depends who we get [to take their place].”
Veteran judge Randy Jackson announced his departure earlier today, but the decision may have been fueled by the pink-slip rumors. “Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to rest, after 12 years of judging on ‘American Idol’ I have decided it is time to leave after this season,” he said in a statement. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life-changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures.”
Meanwhile, Minaj told Ryan Seacrest that she’s unsure of what will happen next season, but loves being a judge. “I have to say this all the time, but I want people to know it’s genuinely from my heart. I love the people on ‘Idol,'” the rapper proclaimed. “I genuinely do. If I had to do this all over again, I would have done ‘Idol.’ Because it’s fun, it’s laughs. It’s kind of sad that what people read all the time is only when something is negative. But they don’t realize that we built a family. I feel happy here and I have to thank them for giving me this chance. They could have picked anyone in the world. And they picked me. So that’s all I’ll say about that.”
Carey, who signed a single-season $18 million contract to take the gig, hasn’t spoken about the judging shakeup, and is instead promoting the video for her new single “Beautiful,” which will air on Idol tonight.
Despite the media frenzy surrounding Carey and Minaj’s ongoing feud, viewers haven’t been as interested in this season. In January Idol debuted to its worst premiere numbers in the show’s history.