TMZ reports that Jennifer Lopez will be the new “American Idol” judge next season.
If the reports are true and J-Lo does sign a deal, she would replace Ellen DeGeneres, who confirmed late yesterday that she is leaving “American Idol” after just one season and lukewarm reviews.
In a statement released last night by Fox, DeGeneres said she decided to step down as a judge because she felt she didn’t fit in well with the show. However, there has been widespread speculation she was forced out by executives at both Fox and 19 Entertainment, the company that produces the show.
While some entertainment websites are reporting Lopez is close to signing a deal to join “American Idol,” one site — Deadline Hollywood — says the contract has already been finalized.
Among the other rumors spreading wildly through cyberspace:
• A major Idol shakeup is in the works, and there’s a possibility one of the original judges — Randy Jackson — could be booted from the show after nine full seasons.
• Kara DioGuardi, who joined the judges’ panel two seasons ago, also might be getting the boot. She reportedly has not had her contract signed for Season 10. (Open auditions have already started in several cities, but taped segments with the judges aren’t scheduled to begin until September and the new season won’t start airing until January.)
• Nigel Lythgoe, a former Idol executive producer and current judge on another popular talent show — “So You Think You Can Dance” — will be returning to Idol as executive producer and will replace Simon Cowell. Lythgoe reportedly is pushing for a major overhaul of “American Idol” and wants a brand new panel of judges, as well as other changes.
• Depending on which website you read, a whole slew of celebrities are either interested in, or actively negotiating for, a spot at the Idol judges’ table. Among the names that have been popping up most frequently are Elton John, Harry Connick Jr., Jamie Foxx, Chris Isaak, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake and Sean “Diddy” Combs (note to producers: J-Lo and Puffy together again? MAKE THIS HAPPEN!).