Kanye West To Judge 'American Idol'?
One possibility: someone knows that veteran judge Randy Jackson has made his decision not to return for a 12th season, and FOX execs are preemptively lining up his replacement.
Still another: the show will once more attempt a four-judge panel for the first time since the quartet of Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, Jackson and Kara DioGuardi.
Either way, showrunners have reportedly let West know they're open to talks, and West has in turn "expressed interest" in joining a panel that will definitely include both Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj replacing the departed Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.
He's "on the fence" as of now, but reports have the deal-maker/breaker being whether FOX matches Carey's cool $18-million deal.
This could get out of hand quickly, for a show rumored to be headed toward layoffs and salary reductions to keep the show viable after last season's declining ratings and falling ad revenue.
For his part, Jackson has been non-committal so far toward returning. Meanwhile, names to either join him or replace him keep coming and going. Carey has recently thrown her support behind Lenny Kravitz as a fourth judge to producers, and Kravitz has sounded interested himself. He'd surely be less complicated to sign than Minaj, whose participation hinged on a contract SNAFU between Pepsi, to whom Minaj is contractually loyal as an endorser, and "Idol" sponsor Coca-Cola.
Disney star Nick Jonas' name has also appeared prominently among candidates, reportedly contingent on Carey's go-ahead. Sean "Diddy" Combs was recently asked by TMZ how much money it would take to get him onto the show, and he replied, "They know."
The most recent all-but-confirmed plan seems to be a demographically diverse, four-judge panel, with Jackson possibly stepping back into a "mentor" role to contestants.