Mariah Carey Rumored In 'Serious Talks' With 'American Idol' Producers

Mariah Carey Rumored In 'Serious Talks' With 'American Idol' Producers There's no longer any debating it: no one prime-time singing competition show "gets it" by this point. Proof positive: another day comes, another judge leaves a show, and this time it's "American Idol" that wants Mariah Carey.

Whether or not Carey would actually sign on for the Fox stalwart's twelfth season - or whether her asking price could come down to something that fits within Fox's coffers' limitations - doesn't enter into the problem, either.

As of today, Randy Jackson has landed precisely where he was at this point two seasons ago: looking ahead to a season falling into a rhythm with two new partners at his side. Headed into the tenth "Idol," Jackson had never worked with Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler, and had never gone through an entire season without Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul or both sharing the judges' table.

And yet, once more, turnover is what it is. Word broke Thursday that Tyler has made his "Idol" departure official. Friday, Lopez made official her own long-predicted exit. Jackson himself hasn't yet signed a new deal. Rumors have flown all this past week the likes of Season-Eight runner-up Adam Lambert, Black Eyed Peas Fergie and Will.I.Am, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry (who has since publicly said she's not interested) could all be joining the next season.

As Entertainment Tonight reports today, add Mariah Carey to those candidates.

Carey was reportedly previously approached earlier this year by Simon Cowell to fill one of two vacant judging seats on "The X Factor," but Cowell himself said publicly that neither Carey's new-mother schedule nor asking price made her a viable candidate. It can't hurt that Carey has collaborated previously with Jackson during her twenty-plus-year recording and performing career. Talks are said to be "serious" but little else has leaked.

"She's in play," a source close to "Idol" production reportedly stooged to People. "They are in serious talks." Fox has confirmed nothing directly.

Why does not a single show like "Idol" understand it yet?

A big, big reason ratings on these shows aren't what they once were comes down to misplaced priorities. At the end of the day, they're indeed supposed to be rooted in the competition itself, and in the distinct, realistic possibility that the winner might be music's next big thing. It can't be said after a mere two seasons of "The Voice" or a single season of "The X Factor" whether either's combination of talent pool and mega-star judges will be remembered as a proven hit-maker. At once point, "Idol" had it. "Idol" had done it, and the sales backed that up.

But it's been years since the show has generated a bona fide, long-term hit-maker such as Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. In all honesty - though producers seem Hell-bent on claiming otherwise - it wasn't even "Idol" that really "made" Jennifer Hudson. No, that would be her "Dreamgirls" Oscar. The problem is, the judges have come to overshadow the talent. It's not helped by the fact that the voting system is critically flawed with the judges really being simple figureheads. People ultimately favor who they favor, and whichever judge barbeques their respective sacred cows is just deemed one big meanie-head.

The talent-pool problem can't be helped, as more and more such competition shows spread the talent pool thinner and thinner. But producers might be better served taking a good, long look at how the format can be freshened and more emphasis placed upon making the best of the talent that the show gathers.