The revolving door on the “American Idol” judges’ table may be starting to spin out of control. On the heels of Thursday’s shocking news that Ellen DeGeneres would be leaving “Idol” after just one year on the panel, TMZ reported later in the day that two-season veteran Kara DioGuardi had been fired from the show.
While a spokesperson for “Idol” could not be reached for comment at press time, TMZ reported that after two seasons with a four-judge look, which some critics said bogged the show down and took precious time away from the contestants, “Idol” will return to a three-judge look for the upcoming 10th season, which will kick off in January. DioGuardi struggled to find a groove in her first year on “Idol” and faced criticism from fans and critics, but appeared to have settled into a comfort zone last season and stepped up with more coherent and helpful advice for the contestants.
Unlike DeGeneres and remaining judge Randy Jackson, DioGuardi reportedly had a year-to-year deal, so it’s assumed that her option for a third year was not picked up. The DioGuardi news came amid further unconfirmed reports that one-time “Idol” mentor Jennifer Lopez would be joining the show as a judge. TMZ also claimed that Lopez would take her seat alongside Jackson and another newcomer to the “Idol” table, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler.
Reps for Lopez and Tyler could not be reached for comment. Fox is widely expected to announce the makeup of the new “Idol” judges’ panel on Monday at the Television Critics Association event.
Lopez and Tyler are just the latest names to surface in connection with the vacancies on the “Idol” panel in the wake of the departure of original lead judge Simon Cowell at the end of season nine and DeGeneres’ unexpected bailout. Among the other musicians reportedly in the mix are Justin Timberlake and Elton John (whose reps both denied they were considering the move), Harry Connick Jr., Chris Isaak and, most unlikely, loquacious grunge godmother Courtney Love.
A spokesperson for “Idol” has offered no comment on all the casting rumors to date. The nearly wholesale panel shakeup could also be tied to the reported return of former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe , who is rumored to be looking to clean house after what he has described as a pair of lackluster seasons.
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