Simon Cowell knows how this hype game works. As his old cronies at [url id="/news/topic/american_idol/index.jhtml"]"American Idol"[/url] chug along just fine without him, the former Minister of Mean has managed to stoke the fires for months with speculation about who might sit on the judging panel of his upcoming U.S. version of the "X Factor" reality singing competition.
The latest names thrown into the mix are the most unlikely to date: Nicki Minaj and bad girl singer/actress Taylor Momsen. An "X Factor" spokesperson did not return requests for comment, and both artists' camps offered a "no comment" on the rumors.
The New York Post. claimed Minaj met with Cowell a few weeks ago in Los Angeles and that the meeting went well and Cowell thought she fit in well with his plan to find a next-generation musical talent on what he has promised will be the "best judging panel" on TV.
Among the other names that have been tossed in the hopper over the past few months: former Pussycat Dolls leader Nicole Scherzinger, Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias, Cowell's former "Idol" sparring partner Paula Abdul, Jessica Simpson, ex-Spice Girl Mel B, former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland, fallen star George Michael, British pop singer Cheryl Cole and ex-Sony boss Tommy Mottola.
Celebuzz claimed that former "Gossip Girl" bad girl Momsen is also in the running. The 17-year-old Pretty Reckless singer is apparently also being considered because she would bring a "young, hip and edgy" vibe to the show.
With auditions for the show kicking off Sunday in Los Angeles, only one judge's seat has been filled. Last week, it was announced that famed producer and former Island Def Jam CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid had joined the show, though one of Reid's former protégés, Mariah Carey, said this week that she has politely declined the offer.
Who would you liked to see on "The X Factor"? Let us know in the comments!