Scratch Janet Jackson off the list. Among the many divas who've been whispered about as possible replacements for Nicole Scherzinger on "The X Factor," Ms. Jackson seemed like the most intriguing.
The soft-spoken star has plenty of experience on TV — including starring roles as a teenager in "Good Times," "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Fame" — but taking a seat next to Simon Cowell for the second season of his singing show just isn't in the stars.
After weeks of rampant speculation, Jackson told The Insider that she's taking her hat out of the ring due to scheduling conflicts. Cowell said that he had his eye on two women to replace Scherzinger and his reality TV bestie, Paula Abdul, as he seeks to retool the show after a less-than-spectacular first season.
The speculation mill has spun out the names of everyone from Jackson to Britney Spears, Pink, Mariah Carey and even the late Whitney Houston. While Cowell has not discussed Jackson publicly, he did squash rumors that Beyoncé and Carey were being considered.
Jackson said that while she's "very flattered that 'X Factor' let me know I was being considered for next season," the gig is just not possible at this time. The singer said she already has previous commitments to complete her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour, which hits the road again this summer, and to the movie studio Lionsgate. Plus, Janet said she decided that taking on a TV gig at this point would just be "unrealistic."
A rep for Jackson explained, "There have been absolutely no meetings between Janet and anyone with regard to 'X Factor.' " A source told The Hollywood Reporter, that Jackson was indeed in "very early talks" about joining the show in mid-February.
She played coy on the subject last month during an appearance on Anderson Cooper's "Anderson" show, saying, "No, I'm not a judge on 'The X Factor.'" But when Cooper pressed her on it and asked again if she is currently on the panel, she reiterated, "No, I am not. But that's all I really think I should say." Cowell said in a call with reporters last week that he's taking meetings over the next few weeks with potential replacements.