It all began on Monday, when rumors floated around that former Idol contestant Adam Lambert was being asked to join the show, a rumor he later referred to as just that — a rumor.
Flash forward to Friday. Now, two judges are out of the game; Steven Tyler announced his departure on Thursday, while Jennifer Lopez finally said adios on Friday, after arguably the world’s longest run-around ever.
Taking their place: a whole bunch of Internet rumors speculating who may or may not join the judges’ table when the show returns in January. (Today’s latest: Mariah Carey is now in talks to be a judge.)
So, what is really going on here?
Celebuzz has pulled together the five biggest updates since Monday to help our readers figure out this admittedly messy situation. Check them out below, then tell us: What would you most like to see happen next season on Idol?
1.) Jennifer Lopez Is Out
Ryan Seacrest confirmed early Friday afternoon that Jennifer Lopez is departing American Idol, following his 14-minute interview with her earlier that morning, in which she did everything but officially confirm her exit.
During the radio interview, Lopez, 42, vaguely hinted that she had made her decision. (“I honestly feel like that the time has come that I have to get back to doing the other things that I do that I’ve put, kind of, on hold, because I love Idol so much,” she said.) She pulled a similar stunt during an interview with TODAY on Thursday, in which she said, again vaguely, “I am thinking that maybe it’s time for me to go and do other things that I really love to do, like films, and right now I’m on tour and performing — all the things that I do.” Watch the video below:
2.) Steven Tyler Is Also Out
After months of speculation, Steven Tyler confirmed Thursday that he is leaving American Idol after two years with the show to focus on his band, Aerosmith. “I strayed from my first love, AEROSMITH, and I’m back – but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I’ve got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band,” he said in a statement. “The next few years are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass – the ultimate in auditory takeover…On Nov. 6, we are unleashing our new album, Music from Another Dimension on the Earth, Moon, Mars, and way beyond the star.”
1.) Mariah Carey Is In — “Serious Talks,” Anyway
In perhaps an ironic twist of fate, singer Mariah Carey — who is good friends with former American Idol judge Simon Cowell — is said to be in “serious talks” to join the judges’ table, according to a source for PEOPLE. “She’s in play,” the source added. For a few seasons now, Carey’s name has floated around as a possible edition to the show. She was also scheduled to appear on the inaugural season of The X-Factor, in 2011; however she had to cancel due to travel complications from Hurricane Irene.
4.) Is Randy Jackson Out, Too?
In perhaps a second ironic twist of fate, Jackson, who is both Carey’s manager and the only remaining judge from the show’s original panel, may be moved out of the judges’ table into more of a mentoring role, sources tell US Weekly. The reason: “[Show producers] think they need to freshen everything up now,” said the source. Jackson joined Idol in 2002.
5.) Adam Lambert, Katy Perry, Miley Cyurs Get Caught in Rumor Mill
With the future of the judges’ table completely up in the air, seemingly every name in Hollywood was floated around this week as a possible replacement. Among the many: Adam Lambert, who referred to the report as a “beautiful rumor”; Katy Perry, who quickly denied she would join the show to The Hollywood Reporter; newly engaged singer-actress Miley Cyrus; and Nicki Minaj.
Fergie and will.i.am, who have been frequent guests on Idol, as mentors, are also in the mix, says Deadline.