'American Idol' Might Get Rid of All Four Judges Next Season

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UPDATE: Randy Jackson confirmed he is leaving "American Idol," telling E! News in a statement: "Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol I have decided it is time to leave after this season ... I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It's been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures."

Anyone who has paid so much an ounce of attention to American Idol this season knows that the show is in a rut. Included on that list, it seems, are the people at Fox.

Insiders told The Wrap Thursday that the network has plans to scrap all four of the show's current judges, as well as producer Nigel Lythgoe, as the show continues to see its lowest ratings in over 10 years.

"All four are gone," the insider said. "They feel they've lost their core audience and they want it back."

The four people they're referring to are, of course, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and the show's only remaining original judge, Randy Jackson.

Carey, Urban and Minaj were brought on after Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler decided to leave the show after two seasons. Lopez and Tyler sat especially well with the show's audience, and were often credited for keeping the show afloat after the much-publicized departure of Simon Cowell.

Naturally, it made sense for Fox to find equally famous replacements for Lopez and Tyler. Which might explain why it was so willing to shell out exorbitant amounts of cash to secure secure them. (Carey, for example, reportedly made $18 million for this season alone; Minaj made $12 million.)

But big names and hefty price tags just aren't doing it for the show's audience, it appears, which has dropped off significantly throughout the season. (Last night's episode averaged under 11 million viewers. Compare that to the top 3 performance night episode from season 5, which drew 28.33 million viewers, and, well, you get the idea.)

Even the judges themselves appear to be unhappy with the show; Carey and Minaj have been feuding on and off since the season began. There were also reports last month which claimed that producers wanted to axe Carey and bring back Lopez in a last-ditch effort to save the show. (As it turns out, Lopez will be back, but only to perform during the season finale on May 16.)

Fox, of course, had no comment on the story -- but the network may have to think of an answer fast. Its much-anticipated Upfronts presentation is being held next Monday in New York.

Where's Paula Abdul when you need her?

 

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