American Idol is apparently cleaning house.
Talk of who will fill Simon Cowell’s vacant seat on the hit show’s panel now shifts to who will replace the other two departing judges: Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi will not be returning next season either, according to reports.
DeGeneres, who joined the show in its ninth season earlier this year, confirmed in a statement that she told Fox it “didn’t feel like the right fit for me.”
“I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and would hold off until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next,” she said. “It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for.”
The class act added: “I loved the experience working on Idol, am very grateful for the year I had, am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.”
In the same statement, American Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller says, “I loved Ellen’s passion for the artists and her nurturing skills. She brought honesty and optimism to our judging panel and I will miss her greatly.”
Next year’s American Idol roster will look a lot different.
But here’s where it gets interesting: TMZ reports that Kara DioGuardi has been fired from the program, which will return to a three-judge format.
Fox has not acknowledged Kara’s departure in a statement, but it appears it’s all but official. That leaves Randy Jackson as the last man standing.
The show will reportedly be going back to a three-judge panel of Randy and a couple of high-profile newcomers: Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
This so-called “nuclear option” of blowing up nearly the entire panel has been kicked around for months, but nevertheless comes as a surprise.
Stars ranging from Harry Connick, Jr., to Bret Michaels, Chris Isaak and even Jessica Simpson have been rumored to be negotiating for the job.
Looks like J. Lo and the Aerosmith frontman won out.
The only way Kara could be asked back would be if the Lopez deal fell apart, but TMZ’s sources claim it is already a done deal. Crazy stuff!
What do you think of the new panel? With Simon gone, will a Randy-Steven-J.Lo tandem usher in stronger ratings in Season 10?