A bizarre plot by "American Idol" producers and Fox executives to dump judge Mariah Carey in the middle of the season and replace her with Jennifer Lopez was scuttled in recent weeks, according to The Hollywood Reporter and E! News.
Carey reportedly threatened litigation if such a plan was hatched, so no J Lo. But "Idol" reportedly is trying to woo Lopez, a popular judge on the show for two seasons, to appear in the season finale.
"Idol," once an unstoppable Nielsen juggernaut, has taken a beating in the ratings this season and the show's judging panel is at least partially to blame, according to many critics and fans.
When hired last summer, Carey was touted as the revamped panel's biggest star. But during the audition rounds, she engaged in a much-publicized feud with fellow rookie judge Nicki Minaj and, as the season wore on, the two women have made a habit of not even addressing one another on screen.
Even worse, Carey has failed to make for good TV. She generally issues flavorless, almost robotic reviews and has come across as more of a cheerleader than a talent judge. During a recent episode, she acknowledged the show's powers-that-be have goaded her to be more critical.
Meanwhile, rival music show, "The Voice," has received much praise this season for successfully incorporating two new judges -- Usher and Shakira -- into its panel while maintaining a good-vibe chemistry.
Bigwigs associated with "Idol," as you might expect, dismissed the overthrow plot.
"This is just another ridiculous 'Idol' judge rumor, likely started by talks of Jennifer performing on the finale," a Fox spokeswoman told the Hollywood Reporter in a statement. In addition, producer Fremantle NorthAmerica declined to comment, and a representative for Carey denied the allegations.
"Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told THR: "I have not been included in any conversation regarding replacing Mariah with Jen this season."