Fox is starting with a clean slate for the 2014 season of American Idol: none of the past year’s judges (Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban) plan to return. Vulture reported Wednesday that the network is considering a judges panel comprised entirely of past Idol contestants for the show’s thirteenth season.
Among the names under consideration are Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson and Clay Aiken. According to some sources, Hudson is already in talks with Fox and may be nearing a deal to join the show, though nothing official has yet been reported. Clarkson’s rep, on the other hand, has confirmed that she will not be taking part in the next season of Idol.
Fox executives have not commented on the situation: it would be rare for them to address such speculation prior to any sort of official announcement. It is unlikely that a final decision has been reached, as network boss Kevin Reilly stated last week that “everything is on the table” in regards to the judges panel.
While American Idol remains a highly successful show for Fox, its ratings have slipped in recent years. The network no doubt hopes that a panel of Idol alumni will draw in past viewers and bring the focus back to the contestants. The drama between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj during the show’s twelfth season often drew more media attention than performers such as Kree Harrison and Candice Glover. A panel of former contestants may help return American Idol to the basics that made it so successful to begin with: the talent discovered through the singing competition itself.