The judges are switching chairs on Fox’s “American Idol” faster than the contestants can get through their opening auditions. Mariah Carey’s publicists confirmed rumors on Twitter Thursday, announcing the end of her run as a judge on the struggling reality competition. The buzz surrounding Carey’s exit began weeks ago, with some claiming that Jennifer Lopez – who performed her single “Live It Up” on the show mid-May – was set to return to the panel.
But the pop diva isn’t the only one making an exit from “Idol.” Both veteran judge Randy Jackson and her on-screen nemesis rapper Nicki Minaj have broadcast their exits from the program as well. Carey’s on-air tension with the “Pink Friday” rapper often overshadowed the contestants’ auditions. At one point, Minaj’s threats prompted the pop diva to seek additional security. In January, the singer revealed to Barbara Walters that she felt unsafe. “I’ve got two babies… I’m not going to take any chances. I did hire more security. I felt it was the appropriate thing to do,” Mariah divulged in the interview.
In any event, it appears that the multi-octave star is following a familiar path for reality show divas these days. Like former “The Voice” coach Christina Aguilera, Mariah will use her departure from the competition to focus on her musical pursuits. She’s said to be planning a world tour following the success of her single, “Beautiful” (featuring Miguel).
Producers responded to Carey’s announcement with a statement crediting her wisdom and experience as a judge. But some speculate that Mariah’s exit is part of a bigger plan to overhaul the show’s image. Having suffered a ratings slump, program execs are reportedly desperate to reclaim former viewers and breathe new life into the franchise. With Jennifer Hudson joining the judges’ panel for season 13, it’s rumored that it will consist completely of Idol alumni. Additional replacements have not yet been confirmed.