Mariah, Nicki and 'Idol' Drama

Mariah Carey Unhappy with Minaj Joining Idol?
WATCH Mariah Carey Unhappy with Minaj Joining Idol?

"American Idol" is a few months away from starting its 12th season, but who will fill the judges' chairs is still very much up in the air.

So far, only Mariah Carey has been signed, but Tuesday TMZ suggested that Mimi, as she is known, wasn't very happy about the reports that rapper Nicki Minaj could be joining her.

Following a story in The Hollywood Reporter last Friday that Minaj was a strong candidate to be a judge, Us Weekly reported Monday that it's a done deal. Then TMZ reported that Carey was angry because she was led to believe that she'd be the only woman on the judges' panel.

Fox, which airs the show, isn't commenting. But plenty of others have been.

"It's literally turning into a feeding frenzy," M.J. Santilli, who writes MJs Big Blog about the show, told about all the rumors. "It's a little bit exhausting trying to keep up."

If it seems like chaos over at "Idol" headquarters, Santilli reminds fans that there appeared to be a similar madness before Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler were named judges two years ago. But this time around, with Lopez and Tyler exiting and ratings down, "it's a little crazier," Santilli said.

Producers are facing a real challenge: trying to turn around an aging show that dropped a massive 23 percent in the ratings last season.

"I think this is the real beginning of the end," USA Today's "Idol" commentator Brian Mansfield told in July. "You could look at it as when Simon left, but coming off a year where the ratings were down as much as they were and this revolving door of judges, I think we will look back and say this is were the slide started."

Santilli said producers have to pull out all the stops and Minaj could be just what the show needs. "It's such a huge gamble," said Santilli, adding that the rumors of a Mariah-Minaj feud are likely exaggerated. "I've never seen such an immediate blowback from older viewers on my Twitter feed. Then again, she could bring a younger audience to 'Idol.'"

Minaj, who's not known for holding back, could also fill the void left by Simon Cowell.

"She could be really honest," Santilli said. "She truly doesn't care what people think of her. After a panel that was nice all the time didn't work we need some people on the panel willing to shake things up. Nicki could either be a complete train wreck or a hit."

As for the third seat on the panel, Santilli said fans shouldn't expect to see Randy Jackson, though she doesn't believe he will leave the show entirely. "I think he will move into a mentor role," she said.

Other names being floated include Adam Lambert, Nick Jonas, Enrique Iglesias, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley.

Santilli is also keen to see a country singer, like Urban or Paisley, join the panel. "I'm surprised 'Idol' hasn't done it yet. Scotty McCreery (Season 10 Idol) sold over one million albums and country radio has been fairly good to '"Idol.'"

She also thinks producers are considering a four-judge panel, instead of three, and expanding the show to two hours, like its competitors "X Factor" and "The Voice."

"They have to take risks at this point," Santilli said. "If it works, they could stay on top, but they're never going to reach the heights they did in the past."