The rumors are true: After weeks of speculation, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj are officially leaving American Idol, after a much-hyped season-long "feud" that did little to improve the show's content or its ratings. They're not alone, though. Here's where the great reality-show judging carousel stands as of May 31:
The Voice has overtaken Idol as the biggest singing game in town, but unlike its rival (which kept its original judges for a whole eight years) the NBC juggernaut can’t seem to hold on for a judge for long. Still, though, there’s a remarkable lack of drama surrounding the comings and goings in the red swivel-chairs. It’s good to be on top.
ADAM LEVINE: Staying!
BLAKE SHELTON: Staying!
SHAKIRA: She’s officially leaving. (To take care of her new baby, she says.)
USHER: He’s rumored to be leaving. (To shoot a movie, they say.)
CHRISTINA AGUILERA: She’s reportedly coming back.
CEE-LO GREEN: He’s officially coming back.
The former no. 1 show in television has fallen off quite a bit from its glory days, and its problems are unlikely to be solved by another reshuffling of the judging panel. But firing the judges is the boldest reform the Idol producers seem willing to take, so that’s what they’re going to do. When all you’re allowed is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
RANDY JACKSON: He’s officially leaving. (He’s focusing on his company Dream Merchant 21, he says.)
MARIAH CAREY: She’s officially leaving. (She's focusing on her tour, she says.)
NICKI MINAJ: She’s officially leaving. (She's focusing on her music, she says.)
JENNIFER LOPEZ: She was rumored to be coming back for season 12.
KELLY CLARKSON: She's rumored to be signing on, the centerpiece of a panel composed entirely of former contestants.
ADAM LAMBERT: He's rumored to be signing onto the ex-Idol panel.
CLAY AIKEN: He's rumored to be signing onto the ex-Idol panel.
JENNIFER HUDSON: She's rumored to be signing onto the ex-Idol panel.
The launch of the US X Factor hasn’t gone as well as Simon Cowell hoped. The show doesn’t dominate pop culture the way it does in the UK, and the much-heralded Britney hiredidn’t amount to anything at all. So, it’s back to the drawing board yet again for Cowell. But there’s a bit of good news: The second season seems poised to make stars out at least one of Emblem3, Carly Rose Sonenclar or Fifth Harmony (or maybe all three?) Could new judges reap the rewards of a newly relevant X Factor? Ask us again a year from now.
SIMON COWELL: He’s staying until they pry the show from his cold, dead hands!
BRITNEY SPEARS: She’s officially leaving. (To record her album, she says.)
L.A. REID: He’s officially leaving. (To spend more time at his real job, he says.)
DEMI LOVATO: She’s staying!
KELLY ROWLAND: She’s officially joining the show.
PAULINA RUBIO: She’s officially joining the show.
JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT: She was rumored to be signing on, but probably isn't.
HILLARY DUFF: She was rumored to be signing on, but probably isn't.
FAITH HILL: She was rumored to be signing on, but probably isn't.