Will the upcoming season of American Idol be about the contestants or the (potentially) four stars behind the table? As the Fox show continues to search for the right mix of judges to keep it rolling in its second decade, an ever-revolving door may actually work in the show’s favor by keeping people guessing. The latest rumor has the 12th season adding a fourth seat for Enrique Iglesias.
If Entertainment Weekly is right and the Latin singer-songwriter accepts an offer of $4 million for one season of sipping Coca-Cola from a red cup, he’ll join pop maven Mariah Carey on the list and, if even more rumors are true, rapper Nicki Minaj and country heartthrob Keith Urban.
If American Idol can land all four not only will the show lengthen its table once again, but it will offer an attractive—and shall we say diverse—mix of stars for television viewers, each with their own dedicated fan base.
The show’s most successful former contestant is now one of the hottest country stars around, so an Urban pick would pay homage to Carrie Underwood fans and recognize a demographic that hasn’t been represented by the judges. Of course, Minaj certainly would also certainly serve as a completely new look for Idol. Carey falls in line with the classic stars Fox has brought on in the past, and Iglesias has both the draw and songwriting chops to serve as a legitimate judge of young singing talent. He also may have the time, as the 37-year-old singer recently finished a world tour with former Idol judge Jennifer Lopez.
The potential new mix coincides with the current music charts, giving credence to the four most popular styles of music right now, presumably the styles that will resonate most with Idol viewers and the ones the contestants may represent. The move would also push Randy Jackson, the lone original judge, into a mentor role, reports Entertainment Weekly.
With American Idol expanding to four judges only once before—even though The Voice and The X Factor both regularly feature a quartet—without great success, adding another swiveling chair to the Idol set may be a gamble betting solely on star power.
PHOTOS: American Idol‘s Past Winners