'American Idol' rumors: Was Jennifer Lopez going to replace Mariah Carey as a judge?

american-idol-season-12-jennifer-lopez-replaces-mariah-carey-gi-fox.jpg
Did "American Idol" almost replace judge Mariah Carey with Jennifer Lopez in the middle of Season 12? According to new rumors from the show, this was a possibility.

Shows like "Idol" need their ratings. And if those ratings fall ... Nothing is impossible, even removing a judge midseason.

News of the supposed replacement comes from The Hollywood Reporter. An insider apparently told the outlet that FOX executives and "Idol" producers had been meeting secretly earlier in the season. Their goal: Increase the show's ratings by removing non-controversial judge Mariah Carey and replacing her with a past judge, Jennifer Lopez, at midseason.

What stopped "American Idol" from going this route? If the rumors are true, only legal action from Carey's camp kept the change from going through. That doesn't stop any future replacement though -- insiders claim that a search for new judges to replace Carey, Nicki Minaj and possibly the whole judging panel next seasons has already begun.

On-the-record sources connected to "American Idol" are unanimous in refuting all of these claims. A FOX spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that all of this was 'just another ridiculous 'Idol' judge rumor." Carey's representation reportedly denied the whole story. And "Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe went on the record to say that he personally hadn't discussed dropping Carey in favor of Lopez.

With ratings dropping throughout the season -- last week, a "Big Bang Theory" repeat beat the "Idol" results show -- a big judge switch would be a ratings ploy. In addition to this, Lopez is seen as a popular judge while Carey's time on the show has failed to impress.

Are the rumors true? In some ways, it doesn't matter anymore. Only four weeks remain in Season 12, and Lopez's only potential involvement is a possible performance in the finale.

But it does say something that "American Idol" even considered such a major change.

Should "Idol" have brought back Jennifer Lopez? How do you feel about Mariah Carey as a judge? Why have the ratings been falling this season? Sound off in the comments below!

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images, FOX