Michael Becker / FOX
If Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were ruffled by the news that producers had considered replacing them midseason on American Idol, they didn't let it show tonight.
From their perches at the judges' table, the two divas were business as usual during the two-hour Top 4 performance show. Mariah especially seemed to be in good spirits, taking time out from hair and makeup touch-ups during one commercial break to sign posters for a couple in the audience who are expecting a baby and plan to name her Mariah. (All together now: Awww.) Meanwhile, Nicki was seen chatting easily with Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who frequently hung out with the judges during breaks, just as he does each show.
While neither Mariah or Nicki stopped by for post-show interviews backstage, a source told E! News earlier today that producers had considered a judging-panel shakeup during season 12, which has seen a steep ratings slide. The Hollywood Reporter first reported that the popular Jennifer Lopez, who exited as a judge at the end of last season, had been considered as a possible Mariah replacement.
After the show, contestant Kree Harrison voiced her support for Mimi's continued Idol involvement. "I would love to meet J.Lo," she admitted, "but I don't wanna see [Mariah] go nowhere because I love her, you know." And with that, she was rushed off to another interview by a publicist.
The other remaining girls in the competition were also quick to stand by the current judging panel, though Angie Miller admitted that it was "so weird hearing [the reports]. I say forget it!" (And with glowing feedback like she received from the panel tonight, who could blame her for wanting to keep them all around?)
Angie, like her fellow competitors, seemed more interested in finding out about Thursday's big surprise, which host Ryan Seacrest teased during tonight's show. While Kree believes that the twist will be that nobody's being sent packing, Amber Holcomb, who was praised by the judges not only for her performances tonight but also her newfound confidence, had another idea. "I think somebody's coming back!" she said excitedly. Perhaps her beau Burnell Taylor? "Ooh," she said coyly, "that'd be fun!"