Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Shania Twain

Theo Wargo/Getty Images; Todd Williamson/WireImage; ABC/Adam LArkey

American Idol wants to hire a megafamous singer to judge season 10, and they've reached out to the high-wattage likes of Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Shania Twain and more.

Which divas are still in the running, who's playing hard to get, and which eager young reality TV star and sometime pop tart is making it known that she wants the job? E! News has the exclusive inside dish on who's on the list and who's out in the cold:

Idol is just weeks away from shooting season 10's audition episodes, and they still haven't put butts in all of the seats at their judges' table.

An Idol insider tells E! News that Fox is still actively in talks with potential judges and exclusively shares the following updates on the ongoing efforts:

  • Britney Spears: "They offered it to Britney, but she passed."
  • Shania Twain: "They're in talks."
  • Mariah Carey: "They've reached out to her. She's still in the mix."
  • Janet Jackson: "She passed."
  • Paula Abdul: "They'd like her back but her deal with CBS is exclusive."
  • Jessica Simpson: "She wants to do it." But, apparently, she's not at the top of Fox's list.

Not too shabby a lineup, right?! Even if Idol does seem to have some problems with personnel churn, at least they've got pretty high-class candidates on their short list for the job.

In addition to the candidates above, Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler, who was named early on as a contender, is also considered a likely new hire for Idol, and the show was reportedly in advanced talks with Jennifer Lopez, but those negotiations may very well have fallen apart. Why? Well, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Fox balked when, "Lopez asked for north of $20 million—plus her own hair, makeup, styling team and her own 'dressing room compound' (not dissimilar to Cowell's posh trailer)."

Returning executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, however, spoke to E! News last night at he So You Think You Can Dance finale, and defended La Lopez, saying, "There's so many stories out there and one of [them is that] J.Lo is a diva. J.Lo has never been a diva. Jennifer is not a diva. [She] is a beautiful woman [who] cares so much...If she is going to be a judge, she will know how to judge because she knows the industry."

Meanwhile, despite all that talk of Howard Stern being in contention, the Idol insider says, "He was never under consideration. That was a tabloid rumor that Howard perpetuated in his own self interest."

In case you haven't been following along with the exciting behind-the-scenes developments at the biggest reality TV show in the United States, the three original American Idol judges were Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. Paula departed after season eight, and Simon left at the end of season nine to launch a new Fox reality show, The X Factor.

Songwriter Kara DioGuardi joined the lineup the year before Abdul left, serving as something like an understudy for the daffy '80s pop star. And talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres joined up last year for what was supposed to be a multiyear stint.

But Ellen announced her resignation earlier this summer, and Kara is possibly (but not definitely) being let go from the show, and our inside source confirms she's "upset" that Fox has not been communicating with her recently. Even reliable old Randy Jackson told the Television Critics Association Press Tour earlier this month, "The only thing that's for sure is Ryan [Seacrest]." (For what it's worth, we have it on good authority that Randy Jackson is participating in the opening of the Emmy Awards—perhaps that's a good sign that he'll remain with the show?)

We'll know Fox's final decision soon enough, but in the meantime, we can handicap to our heart's content.

Who do you think will get the American Idol judging jobs? Would you prefer Mariah or Shania to J.Lo?


Be sure to follow @kristindsantos on Twitter for more scoopy TV fun.

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