First things first: Fox hasn't announced that an "American Idol" alum has agreed to judge the show next season.
But speculation surfaced this week that at least one "Idol" alum -- possibly more -- will sit on the judges' panel for season 13. Among the most commonly discussed names: Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken.
Citing the all-encompassing "multiple sources," E! Online is reporting that Jennifer Hudson has signed a deal with the show.
The report also says Kelly Clarkson is close to signing a deal, though The Hollywood Reporter cites a rep for Clarkson who denies the judging rumors.
The conversations result from a May 22 Vulture report suggesting "that serious consideration is being given to the idea of filling one, and very possibly all, of the slots on the show's judging panel with former Idol contestants." Again, this report cites the four big names: Hudson, Clarkson, Lambert and Aiken.
How would they fare on the panel? Glad you asked. Here are my assessments:
Jennifer Hudson: Sure, she has star power and pop culture credentials. My only concern is a perception that at times she appears lacking in the personality department. That's arguably what led to her premature elimination on "Idol." When she's not singing, she doesn't always have the fiery personality you might get from the other three names.
Kelly Clarkson She's not afraid to speak her mind -- just ask Clive Davis. But I worry her busy schedule might make a seat on the judges' panel an impossible dream.
Adam Lambert: I'm sure we'd get all sorts of quality sound bites from Adam, who remains one of my favorite "Idol" contestants of all time. However, he likely also has some scheduling issues. In addition, he might be too divisive in producers' eyes. In this recent interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Adam speaks favorably about the idea of becoming an "Idol" judge.
Clay Aiken I've been a longtime advocate of Clay Aiken joining the "Idol" judges' panel. Heck, I suggested the idea in a July 2012 column. I loved him on "Celebrity Apprentice." The only possible obstacle? Clay hasn't had a major recent mainstream hit, and that might hurt his credibility in some people's eyes.
What do you think?