Can American Idol Afford Mariah Carey?

After Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez made their official announcements to leave “American Idol,” FOX is scrambling to find a new judge that will top Britney Spears from the competing reality singing show “The X-Factor.”

Grammy-award winning artist and international super star Mariah Carey is among the many names rumored to be in talks to fill one of the seats at the judges’ table – but at least one person close to Mariah said that could be difficult – her husband, Nick Cannon.

When Nick, who has hosted “America’s Got Talent” for the past four seasons, heard about the news, he admitted that it “would be kind of fun” to be the first talent show power couple in Hollywood. But realistically speaking, could they pull it off?

“I don’t know if they can afford a Mariah Carey,” Nick told TMZ. “If they gave J.Lo $20 million, they might have to double that.”

E! News correspondent Jason Kennedy also expressed doubts as to whether “Idol” would be able to afford such big stars.

“They’re low-balling all the judges right now,” Jason revealed during a Monday morning visit to “Today.” “They’re not giving them the lucrative contracts. The show has struggled a little bit in the ratings, (but) it’s still No. 1”

Contracts and rumored names aside, at some point, “Idol” will have to have someone sitting at that table when the new season kicks off.

As for Mariah, the recent birth of her twins and her upcoming album has been keeping Mimi plenty busy.

“I’m not her manager, I’m her husband,” Nick said to TMZ. “You never know, it’s (just) one of those things.”

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