And then another name gets thrown in that growing-but-quieting-down will-Paula-return-to-Idol? fire: Jennifer Lopez's. But the actress and performer denies rumors that she is in the running to replace Paula Abdul on the American Idol judges' desk.
"The rumor of Jennifer Lopez throwing herself in the ring to take over for Paula Abdul is completely false," a representative for the actress told People magazine. "Jennifer loves Idol, but just as a fan. She just wrapped the feature film The Back-Up Plan, due out January 2010, and will release an album then as well."
The rumor was apparently triggered when Jennifer, who just turned 40 last Friday, was spotted having dinner with Ryan Seacrest earlier this month. Ryan, who just signed a $45-million deal to stay with the show, later told paps that a Jennifer-Paula pair-up on Idol would be "a hell of a combination".
Spiking up this story is the much-publicized issue surrounding Paula's negotiations for the show: she still has yet to sign a contract, and it's alleged that producers refused her demands for a $20 million paycheck this year. Just before the weekend there were rumors that British singer Cheryl Cole will take her place, but she reportedly turned down the offer.
They're better off announcing Paula's fate now, else more names would be mentioned. But J.Lo's a pretty good fit, if ever that happens...