American Idol‘s search for a judge to replace Simon Cowell and Cowell’s search for a judge to join him and (most likely) Paula Abdul on The X Factor has led to the same music executive, someone you’ve probably never heard of: Mariah Carey’s ex-husband Tommy Mottola, who co-owns Casablance Records and managed people ranging from Jessica Simpson to Jennifer Lopez.
He leads Idol‘s list of 25 potential Cowell replacements, according to Deadline Hollywood’s Nikki Finke, whose reporting is nearly always accurate thanks to her well-placed sources. An insider told her, “Mottola is frontrunner for Idol, but when Simon became aware of this, he began trying to get Tommy to team with him and Paula Abdul for his new show The X Factor.” Also on American Idol‘s list: is Guy Oseary, who’s 38 and Madonna’s business partner, and is number two “because they’re cautious about skewing too old,” the source said. Number three is music producer and Interscoe-Geffen-A&M chair Jimmy Iovine.
The interesting thing about all three names is that they aren’t A-list, Ellen DeGeneres-style names who will immediately draw viewers. Contrast that with Life & Style’s report that Jamie Foxx is “a strong contender,” although the magazine also says Iovine is, too.