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Could Mariah Carey be headed for ‘Idol’

By//Kelley L. Carter

Might Mama Mariah Carey be the next American Idol judge?

Maybe…

Last night, Steven Tyler confirmed that he’s not returning to the popular Fox show as a judge — and word is strong that Jennifer Lopez won’t be coming back either.

But Carey, the 42-year-old pop superstar diva may be making her way to the judges’ table.

People magazine was able to snag a thought from an insider who says that Carey is “in play. They are in serious talks.”

That’d be an awesome casting move, actually. Many a would-be idol has sunk or sailed singing a Carey tune; she’s known for her big powerhouse vocals, and she’s one of the most successful artists of all time.

Randy Jackson is the lone original judge of the show; no word yet if he’ll stay on or move on like Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell before him.

And as for Lopez, she hinted Thursday that she’d be jumping ship, too.

“It’s been on my mind a lot, as you can imagine,” Lopez says in a Thursday interview with the Today show. “You know, I signed on to American Idol to do one year, and … I wound up doing the two years. And now it’s like, ‘OK, do we continue on this journey?’ I’ve loved it so much. I enjoy the show so much. I enjoy just the whole process of the show and the whole thing. So it’s a tough decision either way. But I have to say that there are so many other things that I do, and that I put on hold for that. At the end of the day, whichever way, it’s a heartbreaking decision if I’m going to have to go.”

Lopez confirmed Friday on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show that she would not be returning to ‘Idol’ next season.

Carey … speak soon, please!