Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson are all set to be thrown off the American Idol judging panel in a complete remodelling of the singing competition by FOX. The network has seen viewer ratings over the current season drop to 25% lower than last years overall figures.

This years stats are even further from the wonder years of the Simon Cowell-era, but rather than concede that they are flogging a dead horse FOX are steadfast in their loyalty to the show as they look to compete with NBC's The Voice as well as The X Factor, which is also shown on FOX. The Warp broke the news of the plans to ship out this seasons newly installed panel and although the show is struggling, admitted it is still popular and the network's drastic plan could work in their favour.

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey might not be coming back next season

An 'insider' from the show revealed to The Warp that executive producer Nigel Lithegoe is also stepping down and Jennifer Lopez has already ruled out a return to the talent show. Considering his commitments to The X Factor, you can probably count Simon Cowell out of a return too. The source said, "They feel they've lost their core audience and they want it back."

No one from American Idol has said anything on the situation yet, and the rumour doesn't look like going away until someone clears things up or confirms them. Network executives are also apparently planning a complete format change for the programme and are putting a price cap on the judges salary after shelling out a reported $18 million package for Carey, Minaj's $12 million salary and ex-judge Lopez's $15 million. Don't worry though, they'll be keeping the auditions.

American Idol
Maybe this years finalists just aren't up to previous Idols.