X Factor Shake Up: Mariah Carey, Kelly Rowland Contenders For Second Season?

Could an R&B diva take over the X Factor when the second season premieres this Fall? Following Monday’s surprising firings of host Steve Jones and judges/mentors Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, sources say Simon Cowell is looking for a bigger star — likely a female recording artist.

For sometime now Simon Cowell has had his eye on legendary vocalist Mariah Carey, boasting at one point that he had booked her, in some capacity, for the first season of X Factor. While it did not happen, it seems likely she could be the big star he plans to bring in this fall.

According to Billboard, a source close to the show and Cowell’s ongoing meetings this week, he “has decided that the show needs a bigger celebrity on the panel.”

Ironically, Cowell said something similar to that when referring to “Motivation” singer Kelly Rowland last year.

“I think Kelly, maybe in poor ol’ Nicole’s position, would have been a better choice,” Cowell told E! referencing the rumor that Rowland would replace Scherzinger. “But you know what, they’re stuck to what they’re paid to do, but I’m just not very happy [with Nicole].”

It is no secret that Simon Cowell values a strong panel. Speaking with Singersroom last year, he expressed how vital the panel is to the entire process.

“We made it clear to everybody on the show, it’s not a popularity competition for us, we’ve got to be a good judging panel and you’ve got to help me find a star because we’ve got a lot invested in this show,” said Cowell.

At this point, LA Reid remains on the panel following his signing of X Factor finalists Chris Rene and Marcus Canty.

X Factor is expected to return in September.