Jamie Foxx is mentoring the Top Four contestants on American Idol tonight amidst persistent chatter that he is being considered for the soon-to-be-vacated judge’s chair of Simon Cowell. Jamie_Foxx_American_IdolThe Foxx rumor first surfaced in January when the actor/R&B singer was quoted as saying “I would love to do it, but I don’t think I would be able to do it.” It was later refuted by his publicist. But Foxx’s name continues to be mentioned as being on the wish list, along with Elton John and other A-listers. And Foxx obviously has a soft spot for Idol, returning as a mentor this year after doing it last season for the Top Five. Back then, he showed good instincts for picking the winner, gushing about then-dark horse Kris Allen.

Another Idol mentor this season, Harry Connick Jr. also made a strong case for himself as a potential Cowell replacement. In addition to the guessing game over Cowell’s replacement on Idol, there was also a lot of speculation about Cowell’s choice to judge alongside himself on his upcoming Fox series The X Factor. British papers quote a close confidant of Cowell as saying that Mariah Carey is being considered for the job. The singer certainly has an “in” with Cowell — her husband Nick Cannon hosts Cowell’s NBC show America’s Got Talent.

And, in yet more Idol-related news, Thomas Benson CFO of CKX, parent of Idol, said on an earnings call today that he expects negotiations with Fox for a multi-year renewal of Idol to conclude in the next few months. “We would all be stunned if Fox walked away,” he said. “That would be an economic suicide.”