2ND UPDATE: Deadline has learned that representatives for both Justin Timberlake and Elton John are denying there’s anything real behind that published rumor that both musicians are in talks to replace Simon Cowell as a permanent judge on American Idol. A Justin insider says the report is “just silly” because Timberlake has no time for a gig like this. That’s because his film career is really taking off after acting turns in David Fincher’s Oscar-touted The Social Network as well as Bad Teacher and Friends with Benefits. And he’s been offered the lead in the Andrew Niccols-directed I’m Mortal for New Regency and Fox. Elton John’s name surfaced the moment Cowell announced his exit and there have been talks since then. Plus, he’s got the album “Union” with Leon Russell. The singer’s UK publicist Gary Farrow told me that “Elton’s got commitments right up until next year. As we stand at the moment, Elton has no plans to do that show.” Which is why he gave Deadline London editor Tim Adler this blunt quote: “It’s absolute rubbish. This story’s three months old. There’s more chance of me fucking you than Elton being on U.S. Idol.”
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