In the wake of this season's less-than-spectacular ratings for the American version of The X-Factor, creator Simon Cowell is taking drastic action. Already this week, he's fired all the on-camera regulars [Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and host Steve Jones] except L A Reid and himself. And he's reportedly ready to drop a half-billion dollars on one replacement!

Yes. That's correct. A half-billion dollars. The website is reporting that Cowell is so desperate to make "X-Factor" the #1 show on American TV, he'll drop $500 million for the right judge.

Who's the right judge?

Beyonce. Yes, Simon will reportedly pay the new mom $100 million a year for the next five years, just to get her on the show [Cowell certainly has the money, of course]. MediaTakeOut says a highly-placed insider is their tipster. No word if Beyonce is even interested, but a spy in the Beyonce organizatiion alleges a "major career announcement" is due within the next month.

Stay tuned..