Credit: Devan/INF;Tsuni/Gamma

Jennifer Lopez is denying reports that she’s in the running to replace American Idol judge Paula Abdul, who still hasn’t signed a contract with Idol producers to return for season 8 of the FOX hit singing competition.

A rep for Lopez tells PEOPLE exclusively, “The rumor of Jennifer Lopez throwing herself in the ring to take over for Paula Abdul is completely false. Jennifer loves Idol but just as a fan. She just wrapped the feature film The Back-Up Plan, due out January 2010, and will release an album then as well.”

Lopez turned 40 on Friday and her rep adds, “This weekend Jen is celebrating her birthday with friends and family.”

The reports surfaced after Lopez and Idol host Ryan Seacrest were spotted having dinner at Madeo in Los Angeles earlier this month. Seacrest told paparazzi outside Madeo that “Jennifer and Paula would be a hell of a combination” on the show. –David CaplanDevan/INF;Tsuni/Gamma