American Idol and Fox higher-ups were thwarted in their plan to replace Mariah Carey with her predecessor Jennifer Lopez -- during the season -- when Mariah's camp made clear the situation would wind up before a judge.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers fretting over the show's low ratings -- it recently lost to a rerun of CBS' The Big Bang Theory -- devised a plan to swap out the divas, under the rationale that the One Sweet Day singer has been an expensive bust who hasn't drawn the viewers as they'd hoped.
A Fox rep told the paper, "This is just another ridiculous Idol judge rumor, likely started by talks of Jennifer performing on the finale," while producer Nigel Lythgoe said he hasn't "been included in any conversation regarding replacing Mariah with Jen this season."
American Idol's 12th season continues Wednesday on Fox at 8/7c.
radar_embed service=5min.com src="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1126&width=570&height=351&playList=517742006&sequential=1&shuffle=0"