Credit: FOX Photo: American Idol Logo

Times are tough for the American Idol producers: Their efforts to find new judges have been fairly fruitless — and now The Hollywood Reporter touts that the search for judges could delay the start date for American Idol 2014 Season 13 filming.

Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Randy Jackson left the judges' table looking pretty sparse after they departed following Season 12, leaving Keith Urban as the only holdover.

Luckily, Jennifer Lopez is all-but-confirmed to return as a judge, having left after Season 11.

Hotshot producer Dr. Luke seemed to be a lock for the third chair until a conflict of interest between his employer, Sony Music, and the label representing Idol winners, Universal Music Group, eliminated him from consideration this week.

THR reports that Dr. Luke's deal falling through "has left little time to fill a judge’s slot before the show begins taping, which originally was set for next Tuesday but could be delayed."

As we reported yesterday, jazz singer Harry Connick Jr. is the latest name bandied about for the gig. And though FOX executives are "cool" on him, according to THR, his very gender could be his ticket onto the panel.

The site's sources state that "there is reluctance to add another woman to the mix given friction last season between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, which didn’t play well with the show’s key older female demographic."

Yikes. Who knew that finding a few talking heads to judge pitchiness could get so political!

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Dan Clarendon is an assistant editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter and Google+!