Why Can't 'American Idol' Fill Out the Judges' Table?

Season 13 auditions are supposed to be in full swing next month -- but the show is still without a third judge!

Did you miss yesterday's news that American Idol's Season 13 judging panel will consist of Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and record producer Dr. Luke?  

Don't worry about it. It turned out to be wrong. As of today, they're still working on that third judging slot. Turns out Dr. Luke had a professional conflict. 

Apparently no one realized he had a deal with Sony Music -- a direct competitor of Idol's affiliated label, Universal Music Group -- until Monday. (That's the line they're going with, anyway.) So it looks like producers are back to the drawing board. Again. 

What's going on here? Why is it almost September and the show doesn't even have a full judging panel yet? Clearly, there have been some production hurdles for the show. And since it's Idol, every little hiccup feels like a crisis. 

Because Idol has been such a game-changing, moneymaking behemoth of a TV show, even the tiniest snippet of casting news (confirmed or not) makes headlines. (Talk all you want about declining ratings, but Idol still grabs at least twice as many viewers as any other show in its timeslot.) 

And that means that every time a new celebrity appears ready to embark, his or her name zings around the Internet for all to see, and weigh in on. Who's been rumored to join the panel so far? Name a pop star, any pop star. 

Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Harry Connick Jr., Bruno Mars and Fergie have all been in the mix over the last few months. But gradually and steadily, each casting rumor has been debunked. "A lot of people wanted to do it but there were availability issues," said Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly at Fox's recent TCA presentation.

And some of the casting scuttlebutt turned out to have been pure speculation. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lambert's representatives never even heard from Idol producers about a Season 13 judging spot, and Clarkson's representatives also dismissed the rumor. 

A source close to West told Us Weekly that the rapper "didn't want to go that mainstream." (We're assuming he means professionally, and that he takes a different approach to his love life!) And the most recent candidate, will.i.am, was said to be seriously considering the gig, but ended up signing on to coach The Voice UK instead.

The latest name buzzing around: Scooter Braun, a music manager who's behind the careers of Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Wanted.

According to TMZ, Lopez is lobbying hard to recruit Braun, but he's got his misgivings: He's said he likes being able to "go to the grocery store under the radar." That's understandable.

Still, the clock's a-tickin'. Will the show have its panel before the judged auditions begin next month? Not at the rate it's going!

Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.

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