According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Fox singing competition show was looking to drop the new coach for an old one in an effort to boost ratings.
E! Online reports "Idol" producers also considered replacing new judge Nicki Minaj. "They considered everything," a source told E! Online. "Including replacing just one and replacing both."
Season 12 of "American Idol" saw Carey, Minaj and Keith Urban join longtime judge Randy Jackson on the judges panel. Though the season debuted strong, ratings have slid as the competition progressed. At one point, even a rerun of "The Big Bang Theory" beat out "Idol," a former ratings champ.
Carey has been criticized for not actually judging the contestants, even admitting on air that producers talked to her about it.
THR reports talks of replacing her with Lopez were quashed when Carey threatened legal action. Lopez left the series in 2012 after serving as a judge for two seasons alongside Jackson and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. "You don't want to shut the door completely," Lopez said when she confirmed her "Idol" exit to host Ryan Seacrest in July. "But you know the time has come."
Sources told THR that the search for new judges for Season 13 is already underway. "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told THR he has not been included in any talks regarding replacing Carey with Lopez this season.
"This is just another ridiculous 'Idol' judge rumor, likely started by talks of Jennifer performing on the finale," a Fox spokesperson told The Huffington Post in an email statement.
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.