The 'X Factor' judges are fighting for seven-figure salaries.
The returning line-up - expected to be comprised of Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger - are reportedly in danger of pushing the show over budget with the highest pay demands the ITV singing competition has ever seen.
An insider told The Sun newspaper: "Producers know it will cost significantly more than last year. If there's a hold-up, it could mean someone is not given a judging role and it's back to the drawing
Another production source added: "We know returning judges cost more. It's what happens if you negotiate every series."
Sharon, set to make her grand return after six years away, is expected to land a deal between £1.5m (€1.76m) and £2m (€2.35m), while Gary is looking to boost his £1.5m (€1.76m) contract from last year.
Louis is thought to be returning on his £1m (€1.17m) salary, while Nicole is allegedly asking for a cheque to match Take That star Gary's, plus perks including flying her personal hair and make-up team over from the US.
Producers are doing their best to stay within the £33m-per-series budget (€39m), which has been in place for the last three years.
Should the judges get their way, this would be a significant pay rise compared to last year's panel, which allegedly saw Tulisa Contostavlos earn £450,000 (€5350,000) and Nicole, £750,000 (€884,000).