It has been speculated for weeks that Jennifer Lopez may return to the 13th season of American Idol. Fox has now confirmed the new judges-panel for the struggling singing competition show and it includes JLO, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban who is the only returning judge from last season.
Last season’s ratings dropped dramatically to an average of 13 million viewers per show due to the fighting between former judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Jennifer Lopez was a judge on the series in 2011 and 2012 while Jazz musician, Connick Jr. was a former mentor. Original judge Randy Jackson will replace Jimmy Iovine as in-house mentor.
“I have always been a huge fan of ‘American Idol’ and really enjoyed my time as a mentor on the show,” Connick said. “And I am honored that they’ve asked me to be a judge this season. As an entertainer, I am truly excited to bring my perspective to ‘American Idol,’ and to help emerging performers find their way.”
Kevin Reilly, the network’s chairman of entertainment, issued the following statement:
“ ‘American Idol’ has always been about discovering the next singing superstar, and next season our judging panel will deliver a most impressive combination of talent, wisdom and personality to do just that: Jennifer Lopez, the triple-threat global superstar who loves and whom ‘Idol’ fans love; Harry Connick Jr., a bona-fide musical genius and fantastic ‘Idol’ mentor whose honesty and expertise can help turn these hopefuls into stars; Keith Urban, a multi-Grammy-winning artist who was such a positive force on the show last season. We are also very excited to have our friend Randy Jackson now in a new role as mentor, and the captain of our team – the heart and soul of ‘Idol’ – Ryan Seacrest returning as host.”
Auditions are to be held in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Detroit; Omaha, Neb.; Salt Lake City and San Francisco.
The judges begin production on the coming season in January 2014.