'American Idol' Judges’ Panel Confirmed: Harry Connick Jr. & Jennifer Lopez Join Keith Urban
Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez have officially been added to the American Idol judges’ panel, which only kept Keith Urban on board from last season.
It was no secret that America Idol’s ratings had been slipping – a fact that was partially blamed on the lack of chemistry between the mismatched judges. When the playful feud the producers hyped between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey grew uncomfortably sour, and Randy Jackson remained as the last original Idol judge on board, it became clear that it was time for a change of personnel.
The affable and articulate Urban accepted an invitation to return, while the other three fled. Lopez was rumored to return after her yearlong hiatus from the singing talent show competition last month, but was just recently confirmed in a statement from Fox chairman Kevin Reilly. Connick, who’d also been speculated as a possible regular judge after successful turns as a guest judge, was also made official in the statement.
American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson was thought to be a potential new Idol judge, as was the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am and songwriter and record producer Dr. Luke.
While Jackson won’t be heard shouting out “Yo, dawg” from his swivel chair any longer, he will remain a part of the show as an artist mentor. Ryan Seacrest, who’s hosted the show from its start in 2002, will maintain his position as host.
In addition to the judging changes, longtime Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were ousted, and Fox reality head Mike Darnell departed from the network.
The next season of American Idol will premiere in January; auditions are currently being held across the country.
– Chelsea Regan
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