'American Idol' season 13 judges confirmed
Actor and musician Harry Connick Jr attends "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" Broadway opening night after-party at The Plaza Hotel, Dec. 11, 2011 in New York City.Photo: Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES -- It's official! The Los Angeles Times reports that FOX has confirmed that the judges for next season's "American Idol" will be Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban. Urban is the only returning judge from last season, after the exits of both Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
Lopez returns after a season away from the series, having served as judge in 2011 and 2012. Connick, who has served as an "Idol" mentor, was confirmed late last week by The Hollywood Reporter as the third member of the panel. As rumored, longtime judge Randy Jackson, who's fond of referring to contestants as "dawg" (as in "that was kind of pitchy, dawg") will step into the role of mentor as the show enters its 13th season.
"'American Idol' has always been about discovering the next singing superstar," FOX chairman of entertainment Kevin Reilly said in a statement. "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.”
Although last season's ratings for the talent competition were the lowest in its history, the series remains a powerhouse for the network and has turned season-winning champs such as Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson into household names.
On Tuesday, the judges were in Boston to begin production for the upcoming season, which has been given the Super Bowl-style designation of "American Idol XIII." The season premiere is set to air in January 2014.