‘American Idol’ finally makes it official: Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez join as judges

September 3, 2013

“American Idol” has been dragging out the announcement of its new judges, and the wait is finally over — Fox confirmed on Tuesday that Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez will join the previously-announced Keith Urban at the judging table on Season 13.

If you noticed the buzz about this news is considerably smaller than in years past, well, that’s not surprising. First, both names have been rumored for days. And second, “Idol” ratings have been consistently falling; the show suffered its least-watched ever this past spring, when Candice Glover was named the winner.

Anyway, Connick Jr. has finally given in — his name has long been batted around as a potential judge, as he’s appeared on the show before as one of the most compelling celebrity mentors, and genuinely seemed to enjoy his time with the contestants. J-Lo returns for her second stint after playing judge Seasons 10 and 11. She took a break this past year, which featured the most judge-centric season in “Idol” history, as dueling divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj made the show all about them, while Keith Urban and Randy Jackson tried to stay out of the way.

Speaking of Randy “Dawg” Jackson, the only original member of the judging panel isn’t completely being shown the door — he will appear as an in-house mentor, taking the place of Jimmy Iovine, Fox confirmed. Iovine will be involved in the show in his capacity as chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records, which will continue to release music from the contestants and eventual winner.

The “Idol” auditions continue this fall in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Detroit, Omaha, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. Season 13 — branded by Fox as “American Idol XIII” — will debut in January.

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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Emily Yahr · September 3, 2013