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‘American Idol’ picks Lopez, Connick as judges

This Oct. 2, 2012 file photo shows Jennifer Lopez watching Chanel’s ready to wear Spring-Summer 2013 collection, presented in Paris. A person familiar with negotiations to bring Lopez back as an “American Idol” judge said her return will be announced this week. AP

LOS ANGELES — “American Idol” is betting that a judges’ remix with Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban will fare better with viewers than bickering divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj did last season.

Fox on Tuesday announced the addition of Lopez and Connick as judges for season 13. They’ll join Urban to make up the talent show’s first panel consisting solely of singers — like NBC’s successful 2011 upstart “The Voice.”

Pop star and actress Lopez will be back on “American Idol” after a two-season run as judge in 2011 and 2012 that helped the show and her career. Connick, a respected jazz singer and musician, proved adept as a mentor in several “Idol” appearances.

Urban’s return was announced last month by Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly, who said the singer didn’t get a chance to show his personality in his first turn as a judge. Urban appeared overwhelmed last season by the Carey-Minaj crossfire that drew complaints from some viewers.

“I think this season of ‘Idol’ is gonna be a blast,” Urban said in a statement Tuesday. “New team, new energy and a whole new field of artists to be discovered and given a chance!”

Fox also announced that original judge Randy Jackson, who left along with Carey and Minaj, will be back in a new role as in-house mentor to the contestants.

“Idol” won viewers by discovering future stars including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson. But recent winners haven’t had similar success.

Host Ryan Seacrest said that early “Idol” auditions have cemented his belief “that a new superstar is within our sights.”


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