'American Idol' Judges 2014: Harry Connick Jr. To Join Judging Panel
Harry Connick Jr. has landed the third judge spot for Season 13 of "American Idol."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 45-year-old singer-actor-composer is inking a deal to join Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban on the judging panel for the upcoming season. The announcement comes a couple of days after it was reported Connick was in talks to join the reality singing competition.
Connick has previously appeared on "Idol" as a performer and a mentor. He was also a guest judge last season, alongside Urban and former judges Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson. Jackson, who served as a judge since the first season in 2002, will return to the show as a mentor.
The news also comes a week after American songwriter-producer Dr. Luke reportedly joined the judging panel, but then backed out due to a conflict of interest with his label at Sony Music. Universal Music Group, Sony's rival, holds the exclusive rights to all "American Idol" recordings.
According to THR, Connick then became a contender for the judging position, as Fox wasn't inclined to bring another woman to the judging panel. The constant conflict between Minaj and Carey last season reportedly didn't do well with the key older female demographic. Fox wanted to offer the gig to an industry professional, but a longer search would have resulted in a production delay, THR reports.
THR also reported that "Idol" producer Simon Fuller recently held a small party at Los Angeles's Bouchon with Jackson, Lopez, Urban and Connick to celebrate the announcement.
Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun was reportedly in talks to join the show as the third judge (Lopez even suggested it), but he was quick to decline any offer.
"The only reason to do it at this point is vanity and he doesn't do things for vanity," a source told TMZ. "Without the right to manage the acts, it makes no business sense for him and ultimately he's a business guy."
Season 13 of American Idol premieres in 2014. Auditions across the country may begin as soon as this month.