American Idol Judges Panel: Keith Urban Confirmed! Jennifer Lopez Returning? Will. I. Am. Signing On?


Forgive me, but I didn't realize that American Idol was still going to be churning out seasons.  I used to be addicted to the original talent showcase…and not just for the crazy first round auditions.  On that note, do we know what William Hung is doing right now?

Once the show started trading out judges like Housewives trade out Hermes bags and cocktails, it seemed to be on a constant decline.  My dawg Randy Jackson, the only original judge remaining, decided to cut his losses after the most recent season, and his counterparts have been quitting left and right.  Keith Urban appears to be the only one who has any interest remaining on the sinking ship.  

However–and I never saw this coming–there are loud rumblings that the show is in talks to bring back a former judge who I'd actually tune in to see.  I never gave much thought to Jenny from the Block, but I'll readily admit that I really enjoyed Jennifer Lopez on Idol.  If she returns to judging, maybe I'll return to watching!


A source tells People that JLo is "very close to signing a deal with Fox to return to American Idol next season," adding, "Both Fox and Jennifer are very happy about this and want it to happen very much."

The insider rebuts rumors that the divalicious triple threat was recently shunned by The Voice as a potential judge, telling the site, "Jennifer never had discussions with NBC about being a judge.  She was approached by NBC about performing but had to turn it down because of scheduling conflicts."

After two successful seasons judging AI, JLo left the competition show amid gossip of contract disputes.  Her mouthpiece discounts that buzz, explaining, "She couldn't return last year because she had committed to a world tour. But now that the tour is over, she has more time to raise her family, do movies and pursue television projects."

Deadline is also reporting on her return, citing that Fox's entertainment chairman has confirmed that the network has been in talks with Jennifer, as well as others, to fill the spots on the dwindling panel.  He also shares that Keith will be returning, stating, “He did a great job on the show, fans loved him and you can see how much he loved the doing show."

The Fox spokesperson revealed that Idol alum and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Black Eyed Peas member Will. I. Am. have been considered. While no deals are in place, he says, "All have been talked about and discussed,” stressing that AI's goal is to compile a group who is “good at the job, people like and we refocus on the contestants.”

In case you were wondering, many media outlets have been reporting in the last few hours that Will. I. Am. is leaving his front man gig on the UK version of The Voice to join JLo as a judge on AI

Apparently, Randy can't get away either, no matter how he tries.  The chairman shares that Randy “will be back in some capacity.  He is a friend of show, and certainly guests spots (are real possibility)."

Discussing that several would-be judges showed interest but had conflicts, the network honcho reveals, “A lot of people wanted to do it but there were availability issues."

Shooting down the idea of a complete revamp for the show, he concludes, ”I think you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.It is a top five show still… It needs some recalibration on some things and fresh new elements.  I just want to find chemistry that is comfortable and right for the show and not have [drama among the panel] be an issue.”  Sorry Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj!


[Photo Credit: Fox]