Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and Ryan Seacrest Set to Return for American Idol Season 14

Improvement No. 4 -- An Eloquent, Instructive Judges' Panel
Sure, Prof. Harry Connick Jr. had a tendency toward being long-winded, but his discussions of chords, intonation and rhythm were a vast improvement over the petty infighting and empty word salad of previous newbies Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. J.Lo and Keith Urban had moments of real insight, too, especially in comparison to 12 prior seasons of Randy's "in it to win it!" drivel.

American Idol‘s ratings and cultural relevance might be under siege, but its core team will continue to fight the tuneful fight for Season 14.

RELATED American Idol: 6 Most-Appreciated Improvements — and 6 Biggest Missteps — of the Season 13 Reboot

Indeed, Fox announced today that Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. will return as judges and Ryan Seacrest will host American Idol when it returns in early 2015.

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“Jennifer, Keith, Harry and Ryan are the very best in the business at what they do, and I’m thrilled that they are returning to American Idol for another season,” said David Hill, senior executive vice president, 21st Century Fox, in a release. “Each brings unique qualities and expertise to the team, but they all share the same passion for helping undiscovered singers achieve the American dream.”

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The second stop on Idol‘s Season 14 cattle-call auditions — the round prior to J.Lo, Keith and Harry’s involvement — is set for Wednesday in New Orleans.

No word yet on whether or not Randy Jackson will return in his role as in-house “mentor.”

Idol‘s Season 13 finale, which aired in May, sank 25 and 28 percent from a year prior — down to a 10.5 million total viewers and a 2.6 demo rating.

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39 Comments
  1. Sally says:

    Hmm.. not that I think that changing judges would help, but these 3 are responsible for the worst top 10 in history, imo.

    • Alienate says:

      Agreed. And after 10 years of watching this show, I am calling it quits. I will continue to watch Reality Check tho… and The Voice. BTW, Rising Star makes Duets look like an Emmy winner. The worst reality singing show in the history of TV.

    • Jill Moy says:

      SALLY,

      You said exactly what I was gonna say! Worst top ten and I feel the judging was terrible! These three judges put BRISTON MARONEY through to the top 15 boys. He sounded worse than a possum taking LSD! THE WORST SINGER EVER….Take a listen! Was that singing he was doing?

  2. Ron says:

    Hmm. It’s very questionable whether I’ll watch or not (though I still happily watch Reality Check either way). I’ll be inclined to watch if: 1) we actually get to watch the performances and NOT JLo the. Entire. TIME! 2) if Harry tones it down. When last season started, I really thought he was a breath of fresh air. Somewhere along the line, I wanted to continually slap him across the face because he kept getting on my nerves. 3) if Randy is never seen or heard from again. Can we just drop “Randy” or “dawg” from the Idol vocab forever? 4) if we get to see more of the background stuff, like song selection, arrangement choices, and mentoring sessions, once to the live rounds. 5) if legit Idol alum come in on a regular basis in the live rounds to provide killer advice for the hopefuls–much like we got a taste of this season with people like Daughtry and Lambert. I don’t think that’s so much to ask to keep viewers around, is it?

    • ChellemaBelle says:

      Amen. The only things I could possibly add is: (1) Every results show includes at least one Idol Alum performance. (2) Limit judges to 1 performance each season. (3) Anyone “performing” has to sing live without any backup track. (4) Eliminate the pole dancing antics and focus on talent. If you don’t have enough to support your performance, get off the stage.

  3. zac says:

    Jennifer’s critiques got better this season, but I can’t stand the camera always on her every minute. I mean, what’s the point?
    Harry was great at the beginning and then he did those annoying things.

    And did they get rid of Randy yet?

    • Jill Moy says:

      ZAC,

      You are another person who said exactly what I’ve said about the show in the past! You are spot on!

  4. David says:

    I stopped watching before the end. The contestants last year were horribke. I mean usually there are at least a couple that stick aroundfor a while that care about. Jessica was the only one I felt kind of iofinvestes in. So I don’t know about continuing to watch it. And that makes me kind of sad.

  5. Tran says:

    Still giving up on IDOL depending on how long it will end if Fox doesn’t have the guts to do so.

  6. Tiff says:

    Well, it’s not great, but as long as they tone down the crazy, and the JLo cutaways, I guess I’m okay with this. The more important part is cutting the poison – aka The Dawg – out of this show. I’ll take these judges if Randy can scamper back into his hole.

  7. sg54 says:

    Just take our Randy completely and never put the camera on Jlo and thats it! Still a great show, perhaps last year was more of a lackluster year but remember the two years of greatness after the train wreck of season 9? Greatness is still possible!!!! And even if the talent isn’t completely amazing, I still manage to get excited about someone. So I guess I’ll be holding on next season, tho i’ll no longer be in their teen demographic.

  8. Betsy says:

    I agree with everything Ron said.

  9. Kate says:

    I’m pleased. Taking the season overall, they were probably my favorite judging group we’ve had, at least in the past 7 or 8 seasons. I will never give up on Idol, at least as long as Ryan is still there (and Slezak’s covering it).

    • CTZ says:

      Exactly right, Kate!

    • Jill Moy says:

      KATE,

      You are kidding right? Look at the horrible top 10 and look at the horrible talent they put through time and time again! Harry was a complete jackass, worshipping JLO and being the clown of the panel, always seeking attention like a 3 year old!

      Do you actually think any other panel would have produced such an awful top 10?

  10. Name That Tune says:

    They might all be back but I won’t. I’m just too bored to care.

  11. Some chick says:

    JLo is in and this Neilsen household is finally out. Buh bye Fox.

    • S. says:

      Lemme get this straight. You sat through that many years of Randy, the nonsense spouted by Paula, Mariah, and Nicki, the unnecessary presence of Ellen, Kara (nothing specific, she just annoyed me since she was clearly an effort to tell Paula ‘we can totally get a replacement musical brunette for you, stop asking for a raise’), uncomfortable banter between Simon and Ryan, Season 12’s gender manipulation featuring the unholy mess that was Lazaro and more but JLo returning after a year of more insightful critique than she’s ever given previously is where you draw the line? The JLo you’ve seen in previous seasons and yet you sat down and watched the last one? Please. The show wasn’t stellar because frankly the lack of musical parameters and often not very dramatic staging made it feel like the contestants were on their own to appear interesting, but the panel was way better than the last several years. A bit more musical direction, a bit more stage production $$ and a little less producer meddling with the judges and it’ll be fine. The audition rounds needed more Ryan but were nicer in general. I appreciated that and think there were things to like that still merit interest. I like Harry being on the panel and in the words of Dido, I will go down with this ship.

      • Jill Moy says:

        S,

        NOTHING COMPARES TO THIS GARBAZZZZZZZZZZ SEASON 13! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN PREVIOUS JUDGES PUT THROUGH AN AWFUL SINGER LIKE “BRISTON MARONEY”, TO TOP 15 BOYS? HE SOUNDS WORSE THAN ANY ANIMAL ON EARTH! THEY LOVED HIM! WILLIAM HUNG WAS BETTER!

  12. Mia says:

    As long as Keith is on I’m a happy camper. I like Harry and I think being with them has forced JLo to improve her judging skills. I think she’s finding out how wonderful it is to be with real men. I do like the comraderie they shared as well. I’ll watch but….just for Keith!

  13. OMG says:

    Same judges, more of the same shtick. Last season was one of the worst if not THE worst. If these 3 are back, I’m predicting handy Randy will be back as well.

  14. Faye says:

    If Randy doesn’t return, I’ll be willing to live with these three. But, seriously, JLO’s face time during the performances is ridiculous. Thanks, Michael, for bringing it up to Per, though to no avail.

  15. Eric S says:

    I was fine with the judging panel this season. They were mainly solid. My biggest complaint, like others have said, is the camera zooming in on JLO during the performances. It honestly got me frustrated every week. It became a joke after a while. I made a point of watching old Idol videos and the camera almost never showed the judges. They were mostly in the dark. Sometimes they would show the crowd or focus on the mentor for the week. That was it. Most of the time was spent with the singers and that’s where it should be. Harry should not attempt to go out of his way to be funny. One week he was out of control where he had a young girl on his shoulders and he was in the crowd as well. No no no Harry.

    I did appreciate that they spent less time on the joke singers then in years past. That wore out its welcome after the first few seasons. Randy cannot come back as the mentor. He just can’t. I watched a lot of the exit interviews and none of the singers said that Randy helped them in any meaningful way. The show needs to bring back the Idol alums to mentor or perform. I think every week we should have one or the other or both. That would be great. You would look forward to who was coming back that week. That helps the show brand and it helps the visibility of the alum. Win win.

    I gather they will cut back on some weeks. I personally hope they don’t cut any stuff from Hollywood week. I freely admit that I really enjoy that drama. The craziness of group day is a highlight for me. I know some would say otherwise, but I like it.

    I don’t think this season was the worst season. That will always be the 9th season for me. I never connected with Lee or Crystal and Simon was halfway out the door. What a dreary joyless season for me. I did like Siobhan though. She was funky.

    I will always watch Idol. I have watched every season. Same with Survivor. Not going to give up on either. Survivor has had several good seasons in a row. Idol can do the same. The ratings must be adjusted to an appropriate level and not the level of the first few seasons. Those days are gone. This show can last for years to come if they treat it right.

    • C says:

      I totally agree. Season 9 was THE worst. And I never connected with Philip Philips, either. I thought he had one of the worst voices and couldn’t believe that he won. Season 12 was a joke with the gender set-up to make a girl win. But last year really wasn’t bad. Randy wasn’t around that much, and I LOVED Jessica. She had such a unique beautiful quality to her voice, unlike mush-mouth Jena. There were times when Harry got a little over the top, but I think he was just trying to get the contestants to laugh and loosen up a bit. For next season, I think they have to concentrate more on finding people who can connect to an audience and change the age parameters. Those younger kids were scared stiff. It was almost painful to watch them.

      • Jill Moy says:

        C,

        I agree with you! Phillips stinks! He has goofy looks when he sings too! He is so ordinary! Sanchez was so much better….a great vibrato!

  16. Chase says:

    I am guessing “Shades of Blue” will probably premiere midseason 2016 on NBC then? When else would Jennifer be able to shoot it for a Fall 2015 premiere? I am looking more forward to that than seeing her judge another season on Idol.

  17. Mary says:

    I guess I am the only one but I am glad they are coming back. I personally thought they were good. Harry did overstep a couple of times, but I think he was trying to add some life into the show. The producers do need to cut back on the many faces of Jlo, but in all honesty some of the contestants were painful to watch so I didn’t mind looking at the judges faces. What they really need is a well rounded group of contestants that all stand a shot of making it and let them sing for their lives.

  18. Jake says:

    Just one word…YAWN!

  19. Cecil Amos says:

    YES….!!!! Good panel of judges….It’ll make me watch…

  20. Karen Erler says:

    I totally enjoyed the three judges and I do not intend to stop watching! In my personal opinion, they really gave Idol a boost. They had more fun than I have ever seen on the show in the past. Good job Jennifer, Keith, Harry and Randy! I am very pleased that you are all returning!

  21. ME says:

    I don’t really have a problem with the judging panel and I don’t think that is why people tuned out. I think that happened due to the lack of talent. Every high school/college/drama dept/glee club/bar/church, etc has their creme of the crop singers. There is no reason why American Idol could not have found more talented singers to compete in the competition. I won’t single anyone out but you shouldn’t be in the top 10 if you are still struggling with simple things like pitch.

    Also, I feel the judges need to refrain from dancing so hard simply because someone is performing a song that they really liked in high school. It takes away from the competition. Every time Caleb performed I felt like the show went from a singing competition to JLo and Keith’s slumber party.

  22. JoyFromMaine says:

    A I is great opportunity for raw talent to get chance to see if they have what it takes. Thre judges do their best to not show bias, but have to say this year seemed to be a year that bias was evident. Sadly, after years of tuning in, I called it a night and stopped watching way before finale. I can’t say that I will be watching future episodes. Guess I made up that million some odd number of viewers who lost the AI passion.
    Wish th the best, but tired of the emotional roller coaster ride.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      Just another sign that Idol producers, exec’s and planners are going to ride the ship slowly down, milk it for some big salaries while they can, cut what they spend on the contestants as “budget restraints”,,,,, try to put another spin on “getting people to audition” with a prize deal —————— but not try to compete for a younger audience…………………

      The show will continue to try to keep plugging-along with the core of the Idol Faithful, with same old format………………………………………………………………………………….. . Lopez is the darling of only the older audience, Connick Jr. is no icon for the teens and tweens, Urban does have some fans in the younger Country crowd however, as I work with some in their teens and twenties who are fans of his….. But, they are more interested in his music and concerts than hearing him comment on Idol…………………………

      None of them give a dam about Lopez or Connick Jr. …………………………………

      Since the Judges are the “face” of the show, spend so much time prattling and rambling with comments, and have some input into steering contestants toward the live voting shows —- retaining this group intact is going to erase any chance of improving the show or ratings. This announcement gives no happiness or motivation to those who were on-the-fence about watching next season.

  23. Jill Moy says:

    David Hill must be a COMEDIAN! SAYING THEY ALL ARE THE BEST AT WHAT THEY DO??????? Especially Harry; he sounded terrible whenever he sang on IDOL! He complained about diction and being sharp, etc, yet he displayed the same traits when he sang (mumbled) on stage!

  24. Victoria says:

    I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also go to see this blog on regular basis to
    take updated from latest news.

  25. I’m still watching. In idol’s defense they’re doing good in ratings, they just dropped, like the Voice and AGT and Fox needs Idol. I love J.Lo. My favorites last year was Majesty and Sam.

  26. Shoney says:

    I really enjoyed last season and I think they are the best 3 judges ever, of course with the exception of Simon. But he is over and Keith, Harry and Jennifer did a great job. I will watch again next season for sure.