Finally some definitive news on the "American Idol" front! Country singer Keith Urban will be heading back to the judges' panel next season. At this week's Television Critics Association panel, Kevin Reilly, chairman of entertainment at Fox, told reporters: "I will confirm one thing, Keith is going to return to the show, you could see how much he loved the show."
Indeed, the country singer -- who never hid his adoration for the show -- practically campaigned to keep his spot on the TV talent competition's panel. After last season's "Idol" finale, Urban told backstage press reporters he'd love to come back for Season 13 if asked. "I would, yeah!" he said. "I mean, I literally enjoyed coming to work every day. And that's a rarity."
In addition, he told the Associated Press of his passion for the process. "I love artists," he said. "I love the beginnings of artists when all they've got is raw talent and nothing else. They've got no star power, just nothing going on but just this raw talent that's just beautiful to see, and you look at them and just go, 'All you're needing is life experience ... because you've got everything else ready to go.'"
Of course, with Urban's return to "American Idol" finally confirmed, it's time to figure out what it means for the long-running Fox show.
They like him, they really like him.
Amid rampant talk of a major "Idol" housecleaning, Urban and Ryan Seacrest are the last men standing. Of course, Seacrest was never actually leaving (the "American Idol" host told MTV News earlier this summer: "This is me barely standing. I am coming back, yes. I will host."), but Urban's return is more surprising -- and a happy one at that. After news of his return broke, Urban tweeted: "Thrilled to be back on @AmericanIdol with my pal @RyanSeacrest and dying to know who the other judges will be!!!!"
J-Lo is not a shoo-in, but she is in talks.
Urban's return means producers aren't against having superstars on the panel, although Nicki and Mariah are definitely goners. That said, the highly-rumored-to-return Jennifer Lopez is still not a shoo-in. While Reilly acknowledged there have been discussions with the former "Idol" judge about a possible return to the panel, he reiterated, "There is no deal with her or with anybody else."
An all-alum panel is out.
Remember those rumors about an all-"Idol"-alum judges' panel featuring Jennifer Hudson? While producers were once said to be giving "serious consideration" to the possibility of bringing in former "American Idol" contestants like Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, and Clay Aiken for the job, it looks like Urban has stolen the show -- or at least one of the seats!
Randy Jackson won't be entirely gone, but he can't steal Keith's status.
Randy Jackson may have announced his departure from the show at the end of last season, but don't be surprised if you see him hanging round the set. According to Deadline, Jackson will be back in some capacity next season. "He is a friend of show, and certainly guests spots (are real possibility)," Reilly said. But with the Dawg returning in only a guest role, Urban is now the show's veteran. What a difference a year makes.
More from this contributor:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Keith Urban
- American Idol