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'American Idol' reportedly adding Harry Connick Jr. as thirteenth-season judge

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/02/2013 

American Idol has reportedly filled its third judging panel seat with singer Harry Connick Jr.

Connick Jr. is signing a deal to serve as a judge on American Idol's upcoming thirteenth season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Connick Jr. is familiar with the reality singing competition, as he has served as a mentor to contestants and performed on the show during several prior seasons. He will judge alongside the confirmed Keith Urban and the still unconfirmed Jennifer Lopez, whose participation was previously revealed by boyfriend Casper Smart.

E! News reported last week Connick Jr. was in talks for the judging role after Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, a 39-year-old American songwriter and record producer, fell out of the running due to the time commitment and a conflict with between Sony Music, his label partner, and Universal Music Group, American Idol's label partner. In addition, talent manager Scooter Braun was also reportedly in negotiations with Fox to serve as an Idol judge.

Dr. Luke and Braun were reportedly being considered before Connick Jr. because Idol executives had preferred adding a music industry professional to the panel over another singer. Fox was also reluctant to bring another woman onboard after tension and arguments broke out between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey last season, which resulted in decreased ratings, The Reporter reported.

This isn't the first time Connick Jr. has been in talks to become an Idol judge. He was in the running to serve on the show's tenth-season judging panel following Simon Cowell's departure. While former judge Kara DioGuardi said Connick Jr. would be a good fit for the show at the time, Connick Jr. was unsure about how he'd fare on the panel.

"I don't know how good of a judge I'd be. Although I am the only person that actually does what the contestants do as a performer, I'm not in that world," Connick, who served as a ninth-season musical mentor, said during Idol host Ryan Seacrest's KISS-FM radio show in May 2010.

"I can look at people objectively and say what I think about their performing skills or their singing skills -- that I know. But the pop world isn't my world, and this is a pop show."

According to The Reporter, Idol producer Simon Fuller hosted a party Thursday night in the champagne room at Los Angeles' Bouchon, and Connick Jr., Lopez, Urban, and Randy Jackson -- who will reportedly replace Jimmy Iovine as mentor after judging all 12 seasons of the show -- were all in attendance.

"Got some @AmericanIdol news for you coming very soon," Seacrest tweeted Friday.

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