While the future of reality competition shows remains uncertain, American Idol will return with the same talent from Season 13.
The show is bringing back Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. for its judging panel, along with host Ryan Seacrest. “Their interaction, warmth and experience made them an absolute joy to watch. I can’t wait to see their evolution together continue next season,” Simon Fuller, Idol‘s creator and executive producer, said in a statement.
Next season will not be the last, according to Fox chief Kevin Reilly. However, Idol will be pared down significantly, from 50-plus hours to a neat 37 – an answer to the show’s faltering ratings. Last season’s performance finale drew just 6.6 million viewers, making for the least-watched episode in the show’s history, including at its infancy with Kelly Clarkson facing off Justin Guarini.
Fuller is right – compared to the tense interactions between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, Season 13′s judging panel was a pleasure to watch. (Connick Jr.’s switch from mentor to judge alone was worth it, because of his pointed, fair and all-too-necessary criticism.) Here’s to hoping that, without the competition being as drawn out as in the past few seasons, that panel gets the audience it deserves.
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.