BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Keith Urban is coming back to “American Idol.”
Fox chairman Kevin Reilly on Thursday confirmed the return of the country music star, settling the fate of the only judge left from last season on the talent competition.
“He did a really good job last year,” Reilly said to a gathering of the Television Critics Association. “The fans really like him.”
Reilly said Urban didn’t have a chance to show his personality. The executive didn’t say why, but the country singer was routinely overshadowed by bickering between fellow judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Their departures, along with that of Randy Jackson, were announced weeks ago, a response to the show’s sagging ratings.
But Reilly was mum on who would sit beside Urban at the judges’ table next season, which begins in January. Reilly said there have been discussions with Jennifer Lopez, a former judge, “but there is no deal with her or with anyone else.”
“Idol” is looking for judges who make it comfortable for viewers, Reilly said. Whoever is on the panel, there will be a renewed emphasis on the contestants.
“The show always has been about the contestants,” he said.