It’s official: Keith Urban is returning to “American Idol” as a judge next season, Fox announced Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles.
“I will confirm one thing: Keith is going to return to the show,” said Kevin Reilly, Fox Chairman of Entertainment, as he addressed a room full of reporters. “Keith’s a really funny guy, and I didn’t think he was able to let his full personality shine through” last season, due to the diva drama [between former judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj] that overshadowed not just Urban, but also the contestants.
“To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on ‘American Idol,’ I have decided to leave after this season,” Jackson said in a statement Thursday. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry.”
The 56-year-old record producer and bassist called the experience a “life-changing opportunity.” He said he’s leaving “Idol” to focus on his record label and other business opportunities.
Fox‘s singing competition entered its 12th season Wednesday with three new judges and sharply lower viewership. An average of 17.8 million total viewers tuned in to the two-hour premiere, slumping 19% compared with last season, according to Nielsen.
Logo of the Fox Broadcasting Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
FORT WASHINGTON — If the first two episodes of the new Season 12 of “American Idol” are any indication, the show is looking to make big stars of two talented female singers who are great performers and have big personalities.
That’s because the episodes, shown Wednesday night in special sneak peek theater presentations for an invited Philadelphia-area crowd and at eight other cities nationwide, focused far more on the show’s new judges than on any – or all – of the contestants.
The new season of “Idol” starts with the two-night premiere on Fox at 7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday.