*“American Idol” premieres its 13th season next month with Keith Urban the lone judge returning from last year’s catastrophe.
Producers hope the country crooner – alongside “AI” veteran Jennifer Lopez and newcomer Harry Connick Jr. – will have the right combination of chemistry and audience appeal to bring back the viewers who abandoned ship somewhere around Taylor Hicks…if not sooner.
“Except the unexpected with us,” Connick told us during interviews for the new season. “I mean, I didn’t know what to expect and Keith and Jennifer had both done it before and I think the whole fun of it is not knowing what to expect. Like I don’t know what Jennifer is going to say, I don’t know how Keith is going to react and that’s – I think we all roll like that.”
With original judge Randy Jackson replacing Jimmy Iovine as the in-house mentor this season, and original music director Rickey Minor returning from the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” producers have done everything short of bringing back OGs Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul to give the show a fighting chance.
J.Lo, who judged during 2012’s Season 11, returns to the show by popular demand. Below, the single mother of twins says she’s happy to be back and looks forward to the new season.