Fox‘s American Idol is hosting a preview event at 5:30 PM PT ahead of tomorrow’s Season XII premiere. Watch the live-streamed Q&A with judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., Keith Urban, and host Ryan Seacrest:
“We listened to the viewers and they told us they’re fed up with the middle rounds after Hollywood Week and before the live shows, so we’ve shortened all of that down, condensed the middle round into one week – we’re calling it Rush Week,” American Idol exec producer Trish Kinane told TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014.
They’ve also added something called The Chamber, where Idolettes go after host Ryan Seacrest tells them that in a couple minutes they’ve got to “give it their all,” Kinane explained, where we’ll see them pray, sing, check their armpits for sweat — whatever. “It’s a very intimate moment,” she told critics.
With everything and everyone officially coming together at the last minute like last year, American Idol’s judges for the upcoming thirteenth season are finally seated. Keith Urban is back from last year and, as announced earlier today, Jennifer Lopez is back after exiting the season before and Harry Connick Jr. has joined the gang. Here is the first photo of the trio together as they began auditions in Boston Tuesday. Season 13 of American Idol debuts on Fox in January 2014.
TCA: Keith Urban To Return To ‘American Idol’, Jennifer Lopez In Talks, Randy Jackson “Will Be Back In Some Capacity”
UPDATED: At Fox‘s TCA presentation, the network’s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly confirmed that Keith Urban is locked in to return as a judge on the upcoming season of American Idol. “He did a great job on the show, fans loved him and you can see how much he loved the doing show,” Reilly said. He confirmed that the network has had discussions with Jennifer Lopez, and that the other names floated around — they have included Jennifer Hudson, will.i.am and Dr. Luke — are all true. “All have been talked about and discussed,” he said, stressing that there are no deals in place. The network’s goal is to find judges who are “good at the job, people like and we refocus on the contestants.” Country crooner Urban joins host Ryan Seacrest as the only two Idol players from last season. Judges Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj exited earlier in the summer.
While he won’t be on every show like he was for the past 12 seasons, original Idol judge Jackson “will be back in some capacity,” Reilly said after the session. “He is a friend of show, and certainly guests spots (are real possibility). He indicated that doing a panel with former Idol contestants was a scenario that was considered. “A lot of people wanted to do it but there were availability issues,” he said. I’ve heard former winners Carrie Underwood and …