It’s Official: ‘Idol’ “Dream Team” of Connick, Lopez and Urban Debut Today

Confirming earlier reports, Fox has officially announced the judging panel for the upcoming 13th season of American Idol will consist of Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., an 11th-hour addition whose deal was quickly put together after previous frontrunner Dr. Luke was forced to step aside due to conflict of interest. Randy Jackson, despite leaving the judging table, will be returning as this season’s in-house mentor.

The new Idol trio began their first day on the job in Boston, marking the beginning of auditions for season 13.

American Idol has always been about discovering the next singing superstar, “; said Fox chairman of entertainment Kevin Reilly in a statement, “and next season our judging panel will deliver a most impressive combination of talent, wisdom and personality to do just that: Jennifer Lopez, the triple-threat global superstar who loves Idol and whom Idol fans love; Harry Connick, Jr., a bona fide musical genius and fantastic Idol mentor whose honesty and expertise can help turn these hopefuls into stars; Keith Urban, a multi-Grammy-winning artist who was such a positive force on the show last season. We are also very excited to have our friend Randy Jackson now in a new role as mentor, and the captain of our team — the heart and soul of Idol — Ryan Seacrest returning as host.”;

“I have always been a huge fan of American Idol and really enjoyed my time as a mentor on the show,”; said Connick. “And I am honoured that they’ve asked me to be a judge this season. As an entertainer, I am truly excited to bring my perspective to American Idol, and to help emerging performers find their way.”;

“Surprise, surprise!”; added Jackson. “I am so happy to be back as part of this amazing show that started it all. Season 13 is the place to be. The original talent show is back with a vengeance and ready to discover the best talent in America.”

“I think this season of Idol is gonna be a blast,” said Keith Urban. “New team, new energy and a whole new field of artists to be discovered and given a chance!”

“I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the American Idol XIII family,”; noted host Ryan Seacrest. “Our new producers, judging panel and mentor are all fired up for this season. I’ve already witnessed some amazingly talented contestants from around the country during our early auditions, cementing my belief that a new superstar is well within our sights.”;

Tweeted Lopez: “#IDOL2014TheRemix.”;

Viewers will get their first glimpse of American Idol“s new judging team when the show returns for its 13th season in January 2014,

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