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'American Idol' will keep JLo, Harry and Keith despite ratings




Even in the midst of a ratings freefall, American Idol is done with gimmicks and is sticking with its likable panel of judges. Fox announced that current judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. will be returning for Season 14, as will host Ryan Seacrest.

“Their interaction, warmth and experience made them an absolute joy to watch,” said American Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. We were among the critics crushing on Connick, with his knee-slapping quips, sharp musical criticism and warm baiting of the ego balloon that is Jennifer Lopez.

The show has been trying to find the right mix to put some vroom back in the former ratings juggernaut. For its 12th season,  Idol replaced Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler with three new judges: country star Urban plus the toxic duo of Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. The undisguised hostility between the two divas proved to be ratings poison.

So producers made a big show of changing things up again for its 13th incarnation, bringing Lopez back to the fold with Connick and Urban in a kinder retool that drew critical praise but it still hit an all-time ratings low this season, with just 10.2 million viewers tuning in for the finale on May 21.

Producers seem to be betting that the popularity of The Voice and the age of Idol had more to do with the tumble than the likable judges. We’re wild about Harry, so we hope they are right.

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 10:17am]


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