American Idol has been busy negotiating contracts for new judges for a while now. Keith Urban will be the only returnee from last season and Jennifer Lopez is in talks to judge, once more. Music producer Dr. Luke has also been in talks to join the show for a few days, and it has been confirmed that he will be the third judge on the panel for Idol’s Season 13.
Dr. Luke started becoming prominent within the music scene in the nineties, when he held a position as Saturday Night Live’s lead guitarist. He’s had Idol connections for quite some time, producing Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 single “Since U Been Gone.” He’s also been behind hits by Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, and Pink and has worked with Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Flo Rida, Jessie J., Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and more.
Fox has been gearing up for the new season of American Idol for a while, but despite this, the new season was pretty up in the air until recently. Early reports indicated that Idol might bring back former winners to judge the competition. When that initial (and gimmicky) plan fell through, the show started signing on people like Urban and Lopez. Just as the show started to fill out its judging panel, veteran mentor Jimmy Iovine dropped out of the series. The good news is that his replacement has likely already been found in former judge Randy Jackson. Regardless, Iovine’s exit marks yet another change the show will go through in the new season.
Presumably, Dr. Luke was not the first person Idol asked to sit in on the judges table. We already know the series talked to former winners, including Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. According to E!, Dr. Luke’s main competition for the gig was actually will.i.am, who has appeared on the U.K. version of The Voice and has made guest appearances on Fox’s other hit singing competition series, The X Factor. Reportedly, his obligations with The Voice kept him from signing on to Idol, leaving a slot open for Dr. Luke to step in.
Dr. Luke might not have been American Idol’s first choice at the judges table, but he is the only wild card in what seems like it will be a pretty demure new season. After last season’s ratings issues, the show will really need to try something interesting to turn the series around. Right now, we know exactly what Jackson, Lopez, Urban, and host Ryan Seacrest will bring to the table. I know almost nothing about Dr. Luke's music career and exactly nothing about the man’s personality. Hopefully, he’ll be able to bring a unique perspective to the table and add a few new eyeballs to the series.
American Idol will return to the schedule in 2014.
UPDATE - THR reports that Dr. Luke will not be joining American Idol as a judge after all. From the sound of it, he wasn't able to make the time commitment required to do the show.