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Just last week, word got around that Harry Connick Jr. had been approached about possibly being a judge in Season 13 of American Idol. On one hand, the producers' reported interest in the artist wouldn't be particularly surprising, especially considering he just mentored the final four contestants. But on the other hand, the news itself was a bit surprising, considering the show currently has four judges. Of course, Idol's been playing musical chairs at the judges table for seasons now, but rumors making the rounds before a chair is officially vacated does set off some alarms. If the Harry Connick Jr. report was a bell going off, The Wrap's report is a siren.
The site is reporting that - according to "an individual with knowledge of Fox's plans" - Fox is planning a major overhaul on Idol for Season 13. Not only are they said to be planning to replace all four judges, but also longtime producer Nigel Lythgoe. What's more - yes, there's more - Fox isn't even considering bringing Jennifer Lopez back to judge, which contradicts previous reports.
The insider says Fox is trying to reclaim the core audience of the show, which has diminished substantially since the singing competition's better days. Ratings are still higher than average by comparison to other shows, but they're far lower than they once were and they only seem to be slipping even further with each season. At this point, Fox may have to do something drastic to get the show back on its feet. Apparently, that might mean axing Idol veteran judge Randy Jackson along with newcomers Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.
The report goes on to say that Fox won't be shelling out mega-bucks for judges in the future, which could mean they're veering away from trying to dazzle viewers with star power by shelling out $18 million for a pop star like Mariah Carey. They'll also be changing up the format, including getting rid of the tribute weeks (yes!). But the audition episodes, which are many viewers' favorite part of each season, will remain as is.
Whether or not any or all of these changes actually come to pass remains to be seen. But it really wouldn't be surprising if Fox decided to shake things up in a drastic way to try to breath new life into the series. What worked a decade ago isn't working so well now. We'll keep you posted on any updates to this that surface. In the meantime, tune in to American Idol tonight for the Top 3 results!