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The more things change, the more… things go back to how they were before things changed and got worse. In this case, I'm referring to American Idol. which didn't exactly benefit in the ratings after the most recent crop of judges took their seats at the table. Instead, the singing competition took criticism in addition to decreasing viewership, so it's not entirely unsurprising that the series would want to go back to happier times by bringing back a more appreciated judge. There've been rumors that Jennifer Lopez might be returning to the series since before Season 12 wrapped up. And the latest update is that Lopez is very close to a deal to return to the judges table. As in close enough that we may hear official announcement of the casting as soon as this week.
EW posted the news, stating that sources say Lopez is close to re-signing with Idol. Whoever it was that shared this news with the site wasn't authorized to comment publicly, but they did say Lopez's decision to return to the show stems from the production schedule allowing her to spend more time with her children. I also like to think she wants to be back on the show, but that wasn't specifically mentioned.
As of right now, the only judges spot that's set is Keith Urban, who's the lone judge from Season 12 to return for Season 13. Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj have all officially exited the series. Should Lopez officially sign on, that leaves one judges chair yet to be filled, as it's looking like Idol will return to the three-seat format at the judges table.
It seems like a fine idea to bring the actor/musician back to return to judging. Jennifer Lopez was likable enough, and "likable enough" is better than what they had last season. What could have translated to riveting tension between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, as the two artists rarely got along, only played out as distracting and irritating bickering, which wasn't entertaining in the slightest. Talented though they may be, and I'll admit, I liked Minaj's candid critiques, Minaj and Carey weren't a good fit for the show.
Here's the issue I have with Lopez's return. "Likable enough" also applies to Keith Urban, who managed to lean back and avoid the most of the tension that passed between Minaj and Carey last season. I don't mind that Urban's coming back, but between him and Lopez, I'm having a hard time feeling particularly excited about the judges table for Season 13. With that said, I don't know that it matters all that much. Musical chairs at the judges table hasn't done much to improve Idol in recent years, and that's come through in the ratings. If the show's going to boost viewership, it probably needs to do it on the stage, with the talent and maybe with the format of the show, which has lost a bit of its sparkle over the years, especially by comparison to its competition. On the positive side, a likable judge certainly doesn't hurt, and Jennifer Lopez does have a lot of fans.
We'll be sure to update you if and when there's actual confirmation of Lopez's return.