He's back! Fox announced on Thursday that Keith Urban will be returning to "American Idol."
Country singer Keith Urban will be back for another season of "American Idol," Kevin Reilly, Fox's chairman of entertainment, confirmed on Thursday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
"He did a great job on the show. Fans loved him and you can see how much he loved doing the show," Reilly said.
Reilly also addressed rumors that former judge Jennifer Lopez may be returning to the panel next year for season 13.
"Most of what you're reporting or you read is true. (Lopez) has been a close part of the show all along," he said. "There have been discussions there. There is no deal with her or with anybody else."
Also rumored to be in talks to join the long-running singing competition are season three contestant Jennifer Hudson and "Idol" mentor will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas.
The panel went through a major shakeup at the end of season 12 when original judge Randy Jackson announced less than a week before the finale that this was his last year on the show. And two weeks after the season wrapped, freshman panelists Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj quit as well.
Reilly told TODAY.com that though Jackson won't be at the judges' table next season, it doesn't necessarily mean he's gone from the competition for good. "We're talking to Randy," he said. "I'm sure he'll be back in some capacity ... (as a) friend of the show, certainly guest spots, absolutely."
In 2012, Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler both quit after two seasons on the show. They had replaced Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi when they all left after season nine. Original judge Paula Abdul left after season eight.
Though there are still three seats to fill for the upcoming season and maybe some changes to make, Reilly said the network isn't planning a massive shakeup.
"You can’t throw the baby out with the bath water. This is a top five show. There are millions of people who love it as it was," Reilly told reporters. "It needs some recalibration on some things and some fresh new elements. Listen, had 'Thee Voice' never come along and maybe 'X Factor' never been on, we’d be able to have a lot more maneuvering room, but right now we’ve got to keep it fresh and top of the line."
"American Idol" returns for season 13 in January.
— Additional reporting by Michael Maloney and Susan Young.
First published August 1 2013, 11:47 AM