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'American Idol': Harry Connick Jr. will return for another season

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 20: Musician Harry Connick Jr. arrives at Fox's 'American Idol Xlll' Finalists Party at Fig and Olive on February 20, 2014 in West Hollywood, California.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

According to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, first-season “American Idol” judge Harry Connick Jr. will return for the show’s 14th season in 2015. The show, currently nearing the end of its 13th season, received the green light for another season last week.

Deals to bring co-judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez back for another go around are expected soon. Host Ryan Seacrest agreed to a two-season extension shortly after Fox renewed the show.

Fox chairman Kevin Reilly said that “American Idol” would change its broadcast scheduling for Season 14 from 50+ hours for the entire season to 37 hours. Instead of its usual two-episodes-per-week format, the show will switch to two episodes per week during the audition rounds, then switch to one two-hour episode per week for the duration of the season.

Season 14 will include auditions in the judges’ hometowns.

Personal take

Although “American Idol” ratings continue to fall, Connick Jr. has been the best addition the show has made in a long time. His wit, forthrightness, and advice have been largely on target and helpful to this season’s contestants, which, as a whole, are the least talented in the show’s history.

While the addition of Connick Jr. improved the judges’ panel considerably, the show’s other attempts to stop the ratings bleeding have been unimpressive. From its smaller auditorium to its real-time social media interactions, most of what “American Idol” has thrown into the mix has not made the show better. Simply put, America is tiring of this show. The proof is in the ratings.

The venue from which the live shows originate seems cramped and low-class compared to the venues the show used in previous seasons. Crammed with audience members that look suspiciously like relatives and friends of the show’s staff, it doesn’t take much to figure out the party-like atmosphere the show’s execs went after is staged.

While Urban is a solid presence on the panel, Lopez is not. From her “goosies” to the tears she sheds for each and every contestant, this is one judge the show could do without. It’s always suspicious whenever an actor or actress sheds tears in a “real” setting. After all, don’t actors get paid to cry on demand?

If “American Idol” wants to go out with a bang – and face it, the end is close – the show’s execs ought to assemble a dream team judges’ panel. Simon Cowell, Connick Jr., and Steven Tyler sounds good.

“American Idol” airs in Provo on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox 13.