With 'American Idol' season 13 quickly approaching, the judging panel is preparing to begin their search for the 'next big thing.' As numerous reports have recently shared, Jennifer Lopez has returned to her judging seat. She will join returner Keith Urban, and former mentor Harry Connick, Jr. in critiquing contestants across the country. Veteran Randy Jackson isn't on the panel this time, but he is sticking with the show as a mentor. 'American Idol' seems to be playing it safe by keeping the familiar around, but fans are wondering what led the actress and singer to return to the show after her absence. In a Wednesday, September 4 press conference in Boston, J-Lo shared her reasoning.
"I love this show and I'm glad to be back," Lopez said.while she sat beside her co-judges, newbie Harry Connick Jr. and veteran Keith Urban, for their first stop of the season.
"Last year I went off and toured the whole world for the first time," Lopez, 44, added. "It wasn't the easiest thing to fit in this season of Idol, but I do love it so much ... I did miss it."
It's no secret that last season's 'American Idol' experienced a ratings dip. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj's cat fights didn't impress viewers much. It has been assumed that Lopez' return is the show's effort to pick up ratings once again. Apparently the former judge isn't overly worried about the numbers situation though.
"I don't think about that kind of stuff so much," she said. "I leave that worry to other people – I have enough worry of my own," insisted Lopez.
Nonetheless, the season 13 panel seems up for the challenge of building the show back up.
"It makes me feel good that there's good feelings about American Idol," Lopez said. "Because the show's a great show and the focus is back where it's supposed to be – on the show and contestants, and tuning in for some great entertainment, a few laughs and that emotion that comes along with that ride and that journey.”
It also appears that this particular judging panel gets along well. When you combine easy going guys like Urban and Connick with only one lady on the panel, it leads one to believe that this season will be lighter-hearted than the last one. 'American Idol' seems to work better when the panel is a happy team that sticks to business.
"I don't know what's going to happen," Lopez said. "But I know we're going to have a great time."
The singing competition officially returns to Fox in January 2014.
Will you be watching 'American Idol' season 13? What do you think of the judging panel?