Harry Connick Jr. Confirmed as American Idol Judge

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Fox has made it official: Jennifer Lopez is returning and Harry Connick Jr. is debuting.

The network announced today that the "Jenny from the Block" crooner will come back to American Idol in 2014, following a season away from the series, while Connick - who has served twice as a mentor on the program - will join J. Lo and Keith Urban on the Season 13 judging panel.

Harry Connick Jr Promo Pic
Jennifer Lopez Idol Pic

Randy Jackson will also be sticking around, taking over the role of in-house mentor from Jimmy Iovine, with the new judges getting right to work: they will sit in for auditions in Boston later today.

The once-dominant Fox program spent weeks looking for a third panelist, as contenders from Scooter Braun to Dr. Luke, Diddy to Kanye West, all reportedly turned down offers from producers. There has also been talk of an all-alumni table featuring Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson. But that possibility never materialized.

Said Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, in a statement:

“American Idol has always been about discovering the next singing superstar, and next season our judging panel will deliver a most impressive combination of talent, wisdom and personality to do just that: Jennifer Lopez, the triple-threat global superstar who loves Idol and whom Idol fans love; Harry Connick, Jr., a bona-fide musical genius and fantastic Idol mentor whose honesty and expertise can help turn these hopefuls into stars; Keith Urban, a multi-Grammy-winning artist who was such a positive force on the show last season. We are also very excited to have our friend Randy Jackson now in a new role as mentor, and the captain of our team – the heart and soul of Idol – Ryan Seacrest returning as host.”

What do you think of Harry Connick Jr. as a new American Idol judge?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.