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‘American Idol’ Update: Keith Urban Is Back, Will Jennifer Lopez Follow With will.i.am in Tow?

American Idol Season 13 Panel Rumors
Slaven Vlasic / Frazer Harrison / Tim P. Whitby, Getty Images

American Idol‘ may still be a ratings behemoth, but the show is in shambles, productive-wise. The first piece of intel about the “new look” Season 13 is that Keith Urban will return for his second season.

But who will be seated next to the well-coiffed country superstar when the new season kicks off in January? Word is Jennifer Lopez may make her grand return, with will.i.am in tow.

The show lost three of four judges and a producer after Season 12 ended. OG judge Randy Jackson quit. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj bailed after a season of tit-for-tat drama between them, which elicited more “this feels staged” eye-rolling from critics and viewers than it did ratings gold.

Producer Nigel Lythgoe was fired, as was Ken Warwick. Ratings were down — still better than most shows, but down for ‘Idol’– and Season 12 winner Candice Glover hasn’t made much of a post-win impact like predecessors Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips did. In essence, Season 12 felt like a wash on many levels.

Yahoo! reports that J. Lo, who judged Seasons 10 and 11 in maternal fashion, will be back. This would be will’s first season, if he is indeed boarding the show.

Lopez’s deal is said to be in the negotiation stages and it wouldn’t shock us, since she seemed genuinely bummed to bounce after Season 11 and reinstalling her on the panel is not a stretch.

While rumors abounded that the show would undergo a major overhaul for Season 13, the fact that Urban and Lopez are previous judges doesn’t feel like drastic surgery to us. And will isn’t exactly an earth-shattering choice since he mentored for ‘The Voice U.K.,’ although we would expect him to keep things interesting with his commentary.

Fox has not commented on who will join Urban at the 2014/Season 13 table, but we’ll certainly remain curious as to who it is. Other changes to the production and the audition process have not been revealed, either.

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