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Harry Connick, Jr. Rumored to Be Third ‘American Idol’ Judge

Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

The ‘American Idol‘ revolving door and drama continues! A week after it was all but announced that Dr. Luke would take the third judging place at the table, he’s backed out of the deal — and may be replaced with a classic crooner.

Singer, actor and southern gentleman Harry Connick, Jr. is rumored to be thisclose to inking a deal with ‘Idol.’

The Hollywood Reporter says that Dr. Luke backed out of the deal over conflicts with his label, Sony Music. Now, Connick, a regular mentor on the show, is edging in on the coveted third chair.

Insiders say that producers ideally wanted an industry exec or record producer on the panel, but that they were running too short on time to truly vet any other candidates without facing production delays — which are expensive as heck. They also didn’t want to add another woman to the panel, saying it didn’t sit well with their older female demographic (and, in terms of last season, ended in catfights between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey). Connick has a rapport with the staff of the series, so he was an easy choice.

Connick was on hand with returning judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, producer Simon Fuller and former judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson on Thursday night (Aug. 29) to celebrate the impending announcement. ‘Idol’ host Ryan Seacrest tweeted a cryptic but promising message yesterday (Aug. 30):

Welcome aboard, Harry!

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