Keith Urban Returning To ‘American Idol’

Keith Urban will be returning as an American Idol judge next season.

Fox Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly confirmed the news to reporters at TCA Thursday.

“Keith is going to return to the show,” he said. “The fans really liked him. Keith is a really funny guy.”

When asked if former judge Jennifer Lopez would be returning, Reilly said, “There have been discussions, but there is no deal.”

Urban is the only member of last season’s judging panel to return to the singing competition. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Randy Jackson have all confirmed their departures. Jackson was the last remaining original judge; Carey and Minaj only judged for one season.

Jackson confirmed to Us Magazine in May that he was leaving the series after 12 years.

“I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry,” Jackson said. “It’s been a life changing opportunity, but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures.”

Shortly before Jackson’s announcement, it was rumored that American Idol was planning to fire not only its four judges, but longtime producer Nigel Lythgoe as well.

“All four are gone,” an insider said. “They feel they’ve lost their core audience and they want it back.”

Minaj confirmed her departure at the end of May, saying that she wanted to focus on her music. Carey also confirmed her departure, and announced that she would be embarking on a world tour in support of her upcoming album The Art Of Letting Go. The album was supposed to be released on July 23, but Carey pushed back the date to work on it a little more.

Carey has given no new release date for the album.

Keith Urban was excited to announce that he would be returning to the competition Thursday.

Are you happy to see Keith Urban returning for another season of American Idol? Who do you think the new judges should be?

[Photo credit: s_bukley /]