Jennifer Lopez is happy to be returning to American Idol after a year away from the judges panel.
Lopez will be joined by returning season 12 judge Keith Urban and newcomer Harry Connick Jr. Former judge Randy Jackson will also be returning, but as a mentor. Fox chairman Kevin Reilly made the announcement Tuesday, calling Lopez “the triple-threat global superstar who loves Idol.“
Lopez, along with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, joined the competition in season 10, but left after two seasons. They were replaced by Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, who joined Urban and Jackson on the panel. After missing last season for her Dance Again tour, Lopez said she missed the competition and was glad to be returning.
“I love this show and I’m glad to be back. Last year I went off and toured the whole world for the first time. It wasn’t the easiest thing to fit in this season of Idol, but I do love it so much… I did miss it,” Lopez said Wednesday at a press conference in Boston, where the show is holding its first auditions for season 13.
Lopez said she wasn’t worried about competition from other singing and talent contests.
“I don’t think about that kind of stuff so much. I leave that worry to other people – I have enough worry of my own. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I know we’re going to have a great time,” the 44-year-old singer said.
“It makes me feel good that there’s good feelings about American Idol. Because the show’s a great show and the focus is back where it’s supposed to be,” Lopez added. “It’s 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.”
Season 13 of American Idol will premiere in January 2014. In addition to Boston, auditions will be held in Atlanta, Austin, Detroit, Omaha, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco.