Harry Connick Jr. joins ‘American Idol’ as judge
New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. will sit alongside singer-actress Jennifer Lopez and country music star Keith Urban as a judge for “American Idol’s” 13th season.
“I have always been a huge fan of ‘American Idol’ and really enjoyed my time as a mentor on the show,” Connick said in a statement released Tuesday.
“I am honored that they’ve asked me to be a judge this season,” he continued. “As an entertainer, I am truly excited to bring my perspective to ‘American Idol’ and to help emerging performers find their way.”
Kevin Reilly, Fox Broadcasting Company chairman of entertainment, welcomed Connick to the show, describing the Grammy- and Emmy-winning singer, pianist, songwriter and actor as a “musical genius and fantastic ‘Idol’ mentor whose honesty and expertise can help turn these hopefuls into stars.”
Ryan Seacrest will return as the show’s host, and former “Idol” judge Randy Jackson, a Baton Rouge native, will return as in-house mentor.
“I am so happy to be back as part of this amazing show that started it all,” Jackson said in a statement.
The “American Idol” team will travel to auditions in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Detroit, Omaha, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. The show debuts in January.
Connick grew up steeped in his hometown’s music. His teachers included pianists James Booker and Ellis Marsalis. Connick began performing at 5 and signed with Columbia Records at 19 following his move to New York.
Connick achieved his first mainstream success with the multiplatinum soundtrack album for the 1989 romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally. ...” He has released 29 albums and sold 28 million units worldwide.
Columbia released the singer’s latest album, “Every Man Should Know,” in June. Connick wrote, arranged and conducted the genre-melding project, recording it at The Music Shed in New Orleans, Capitol Studios in Hollywood and Ocean Way in Nashville.