Harry Connick Jr. finally becomes an American Idol judge

Harry Connick Jr. will be American Idol 13‘s third and final judge, along with returning judge Keith Urban and former judge Jennifer Lopez. Fox hasn’t confirmed yet, but The Hollywood Reporter says it’s a done deal, and Ryan Seacrest is being the tease he is and promising that judge news is coming soon.

The casting of Harry Connick Jr. follows literally years of speculation and rumors and hopes and dreams that he’d join the panel. He’s been offered and turned down the job before, citing his schedule, and conversations about him joining the show for more than an episode range from back when Simon Cowell left to speculation this spring.

The singer has always been great as a mentor, and hopefully that’ll translate to his judging. But it says something about the state of American Idol that it’s best and most exciting decision so far is really old news.

Update: Tuesday morning, Fox confirmed this and the rest of its baffling casting, including the return of Randy Jackson. In the press release, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly’s press release quote writer announced the new cast like this:

“American Idol has always been about discovering the next singing superstar, and next season our judging panel will deliver a most impressive combination of talent, wisdom and personality to do just that: Jennifer Lopez, the triple-threat global superstar who loves Idol and whom Idol fans love; Harry Connick, Jr., a bona-fide musical genius and fantastic Idolmentor whose honesty and expertise can help turn these hopefuls into stars; Keith Urban, a multi-Grammy-winning artist who was such a positive force on the show last season. We are also very excited to have our friend Randy Jackson now in a new role as mentor, and the captain of our team — the heart and soul of Idol — Ryan Seacrest returning as host.”

Randy said, “The original talent show is back with a vengeance,” but it was JLo who most accurately summed it up, tweeting “#IDOL2014TheRemix.” It really is a remix–of the most unexciting parts of the show.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.