All three American Idol judges will return

American Idol 14 will have the same judges panel as the 13th season, as Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., and Keith Urban are all returning. Ryan Seacrest will also host once again. None of this is a big surprise, and indicates that the show will likely tread the same waters it did this past season.

In a Fox press release, FremantleMedia North America entertainment president Trish Kinane called them “our dream team” and said they are “one of Idol’s strongest-ever judging panels.”

Not to nitpick a press release quote, but I’ll nitpick her quote and point out that she said “one of,” as in, there have been other strong panels and/or stronger ones. This panel is absolutely better than the Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey fiasco, which may explain why they’re staying.

Also in the press release, creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said, Their interaction, warmth and experience made them an absolute joy to watch.” That’s exactly right. The show dropped significantly in the ratings this year, and it’s kind of an aging ship that really can’t or won’t completely reinvent itself beyond the mostly cosmetic changes from this past season. But it has the best possible crew at this stage.

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.