After quitting American Idol on two separate occasions, Randy Jackson may be returning to the show for a third time. Jackson announced last May that he would not be returning to American Idol as a judge for Season 13, but he may be appearing on the show as a mentor. The Idol staple could reportedly replace music producer Jimmy Iovine as the in-house mentor.
Deadline.com reports that Iovine is leaving his post, which he has held for the past three seasons, as an in-house mentor for American Idol. Fox chairman Kevin Reilly revealed earlier this month that Jackson “will be back in some capacity” for Season 13, calling him a friend of the show. The mentor position would be on-camera, making Jackson and Seacrest the only on-air talent for American Idol to have been on the show since the first season in 2002. Jackson also quit the show in August 2012, but signed on again as a judge just days after that announcement.
The news comes hot on the heels of rumors that Jennifer Lopez will be returning to the show as a judge for Season 13. Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey have already indicated they will not return to the panel this season, leaving J.Lo primed to take one of their spots. While Fox has not made any official announcements, J.Lo's boyfriend, Casper Smart, confirmed that she will be appearing on the show. Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of contract negotiations and will receive $15 million for her season of work.
Keith Urban has already confirmed that he will be back as a judge for Season 13, making him the only judge from last season to return to the panel. The news was confirmed by Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly, who described Urban as a “funny guy” who “fans really liked.” Reilly said that Idol wants to make sure that the focus is on the contestants this time around, and not on the bickering between the judges. “It really became too much about the judges,” he said. “We want some comfortable judges to make it comfortable to view.”
The show will also be going back to its old three-judge format for next season, which means that only one spot still needs to be filled. It’s been reported that will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will take the final judging spot for American Idol, but no announcements have confirmed the news.