We won’t even begin to know until January 2014 if the latest attempt to salvage American Idol will work, but FOX producers have attempted yet another publicity-grabbing shakeup while setting the show’s celebrity lineup for season 13.
After ditching season 12 judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and mainstay Randy Jackson and retaining only country star Keith Urban, AI has returned to having three judging chairs instead of four. The show will bring back Jennifer Lopez—who judged in seasons 10 and 11—and welcome music producer Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), reports E! Online, though the network has not yet confirmed that latest bit of news. (Though Jackson’s “dawg” has left the Coke-infused judging table, it turns out he’ll still roam the show, replacing Jimmy Lovine as the in-house mentor, according to Deadline.)
The ratings for American Idol have fallen steadily since Simon Cowell left after Season 9. Prior to his departure, the show had enjoyed five seasons in a row of 30-million-plus viewers and one season of nearly that many. By comparison, Season 10 saw only 26 million and Season 11 fell to 21 million. Last year’s Season 12 had just 18 million viewers, with only 12 million for the show’s finale.
Dr. Luke made a name for himself as part of the Saturday Night Band and by working with Bon Jovi. He later wrote and produced songs for Pink, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Flo Rida, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Minaj and past Idol winner Kelly Clarkson. Starting Jan. 15, 2014, audiences will now be able to watch him try to work that magic on Idol‘s mess of thousands of would-be stars.
And, despite all the shakeups on at the show, those who love aspiring singers but dislike change can rest assured: Ryan Seacrest will return as host.
UPDATE 8/27: Reports have now surfaced that a contract Dr. Luke signed with Sony Music presents a conflict of interest with American Idol‘s goal of bringing singers to Universal Music Group, and that the time commitment involved in the show would take him away from other projects. This has led Dr. Luke to back out of American Idol.