Home Celebrity “American Idol” Settles for Harry Connick Jr After Everyone Turns Them Down

The only person who’d agree to be an “American Idol” judge was finally named one tonight. Harry Connick, Jr. auditioned last spring for a spot on “Idol” but was dismissed by Simon Fuller. Instead, Fuller and co. flipped through a bunch of possibilities, from Jennifer Hudson and several former “Idol” winners to producer “Dr. Luke” and Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun. The word was that Sean “Diddy” Combs turned them down.

And now, with minutes to spare before the auditions process begins, “Idol” was forced to go back to Connick, the guy they should have hired in the first place. Connick adds class and wit to the judge’s panel. He joins Keith Urban, who acquitted himself very well last season, and Jennifer Lopez, who looks good even if she’s not an actual singer. What “Idol” doesn’t really have is rock and roll — Urban is country — or actual R&B. it would be nice to see a male African American join the group. It’s hard to believe that Seal wasn’t free.

Anyway, Randy Jackson will move to a mentor’s role. Maybe in time he’ll go back to the judges’ table. “Idol” is the victim of age–it’s old, the audience is old, and the ratings last spring were on a huge downward trend. This could be the final year. The long knives will certainly be out. But Harry Connick Jr is a good choice. Surprising though: he records for Sony/Columbia and technically, they’re the enemy. Universal Music has the deal with “Idol” for all the artists.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
3 replies to this post
  1. Oh, please, Roger! Connick is a relic of the 90s and is going to do nothing to court a younger audience to the show. This is one more nail in Idol’s coffin.

  2. I may be nuts to ask this, but did anybody consider that Linda Ronstadt, who tragically will not likely ever sing again, might know a little bit about music??? She’s made a point to sing virtually every genre and done most of them very well. Yes, I suppose her condition could potentially be a distraction (or totally prevent her from appearing) but I haven’t heard her mentioned once.

  3. For the moment, this will suffice. But they should have gone for a producer or songwriter (Paul Anka?) even another singer like Gladys Knight who judges the Apollo show. I wanted to see Peggy Blu (the coach from hell) on the panel, she’s a riot.

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