"I think this year might bring everybody back into the fold." That's what Harry Connick Jr. told USA Today about the upcoming season of American Idol.
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I actually wasn't aware that anyone was out of the fold, but whatever. Connick seems like he knows what he's talking about, and that his heart's in the right place for joining the judges' table on the 13-year-old talent show.
He'll be joining Keith Urban, who is on his second season of Idol, and Jennifer Lopez, who is back after taking a year off. Mariah Carey and Nikki Minaj have both left the show.
And I don't know if I'm being overly optimistic, but feel like this new group of judges is just like-minded enough to be great friends, and just unique enough to bring different things to that table. Plus, Connick seems like he's already struck up a solid friendship with Urban.
"Keith's a really bright guy, a genuine guy. He's one of those dudes you'd go have a beer with," Connick said of his fellow judge. (Perhaps a cup of coffee, instead, since Urban has been sober since 2007.)
"I hadn't seen him in a few weeks, but I saw him Sunday night, and we jumped in right where we left off, just laughing and joking," Connick added. "I love being on the panel with him, because he says things I don't think of. That's what you want: three people who have experience, who can come at it from three different angles."
It sounds like Connick will have a lot of questions for each one of the contestants, besides the obvious "Can you sing?"
"But how do you deal with nerves? How do you deal with stage fright? How intimidated are you by other performers, by the process? How quickly can you think on your feet? If you forget a line, what do you do? These are all things that will surface for these performers," Connick said.