Harry Connick Jr. To Be an ‘Idol’ Judge Again

Harry Connick Jr.

Getty Singer Harry Connick Jr. during season 15 of 'American Idol'

Grammy-winning singer Harry Connick Jr., who served as a judge on “American Idol” from 2014 to 2016, surprised fans with the announcement he’s returning to the “Idol” judging table this fall — with a twist. Connick Jr. will be joining other celebrities as a judge for an Australian version of “Idol” slated to kick off in early 2023.

Singer Says He’s ‘So Excited’ To Judge Again

Former 'American Idol' judges with

Getty“American Idol” cast Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, host Ryan Seacrest and Harry Connick Jr. in 2014

The day after ABC brought its “American Idol” judges — Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan — back together to celebrate their sixth season as a trio, it was announced that Connick Jr. will also return to the judging table, but on the Australian version of “Idol.”

“American Idol” launched in 2002, based on a British version of the show called “Pop Idol,” which only lasted two years. The American series airs in many places around the world, but there are also versions of the show that are specific to the country in which they air.

“Australian Idol” aired for seven seasons, from 2003 to 2009, but is returning on a new network in 2023, much like “American Idol” moved from FOX to ABC in 2018 after a one-year hiatus. On September 27, 2022, Connick Jr. tweeted the news about his excitement over becoming a judge again as the show makes a comeback in Australia.

“I’m looking forward to hearing all the new talent,” Connick Jr. said in a press release about the new show. “I love the camaraderie with the judges, the excitement of the crowd and the fun of it all. I love the idea of musical competition; it forces performers to focus on a bunch of things that contribute to their development as artists.”

During his three years on “American Idol,” Connick Jr. quickly became known for being the toughest judge since Simon Cowell, unafraid to give blunt critiques to certain contestants. On his website, he said he never regretted being honest with young singers on the show.

“Sometimes that’s the best thing that these kids can hear is the truth,” he said. “In fact, at all times that’s the best thing they can hear… And I would want to be told or I would want my friends or children to be told the absolute truth. I think you can be diplomatic about it, but you also have to be real. You have to tell it like it is.”

Meghan Trainor Will Join the Judges’ Panel, Too

Connick Jr. won’t be the only judge flying at least 14 hours to get to work. Singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor will also be on the panel and said she’s honored to be involved because she grew up watching “American Idol.”

“I can’t wait to sit front row and meet new talent,” she said in the press release. “I haven’t been to Australia since 2015, so I’m really excited to get to see the whole country and basically get to live there!”

Two other judges on “Australian Idol” will join Connick Jr. and Trainor: popular Australian radio broadcaster Kyle Sandilands and pop singer Amy Shark, who’s had some crossover success in the U.S.

Meanwhile, it’ll take two people to fill Ryan Seacrest’s shoes. The show’s hosts will be singer Ricki-Lee, who won the Australian competition 18 years ago, and Scott Tweedie, who was a host on E! News in New York for several years but has returned to his native Australia.

In Australia, they’ll be holding live auditions across the country this fall rather than the virtual try-outs that “American Idol” has transitioned to in recent years.

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