Harry Connick Jr. to Judge 'American Idol'? This Panel's Starting to Look Very Familiar...

After Fox announced that Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Randy Jackson would be leaving American Idol's judging panel, were you expecting a Season 13 full of surprises? Well, you're not going to get it.

According to Deadline, after producer Dr. Luke fell out of negotiations with Idol, Harry Connick Jr., has joined the short list of possible judges for the reality show singing series. Which, on the one hand, is great — not only is Connick the man who married vestibule squatter Jill Goodacre, but he's the singer-actor who has charmed us both on Will & Grace and on live television as an Idol mentor. But the news is disappointing on another hand — after all, as we mentioned, Connick has already served as an Idol mentor.

Back in May, the musician already fueled speculation that he might become a member of the judging panel after providing dramatic TV moments in a single two-hour episode. Though many decried Connick's musical belittling of some contestants (like Amber Holcomb, who admitted to not knowing the meaning behind "My Funny Valentine"), others celebrated the singer for his fight with Randy Jackson over Kree's song selection. (Hey, at least it provided drama that elevated above pointless Minaj and Carey battles.) If Idol's looking for moments, Connick certainly gave them one.

But we know exactly what he would bring to the table. We know exactly what Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez will bring to the table as well. And with Randy Jackson signed on to replace Jimmy Iovine as mentor, we're looking at an Idol Season 13 that looks a lot like Seasons 11 and 12. And guess what? Those weren't great seasons.

Because while the talent was tops — hello Phillip Phillips and Candice Glover! — the panel left something to be desired. Perhaps a combination of Urban's passion, Lopez's star power, and Connick's honesty will bring us close to the sweet spot that was American Idol Seasons 1 through 8, but, right now, there's little reason to check out the Season 13 premiere to see how the new judges fare.

That said, familiarity could be exactly what Idol needs. For four seasons, the series leaned on star wattage, hoping to lure in viewers with diva fights and chart-toppers, failing to focus on the one thing that makes Idol: Its contestants. There might be little reason to check out the judges during the Season 13 premiere, but, for once, is there reason to check out the contestants?

Image: FOX