American Idol XIV will welcome back all three judges from its past season: Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, along with show host Ryan Seacrest.
“Their interaction, warmth and experience made them an absolute joy to watch," says show creator Simon Fuller. "I can't wait to see their evolution together continue next season.”
This is the third consecutive season for country idol Urban, who says the show actually helps him perform his day job better. The singer explains that being in viewers' living rooms twice a week boosts the familiarity factor at his concerts.
"All I want to do is get to know everybody at a gig," he tells Rolling Stone Country. "All I want to do is come out and play and make a connection. [Idol] already does that, they see me in so many different facets, they see the real me."
And the real Urban has a good sense of humor. He and Connick often trade jabs on the show, even imitating one another every now and then. The country star also throws in some inside jokes to generate laughter back home in Nashville.
"I started this thing with some radio guys and guys at my record company: They give me a word every week that I have to slip into my critiques," Urban reveals. "They text me the word on a Wednesday and I have to figure out how to get that said that night. And they'll text things like 'wasabi,' 'fanny pack,' 'shish kebab'…"
Auditions for American Idol XIV begin June 25th in New Orleans, also making stops in Nashville, San Francisco and Uniondale, New York. Additionally, the show's bicoastal bus tour revs up July 9th in both Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon. Budding talent can also submit auditions online through social media, using the hashtag #TheNextIdol. Find out more about auditions here.