Keith Urban coming back to 'Idol,' Jennifer Hudson's future uncertain

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While Fox entertainment head Kevin Reilly wouldn’t rule out Jennifer Hudson joining the “American Idol” judges table next season, he hinted that the widely reported scenario might not come to be.

Hudson and Adam Lambert were among the “Idol” alums who were being talked about as potential judges for the Fox singing competition’s upcoming season 13.

When asked about Hudson and Lambert specifically at the TV critics press tour Thursday, Reilly responded: “There have been conversations with all of them. We’d love the alumni to return to the show in some fashion, but there were availability issues and trying to line up what felt right.”

Reilly said conversations have also been had with former judge Jennifer Lopez, who bailed from the series in 2012 after two seasons.

J Lo would come with a hefty price tag, which could knock someone like Hudson out of the running for a show that’s had a substantial decline in viewers in recent years. The Wrap recently reported that Hudson had struck a deal with producers to be a judge for between $4 and $5.5 million, but the contract was never finalized and is open-ended, meaning it could be dismissed.

With ratings eroding at a fast clip, “Idol” needs to reinvent itself to lure more eyeballs. “Idol” added the diva duo of Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj as judges last season, but that experiment didn’t pay off.

“It really became too much about the judges,” Reilly said, adding — once again — that the focus needs to be on the contestants. (That refrain is starting to feel like a broken record when it comes to TV music shows. I’m looking at you, “X Factor.”) “I just want to find chemistry that feels comfortable and right for the show and not have that be the issue.”

One familiar face who will be back next year: Keith Urban. Reilly confirmed Thursday that the country singer will return as judge.

And long-time “Idol” fixture Randy Jackson, while he won’t be a judge, will be back to some degree.

“I’m sure Randy will be back in some capacity at the very least as friend-of-show, certainly guest spots, absolutely,” Reilly said.

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