"American Idol" may have got back the formula that made it so loved by fans in its earlier years. Met at Z100's Jingle Ball in New York City on Friday, December 13, newly added judge Harry Connick Jr. claimed the upcoming season 13 would be better than the last installment.
Saying that he watched the show every year since the first season, the actor/singer admitted that the 12th season "was a little bit off." He quickly added, "But this year it's going to get back on track but it's got to be about the contestants. I think we are all concerned about finding the best contestant."
Longtime host Ryan Seacrest, meanwhile, assured that the reality show vet would be drama free this time. "The judges are so fun and they are having such a good time and they are getting along so well that I think you will see your old 'American Idol' back on the air," he said.
Expecting to lure audience back, he added, "I will say this to those who have watched the show throughout the years and maybe they didn't watch last year. I ask them to come back and give it another shot this year."
Connick Jr. additionally said that he got so comfortable with his role on "Idol". "I am so intimately familiar with how the process works. I have been there a couple of times as a mentor so it feels kind of like it should feel," he shared.
As for his judging style, he insisted that he's nothing like Simon Cowell. "I think he is fantastic but we do not have a lot in common," he said, adding that he and fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban tried to give constructive feedback to the contestants. "You have to be specific. You can't tell people 'I didn't like it.' You have to tell them why," he explained.
"It's hard to do that if you don't have a lot of background in actually playing an instrument and performing, and that is what I do, so it's very easy for me to pull from personal experience [and explain] why people aren't doing as well as they could and help them get to the next level, because they are young."
He sang praises to the other judges, "Jen and Keith are incredibly well-qualified to be sitting up there. They are superstars and incredible talents, so hopefully the three of us will provide something fresh and exciting."
"American Idol" season 13 will premiere January 15 on FOX. Randy Jackson will return not as a judge, but as the in-house mentor.