The American Idol season 13 judges panel is starting to come together.
A source close to the dealings tells The Hollywood Reporter that former finalist Jennifer Hudson is in negotiations to fill one of the three seats. Vulture had previously reported that she was in the running as part of an all-alumni panel, which would also include season one winner Kelly Clarkson and possibly Clay Aiken, runner-up on season two and Celebrity Apprentice star, or Adam Lambert, who came in second on season eight.
But a rep for Clarkson, whose wedding to Blake Shelton’s manager, Brandon Blackstock, is coming up later this year, tells THR, “Kelly will not be a judge on Idol.” And sources close to Lambert say his representatives have yet to be contacted by Idol brass, either from the network side or the production side. (Idol is produced by FremantleMedia in partnership with 19 Entertainment/CORE Media Group and Fox.)
A rep for Hudson and Fox would not comment.
Idol had previously considered going down an alumni route, suggesting (after a ho-hum ninth season) an all-star rematch where winners and former finalists would return to battle for the crown again. It’s worth noting that the first ex-contestant to say no was their No. 1 choice: Jennifer Hudson, who famously came in seventh on season three, only to win an Oscar two years later. The idea was quickly nixed, according to a well-placed source.
The new judges are typically revealed in September when taped auditions begin. Although all four season 12 panelists — Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey — are not expected to return, the only judge to officially announce his departure has been Jackson.
Speaking to THR earlier on Friday, departing Fox reality chief Mike Darnell elaborated on the tricky task of finding the perfect singing show judge. “If you’ve never done it before, we don’t know what we’re getting,” he said. “You might be great, you might be terrible. It’s a skill. … Everybody thinks they can do it but not everybody can.”
Darnell would neither confirm nor deny Hudson’s involvement in the show next year.