BEVERLY HILLS -- As it turns out, the "American Idol" judges panel won't be starting completely from scratch next January.
Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said on Thursday that country singing star Keith Urban will return to the panel as the only holdover from a tumultuous Season 12.
"He's a funny guy and people really liked him," Reilly told reporters at the TV critics press tour. "I don't think he got a chance to let his personality shine through (last season)."
Indeed, Urban was overshadowed by feuding judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, both of whom have departed, along with longtime arbiter Randy Jackson. It was generally assumed that "Idol" would make a clean sweep of the panel, but Urbanmanaged to survive the carnage.
As for the rest of the panel, it's still a blank slate with Reilly claiming there is nothing new to report. He did confirm that Fox has had talks with Jennifer Lopez about returning to the show, but "no deal is in place."
As for the overall makeup of the panel, Reilly said, "We want comfortable judges who make it comfortable to view. ... And we want to return the focus to the contestants."
Later in the day, E! Online reported that, according to a source close to the show, will.i.am was being considered for a spot on the "Idol" panel.