The new “American Idol” judges panel is up and running for Season 13 and on Thursday (Oct. 3), they join former “Idol” judge Ellen DeGeneres live on her talk show from the auditions in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jennifer Lopez on why she came back and Harry Connick Jr. on why he joined the panel this year…

Ellen: “Jen, was it easy for you to decide to come back, to return?”

Jennifer: “Um, it was actually a difficult decision because I had a lot of stuff going on. It was going to be hard to fit it in. To be really honest, I just love the show and I love working with the singers and I love the family here.  And, this [points to Keith and Harry] is working really great. So yeah, we’re having a great time. So at the end of the day everything that’s meant to be happens.”

Ellen: “I’m glad you’re back and I’ve told you before I think you always gave great notes. I think you’re fantastic on the panel so I’m glad you’re back … Keith, you know I love you, Harry…um…”

Harry: “It’s always strained with Ellen. It’s always strained.”

Ellen: “Last time you were here you made news because I said you would be great on ‘Idol’ and you know Harry, I tried to get you when I was doing it. I wanted you to come and join the panel because I thought you would be great.  When you were here last I said you should do the show, let me remind you. Let’s take a look at what you said…”

[Plays recap clip of Harry’s last appearance on “Ellen” in May when he said, “I’ve [mentored] twice and I had so much fun … but I haven’t actually had a talk. And then I see online I’m in talks. … I haven’t talked to anybody.”]

Ellen: “So how long have you been a liar?”

Harry: “I can’t believe I’m sitting up here. Ellen, we’ve talked about it before. I’m a huge fan of ‘American Idol’ … to be sitting up here with Ryan, who I really think is the best, and Jennifer, who is beyond belief. The more I get to know her the more I love and respect her. And — I’m sorry, you are?

Keith Urban: Keith

Harry: And, Keith, he’s a nice man …

Host Ryan Seacrest adds that the new judges panel is something everybody will like and that he’s still having fun after all these years: “It’s great, I love this show. .. I’m so proud of what this show has done over the years.”

“American Idol” Season 13 premieres on FOX in Jan. 14, 2014.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."