Rumors have been swirling for weeks now that two-time American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez would be returning for season 13. Will she or won’t she? We finally have an answer. Also in today’s Roundup, departing executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is talking about being fired and his advice for hiring new judges. And Kelly Clarkson just debuted a new country song at the CMA Music Festival.

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Jennifer Lopez Not Returning to Idol

There have been two big rumors surrounding the future judging panel in recent weeks: one of them is that former contestants are going to become judges, and the other is whether or not Jennifer Lopez would return for season 13.

In various interviews recently, she’s done nothing but fuel the flames of these rumors by saying it’s always a possibility but who knows what’ll happen, including on Ryan Seacrest‘s radio show. She said, “I don’t know what’s happening over there, I don’t know. We will see. I’m always open to the infinite possibilities that the universe has to offer. So you never know.”

But a source is now telling E! Online, “It’s not happening,” and that whatever plans FOX had in mind (whether it was with Jennifer Lopez or former contestants) have “grinded to a halt” with the recent hiring of a new executive producer.

Nigel Lythgoe on Being Fired: “I Have No Complaints”

Speaking of the executive producer, the network just hired Per Blankens as the new EP in charge of running the singing competition series, replacing Nigel Lythgoe (and Ken Warwick) as the showrunner. Blankens has previous Idol experience, having served in the same position for over five years on Swedish Idol.

In a statement, Lythgoe said, “I am truly saddened to be leaving a great team of friends and colleagues. However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to maintain this incredible platform for America’s young talent. This will only happen with the success of the program. If the executives that are now in charge of American Idol believe that the ratings will improve with my departure, I have no complaints. It has been a great ride and I’ve loved every moment of it.”

He elaborated on his statement during an interview with E!, and said he has no inside knowledge regarding former contestants returning as judges. But he said that regardless of who’s on the panel, it’s all about chemistry: “I believe in getting people together, testing their chemistry, which is what I did with Randy, Paula and Simon. After that, whoever you bring in is a risk because we saw it happen before. It’s one of those things, you don’t know how anybody’s going to be as a judge. You could be the greatest singer in the world, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be a good judge.” This final comment sounds like a dig at Mariah Carey. But speaking of Randy, Paula and Simon, Lythgoe believes that “maybe they should” bring back the original trio. Do you agree?

Kelly Clarkson Debuts Country Song “Tie It Up”

Even though Kelly Clarkson is a pop/rock artist, she has delved into country music a handful of times over the years, starting with a Reba McEntire duet of “Because of You,” then “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Jason Aldean and most recently “Don’t Rush” featuring Vince Gill. And now she’s doing it again, but this time it’s not a duet — she’s on her own.

Her new country single is called “Tie It Up,” and she just performed it for the first time at the 2013 CMA Music Festival. Check it out below:

What I like about the song is that even though it’s a different genre than she normally does, she’s still belting it out like only she can.

“Tie It Up” is not available on iTunes yet, but I’m sure it will be soon. And the CMA Music Fest is set to air August 12 at 8pm on ABC.

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(Image courtesy of WENN)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.