Harry Connick Jr.

As American Idol's 12th season winds down towards the May 16 finale, speculation is growing about another judging shakeup, and a serious contender has now entered the race.

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Crooner Harry Connick, Jr. confirmed to reporters after Thursday's results show that he has been talking with producers about joining next year's panel. "They wanted to know if I would be interested and it's a blast, but I don't know, it's hard to make a commitment like that," Connick said backstage.

The actor and performer, who will release a new album called Every Man Should Know on June 11, served as an opinionated mentor to the Top 4 contestants this week and even had a heated argument at the judge's table with Randy Jackson during Wednesday's live show. "You need to be completely honest and diplomatic," Connick said of his judging method. "There's no reason to be mean, but it's called being a judge. You have to judge, that's what you do."

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Connick previously mentored contestants during Season 9 and confirms he was also offered the role back then but declined because "it didn't work out, there were a lot of things going on on their side and my side." But his connection to Idol goes all the way back to Season 1, where he was an audience member for Kelly Clarkson's victory. "I'm a big fan of the show, and Justin Guarini looked and waved at me!" he said with a laugh. As for what monetary amount it would take him to sign on, Connick jokingly revealed "600 million dollars!"

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