Looks as if ”American Idol” is still searching for a third judge.
A day after E! Online reported that the songwriter-producer Dr. Luke had “officially signed on,” the website is now saying he has backed out because of a conflict of interest.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, signed a deal with Sony Music in 2011 to start his own label imprint, Kemosabe. Developing talent as a judge for “American Idol” for Sony’s competitor, Universal Music Group, which holds the exclusive rights to “Idol” recordings, would have created a conflict.
“It appears that in the 11th hour, Sony may have stepped in,” M.J. Santilli, who writes MJs Big Blog about the show, told ABCNews.com.
A source close to Dr. Luke told THR that Dr. Luke had concluded that being a judge on “American Idol” would have demanded too much of his time. “He really loves his artists and wants to build up the label,” the source told THR.
Dr. Luke’s rep did not immediately respond to ABCNews.com’s request for comment. But the hitmaker may have hinted at his decision on Twitter.
He wrote on Twitter last night, “Unfortunately, I can’t be in two places at the same time …”
Gottwald has written hits for the likes of Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Pink and Britney Spears. He started his career as lead guitarist for the “Saturday Night Live” house band.
He had been expected to join Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez at the judges’ table, although Fox has yet to confirm J-Lo.
Now “Idol” appears to be short one judge just days before the judges are to begin the audition rounds in September and October.
Santilli believes the show will have to fill in with guest judges until it can sign a third person, something it did during the ninth season when Ellen DeGeneres joined the show.
“Or heck, they may just decide to bring Randy Jackson back,” Santilli said. “There’s no killing that guy off. This is a guy who will survive anything.”
It was reported last week that Jackson would replace Jimmy Iovine as the “American Idol” mentor, but there’s been no official announcement on that front.