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JUN
26
2 YEARS

'American Idol' Season 13: Ray Chew Will Return

The Fox show's bandleader won't follow producer Nigel Lythgoe and judge Randy Jackson out the door.

Ray Chew March 2013 P
Michael Becker / Fox
Ray Chew

American Idol might be making many changes next season, but one thing remains consistent: Ray Chew will return.

“That’s my plan,” Chew told The Hollywood Reporter at Tuesday night's Recording Academy Honors in New York City. “We’ve had some wonderful talks so everything is pointing in the right direction.”

Chew’s band returning to the fold is good news for female viewers because it means more airtime for 27-year-old guitarist Brady Cohan.

“Oh, he’ll be back. If he’s in my band, he’ll be playing,” Chew said of the guitarist, whose credits include touring with Cee-Lo Green, Queen Latifah and Natalie Cole. “Plus, he’s such a great musician. That’s the reason he’s come into my fold, because he’s such a tremendous musician.”

At the Recording Academy Honors, Chew -- who backed Melissa Etheridge, Joan Osborne, Sugarland’s Kristian Bush and Valerie Simpson onstage -- said that he will miss departing producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick.

VIDEO: 'American Idol' Season 12 Exit Interviews

“Ken and Nigel did such a great job over the last 12 seasons, and they set the standard for all the other shows,” he said. “I think in tribute to all of the work that they’ve done, they turned it over to the next set of producers to try to build on what they did. If you can’t do anything better, try to do something different. “

He said he is looking to the future with new executive producer Per Blankens, formerly of Swedish Idol. With Blankens in place, can viewers expect a Max Martin- or ABBA-themed evening?

“You never know, it could happen,” Chew said. “I know that all of the song selections will be vetted through an executive committee and Fox. Everybody chimes in on that stuff. I’ll have my hand in there and make sure he has my full support for the next 10 years.”

STORY: 'American Idol' Winners, Alums Share Randy Jackson Memories

As for last season’s crop of singers, Chew said he believes that the top three finalists -- Candice Glover, Kree Harrison and Angie Miller -- are all primed for “good careers.”

“People love all of them, and they are different,” he said. “It’s not like they are all the same fabric.”

In the Idol offseason, Chew said he is going to be a very busy man. He is set to serve as director of the BET Awards this Sunday, and he is working with two future recording artists, including a 19-year-old singer named Stnaj.

“You are going to hear a lot about him,” Chew says.

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile, @Idol_Worship