updated 09/03/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/03/2013 AT 11:00 AM ET
Jenny’s back on the block at American Idol and she’ll have a new neighbor.
“It was so hard for me to leave the first time,” says Jennifer Lopez of her return as a judge, adding it also won’t be easy coming back because of her busy schedule.
“To be honest right now is the worst time for me to stop and do Idol,” she tells the show’s host, Ryan Seacrest, on his radio show Tuesday. “I m doing two movies and I have my album coming out, but I m doing it because I want to. I love it.”
“I have always been a huge fan of American Idol and really enjoyed my time as a mentor on the show,” Connick says in a statement. “And I am honored that they ve asked me to be a judge this season. As an entertainer, I am truly excited to bring my perspective to American Idol, and to help emerging performers find their way.
Randy Jackson, who after 12 years as a judge left the show in May, will return as an in-house mentor.
The judges start work this week in Boston. The season begins in January.