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Simon Cowell Picks Harry Connick Jr. as New 'Idol' Judge

July 8, 2010, 4:36 am GMT

The original judge 'wouldn't be surprised' if the TV bosses would eventually select the musician as his replacement over other candidates.

Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr. has been tipped as the favorite to take over Simon Cowell's role as a judge on "American Idol" by the star himself - the music mogul insists the crooner is "a great mentor".

Connick, Jr. joined Brett Michaels and former reality show contestant Adam Lambert as a top contender for the job after he mentored the finalists for an episode on the latest season of the show, before Cowell quit in May.

But Cowell admits Connick, Jr. has the edge over his competitors. He tells America's OK! magazine, "I wouldn't be surprised if it was Harry Connick, Jr. He was a great mentor when he was on, and he knows music."

Late last month, Michaels hinted that he was the frontrunner. He said, "We have a meeting in L.A. in a couple weeks and we're going to sit down and talk. They did a poll and I think it was Madonna, P. Diddy, Howard Stern, and myself, and I took 50 percent or 60 percent of the vote and that's tremendous. I would love to be a judge on American Idol. I think I would bring a lot to the table."

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