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‘American Idol’ Lures Musical Director Rickey Minor Back From ‘Tonight Show’

After two years, the late-night bandleader is returning to the Fox talent competition

Rickey Minor is returning to Fox’s “American Idol” for Season 13.

He will be leaving his two-year-long position as bandleader at NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to become “Idol’s” musical director once again.

MInor left “Idol” in 2010 after its ninth season. With Jimmy Fallon moving into the hosting role on the NBC late-night show in February, the time was right to make his exit. Plus, he happened to hit it off with new “Idol” producers Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager of Den of Thieves while working on the VH1 Divas concert last December.

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“They asked if I would be interested in being a part of the team again,” he told THR. “I was like, ‘Yeah!’ I really love working with those guys.”

Minor’s return also means that the Ray Chew Live band won’t be returning to “Idol.” It also means that he’ll be coming back to a very different place — different judges, different producers. And they’re all trying to figure out how to stop “Idol’s” dwindling viewership.

What will Minor do differently this time around? It sounds as if he would actually do things the way he did them back in the good days.

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“[It’s about] bringing in a strong, live element and really making distinct arrangements based around the contestants,” he said. “Because a great song is a great song, but make it contemporary and original, like we did with Adam Lambert and David Cook and all the artists where we helped them find their voice. That’s really the key. … Our mission is to help them find their voice and surround them by an arrangement that really supports their voice and them as an artist.”

A “Tonight Show” representative didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.