Claudia Winkleman's show The Piano announces season 3 change

claudia winkleman, mika and lang lang, the piano
Claudia Winkleman's show The Piano set for changemark bourdillon - Channel 4

Claudia Winkleman's show The Piano has announced a change for season 3.

Channel 4 has confirmed that pianist Lang Lang will be stepping down from his judging position on the reality competition after this year's Christmas special.

As a replacement, The Piano has lined up multi-instrumentalist Jon Batiste as a new judge alongside the returning Mika, and host Claudia, for season three.

Lang Lang's departure from the show has been put down to international commitments that will make it too difficult to film The Piano's next season.

"Being a mentor on The Piano and spending time with the talented pianists has been a true joy. The level of talent I have witnessed has been phenomenal, and it has been a privilege to see the love for playing the piano across the UK," the pianist said.

"I am going to miss Mika and Claudia terribly, but am very much looking forward to being reunited with them later this year filming the Christmas special."

His replacement Jon Batiste won an Oscar, a Grammy Award and a BAFTA Film Award for his score of Disney and Pixar's film Soul.

Jon has worked with high-profile artists like Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey and Beyoncé, and served as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert from 2015 to 2022.

"I am so happy to be a mentor on The Piano and to witness the pianists for the new series express themselves on the instrument I've dedicated my life to," he said.

"This show will bring together my unique history of performing in both train stations and concert halls. No matter where, I always have believed that music at its best creates community and brings folks together in divided times.

claudia winkleman, mika and lang lang, the piano
Claudia Winkleman, Mika and Lang LangChannel 4

"It will be a massive joy to do just that all around the UK train stations with the piano and new talent. In collaboration with Mika, an incredible songwriter and musician and Claudia with her own inimitable style, I can't wait for all the thrilling musical experiences ahead.”

Lang Lang's appearance in The Piano's Christmas special will see the contestants from season 2 performing carols for passers-by at a train station.

Before the second season's launch, Claudia admitted she had doubts about making more of The Piano after its first season, but it has continued to be a big hit for Channel 4 with an average of 2.1 million viewers across season two.

The Piano will return to Channel 4 for a Christmas special later this year, and then season 3 will air in 2025.

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