Steven Tyler, J. Lo Exit 'Idol'
July 12, 2012 — He began to look pretty bored this season anyway. But Fox's announcement that Steven Tyler is leaving American Idol after two years as a judge nonetheless went against the prevailing grain that Jennifer Lopez would be the first to jump.
The Aerosmith lead singer put it colorfully Thursday, saying in a publicity release, "I've decided it's time for me to let go of my mistress, American ldol, before she boils my rabbit. I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I'm back — but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I've got two fists in the air and I'm kicking the door open with my band."
Tyler added that his next few years "are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass — the ultimate in auditory takeover … Idol was over-the-top fun, and I loved every minute of it. Now it's time to bring rock back."
Fox alternative president Mike Darnell pronounced himself "very sad that Steven has chosen to focus more on his music, but we always knew when we hired a rock 'n' roll legend, he would go back to the music."
Season 12 of Idol won't return until January, so there's ample time to fill Tyler's spangled shoes. One or both of his former Idol mates, Lopez and charter judge Randy Jackson, also could be leaving as Fox hopes to restore momentum to a competition that slumped significantly in the ratings this past season. However, it remained prime-time's most-watched entertainment series despite the shortfall.
July 13, 2012 — On the (high) heels of Steven Tyler's official departure announcement Thursday, Jennifer Lopez said Friday that she too is ending her days as an American Idol judge.
Her venue was the Los Angeles radio show of Idol host Ryan Seacrest. "The time has come," she told him. "It just started feeling like it's a lot. Something had to give."
Tyler said he was leaving to be a full-time member of Aerosmith. Lopez cited similar career reasons after Seacrest told her, "You're breaking up with me."
"I honestly feel the time has come to get back to do what I do," she said. "I have put it on hold because I love Idol so much. You have a lot of other responsibilities and other things you want to do."
"We had an amazing run," she added.
Fox has yet to issue an official release on Lopez's departure. She joined the show in 2011 in tandem with Tyler after alpha male Simon Cowell exited Idol to begin ramping up his own singing competition, The X Factor. That show returns for Season 2 in September with a pair of new judges, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, in place of the fired former Idol judge Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.
Idol seemed re-invigorated in its first post-Cowell season, with Tyler regularly running off the rails while Lopez stated her love for one and all while always looking stunning. But the past season sagged significantly in the ratings, even though Idol's weekly "performance" show reclaimed its position as prime-time's most-watched entertainment series. (NBC's Sunday Night Football ranked No. 1, with CBS' NCIS placing a close third behind Idol's performance shows and ahead of Idol's results shows.)
The ever-grinding rumor mill says that Idol's only remaining charter judge, Randy Jackson, also might be dispatched to a "mentor" role. If so, that's three seats to fill all at once, which is undeniably perilous for a show that had the same three judges in place for its first eight juggernaut seasons.
Season 12, which as usual will launch in January, will retain Seacrest as host amid a sea of rumored judge possibilities. The names in the hopper include Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert, will.i.am, Fergie, Charlie Sheen and even Jerry Lewis (surely a joke).
Both Tyler and Lopez used Idol to rejuvenate both their singing careers and celebrity clout. But once you're back on top, being a judge can be both extraneous and too time-consuming.
Read more by Ed Bark at unclebarky.com