Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez
In a return to a three-judge format, American Idol has named Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson its judges for Season 10.
"We always ask, 'Who's going to be the next American Idol?'" Ryan Seacrest said Wednesday at The Forum in Los Angeles. "We never ask, 'Who will be the new judges?'" After showing a montage of each judge's career, Seacrest introduced them, one by one, and welcomed them onstage.
Jackson came out first and declared the upcoming edition "Season 10: The Remix... It will be the greatest season of American Idol ever." Tyler took the stage next, letting lose his signature wail. He offered some advice to potential finalists, including the thousands in the building who were waiting to audition for producers: "Sing like you do when no one's looking." Lopez rose from the floor and told the crowd that she was "so excited to go on this journey" with them.
"We're looking for the best American Idol ever," she said.
Reports that the new lineup would include both Lopez and the Aerosmith frontman have been circulating since July, when Ellen DeGeneres resigned from the panel. Idol and Kara DioGuardi parted ways earlier this month, and Simon Cowell signed off in May.
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The pressure will be palpable for both Lopez — who will make $12 million to judge, according to reports — and Tyler, whose bandmates are unhappy about his new gig. The well-known music vets will be expected to attract — and sustain — new viewers to Idol, which has seen its ratings fall over the years (Season 9's May finale pulled in 23.2 million viewers, the show's smallest draw for a finale since Season 1).
And, as evidenced by the generally unfavorable reactions to DeGeneres and DioGuardi, being an Idol judge doesn't work out for everyone.
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The return to three judges arrives amid many new creative changes to the upcoming 10th season. Among them: The show is holding its first-ever online auditions via MySpace, competitors as young as 15 will be allowed to compete, and Nigel Lythgoe has returned as an executive producer.
Lythgoe had been an outspoken critic of the four-judge panel, and in April, before he rejoined Idol, said he would replace the entire judging panel if he were in charge. "They don't seem to have a great deal of chemistry at the moment."
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Behind the scenes, Idol is teaming with Interscope Geffen A&M, which replaces Sony Music as the distributor and promoter of music by the contestants and winners. (Sony will stick with Cowell, who will launch the U.S. version of his hit British music comptetion show The X Factor in fall 2011.) As a result of the partnership, Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Universal Music Group's Interscope Geffen A&M is said to be taking on an on- and off-camera role on Idol next season.
Now that the news is official, what do you think of the new lineup? Do you think the show will survive without Cowell? Or do you think the show lives or dies by the contestants? Sound off below.