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'American Idol': Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler confirmed at last

[This blog post has been updated with more details from Wednesday's announcement.]

"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest finally unveiled the show's new judges -- aged rocker squirt Steven Tyler, and pop star/ former Fox "In Living Color" Fly Girl dancer Jennifer Lopez -- to a crowd of "Idol" auditioners and press Wednesday morning.

This came as a surprise to no one, given that their names had been the only ones left on the short list for weeks and weeks.

A far bigger surprise was someone else who you're going to see a lot of on the show when it enters its 10th season in January, but who was not trotted out by Seabiscuit during Wednesday's Judge Unveiling Lollapalooza, which was held at the Forum, near Los Angeles, where the show's producers are were also holding the final round of initial auditions for "Idol's" upcoming season. That's called "amortizing your costs."


Jimmy Iovine, right, is the new permanent, in-house mentor on "Idol."(Fox)

That person is Interscope Geffen A&M Records chairman Jimmy Iovine, who has been named the show's permanent in-house mentor.

As part of "Idol's" deal with Universal Music Group, Interscope Geffen A&M -- IGA&M to friends -- will market, promote and distribute albums globally from Idolette finalists and winners across a broad array of retail and new media platforms. That new deal starts in 2011.

It was Iovine who sat, front and center in the "American Idol" panel at a news conference with reporters, held immediately after the Judge Unveiling Lollapalooza. And Iovine who seemed very much in charge during that Q&A session, at which it was revealed that guest mentors are out, themed weeks are out, and the show will become much more serious, focusing very much on Iovine as he works closely with each aspiring singer to mold them into a marketable, money-making commodity.

So country singers, for instance, will no longer be asked to sing rock tunes and will instead focus on working with Iovine in their genre of choice.

"It's important to develop what they are good at," said "Idol's" returning executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who'd been off the show a few seasons but is now back

Practically speaking, this will change radically what you're going to see on screen. Country singers, for instance, will no longer be asked to sing rock tunes, and will instead focus on working with Iovine to develop themselves as a brand in their genre of choice.

When one reporter said "it sounds like you're going in a bit more serious direction," Lythgoe responded: "I think it's fair to say that, in moving to Interscope, we looked back at the history" and tried to pinpoint which "Idol" winners have actually been successful as money generators to the record label with which the show has a deal. Lythgoe named first-season winner Kelly Clarkson and fourth-season winner Carrie Underwood, and then said: "and then you start running out of Idols" -- which is maybe the most scathing review of the show ever.

"We have to go back to creating an American Idol. That's what we're here to do," Lythgoe said.

But, then he quickly added, "But there's a lot of fun in music."

That's when Iovine took over:

"What we're trying to do is make the music better. I don't use the word 'serious.' I just use the word 'better'," he said, looked out at the reporters as if to tell them with his sun-glassed eyes that if they dared to use the word 'serious' again at the news conference, he'd know what to do about it.


Earlier in the day, Seabiscuit presided over the Idol Judge Unveiling Lollapalooza, to which the public had access, in person if they were auditioning for the signing competition, or via web streaming if they were not.

J-Lo and Tyler are replacing not only Simon Cowell, who left to work on a U.S. version of his "X Factor" for Fox, and Ellen DeGeneres, who "decided" after one season she wasn't a good fit, but also Kara DioGuardi, who "decided," on Take Out the Trash Day (the Friday before a holiday weekend which, in this case, was Labor Day) that it was the perfect time for her to return to obscurity.

Tyler, the first new judge Seabiscuit announced, bounced out on stage like a rat terrier hot on the trail of something rodent-y, grinned, and began to sing/scream "American IIIIIIIDOL," in his adorable, screechy, Steven Tyler way.

"How does it feel to be part of this show?" Seabiscuit faux wondered because, of course, Seabiscuit already knows how it feels to be on this show, having been on it from the get-go.

"Fabulous. Wonderful," Tyler said.

What made you after all you've done [want to join the show?]" Seabiscuit asked, continuing his probing interview.

"It's being a part of something much bigger than yourself. I want to bring some rock to this roller coaster. And, show you that if you've got the heart, you've got the talent, and you've got the feeling to do this, you could be the next American Idol," Tyler responded.

His advice for upcoming Idolettes?

"Sing like you do when nobody's looking."

Terrific.

Shortly after Tyler skipped off stage, Jennifer Lopez rose from under the stage in a cloud of white faux-smoke.

"It's all about concentration! You have to concentrate -- and just live!" J-Lo advised auditioners in the audience. Truth be told, J-Lo always was a lousy "Idol" mentor. On the other hand, she's trimmed down, and is wearing a silver spangly jumpsuit, and is now sporting bangs. She has never looked more Paula Abdul-like. This is gonna be great.

"What are you looking to bring to 'American Idol'?" Seabiscuit faux-wondered on stage.

"I'm looking for the next Michael Jackson!' J-Lo raved.

"Like Randy said, we're looking for the Best 'American Idol' Ever!"

Oh great -- so she's going to take her cues from Randy -- the only surviving member of the original "Idol" judge panel, owing to his skill at flying under the radar.

"I'm so excited! I really am!" JLo continued.

Seabiscuit, sensing she had run out of things to say, brought Tyler back on stage, and Randy as well. Randy, sporting a smudge on his upper lip, looked older, somehow, which is hard to do standing so near Steven Tyler.

"This is 'American Idol'," Seabiscuit gushed. "Are you excited now guys!"

Before unveiling the two new judges, Seabiscuit had brought out on stage Randy who, we now know, thanks to the gimongous print on the super-large screen that was behind him, is:

The Veteran
In Music
And Opinion
Anchor of the Panel
and
Master communicator

"What's the deal? What's up? What's up? What's up?" Jackson asked rhetorically.

"Big question: How do you feel about the new" team of judges, Seabiscuit said, asking Randy the tough question.

"Dude, I'm so excited about -- you know, when this started I had no idea....I'm calling this season The Remix, baby! You know what? I believe this is going to find the greatest 'American Idol' ever! Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Check out the latest "Idol" photo gallery.

By Lisa de Moraes  | September 22, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 'Glee' premiere: The music
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Comments

Not hatin', just statin'....

That picture looks like Lopez and her Mom.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | September 22, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Why the push for celebrity judges? Celebrity judges will bring ratings for the first week. The ratings for the remaining weeks will be determined in some part by how well the judges judge. (Also by the quality of the performers, but that is another story...). Therefore, why not focus on finding quality judges - judges that are articulate, brief, entertaining, and have an eye and ear for musical talent - rather than celebrity judges?

Simon Cowell was widely considered to be the best Idol judge. Was he a celebrity in season 1? No. Had they gone the "must be a celebrity route", Simon would never have been picked.

There could be another Simon Cowell judge out there, but American Idol won't find them because they settled on celebrity. I am curious if Idol has even tested Tyler and Lopez, particularly Lopez. What musical skills does she bring to the table?

Posted by: niceshoes1 | September 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

How appropriate that a former heavy drug user is seated as a judge on a program named "Idol".

Posted by: MRGB | September 22, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

ok, now I'm ready to let Lisa watch so I don't have to.

Posted by: kirstenpaulson | September 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Steven, Dude, say it ain't so! I know you've had some problems, but sweetheart, you are a better talent than what shows up on American Idol! Your career is not doomed. Please quit while your self respect is still intact.

Posted by: ibcmeir | September 22, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? This is news? The people who care about this brainless show should not be allowed to vote.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | September 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I was probably going to stop watching anyway, but now it's for sure. Why would anyone want to look at Steven Tyler for an hour a week!?! And J Lo's voice would probably start grating on me within five minutes.

UGH on both counts!

Posted by: nadie1 | September 22, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

This might just be the year I finally stop watching.

Double UGH!

Posted by: emacco | September 22, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Who hit him with the ugly stick?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | September 22, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

What a freak show. The premise is flawed as evidenced by recent "results" and the judges are lacking in the ability to evaluate talent.

Posted by: pjohn2 | September 22, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

This show should really try to go out on top. It's time to shut it down.

Posted by: cholly85241 | September 22, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I think it just threw up in my own mouth a little.

Posted by: ozpunk | September 22, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

It's Jump-the-Shark time.
.
P.S. How much work has Tyler had on that face? Looks like he's a bit early for Halloween or something.

Posted by: B-rod | September 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

So this is where they go now that Hollywood Squares is gone......

Posted by: georgedixon1 | September 22, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Umm, WaPo, shouldn't you get a journalist to cover this stuff who maybe doesn't HATE everything and everyone that has anything to do with this show? Informed criticism is cool, but this is just vitriol.

Posted by: cpantelias | September 22, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

American Idol so *OVER.

Posted by: jama452 | September 22, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

It looks like the bottom half of his face is dead.

Posted by: johng1 | September 22, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

When I looked at J Lo and Steven, I knew that after 10 years, it's time to put American Idol out of its misery. The quality of the judging was out the window when Simon Cowell left. And the talent just can't get any lower. TIME TO PUT "AI" OFF THE AIR!!!

Posted by: hudson1 | September 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

What the hell is up with Tyler's face? When will these plastic surgeons get a conscience and stop overdoing the surgery? People will always be vain enough to want it- but at some point the doctors need to draw the line, and say that enough is enough- any more and you'll look worse. He looks like a caucasian version of Michael Jackson.

Posted by: dougAthensGA | September 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Lopez is an inarticulate idiot. I will not be watching this season.

Posted by: janejobsindc | September 22, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

If we thought that Simon bloke was botoxed to the max, wait till we all have to look at this Tyler clown.

Posted by: password11 | September 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Kind of wish Steve Tyler had been on to give Siobhan Magnus some good advice on when screaming is good, when it is tedious. Magnus has a real shot at a high level entertainer future. (and Bowersox and Aaron Kelley, IMO - with Casey and winner Lee Dewyze both likely solid B-list money-makera) Magnus was ill-served by the 4 judges on last year (and being a bit impulsive and nutty).

The idea of a permanent mentor is excellent. While they had a few good mentors that boosted every performer, they also had pure stunt-cast mentors.

End of theme nights that ill-fit the performers and confuse the audience on what sort of singer they really want to be once Idol wraps and the rest of their life starts - another great move.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 22, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

J LO is a no talent bum who cannot perform live because there is not enough equipment to make her screeching bearable. Even the buttocks which made her famous are now just cellulite covered in Spams or whatever they are called. My Puerto Rican friends say they wish that one day hopefully soon a Puerto Rican with actual talent would represent the islands people. As to Tyler Aerosmith rocked in its day but its day was a long long time ago and unless the Idol folks can come up with more Adam Lampert size talents it will soon b e a yawner headed for histories rubbish pile. More Americans vote for the Idol than they do for the President and probably research it more too therefor the Repugnicans still matter.

Posted by: jbento | September 22, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

lol

Posted by: greenbutterfly1973 | September 22, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Kind of wish Steve Tyler had been on to give Siobhan Magnus some good advice on when screaming is good, when it is tedious. Magnus has a real shot at a high level entertainer future. (and Bowersox and Aaron Kelley, IMO - with Casey and winner Lee Dewyze both likely solid B-list money-makera) Magnus was ill-served by the 4 judges on last year (and being a bit impulsive and nutty).

The idea of a permanent mentor is excellent. While they had a few good mentors that boosted every performer, they also had pure stunt-cast mentors.

End of theme nights that ill-fit the performers and confuse the audience on what sort of singer they really want to be once Idol wraps and the rest of their life starts - another great move.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 22, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry on the double post folks, I got a "content submission error" message from WP, hit the key again..and both posts popped up!

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 22, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

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