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Posted at 6:02 PM ET, 01/18/2011

Steven Tyler has issues with 'American Idol' conference call

By Lisa de Moraes

Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, new "Idol" judges.(AP)

WaPoTeamTV's Emily Yahr reports:

Edgy Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is supposed to breathe new life -- and younger viewers -- into the new season of "American Idol" which debuts Wednesday night.

Fox set up one last phone group hug with Tyler Tuesday before the show's debut. Not sure why, given that Tyler has already exhausted his vocabulary mastering the art of giving the same old answers to questions about his new gig.

And yet, we confess, we did learn one new thing during the phoner -- Steven Tyler doesn't get phone conference calls.

"Just one moment, please..." Conference Call Operator said mechanically right as the call started.

"DARLINGS, HOW ARE YOU?" Tyler screeched in reply.

"Oh ok, Mr. Tyler, it will be just one moment, please," replied the clearly flustered Conference Call Operator -- who, turns out, is not a robot, like we'd always assumed on these conference calls.

"SURE! TAKE YOUR TIME! I'M JUST HAVING LUNCH!" Tyler roared, after which he was heard in the background asking: "Who was that? What would you do that? ... How many people are on this call? 100? They just can't respond, they're listening?"

Deeply disturbed by the nano-second of silence, Tyler took over the call: "Should I give a limerick?":

There once was a man from Kent,
Who had one so long that it -- No, I won't go there. Absolutely will not go there.

Conference Call Operator laughed nervously and said, "And before we go any further with that..."

"No, we're not going any further," Tyler assured her.

"...We'll go ahead and take the first question." Conference Call Operator finished quickly.

It was downhill from there, as Tyler repeated his already old stories about how:

* He fell in love with fellow new judge J-Lo after watching her rom-com "The Back-Up Plan" on an airplane.

* His "Idol" contract is more than a one-year contract, but that "things are what they are."

* "Idol" is not getting in the way of his Aerosmith duties, and vice versa, no matter what you hear in the press.

* It's difficult for him to hear contestants sing Aerosmith songs, particularly if they're terrible.

This was mostly repeating things we already knew, both at the TCA press tour and this morning on "Live! With Regis and Kelly." So really, we learned we would much rather hear Steven Tyler vs. Machine Who Actually Turns Out to Be Human, any day.

By Lisa de Moraes  | January 18, 2011; 6:02 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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