Jennifer Lopez & Steven Tyler in for American Idol, Ellen & Kara are out


In the wake of Simon Cowell’s departure from Fox’s monster hit, “American Idol,” the show’s producers seem to be scrambling to make the show relevant. Last season’s Ellen Degeneres experiment was an epic fail, and no one seems to be more aware of this than Ellen herself. Ellen announced yesterday that she is not coming back as a judge on the show, citing work conflicts and her inability to say negative things about any of the contestants.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who became a full-time judge on the show during its ninth season, is bowing out of the series, PEOPLE has learned.

“A couple months ago, I let FOX and the American Idol producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me,” she says in a statement. “I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for.”

DeGeneres adds, “I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on Idol and I am very grateful for the year I had, I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.”
In the same statement, Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller says, “I loved Ellen’s passion for the artists and her nurturing skills. She brought honesty and optimism to our judging panel and I will miss her greatly.”

Peter Rice, the FOX entertainment chairman, says, “We love Ellen and understand and support her decision to bow out of Idol. We were fortunate to receive the humor, energy and love for talent that she brought to the show.”

A longtime fan of Idol, DeGeneres signed on to replace Paula Abdul after Abdul Tweeted about her departure in August 2009. “I’m going to have a day job and a night job,” DeGeneres said at the time. “This is exciting for me.”

In January, Cowell announced he was leaving to concentrate on bringing his U.K. hit The X Factor to the U.S

Well, that didn’t last long. I have to applaud Ellen for realizing that she’s not really cut out for the job. Her presence on the show did nothing for the ratings, and even when the contestants sucked really bad, she couldn’t bring herself to tell them the truth. It also looks like much-hated judge Kara DioGuardi won’t be back at the judge’s table next season, either- but in her case, she didn’t bow out voluntarily. Both TMZ and Deadline Hollywood are reporting that the songwriter has been fired, and that the show is returning to a three-judge format. Rumored to be replacing Kara and Ellen? Jennifer Lopez and…wait for it… Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler!

We’ve just learned the backstory of how Ellen DeGeneres bowed out of American Idol and who will be the new judge taking her place. It’s Jennifer Lopez, whose singing and acting career has been on the skids after her recent movie failed at the box office in the spring and she was dropped by her record company Sony Music Epic Records this past winter. We hear her manager Benny Medina (whom she once fired) orchestrated the meeting with the American Idol producers a month ago, and negotiations have been ongoing ever since. We’ve learned a deal was closed earlier this week under the utmost secrecy. Today’s news came shortly after Nigel Lythgoe returned to Idol as an executive producer. He has vowed to shake up the show’s team of judges in the wake of the departure of Simon Cowell, publicly stating that he always thought a panel of three and not 4 made the most sense.

Still to be decided is who will replace Simon Cowell. Everyone associated with the show wants Elton John, but we hear he’s asking for too much money and has too many touring commitments he can’t get out of.

2ND UPDATE: Tonight, unconfirmed reports say Idol has offered Cowell’s judge seat to Steven Tyler. 3RD UPDATE: And another unconfirmed report claimed judge Kara DioGuardi has been fired to bring the panel count down to just 3, not 4.

As for Ellen Degeneres, we’re told she wanted off the show two months ago and complained that Idol producers “couldn’t control Cowell”, one insider tells us. Least of all Cecile Frot-Coutaz, the CEO of FremantleMedia North America. “Cecile is doing X Factor with Simon, so she’s in his back pocket.” DeGeneres and her reps went in to to see Fox Broadcasting’s Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice and Alternative TV President Mike Darnell and asked to be let out of the year left on her contract. “She’s not comfortable. She’s not happy. It’s not been fun,” Fox was told. But Rice and Darnell responded that, with Cowell leaving, “We can’t let you out now because it would be bad for our franchise. Give us a chance to figure out who we could get.” In the end, all the show’s producers — Fox, Fremantle, and 19 Entertainment — worked it out. “Peter Rice was awesome,” an insider tells us. “Ellen is thrilled and relieved.” We’ve learned that serious conversations took place between Idol and Jessica Simpson to replace Ellen. But once Jennifer Lopez was locked in this week, the DeGeneres announcement went out.

…Her replacement JLo badly needs this high-profile boost to her flagging career. The actress had many hits with Sony Music Epic Records, so it was a shock within the recording industry when her longtime label dumped her.

[From Deadline Hollywood]

The J.Lo story doesn’t surprise me all that much – she’s just desperate enough to take this gig in hopes of reviving her music career. But Steven Tyler? Really? Not only does the guy not need the money, but last time I checked, he was kind of a hot mess and is barely out of rehab. But he would probably be a lot of fun to watch. The big question is, can either of them fill the “mean judge” shoes left empty by Simon? The show won’t work without a judge who tells the contestants the brutal truth. I don’t think surviving judge Randy Jackson is up for the job- dawg can barely string more than two or three words together. The big rumor in Hollywood is that J.Lo is a raving bitch, but will she be willing to bare the claws on national TV? I don’t think so. But at least the addition of two people who actually have experience in the music industry is a step up.

Update: This story originated with GossipCop.

LOS ANGELES - JUL 22: Ellen DeGeneres arrives at the Neil Lane Bridal Collection Debut at Drai's at The W Hollywood Rooftop on July22, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA .... Photo via Newscom

Apr. 17, 2010 - Boston, United States - epa02121608 US singer Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sits courtside as the Boston Celtics play the Miami Heat during the first quarter of their conference quarterfinals round game at the TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA 17 April 2010. The NBA playoffs begin 17 April and end with the NBA Finals in mid-June.

NEW YORK - JUNE 15: Jennifer Lopez performs on stage at Samsung's 9th Annual Four Seasons of Hope Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on June 15, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Header: Jennifer Lopez on June 15, 2010. Credit: WENN.

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42 Responses to “Jennifer Lopez & Steven Tyler in for American Idol, Ellen & Kara are out”

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  1. Tess says:

    If that picture of Steven Tyler doesn’t just make you laugh out loud, nothing will.

  2. canadianchick says:

    Nahh I think Jlo will let her bitch flag fly-after Ellen’s niceness this was probably made into a job requirement to get nasty as needed.

  3. Michelle78 says:

    Ugh…lame lame lame.

  4. Sarah says:

    I’ve watched American Idol since day one. I think I’ll pass on the next season.

  5. bite me says:

    love la lopez, but i don’t think she is right for the job, how about they try to bring paula back

  6. DanielleS says:

    Houston, we have a problem…. This show is so over…. They should just let it die already!!!!!

  7. LALA Land says:

    Without Simon this show is sinking fast! Last season?

  8. Chelly says:

    Jlo??? Wtf does Jlo know abt music? SHE CANT EVEN SING! Let alone tell other people how bad THEY SUCK!!! No bueno.

  9. cprincess says:

    My god-Jennifer Lopez???
    Aside from limited talent,shes got the personality of warm oatmeal aside from there being no room in the studio for her ego.
    We need personality-bring in a bitchy fag and get Paula back stat!!!

  10. souths_sweetest says:

    Ok I see the point about JLO…HOWEVER at least she’s IN the music industry! The whole Ellen, comedian…representing the “viewer” vote thing – did NOT work for me & I found it ridiculous. And the viewer vote….COMES WHEN THE VIEWERS VOTE! We don’t need that on the judging panel.

    But I do agree it’s a sinking ship, best to end it now.

  11. California Surfer says:

    Grandma can’t tell Jlo and Steve Tyler apart!

  12. Marjalane says:

    Is it some kind of “star power” they’re looking for from JLo? It sure isn’t the talent factor- her music is almost as over dubbed as Britney Spears. I don’t see either Steven Tyler or JLo as adding to the mix. Was Harry Connick just not interested? He would have been SO much better. The huge plus side is losing that gawdawful Kara! She was like fingernails on the blackboard.

  13. Cinderella says:

    Oh, I’m sure J-Lo can bring out the bitch if you pay her enough.

    Steven Tyler is merely comic relief at this point.

  14. denise says:

    I was hoping they’d cancel out American Idol altogether. Ugh.

  15. ViktoryGin says:

    Well, JLo does need a lifeboat for that sinking career of hers.

    Drowning show + drowning music career = Perfection

  16. SammyHammy says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Steven Tyler. If he actually takes the job I will definitely watch.

    I don’t have an opinion of JLo. Don’t really know much of her music and never seen her movies.

  17. gretchen says:

    love to see a rock star up close and personal…count me in

  18. oxa says:

    They can change the name of the show to “The Dog, The Diva & The Decrepit”
    I will not watch.

  19. jen says:

    I’m with you Denise. They might as well cancel it & save their money!

  20. Karen says:

    Will Steven Tyler be sober enough to sit upright for an hour at a time? I am skeptical.

  21. flutters says:

    I think this gives AI the chance to be way more entertaining than it was last season. There were some horrible rumors that they were considering Jessica Simpson to be a judge. IMO JLo is a way better choice than that. Steven Tyler could be fun.

  22. Music says:

    JLO would fill Paula position. Neither could sing and are more known for dancing then anything. However Steven Tyler to stand in for Simon? No.

    They would need someone with HUGE ego and totally brutal and the only person that can do that is Diddy. But would JLO and Diddy work on the same show panel? I don’t think Marc Anthony could handle it. Diddy fits the requirements he is a record proucer/ one of the most famous, has made hit artists and dosen’t care if he liked or not and can be way meaner then Simon.

    Randy/JLO/Diddy actually could work. I rather see Diddy then JLO though so if AI had to choose Diddy is the one. He has been working in music industry since 1990. He put out Mary J Blige, Biggie, Jodeci all big names.

  23. Oi says:

    Methinks its time to let it go. This is just plain pathetic.

  24. Kaboom says:

    Replacing Kara by either one of those Divas replaces someone who actually knows a thing or two about making music with delusional/drugged-out airheads.

  25. lucy2 says:

    Without Simon, the show is done. I think Ellen was wise to recognize it was a bad fit for her, and to get out now before it really tanks.
    The idea of JLo criticizing anyone else’s singing and music choices is HILARIOUS.
    Tyler at least has a long and successful music career, but still won’t be enough to replace Simon.

  26. Syko says:

    They need to give it up. Nothing worse than a hero who outlives his time and limps off into history instead of striding triumphantly. This year they had to cancel the after-season concert tour halfway through due to lack of ticket sales. They have to be able to see that interest is waning and that AI just might possibly be over.

  27. LolaBella says:

    I love Steven Tyler (I’m a huge Aerosmith fan) but hasn’t he been in and out of rehab the past few months? Can/will he even be sober for the entire show? I hope so because I think he’ll be an asset as a judge

    Hiring Ellen was one of the biggest mistakes Idol made; she was clearly not a fit for the show.

    Firing Kara Whatsherface was one of the best decisions they could have made. Yes, she’s knowledgeable about the industry and she’s a songwriter, but Jeez she was effin’ annoying and unlikeable.

    They should never have gotten rid of Paula Abdul; but something tells me that she will be part of Simon’s new show in some form.

    The inclusion of JLO, (whose career has waned and whose sound is studio created and enhanced) to judge the raw talent of the contestants is LAUGHABLE!

    This show is over.

  28. Obvious says:

    I’m going to give it a shot this season. with Kara gone it already sounds better-they could have barney and mr. rogers on there as long as Kara is gone.

    however i hope that JLo goes full diva. and bring in Mariah. dude the diva war that would ensue would be the best thing on TV. ever.

    ooooo. how bout Kanye…..imma let you finish but…..that’s the worst crap i’ve ever heard….continue.

  29. Jover says:

    Yes, to the above JHO judging other people’s singing; this no-talent thought she was the heir to Selena, a truly great live singer, but JHo’s music and singing is so weak it barely rises to a warble. The show is over – we’ll have Randy on autopilot, Stevie Tyler will be in outer space, and JHO will be talking about herself – just what the contestants need – the dreary, the debauched and the delusional sitting as judges. Good grief, send this thing to rerun heaven.

  30. Scarlet Vixen says:

    I could MAYBE stomach J Lo if they got someone with a good track record and some credibility to replace Simon, like Tommy Mottola or David Foster. You put 3 people who don’t really have any talent or credibility anymore and it becomes just a pathetic joke.

  31. Tess says:

    Scarlet V….David Foster would be fabulous.

  32. juiceinla says:

    jooce-crest out.

    had to be said. I wasn’t going to watch now that Simon is gone anyway, but I was pulling for them to bring Paula back.

  33. chino says:

    I love J LO! Didn’t watch it last season cause Kara was annoying. I will watch every episode now!! Can’t wait!

  34. Chris says:

    “You deify shit and worship rubbish!”

    The Idol singers have never done it for me. Most of them don’t know how to interpret a song. They can hit the high low notes but every song they sing sounds the same.

  35. j. ferber says:

    I think JLo hates the fact that everyone knows what a bitch she is. I think she’ll try to be the “nice” one, since she can’t handle people knowing who she really is. According to her, she’s still “Jenny from the Block.” I think Diddy would be a blast and I agree they should re-hire Paula. I don’t think Steven Tyler can be coherent enough to give an opinion.

  36. oduroyal says:

    Run while you still can Randy Jackson!

  37. Dhavy says:

    How desperate is Jlo to stay in the limelight? She finally realized that there’s always someone younger, with actual talent that will throw you off your high horse, so now she wants to judge.

    I hardly watched the show and if I have to look at that stupid face she makes just makes me want to shove a fork through my eyes!

    The only person I think would be interesing to fill Simon’s shoes would be Elton John, he’s a diva and he’s mean enough to eliminate those wanna be singers, heck, he can tell JLo she can’t sing or act. Now that would be entertainment

  38. Romi says:

    I don’t understand people getting annoyed about JLO and her voice skills and her waning career.. yet they want Paula Abdul back. Hello?? So Abdul is a better singer than Lopez?

  39. cprincess says:

    “I don’t understand people getting annoyed about JLO and her voice skills and her waning career.. yet they want Paula Abdul back. Hello?? So Abdul is a better singer than Lopez?”


  40. sadie says:

    It’s one thing to be a judge on American Idol because of a passion and interest in it, JLO is doing this out of pure desperation because her music, movies and whatever endeavor she has had, has been a total failure! Benny Medina got JLO this gig so she can promote HERSELF, put HERSELF in the limelight and revive HER career. This will be all about JLO and NOT the contestants.

  41. Lia says:

    It’s like watching a poor, wounded animal in its death throes. American Idol is done. The contestants suck worse every season, and the judges comments mean nothing. It’s become a joke. Let it die already.

  42. SolitaryAngel says:

    LOVE Steven Tyler! He’s awesome, and I’m gonna watch just to see him.