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American Idol returns January 22!

The popular show released a preview of what’s to come during Game 4 of the World Series letting us know, without question, all of last year’s judges: Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez will be returning. Along with debonair host with the most, Ryan Seacrest!

Unlike the cantankerous behavior of former judging panels these judges are the best of friends on camera. “They’re like my brothers and they drive me crazy like brothers, too,” Jennifer described of Steven and Randy. “But we love each other, which is why we’ve become like a family.” Well, as family I wish somebody would talk to Jennifer about her on-set wardrobe! It was a standout last season – and not in a good way.

And since it’s another season without Simon Cowell to be the blunt voice of reason, Jennifer is assuring us this year the judges are “a little tougher on everybody.” Oooohh… good! No more constant praise – we want to see some snark!

Jennifer tells PEOPLE that being too nice wasn’t necessarily the way to go. “Because of last season and the standard that we set, it’s easy to go, ‘Is he as good as even our top 24 from last year?’ ” I guess Jenny has to earn that reported $20M she is getting paid to sit on the judges panel this season.

However, she is positive the talent pool is better than ever with many amazing voices to wow both the judges and the fans alike! “It’s not like you find people just like that, but the ones that we found, we know are very special,” she declared.

The preview clip is below!

[Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com]

ARE YOU EXCITED FOR SEASON 11 OF AMERICAN IDOL? DO YOU THINK THE JUDGES SHOULD BE A LITTLE HARDER ON THE PERFORMERS OR DO YOU PREFER A GENTLER APPROACH?

Jennifer Lopez has a lot going on in her personal life, but she’s not quitting her day job because of it. Jenny from the block has confirmed that she will return as a judge for Season 11 of American Idol! Yay! A whole ‘nother season of her sartorial disasters interesting fashion choices!

American Idol producer, Nigel Lythgoe confirmed Jennifer’s return during Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, stating: “I am delighted to say that all three judges, along with the brilliant host of American Idol [Seacrest] is back for the next season,” adding that all three judges are about to travel cross-country scouting potential contestants. I guess Jennifer is taking a leave of absence from her pending divorce from Marc Anthony.

Mrs. Anthony Ms. Lopez was previously undecided if she would return to the judges panel, given her busy schedule, but apparently experienced a change of heart. When asked what prompted her return (besides the money and exposure) she remarked: “You get to know [the contestants]. You get to know their hopes and their dreams on camera, off-camera. You’re helping them off camera, you’re helping them on camera and it’s this crazy ride you go on together.” She further added, “You definitely get involved, I definitely get involved, I am very emotional as you can see from the show. That’s just how I am.”

TMZ is however reporting Jlo got a nice pay increase, and will earn $20 million this season in comparison to the $12 million she earned last season. Not too shabby.

In other Jennifer news, she talks to People about that divorce you may have heard about. Jennifer, who was included in People’s Most Beautiful People 2011 List, describes the dissolution of her marriage: “Sometimes it doesn’t work – and that’s sad. But I remain an eternal optimist about love. I believe in love.”

Jennifer describes the choice to leave as a necessary one to save herself: “Sometimes we don’t realize that we are compromising ourselves. To understand that a person is not good for you, or that that person is not treating you in the right way, or that he is not doing the right thing for himself – if I stay, then I am not doing the right thing for me.”

Although her relationship with Marc, her husband of seven years and the father of her 3-year-old twins Max and Emme didn’t work out, Jennifer predictably has nothing but good things to say, giving the standard publicist approved quote for divorcing celebs: “I will always respect Marc as a singer and performer. He will always be in our lives. He will always hold a special place in my heart as the father of my children.”

Photo Credit: Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com

Are you excited Jennifer is returning as a judge on AI? Thoughts on the divorce?

Last night on American Idol it was The Boy Next Door vs. The Southern Belle as Scotty McCreery the 17-year-old from Garner, NC and 16-year old Lauren Alaina from Rossville, GA – the youngest finalists ever – went head to head in the only all-country finale in Idol history.

To kick off finale week, judge Jennifer Lopez took the stage immediately after leaving her figure skating practice in a green sparkly leotard looking umm… dress and Ryan Seacrest fancied it up in an impeccable tux. I don’t know what Randy Jackson was wearing, but it was something… In a shocking bit of information we learned that Lauren sprained her vocal chords during rehearsals! In fact, TMZ reported yesterday that 2nd-runner up Haley Reinhart was backstage and ready to take Lauren’s spot in the case she wasn’t able to perform. The AI doctor however came onto the stage to let us know that Lauren had been heavily medicated but he felt she would be able to perform just fine.

Each finalist went through three rounds performing three different songs with the judges deciding who won each round as part of their critique. Round One consisted of the contestants choosing their favorite song of the season. Scotty went first singing, Montgomery Gentry’sGone” giving a show-stopping performance. Then Lauren took the stage singing her rendition of “Flat On The Floor” in a saucy, high-energy performance. The judges determined that even thought it was close Scotty took round one, with Randy saying he felt like he was at a “Scotty concert.”

In Round 2, AI added a new twist by having the Idol’s own idols choose a song for the contestants to perform. Scotty’s musical idol, George Strait, chose “Check Yes or No.” Scotty played guitar himself during the performance and personally, I love this song and I thought he did a great job. Lauren’s idol was none other than past Idol winner Carrie Underwood who chose Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis” for her to perform. Lauren accompanied the song with a Grand Ole Opry style dress and cowboy boots. Round Two went to Lauren only because she is prettier than Scotty according to Steven Tyler! Actually all the judges felt she did a fantastic job with her rendition of the song and were really impressed with her performance.

Round 3 featured each contestant’s first single if they win American Idol. Jimmy Lovine explained how they chose each song for the idols. Scotty’s single “I Love You This Big” was a country ballad sure to get the teenaged girl army swooning as the Country Beiber crooned into the microphone. The judges felt the song really exemplified Scotty’s range and how far he has grown in the competition. Lauren’s single, “Like My Mother Does” was a special homage to her mom. During the performance Lauren walked off stage with a Seacrest escort and found her mom in the audience, giving her a hug. Both Lauren and her very proud mama were moved to tears. The judges loved it with Randy announcing: “Lauren Alaina has arrived America!” Despite her vocal injury Lauren aced Round 3, as well, with the judges deciding she had won it hands down.

Tomorrow AI comes to a close with a live 2-hour Season Finale and the winner is confetti’d!

[polldaddy poll=5083229]

Who do you want to win American Idol Season 10? Who was the better performer yesterday?

Let the competition begin!

Just like that, we are now one step closer to finding the ultimate American Idol for season 10. Last night, the show narrowed down the 24 finalists to the top 13. The full list - Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart, Thia Megia, (back row) Lauren Alaina, Stefano Langone, Naima Adedapo, Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones, James Durbin, Scotty McCreery, Pia Toscano, (front) Paul McDonald and Casey Abrams.

The show began last night with Ryan Seacrest introducing the Top 24 while also announcing that after the cuts are made, the judges will ask some of the eliminated contestants to sing for a wild-card spot. “It’s going to be a tough night for us,” said judge Jennifer Lopez.

Entertainment Tonight also reports that the judges, who were only supposed to pick 2 wildcards, simply couldn’t narrow it down. “They didn’t make a final decision to make it 13 until the end,” said Ryan.

“We saw so many talented kids we didn’t know what we were going to quite do,” Randy Jackson explained. “I’m still thinking about it,” said Jlo. “I’m like, ‘Did we do the right thing? Did we put the right people in?’”

Meanwhile, Jlo, who would have never made it to the Hollywood round had she tried out for the show, is making certain to use the show to restart her stale music career. Her new music video, “On The Floor”, premiered last night while the judges were mulling over the wild card performances. That video is below -

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE TOP 13 FINALISTS? DO YOU LIKE JLO’S NEW MUSIC VIDEO?

Following two major commercials on Sunday’s Superbowl, Simon Cowell is now revealing more details about the upcoming reality show – The X Factor (the American version).

While the full list of judges has yet to be selected, Simon does confirm he will be a judge on the show. “Once the show goes into production, I become a judge,” Simon told reporters Monday. “Then I have to put my trust into the producers’ hands, which is effectively how it works in the U.K. Yes, I am judging.”

Simon will also serve as an executive producer on the show, while helping in the selection of the judging panel. Nicole Scherzinger, Jessica Simpson, Paula Abdul, Rihanna, Cheryl Cole, Katy Perry and Will Smith are just some of the names that have been rumored as possible judges on the show.

So should we expect a nicer Simon on this new show? “I am gong to try and be consistent, as I have been over the years … People know what to expect if I’m on the judging panel. I don’t think things will change too much,” he said. We’ll take that as a no.

As for Simon’s thoughts or critique rather on the current and 10th season of American Idol, Simon reveals he is not an avid watcher. “I haven’t seen a full episode. I’ve seen three minutes of a recap. From what I’ve seen and from what I’ve heard, it all seems to be going well.”

According to Simon, he is hoping to make the announcement of the judges in three to four weeks. The winner of X Factor will also be awarded a $5 million record deal, in what is being called the largest guaranteed prize in TV history.

TELL US – ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO X-FACTOR? HAVING SIMON BACK ON TV?

It’s official! Fox is finally announcing what we’ve all known for weeks, which is that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the newest additions to the American Idol judging panel.

In a live press conference Wednesday afternoon hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the network introduced Steven and Jlo alongside Randy Jackson, the only judge remaining from the previous season, to a cheering audience.

“I’m looking for the next Michael Jackson,” said Jlo, 41. “We’re looking for the best American Idol ever.”

Steven Tyler, 62, also had some words to say.  “[It] feels like the perfect feathered nest,” he said. “It’s being a part of something much bigger than yourself. I want to bring some rock to this roller coaster.”

Jennifer, who is slated to earn $12 million for judging one season of the hit show addressed the Idol hopefuls in attendance at the press conference.  “I love you guys. I am so excited,” she told the crowd. “It is about concentrating in the moment, do the best you can. Just live! Just live, it’s your moment.”

The new season of American Idol will officially kick off in January, 2011.

Jennifer Lopez

It’s a done deal! Ending weeks of will she or won’t she speculation, Jennifer Lopez has officially signed a deal to become a judge on the next season of American Idol.

Multiple media outlets including TMZ and PEOPLE are confirming the news. According to PEOPLE, Jlo signed a one year deal to the tune of $12 million! Yes you read that right, $12 million for a year’s worth of work.

TMZ adds that Jennifer is expected to be at the judges’ table for auditions starting next week. While sources close to the show claim Jlo is not a diva, PEOPLE adds that the deal almost fell through last month due to Jlo’s diva demands, which included wanting movie and TV development deals, a larger Idol salary as well as input about her new co-judges. AI reportedly said no to all the extras.

And despite AI’s attempts to defend their new judge, sources tell Rob Shuter of Popeater that Jlo is indeed a diva who makes ridiculous demands.

“Of all the people I have ever worked with, no one was more difficult than Jennifer,” a magazine editor tells Rob. “When we shot her for a cover, her list of demands were crazy. She needed an all white room scented with Jo Malone candles. She insisted on having a banquet of food — that she never touched — and even had the nerve to ask for a specific type of private plane.”

As for who will be joining Jlo on the judge’s panel, Randy Jackson is still in, while Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler is expected to be the final addition.

TELL US – ARE YOU EXCITED TO WATCH JLO JUDGE AMERICAN IDOL?

MAJOR shake ups in the American Idol judging line up.  Ellen DeGeneres announced late yesterday that she has quit the show, after just a year.

In a statement released to multiple media outlets, Ellen stated, “A couple months ago, I let FOX and the American Idol producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me. 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.”

Ellen, 52, replaced Paula Abdul as a judge for the show’s ninth season.  “It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for,” her statement continues, before adding that “it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings.”

The AI news did not end there as TMZ then confirmed this morning that fellow judge Kara DioGuardi has been fired, and that the show will be going back to a three-judge format.


Jennifer LopezSteven Tyler

And who will be replacing Ellen and Kara on the judging panel?  According to GossipCop and TMZ, it will be none other than Jennifer Lopez aka Jlo and rocker Steven Tyler.

GossipCop was the first to report the news, when they ran a story last night stating that American Idol had offered the two spots to both Jlo and Steven.

TMZ also confirmed this morning that assuming all deals are finalized, the judge’s panel will consist of Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Adding that the only way Kara will get her job back is if Jlo rejects the offer.

American Idol is reportedly hoping to announce their new judging line up on Monday.

TELL US: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CHANGES IN THE AI JUDGING LINEUP?


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