Jennifer Lopez followed Steven Tyler's lead off "American Idol" on Friday confirming that she will not be back for a third season of the cult following talent show.
And now there is one...again.That means the "Idol" panel is down to one, original judge Randy Jackson, and there are reports that he may take a different role when the Fox show returns next January.
Lopez broke the news to "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest on his radio show.
"I really was dreading this phone call with you," she told him. "I honestly feel like the time has come that I have to get back to doing the other things that I do that I've put kind of on hold because I love 'Idol' so much."
When it returns for its 12th season next January, "Idol" will have to be a reengineered version of the once-powerhouse series that turned hopefuls such as Jennifer Hudson into stars and gave network rivals fits.
Speculation about potential new panelists has focused on Mariah Carey, with former "Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert getting a shout-out from his fans. Much is at stake for the show and for its judges: Lopez's contract reportedly was worth $12 million and the stint proved a career-booster for her.
Fox spokespersons and Randy Jackson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
|Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson|
"I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I'm back — but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I got two fists in the air and I'm kicking the door open with my band," Tyler said in a statement. Aerosmith is on a nationwide tour with Tyler and has an album due out in the fall.
In a phone interview Thursday with The Associated Press as the news about Tyler broke, Lopez had said she was saddened to hear that Tyler was leaving and that his departure would play a role in her decision.
"I can't even imagine anyone else there right now because I've just spent two years sitting next to him," she said. "I love Steven, and we became close during that time. We were a great support for each other, on an adventure that neither one of us knew what it was going to be. So it's hard to hear that he won't be doing it."
Seacrest, the other original cast member, will provide a stable center. He signed a two-year contract with "American Idol" producers this spring to continue as host.
The Fox series, which began with Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul as judges, has made changes on the panel over the years. Ellen DeGeneres joined one season, and songwriter Kara DioGuardi was added as a fourth judge to work with Jackson, Cowell and Abdul.
As always, we'll stay tuned.