For months the rumor mill has been working overtime, predicting that Jennifer Lopez would be leaving her cushy role as judge on American Idol. But before Jennifer Lopez could officially announce what everyone already expected, Steven Tyler beat her to the punch, announcing on Thursday that he would be leaving American Idol to return to his true love, Rock and Roll.
Lopez's own swan song came the very next day on Idol host Ryan Seacrest's radio show.
"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," Lopez told Seacrest.
In her two seasons as an American Idol judge, Jennifer Lopez has raked in close to $30 million dollars, performed live on the hit TV show numerous times, promoted her music videos, and essentially reinvigorated her career. It is hard to imagine JLo finding a pasture much greener than that, but her departure and Tyler's could prove to be a boon for the show.
In the real world, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler wouldn't be choosing to leave their jobs to pursue other creative outlets, they would have been fired from American Idol for the simple fact that they failed to perform their duties as judges, instead choosing to vacillate between empty praises or shameless favoritism. But show business is about as far from the real world as Middle Earth and though Tyler and Lopez proved to be rather deficient in their roles as judges, they did bring renewed interest to the television show in the wake of the last judging exodus.
And like the last exodus, we're once again left with Randy Jackson, the sole original judge of American Idol. Rumor has it that Jackson may also be looking for a change. Unlike Lopez and Tyler, who have still thriving careers to go back to, Jackson has invested the last nine years in American Idol and aside from "America's Best Dance Crew," it seems that Mr. Jackson may have grown somewhat complacent in his routine as judge.
Of course, one of Jackson's true passions has been the expansion of his celebrity Rolodex and his next move will likely be heavily influenced by who fills the seats left vacant by Lopez and Tyler.
Reports indicate that Mariah Carey, who was also coveted by Simon Cowell as a judge for the "X-Factor," is in talks to join Idol. Seeing as how Jackson has been telling everyone who will listen that he once worked with Mariah Carey, it is unlikely that he would walk away from the opportunity to join forces with her again. Obviously. their first collaboration resulted in her huge success, it's only fair that she returns the favor, right?
Other names being passed around the American Idol campfire, include that of Miley Cyrus, Black Eyed Peas members Will.i.am and Fergie as well as Season 8's runner-up, Adam Lambert, who was something of a lightening rod of controversy on the show due in part to his unique and dramatic performances (aka nail polish and eyeliner).
Over the weekend, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin added her name to the list. The 18 Grammy winner sent an email to CNN saying that she's ready to play a vital role in choosing the next "American Idol."
But for now, American Idol fans must wait with baited breath to see who will be tapped to fill those two coveted spots as judges and whether Mr. Jackson will even be given the option to remain a fixture on the television show.