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Jennifer Lopez confirms she won't be returning to 'American Idol' as judge


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/16/2012 

Jennifer Lopez has confirmed she won't be returning to American Idol's judging panel next season. 

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"I really was dreading this phone call with you... I had no problem not saying anything to anybody, but with you, oh my God.  You're going to make me cry. I honestly feel that the time has come that I have to get back to doing the other things that I do that I have kind of put on hold because I love Idol so much!" Lopez said during a Friday appearance on Idol host Ryan Seacrest's On Air with Ryan Seacrest radio show.

"You have a lot of other responsibilities... You have to pay attention to that too. I could continue doing Idol for the rest of my life, but that would mean giving up a bunch of other things, and I just, I don't know. I feel like we had an amazing run. I have my movies and my music and it all kind of worked together for awhile, but it just gets more complicated. And as the kids get a little bit bigger, it started feeling like it was a lot and something had to give. Something has to give and that's, I think, where I am right now."

Despite her departure -- which Lopez's representative confirmed after the singer's interview with Seacrest, she insisted she would always be there for American Idol in times of need and offer her mentoring services if requested.

"There's just that tie there. I just don't know if I can be there every single day, all the time, like the way we've been doing the past two years," Lopez told Seacrest, adding that she finally came to the conclusion she should leave Idol after a very long thought process.

"I really have been torn. When I signed on to Idol, I signed on to do one year, and I wound-up doing two years because I just fell so in love with the show and everybody there. I didn't know I'd be so moved emotionally by working on the show and working with the contestants. It was such a lovely surprise in my life to do it, but even last year when I had to make the decision it was super tough to decide."

Lopez explained it took her awhile to determine whether she'd return as a judge for Idol's recently-concluded eleventh season simply because she had been struggling with the same issues she's been dealing with this summer. She also claimed her hesitation was not a negotiation tactic to receive a bigger salary.

"It's just one of those special things in your life that you just don't want to walk away from... It was never playing any games or doing anything or wanting more and more money. It wasn't any of that. It was just [about] being smart about making a business decision, and I had to really be responsible in that moment," the singer and actress said.

Lopez noted her decision to move on from American Idol this time around was an emotional one and she never took it lightly.

"I have to tell you that when [my manager] Benny [Medina] and I sat down to talk about it, it was one of the longest business conversations we have ever had in my life. It was pros, cons, good things, bad things, things we have, and responsibilities. It was just back and forth, and at the end of it, of course, it's just really going to be hard for me to go. And he was like 'Please don't cry,'" Lopez added.

Reports Idol was considering revamping its entire judging panel have swirled for weeks.

In addition to Lopez's confirmation that she's leaving the show, Tyler formally announced his Idol departure last week. Whether Jackson will reprise his judging role remains unclear, although recent reports have suggested he may move to a mentoring role instead.

(Photo credit Fox)


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