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Jennifer Lopez reportedly becoming new regular 'American Idol' judge


By Reality TV World staff, 07/30/2010 

American Idol's upcoming tenth season will reportedly have at least one new big-name judge.

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Jennifer Lopez will be joining American Idol as a regular member of its judging panel, according to multiple reports late Thursday night.

"Jennifer accepted the Idol judge position," a show insider told OK! Weekly.  "They are ironing out contracts as we speak so unless something goes wrong it's a done deal."

Reports of Lopez's American Idol addition surfaced only a few hours after Fox and Ellen DeGeneres announced the comedian and daytime talk show host has decided to "bow out" of American Idol and leave her judging position after just a single season.

"She's absorbing Ellen's salary which is why Ellen resigned today," the insider told OK.

Lopez's longtime manager Benny Medina organized the deal, according to People, which reported current judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi will both return for American Idol's tenth season and join the 41-year-old singer and actress on its judging panel.

"It's true," an industry source told People.  "She's excited about it."

Fox had no comment on reports of Lopez's American Idol addition.

Whether American Idol will also replace Simon Cowell -- who left the show after this past May's ninth-season finale to launch an American adaptation of his British The X Factor reality competition that will debut on Fox in Fall 2011 -- and continue with the four-judge format it has used the last two seasons remains unclear.

According to Deadline Hollywood, which first reported the news of Lopez's addition, Idol producers have been attempting to replace Cowell with Elton John.  However he is reportedly "asking for too much money and has too many touring commitments he can't get out of," resulting in Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler possibly being offered the position.

Reports that American Idol has been eyeing John as Cowell's replacement first surfaced in January and have continued circulating despite repeated denials from his representatives.  In May, Access Hollywood reported John rejected a $33 million offer from the show.

Fox and DeGeneres announced her departure in a Thursday evening press release.

"A couple months ago, I let Fox and the American Idol producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," DeGeneres said 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."

Rumors that American Idol will undergo a large tenth-season shakeup that may result in the replacement of its entire judging panel have surged since multiple reports that former Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe -- who left the show in 2008 to focus on So You Think You Can Dance -- is near a deal to return to the show surfaced on Monday.

Earlier this year, Lythgoe repeatedly told reporters he would address Cowell's exit by replacing Idol's entire judging panel and return to a three-judge format if he were still in charge of the show.

"I'd lose the fourth judge, I don't like four judges. I'd keep Ryan Seacrest and probably change the whole panel to go with [Elton John]," Lythgoe told the New York Post in March.

"I would replace the entire judging panel," he told Zap2it in April. "I don't think it really works replacing one person. They don't have a great deal of chemistry at the moment. Ryan and Simon have fallen out. It's uncomfortable to watch. Ellen hasn't worked out as well as we would have hoped."

According to recent reports, Idol has also been considering Chris Isaak, Harry Connick Jr., Jessica Simpson, and Justin Timberlake as possible judging panel additions.  In addition, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Bret Michaels have also expressed interest in the show recently.

DeGeneres joined American Idol last September -- after the show had already conducted its nationwide ninth-season callback auditions for the judging panel without her -- under what was reportedly a five-year contract.

While it will be her first regular on-camera role, Idol's judging panel won't represent Lopez's first foray into reality television.

In 2007, she executive produced and made several cameo appearances in DanceLife, an MTV reality series that followed the lives of six dancers working to make it in the dancing business.

In addition, Lopez served as a musical mentor during American Idol's 2007 sixth season and served as the guest judge for Project Runway's fifth-season finale in 2008.

(Photo credit Fox)


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