Steven Tyler Exiting as `American Idol' Judge

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

NEW YORK (AP) - Steven Tyler says he's exiting "American Idol"
to put rock `n' roll first.

Tyler said he's leaving the hit show after two seasons to
rededicate himself to Aerosmith, the band he fronts. The rock star
said he loved every minute on the hit Fox singing contest but
added, "it's time to bring rock back."

"After some long ... hard ... thoughts ... I've decided it's
time for me to let go of my mistress `American Idol' before she
boils my rabbit," Tyler said in a statement, making a joking
reference to the 1987 Michael Douglas-Glenn Close thriller "Fatal

"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."

The band is currently on a nationwide tour with Tyler and has an
album due out in the fall.

Tyler's "Idol" departure leaves original judge Randy Jackson
and Jennifer Lopez, but the singer-actress' future with the show is

In a phone interview with The Associated Press as the news about
Tyler broke, Lopez said she was saddened to hear that he was

"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."

Lopez also said Tyler's departure will play a role in her
decision to stay or go. She has already expressed that there is a
good likelihood that she will not be back.

"All hope is never lost, not all hope, but at the same time,
there are too many things that I need to think about," she said.
"I know they want me back, I know that I want to go back, but it's
not as simple as that. When I started `Idol' ... I signed on for
one year. I didn't even think about doing it for two years, let
alone three years. To make the decision to go back a second year
was a big deal for me."

The change in the judging panel comes as "Idol" comes off a
season of ratings erosion. Its finale, which saw Phillip Phillips
crowned as the new "American Idol," drew 21.5 million viewers,
the lowest in its 11-season history.

The Fox competition, which started off with Jackson, Simon
Cowell and Paula Abdul as judges, has made various judging changes over the years. Ellen DeGeneres joined one season, and songwriter Kara DioGuardi was added as a fourth judge while Cowell and Abdul were still a part of the panel.

The addition of Tyler and Lopez two years ago added fresh star
power to a show that, while still a powerhouse, was seeing its
audience slowly wane, due to its long tenure and the flood of other
talent shows on the TV airwaves.

Tyler added a raucous and sometimes flirtatious personality to
the mix, while Lopez was much like Abdul's role as the nurturer and
supporter. No one has had the acerbic tone that made Cowell the
celebrated villain of the show for years; he's now on his own show,
"X-Factor," which recently went through its own judging shakeup
and added Demi Lovato and Britney Spears.

"Idol" creator Simon Fuller lauded Tyler's contribution.

"Steven Tyler is a real `Idol,' a rock legend. If you had told
me 10 years ago he would be a judge on `American Idol,' I would
have thought it impossible," Fuller said in a statement. "The
fact that this became a reality and we had the pleasure of him
gracing our stage for two seasons makes me very proud. I completely
understand his desire to get back to his life as the singer in
America's greatest-ever rock band. `American Idol' will miss him!"

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