As its 10th season begins on FOX, ratings juggernaut and cultural phenomenon American Idol is embracing some big changes. The judge's table has been shaken up with two new kids on the block to replace Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Joining original "top dog" Randy Jackson are Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and Hollywood triple threat Jennifer Lopez.
Just a few episodes into the 10th season, and Idol is still on top of the ratings.
With his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee band Aerosmith taking a break from touring, Steven says being an Idol judge gives him an opportunity to try something new—even if it means getting some heat from his bandmates. "I've been judged all my life," he says. "I saw this as an opportunity to have some fun and sit next to J. Lo here, and Randy."
Jennifer says saying no to contestants was hard...at first. "You feel like you're devastating someone, like you're killing their dream," she says. "And that was difficult for a second, but at the end of the day, I really feel like being honest is the best policy."
With young twins at home, Jennifer says her life is a balancing act. "You want to be there for them, but at the same time you have your obligations to your job. It gets difficult at times," she says. "[But] everything is so much better now with them in my life. I'm actually enjoying working even more now because I just enjoy going home even more."
Though he's the last of the original lineup of judges, Randy says being a judge on American Idol with Steven and Jennifer is fun. "We've just kind of morphed into this Season 10 thing that is really exciting," he says. "I think it's a good pairing and, what's most important about these kinds of shows, Oprah, is that we're having a good time. It's great camaraderie."
Randy says even though former American Idol host Simon Cowell is on to new projects, they're still friends and talk regularly. "He's my boy," Randy says. "It's like you're graduating high school and you're going to different colleges."