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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson confirmed as new judges on American Idol

22

September

judges.jpegIt is so easy to make a snide assumption here.

After getting fans hyped to watch the announcement of American Idol's new judging panel on the Internet, the show found another way to mess it all up -- providing a video link which had no sound until the final moments of the webcast.

No matter. The rumors are finally confirmed and refuted: Pop star Jennifer Lopez, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and returning judge Randy Jackson will serve on American Idol's new panel, charged with helping the show remain the most-watched program on television after the departure of its biggest star, Simon Cowell.

"I just want to find the next Michael Jackson," Lopez said during the small portion of the webcast that was audible. She had stepped onstage in a fountain of fake fog, wearing a sparkly blue jump suit that may have already had Idol's image coaches clucking in apprehension. "Are you excited now guys?" host Ryan Seacrest asked the crowd at The Forum in Los Angeles, where the show is holding its last in-person auditions today.

idollogo5.jpgNews of this trio's identity broke two months ago. But fevered negotiations and the fact that producers hadnt yet officially released one judge, Kara DioGuardi, led to confusion and non-denials from all involved until now. During Lopez's announcement, images of newspaper articles citing the pop singer wouldn't be on the show or was demanding too many perks were projected onto a huge screen, as if to sneer at those who predicted this moment would never happen at all.

A few other details emerged in a flurry of press releases after the big unveil: Lopez gets a first-look deal with Twentieth Century Fox Films and Fox Broadcasting Company for pojects develped by her Nuyorican Films company. And Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine comes onboard as mentor, perhaps to address criticisms that last season's singers weren't compelling enough.

"It feels like the perfect feather nest," said Tyler. "It's being a part of something much bigger than yourself. I want to bring some rock to this rollercoaster. If you got the talent, the heart, the feeling to do this, you could be the next American Idol." In the following press conference, Fox executives denied that Lopez's demands created the delay and confusion in finalizing the judges' lineup, blaming any time lag on conflicting schedules.

Of course, some snide fans online pronounced this as Idol's Jump the Shark moment -- the instant things have gotten so absurd, that the show's fan base dissolves and its status as TV's highest-rated show disappears. We won't know that for sure until January, when the program comes back to new episodes.

But it doesn't look so good when a show with two new and untested judges can't even work out how to announce their identities without major snafus. 

Click here to check out my appearance this morning on National Public Radio to talk about Idol's judge factor, and hear someone else suggest changing the show so it doesn't even have judges at all. Below is the video stream of the announcement, which Ustream has been rerunning periodically.

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 2:16pm]

    

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