Steven Tyler of "American Idol"
In a joint statement released on Thursday (July 12) as much of the nation's entertainment media was settling in for Comic-Con coverage, FOX and the Aerosmith frontman announced that Tyler will be departing the hit singing competition.
In a typically semi-coherent comment, Tyler seems to indicate that he's departing "Idol" to concentrate on music.
"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," blurbs Tyler. "I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back – but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I've got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band. The next few years are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass – the ultimate in auditory takeover…On Nov. 6, we are unleashing our new album, Music from Another Dimension on the Earth, Moon, Mars, and way beyond the stars... 'Idol' was over-the-top fun, and I loved every minute of it…Now it’s time to bring Rock Back. ERMAHGERD."
Kudos to Tyler for working in the plug for the new Aerosmith album.
"It’s been a tremendous honor to have Steven – one of the most prolific artists in the world – on 'American Idol' for the past two seasons," blurbs FOX reality guru Mike Darnell. "He’s been a terrific judge, a true friend and great mentor to everyone involved with the show, and we know he’ll continue to be a huge inspiration to IDOL hopefuls for years to come. We are very sad that Steven has chosen to focus more on his music, but we always knew when we hired a rock ’n’ roll legend, he would go back to the music. We all wish him all the best and would love to have him back on the show anytime."
Adds "Idol" creator and executive producer Simon Fuller, "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. 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!"
Tyler and Jennifer Lopez joined the "American Idol" judging panel before the start of the 10th season as "Idol" braced for the seemingly crushing departure of original judge Simon Cowell. Instead of falling off a cliff, ratings for "Idol" were partially rejuvenated in Tyler and Lopez's first season and although they declined last spring, "Idol" continued to hold onto its place as TV's most popular show (in many/most demos). Neither judge contributed much by way of substantive criticism on the panel, but their starpower was difficult to dispute.
The big question for "Idol" is whether Tyler's exit will be first step in a mass exodus. Lopez was already being coy about her ongoing "Idol" involvement in May and her departure is considered a foregone conclusion, at least until she has a change of heart. Some recent reports have even gone so far as to suggest that Randy Jackson, judge since the show's premiere, may also be leaving, though that's pure speculation.
Ryan Seacrest has already re-upped for next season as host.
With the Television Critics Association press tour just weeks away, expect the rumor-mill to begin churning in earnest.
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