Is Jennifer Lopez leaving "American Idol"?
The 42-year-old singer and actress made her debut on the hit FOX singing contest series in 2010 as part of a casting shakeup, aimed at boosting ratings. They have been on the decline for at least the past five years. Lopez has served as a judge alongside fellow newcomer Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and veteran cast member Randy Jackson for the past two seasons.
A recent E! News report said that it is still not confirmed if any of the three will return for season 12, which is set to air in early 2013. On an episode of NBC's "Today" show on Thursday, July 12, Lopez was asked about her future on "American Idol."
"Yeah, It's been on my mind a lot, as you can imagine," Lopez said. "I signed on to 'American Idol' to do one year, and I wound up ... doing the two years. And now it's like, 'Okay, do we continue on this journey?' I've loved it so much. I enjoy the show so much. I enjoy just the whole process of the show and the whole thing."
"So it's a tough decision either way," she added. "But I have to say that there are so many other things that I do, and that I put on hold for that. At the end of the day, whichever way, it's a heartbreaking decision if I'm going to have to go."
While auditions for season 12 of "American Idol" began in June, preliminary tryouts are typically carried out in front of producers, not the show's judges. Lopez added that she loves "all the guys on the show" and the "family that's there."
"I've just enjoyed it so much but I am thinking that maybe it's time for me to go and do the things, other things that I really love to do, like films and right now I'm on tour and performing and all the things that I do. So this has been a great journey ... but then again, I really love the show."
The season 11 finale of "American Idol," which aired in May, marked the lowest-rated last episode for the series. It earned a 6.4 rating among adults aged 18 to 49 and was watched by about 21.4 million people.
While it did win its time slot, last year's finale drew 29.2 million viewers and a 9.2 rating. The season 5 finale in 2006, when "American Idol" was at its prime, earned a 14.2 rating and was watched by about 36.3 million people.
FOX has refused to comment about casting reports. It is common for TV show departure rumors to surface when stars negotiate new contracts.
Lopez had told former judge Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show in May that she was unsure if she would return to "American Idol," adding: "I really do enjoy it. I don't know if I can go for a third year. I miss doing other things. It really does lock you down, which was nice the first year, with the babies being 3 and 4. Now they're getting more mobile, they're about to go to school. I just don't know."
Lopez and ex-husband Marc Anthony are parents to 4-year-old twins, Max and Emme, who are four. She is currently on tour with fellow Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias and was interviewed remotely on the "Today" show.
Her appearance was also aimed at promoting the new film "Ice Age: Continental Drift," the fourth installment of the hit animated movie franchise. She plays Shira, a saber-toothed cat who becomes the love interest of Diego, played by Denis Leary. The movie hits theaters on Friday, July 13.
"I think, having kids, it's always kind of interesting to be involved in an animated project, a cartoon, something you know that they're going to enjoy because everything else I do, they really just don't care about," Lopez said. "This is something we're going to be able to enjoy together. One of my favorite things is just watching movies with them."
In addition to her tour and the movie, Lopez also has another side project in the works - she recently teamed up with the cable channel ABC Family to develop a drama about a lesbian couple and their family.
The cable channel airs many shows popular with young female viewers, a key demographic, such as "Pretty Little Liars" and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager."
After the season 11 finale of "American Idol," Tyler was asked at a press conference if he would be upset if Lopez left the show. He replied: "Yeah, probably. Everything evolves. Who am I going to sit next to that makes it really worthwhile?"
The Aerosmith rocker had in 2011 signed a multi-year contract, reportedly worth $18 million, to continue his job on "American Idol." He is also involved with his music career. Aerosmith is also on tour and plans to release a new album, the band's first major record in eight years, called "Music From Another Dimension." It will hit stores on November 6, Tyler told Cleveland radio station 100.7 WMMS. The date was pushed back from late August.
Meanwhile, Aerosmith also recently debuted a music video for its first single, "Legendary Child."