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OTRC: Steven Tyler leaving 'American Idol' to focus on Aerosmith

Steven Tyler praises 'American Idol' finalists Jessica Sanchez and Phil Phillips as the season 11 race heats up

Steven Tyler says he is leaving "American Idol" after serving as a judge on the singing contest series for the past two seasons, adding that he wants to concentrate on his work with his rock band and "first love," Aerosmith.

The 64-year-old rock singer made his announcement in a statement released by the FOX network on Thursday, July 12.

"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. "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 group is touring North America this summer and is set to release its 15th studio album, the band's first major record in eight years, on November 6.

"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."

The latter phrase is Internet slang for "Oh my God" and is often used in memes featuring photos of animals.

Tyler brought a rock n' roll edge to the largely pop-themed series. He flirted with several female contestants, showcased his trademark hippie rocker style and occasionally rattled off bleeped-out swear words in his enthusiastic critiques.

On the season 11 finale of "American Idol," he sang with Aerosmith on stage, marking the first time the band members performed on the show since he became a judge. They played their upcoming album's first single, "Legendary Child." Its music video was posted online on Wednesday.

Tyler was praised by Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment at the Fox Broadcasting Company, in FOX's statement.

"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," he said. "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."

Hours before Tyler made his announcement, NBC's "Today" show aired an interview with fellow "American Idol" judge and singer Jennifer Lopez, who was also asked about her future on the show.

"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," she said. "So this has been a great journey ... but then again, I really love the show."

Tyler and Lopez both joined "American Idol" 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.

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 future of the third judge on the panel, veteran cast member Randy Jackson, also remains unknown.

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