Photo Credit: Tony Duran / FOX.
Jennifer Lopez may be making a fresh start in her personal life -- but luckily for American Idol fans, she's keeping her day job! This morning on Ryan Seacrest's radio show, Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe confirmed that Lopez would be joining judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson for the show's 11th season.
"I am delighted to say that all three judges, along with the brilliant host of American Idol is back for the next season," Lythgoe told said "brilliant host" Seacrest over the phone.
Lopez, 42, was rumored to be returning to the show, but with her personal life in major transition (she and husband Marc Anthony announced their separation in June), everything seemed up in the air. In mid-June, Lopez said she was "very on the fence" about returning to the show, given her many other projects. Then in July, E! News announced that Lopez was in negotiations for her second season, with the source saying she "just has to work one thing out."
So what was the hold up? Page Six reported on Monday that Lopez was negotiating a new contract -- for $20 million a season, up from $12 million! According to the paper's source, fellow judge Tyler has been kicking himself for signing a two-year contract, which now means he makes half of what J.Lo is pocketing. (Poor guy, having to feed his family on only $10 mil a year!)
The three judges will hit the road together in a couple weeks, tweets Seacrest, to begin filming for season 11's January premiere. People reports that auditions will be held in Denver, Houston, St. Louis, Portland, Ore., San Diego, Pittsburgh and Charleston, N.C. And original judge Simon Cowell has some advice for the current judges: Don't reject the next Lady Gaga!
"(Gaga) would have been thrown out within 10 seconds," Cowell admits to Life & Style. "Even if she had walked in with a lobster on her head, it would have been one of the kooky auditions. Now you have to be more open-minded and embrace that level of expression. You hope to God you can find someone like her."
Let's hope that Lopez and co. do!