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The media is clamoring for answers! FOX is being cagey! The suspense is mounting! Is Jennifer Lopez returning to American Idol for Season 13 or not?
"Yes," said her boyfriend, Casper Smart, when E! News asked the question on Friday. Well, that was easy.
Perhaps Smart didn't realize that the network was saving the news for a big announcement later in the month. But the truth is, most people already knew: Deadline reported it two weeks ago.
Lopez will be joining Keith Urban, the only judge to survive last season after Idol received its lowest ratings ever. Though Randy Jackson plans occasionally to return to Season 13 in a mentoring capacity, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj have been shown the door. Urban and Lopez will reportedly be joined by one more star, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas (though he hasn't been officially confirmed by the network, either.)
Is J.Lo's return a good move for the show? Of course that depends on who you ask, but generally speaking, critics liked her during her two-year stint. To help form your own opinion, here's a refresher on Ms. Lopez's pros and cons.
PRO: She is not Nicki Minaj. Lopez is not an eye roller, y'all! “Everyone from the cast and crew is happy that they don’t have to deal with Nicki Minaj. She was a nightmare,” a source told Hollywood Life.
PRO: She's a self-proclaimed longtime fan of the show. Sure, that didn't help Ellen DeGeneres, but we like J.Lo's combination of music biz experience and, you know, actually wanting to be there. "We watch American Idol at my house," she says in the clip below. "Just like the rest of America I'm on the edge of my seat to see what's gonna happen, and I'm rooting for all of them."
PRO: She always bring the style. Fashionistas like to tune in just to see what she'll wear next. "I'm just gonna be me, and every day that's something different," she says in the video below. "I like getting dressed up, and that's not gonna change for this show."
PRO: She had some truly adorable moments while judging the first time around. And that's hard to dispute once you've viewed this montage compiled by Pop Sugar:
CON: If you long for Idol to return to its harsher, Simon Cowell days, then rehiring Lopez is a step in the wrong direction. The Associated Press described Lopez's debut on the show as "what felt like a kinder American Idol. ... J.Lo in particular had a difficult time rejecting contestants, and seemed in agony doing so." Check out the video below.
CON: Lopez was occasionally criticized for going overboard when handing out praise. "The best thing I've ever seen on American Idol!" she gushed after Joshua Ledet sang When a Man Loves a Woman (check out the clip below). No doubt Ledet had a moment, but in a season that also included Jessica Sanchez and Phil Phillips, the comment really just sounded like hyperbole.
CON: She sometimes let her emotions get the best of her. After delivering the news of his elimination to Chris Medina, she dissolved into tears. "I just don't feel like I told him in the right way," she cried, as Steven Tyler and Jackson comforted her. "I didn't want to tell him no." See the video:
On the other hand, you might consider her emotional investment a benefit to the show. Clearly, she really cares about the contestants!
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.