Michael Becker/ FOX
J.Lo: In or Out For 'Idol'?
August 11, 2011
News that Jennifer Lopez would officially be returning for American Idol season 11 was met with wildly varying reactions -- some (yours truly included) loved the announcement since La Lopez may not have been the most critical judge, but she certainly added some much needed flavor to that dreary dais. Others feel that her aforementioned ambivalence to saying anything beyond "good job baby" makes her an ineffective judge.
Both arguments hold water, but it turns out that all this debate might be moot because contrary to what executive producer Nigel Lythgoe announced on Ryan Seacrest's radio show yesterday, Jennifer has not signed anything officially cementing her involvement with Idol next year!
I caught up with Nigel after last night's So You Think You Can Dance taping and excitedly asked about his big announcement earlier in the day. That's when the hammer dropped. "Well, I made that big announcement based on the fact, I know she wants to do it and we want her to do it," Nigel said. "I don’t think the negotiating team have actually signed her yet, but I’m excited to keep all those judges together. That’s what I would absolutely love to do."
So why, just 10 hours earlier, did he act as if the ink was, in fact, dry? Two theories: all the Idol chatter got more people to pay attention to last night's SYTYCD penultimate episode, and since I suspect that's where Nigel's heart truly lies, he used the opportunity to get that brand more exposure during finale week. Also, if negotiations are in fact in the later stages, this certainly puts pressure on Jennifer to lock herself in sooner rather than later.
Since everyone took Nigel's comment to mean she was coming back, backing out now wouldn't be the best thing for her image. Can't you just see the headlines now: "Jennifer Lopez Hates Idol! Jennifer Lopez Loathes America! Jennifer Lopez Kicks Puppies!"
Idol is the best thing to have ever happened to Jennifer's career since she hopped on the 6 and left the block, so I have no doubt she'll be back -- but it sounds like Nigel might have doubted it. Past tense.