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The American Idol exodus continues.
Jennifer Lopez, who has spent the past two seasons as a judge on the reality singing competition, will not return for a third. Lopez broke the news to Idol host Ryan Seacrest on his radio show Friday morning. On Thursday, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, who joined the show at the same time as Lopez, announced his departure.
Lopez, who is launching a concert tour with Enrique Iglesias, cited her many projects and responsibilities, saying, “I honestly feel like the time has come for me to be doing the other things I do that I’ve kind of put on hold because I love Idol so much.”
The singer, who also produces the show Q’Viva! with ex-husband Marc Anthony, said she’d be happy to serve Idol in a more limited guest capacity. Seacrest swore that he had no part in Lopez’s decision.
Explaining her difficulty in choosing whether to return, she said, “It’s one of those special things in your life that you don’t want to walk away from.” She insisted it had nothing to do with wanting a pay increase from the she earned $12 million the past season. On Thursday, Lopez hinted on NBC’s Today that she was leaning toward leaving.
Lopez’s exit comes at another time of great turnover for Idol, as the show now looks for at least two new judges and perhaps a third if Randy Jackson, the last remaining original judge, leaves as well. The show was down 25 percent in viewership this past 12th season, with the finale drawing 21 million viewers.
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