Singer/performers are still trying to ride their dreams to the top of the charts and the staple “American Idol” is still there to launch their careers for a 10th season starting Wed. the 19th.
The new judge mix is guaranteed to be spicy with Jennifer Lopez onboard and might turn rad rocker with Steven Tyler putting in his two cents. Of the original team, only Randy Jackson remains to even things out. We asked the trio to hint at what their vibe will be and why they are doing the show.
TeenTelevision: Are you guys kind of sick of hearing people lament that Simon is gone. Do you want to assure people that you can still put on a great show without him?
Randy: We definitely love him and will miss him, and I think he was a great addition to the show, but with what we’ve added now with these two superstars, I think the show is going to go on and have huge success. You’re going to see a lot of interesting things. I see these kids walk in, and they look at Jennifer and Steven, and they go, ‘My God. We’ve got the rock legend. We got the triple-threat up here.’ So I think we’re going to be good.
TeenTelevision: What is your critique style going to be; tough guy or….?
Jennifer: I think we’re both very spontaneous in how we critique each person that’s walked in there. There’s been thousands. You have to tune in to really see and get the full scope of how we judge. I know that’s the big question of the day, but the truth is you are just gonna have to watch. We’re very honest and in the moment with everything that we say and we do. Steven?
Steven: I would say that [if you are kicked out] you didn’t bring it. You didn’t bring what we need to see. I would say if we didn’t see it in you and you got too much attitude, you need to bring the full thing. Even though the best of us have the best attitudes, you gotta have the whole deal. You gotta have the voice. You gotta have what it’s all about.
Randy: Have the whole package.
Jennifer: We bring a different perspective, I think, than any of the other previous judges really have before, especially if you’re speaking about Simon specifically. We just do. We’re artists. We’ve been up there. We’ve auditioned. We’ve been through the ranks. Steven, you’ve been touring 40 years or something like that.
Steven: Uh huh.
Jennifer: I’ve been in this business a long time too. There’s nothing like having that type of discussion with another artist to help you grow. And at the end of the day, that’s what we’re there for, to help the kids either move on to the next level or break the news to them that they’re not going on to the next level.
Randy: Let me just say, I think I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about people asking who is gonna be the tough one, who is really going to tell these kids where it is, where it’s not, or the mean one or whatever. We still honestly give them a full read. If it’s terrible, it’s terrible. What are you gonna say?
TeenTelevision: Some of the newer idol winners’ careers haven’t taken off as far as records are concerned. Why is that? Just not as good?
Randy: The record has to be great. The records that have sold to date have been great records. I think if you make a great record, the public will definitely buy it. You saw that every time. You saw that with Gaga. You see it with whomever produces a great record.
TeenTelevision: And some successes are the runners up.
Randy: Yeah. Daughtry never won. But I think the mistake that people make is they look at the show and they think, ‘If I win or if I get into the Top 5 or the Top 10, I am guaranteed to be a success.’ No. It just puts you in the brass ring with those people that you love, that you idolize. If you are a dance artist, guess what? You’re going into the ring with Gaga. May the best song win. End of story.
TeenTelevision: What’s the main motivating reason for doing this show? Since you don’t need celebrity or probably the money?
Steven: I’m not sure yet. I [became a judge] because I’ve got, like, years of my father in me in musicianship, and I’ve got this melodic sensibility, and I’ve certainly learned it’s not just about singing. It’s about character, as well, and what it takes to be on the road to withstand the storm, because it is a storm out there.
To be able to dance and sing is one thing. How you handle fame, and just all that thing you really can’t put your finger on, that certain something, I think I know what that is. When someone opens their mouth, I can see it, their character, what they got, and I hope I can evoke that from them, I can pull that out of them.
Jennifer: As far as why I did the show and I think this has been well-documented, at first I wasn’t sure about it. And then I thought, ‘I love this show’ and actually, with all the experience I have in this business and everything I’ve been through and all the things I’ve learned, where else could I put it to good use but by helping other artists? At the end of the day, we’re not here to kind of break people down or do any of that. We’re here to help the kids move through it. America’s voting. We’re judging. We’re there to guide them through it and mentor them through. That’s been the fun part, I think, for me, for Steven - even for Randy. This year it’s been much more of a collaborative table.
We talk about it. We discuss things. And we put forth to them what we think could help them to grow as artists, and it’s been a lot of fun. I thought it would be fun, and it’s more fun than I thought it would be, and I’m so glad that I made the choice. I’m having a ball.
TeenTelevision: Jennifer and Steven, how well would you have done on a competition show like this?
Jennifer: I don’t know. Lord knows. I think when I started out, I was very gutsy, and very ballsy when I was in my early 20s and teens like these kids. Who knows? Might have made it far. Might have not made it through the first round.
Steven: Being out there and singing to these guys? Probably scared to death. I mean, I had all the clubs at, what? I started in ’64, ’65, and moving up the ranks and finally figuring out what it is.
These kids have it so much harder. They haven’t played clubs and get beaten down that way. So they have their mom and dad telling them they’re great, and they feel entitled because they watch the show, and they gotta come up and really give it up, and it’s just excruciating. It’s been hard for me. How would I have done? Lord knows.
TeenTelevision: This is the most dramatic overhaul the show has ever done. Is it an acknowledgment that something went wrong last season? And if so, what do you think that was?
Steven: I think what IDOL is all about now is taking it up a notch, no more, no less. It’s just looking around, seeing what’s going on. We’re looking for something, again, that’s different.
TeenTelevision: Randy, what’s it like working with Jennifer vs. Ellen or Paula?
Randy: She’s got that triple threat thing, but what I love is when she goes into that New York attitude, like, ‘I see you coming out, like I know there’s ‘hood in you. Come on, man. I’ll see that coming out and yeah’.
Jennifer: The Bronx girl gets out once in a while. I try to keep her in check, keep my composure.
Steven: You know, March and April, when all the rumblings were going down about, you know, am I going to do this? Is she going to do it, I saw this movie coming back from the Aerosmith tour from Europe, and it was The Back up Plan, and I saw Jennifer Lopez be so vulnerable and so real that I immediately thought, ‘I want to sit next to that’. I saw a vulnerable side that you rarely see in someone of her ilk. Now, she is a rock star of her own and has this persona of being a wild woman. And when I saw that other side of her I thought, ‘That is perfect’, I mean it in the sweetest of ways.
TeenTelevision: Do you think it will be a boy winner or girl this year?
Jennifer: We have a lot of great talent, boys and girls, men and women. I feel so emotionally attached to all of them already. I hate seeing any of them go. I’ve already shed a couple of tears. It’s a process, but I think why we get so involved is because we see so much potential and we see so much great talent and so much artistry there, and you see yourself years ago and you can identify. You want to just guide them in the right direction. We don’t know. It might be a boy; it might be a girl. It’s who can make it under the pressure of the show. They ask us ‘What can I do, Jennifer? What can I do, Steven?’ and I go, ‘Every time you get up there, we’ve got to have our jaws drop, every time.’
Randy: I know you’ve heard this before but trust me, we’ve got some heat this season, and I think better talent that we’ve had in many seasons. We’ve got some hot kids.
TeenTelevision: Jennifer what kinds of outfits will you wear? More glam or more middle America?
Jennifer: Well, you’re going to see me from here up (indicating). Okay? You know me. I change it up every single day in my own life. I can only be myself on the show. I’m not going to try to play it down or play it up or do anything. I’m just going to be me, and that’s always worked for me with the public. They see me; they know that I’m real. I don’t want to overthink it too much. I’m a girl who likes to get dressed up, put on her jewelry or her lipstick and go. So that’s what you’ll get.
TeenTelevision: For Jennifer and Steven, I’m wondering if, once the IDOL is picked, are you going to stay in touch and help mentor them you think?
Jennifer: I think we try to throw them kind of pearls of wisdom when we can, when we have the opportunity, when it comes up in the critique or something like that where we tell them a little bit about fame or pressure or this or that or what it’s going to be like and why they’re going to have to really, really perform and really step up to the task, and we’ll do that during the season. We definitely hope to pass that on. As far as afterwards, I don’t know. We’ll see. We’re supposed to keep a certain distance to keep our objectivity. So we’re going do that too, but we’ll give as much as we can.
TeenTelevision: Steven what do the rest of the Aerosmith guys think about you doing Idol?
Steven: I got some stuff from the guys. You know, everyone’s got their opinion. I just wanted to test my limitations. I’ve not done television like this. I just wanted to see if I could be real and if I could pick from all these kids. I come from the era where it was always competition and competing. And God knows, I’ve been judged all my life for what I do. I am who I am, and the band wouldn’t be the band without each member of the band. So it will all come out in the wash.
TeenTelevision: Jennifer you have done so much. Will you continue to both sing and act? And do your jewelry and perfume?
Jennifer: Yes, yes! The singing and acting and the performing is always going to be there. That’s where I started. That’s what I do. Everything else has kind of an extension of that, and I’ve been lucky enough to have enough of a business mind to have success but I always say I would do it for free; sing, make records, make music, perform, act that’s what I love to do, and that’s what I will always be doing. And yeah, I have a record coming out this year, and I have a movie I’ll be doing later in the year.