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New 'American Idol' judges J-Lo and Steven Tyler upstaged by the show's new mentor, Jimmy Iovine

SELL IT TO THE NEW JUDGES: Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez join Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest and Jimmy Iovine on "Idol."
SELL IT TO THE NEW JUDGES: Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez join Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest and Jimmy Iovine on "Idol." (Michael Becker/fox)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, September 23, 2010

"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest finally unveiled the show's new judges -- aged rocker squirt Steven Tyler, and pop star/former Fox "In Living Color" Fly Girl dancer Jennifer Lopez -- to a crowd of "Idol" auditioners (and reporters) Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.

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This came as a surprise to no one, given that their names had been the only ones left on the shortlist for weeks and weeks, as it shortened and shortened.

A f'realsers surprise was someone else you're going to see often on the show when it enters its 10th season in January. This new arrival is hellbent on knocking the cobwebs out of this semi-stale franchise -- and he is someone Seabiscuit did not trot out during Wednesday's Judge Unveiling Lollapalooza at the Forum.

That person is Interscope Geffen A&M Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine, who has been named the show's permanent in-house mentor.

As part of "Idol's" deal with Universal Music Group, Interscope Geffen A&M will market, promote and distribute albums globally, when Idolette finalists and winners prove worthy of a broad array of retail and new media platforms.

It was Iovine who seemed very much in charge during a post-unveiling Q&A session, when the Idol-makers revealed that guest mentors are out, themed weeks are out and the show will become much more serious. Expect a laser focus on Iovine as he works closely with each aspiring singer to mold them into a marketable, moneymaking commodity.

So country singers, for instance, will no longer be asked to croak through rock tunes and will instead hippy-hippy-shake each week to show off their God-given talent.

"It's important to develop what they are good at," said "Idol's" returning-from-exile executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.

"I think you're going to see a remarkable difference from week to week -- it's going to be an entire new construct of bringing up artists," Iovine said.

When one reporter said, "It sounds like you're going in a bit more serious direction," Lythgoe responded: "I think it's fair to say that, in moving to Interscope, we looked back at the history [of the show]" and tried to pinpoint which "Idol" winners had actually been successful as money generators for the record label. He named first-season winner Kelly Clarkson and fourth-season winner Carrie Underwood, and then said: "And then you start running out of Idols" -- which is maybe the most scathing analysis of the show ever.

When another reporter wanted the panel to speculate how the show was going to do in the ratings without judge Simon Cowell, Lythgoe snapped, "You obviously haven't met Jimmy Iovine" before going into "you can't replace Simon" autopilot.

Iovine is one of the most influential execs in the music industry, reports The Post's pop music critic Chris Richards, who says Iovine is most famous for co-founding Interscope Records in 1990. The label struck it rich with rappers Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur, and later branched into the alt-rock world, signing Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and No Doubt.


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