'Idol' judges weigh in - on each other

Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Lopez.
Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Lopez.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 19, 2011; 8:17 PM

"American Idol" is back - with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, a new record-label CEO "mentor" and an overhauled format.

On the eve of "Idol's" return, the Fox singing show's judges were dispatched to spread the good word across the TV firmament: J-Lo sashayed over to the Warner Bros. lot to have a cozy chat with single-season "Idol" judge Ellen DeGeneres on her syndicated daytime talker. Aerosmith's frontman made television love to Kelly Ripa in Manhattan on ABC's syndicated "Live! With Regis and Kelly" daytime show, after which he used the best material from that gig for a telephone group hug with TV critics nationwide - not the lovemaking part, but the bit in which he prattled on impishly about how hard the auditions process was for him because some wannabe Idolettes sang Aerosmith tunes badly.

Meanwhile, "Idol's" only surviving judge from last season, Randy Jackson, made his way to Hollywood, where he worked like a dawg to convince ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel that he is the show's new Simon Cowell. Randy snarkily told Kimmel that he thought J-Lo's singing voice "would definitely" have earned her a solid "7." That's out of a possible 10. Ouch!

That surprised even the cynical Kimmel - only he thought 7 was too high. And yes, Randy did manage, in the interview, to continue riding the "I worked with Mariah Carey" gravy train. Because some things never change.

J-Lo, meanwhile, oblivious to the nicking she was taking at Randy's hands, was speaking highly of him to Ellen:

"Randy, obviously, is kind of walking us through it, since he's been [on the show] 10 years now. . . . But we're having a great time. We both love music so much, and we've both been in the business so long. Steven has been touring for like 40 years, and, you know, I've been doing it for a while, too," J-Lo said sweetly.

"You've been looked over by guys before - but never like that!" Regis Philbin said to his pretty perky co-host Kelly when Tyler pranced out on the Rege and Kelly stage, dressed in tight black spangly pants, a vivid red button-down shirt, black vest, with lots of silver chains and thinggummies hanging from his neck.

"Steven, you're lips are so soft!" Kelly giggled - she'd just been kissed by Tyler.

"And I got dressed like this knowing that you would be like that," Tyler purred.

"Oh, really? 'Cause I was re-thinking my whole get-up," Kelly confided.

"I heard that," Tyler continued purring.

"I suddenly thought that maybe I should just, you know - take it all off!" Kelly babbled, warming up to her subject.

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