Jennifer Lopez Mulls American Idol Future: Do We Want Her Back? Take Our Poll!

Jennifer Lopez may be “On the Floor” with regard to her music career, but when it comes to reprising her role behind the American Idol judges’ table for Season 11, the lady is “on the fence.” Lopez expressed her ambivalence about returning to the Paula Abdul Memorial Chair in an interview with BBC Radio’s Scott Mills earlier this week.

This got me thinking about J.Lo’s Idol “journey” last season. Sure, in the Idoloonies season finale, I compared her to Sleeping Beauty’s terrifying villainess Maleficent and pretty much called for her eternal banishment from the Idoldome. But on the other hand,I have to acknowledge that she was part of the team that selected a pretty stellar Top 24 contestants. Without J.Lo, would I ever have known the brilliance of Kendra Chantelle, Lauren Turner, Pia Toscano, or Haley Reinhart? (My iPod just let out a blissful sigh as I typed those names into this item.) At the very least, I owe the “Jenny From the Block” singer some Pro and Con lists before passing final judgment:

Reasons to Keep J.Lo on Idol
* Super pretty hair provides visual safe haven during especially horrific performances
* Glowing skin is a gift from God to all of us
* Actually showed terrific judgment during carefully edited audition rounds, rejecting decent singers who needed more time to develop, and breaking bad news to hopeless “vocalists” using a firm but kind touch
* For a portion of the season — say, from Top 12 week to Top 9 week — offered succinct, pointed critiques that seemed designed to help contestants find ways to improve their performances
* Excellent object of rage during period of Nigel-led insurgence against Haley Reinhart’s unexpected rise

American Idol: 10 Changes We’d Make for a Better Season 11

Reasons to Hurl J.Lo Into the Pit From Whence She Came
* Offered unrelenting praise for contestants like Jacob, Lauren, and James whether they were great, middling, or disastrous, thereby stunting their artistic development and vocal improvement over the course of the season
* Reduced to producers’ mouthpiece by midpoint of live-performance rounds, driving home pre-ordained storylines about contestants via tiresome themes (Lauren’s afraid to sing the big notes) and mind-numbing catchphrases (“emotionally perfect!”)
* Mean spider eyes betrayed a malevolent glee when choosing to critique Haley Reinhart while ignoring errors made by all of her rivals from Top 7 week forward
* That results-show “performance” of “On the Floor”
* Constantly harped on Pia Toscano for her ballad-heavy repertoire but never lodged complaints about tone or tempo against Stefano, Scotty, and Jacob, none of whom were exactly mixing it up stylistically prior to Top 9 week
* Likely contamination with Imbecillus Maximus virus after sitting next to Randy Jackson for five months
* Did I mention those mean spider eyes?

‘Idoloonies’ Interviews with Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, and More!

The evidence is in! I rest my case! And now, members of the jury, I turn it over to you. Head to the comments and debate the case for and against J.Lo returning to Idol for Season 11, then take our handy poll below. And for all my reality TV recaps, interviews, and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Grace says:

    Okay, I see I’m in the vast minority here, but as much as I did live in a perpetual state of wanting to punch JLo in the face last season, I really believe that she still has the POTENTIAL to be great. If they put someone intelligent next to her instead of making her the meat of a useless sandwich, I think that could push her to live up to that potential.

    Can we steal Shawn Stockman from The Sing Off? I bet he and JLo would have awesome chemistry!

  2. peb says:

    Judges who are part of the music industry, but not performers would be able to offer criticism without worrying about “losing fans”. The biggest “throw Haley under the bus” moment came with the choice of “You Oughta Know” for her to sing. What would the outcome have been if Haley had “I Hope You Dance” and Lauren or Scotty had to sing “You Oughta Know”? Even if they’d given them all country songs, it would have been a little fairer. Maybe Haley could have used her bluesy voice on “Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline and by Cowboy Junkies.

    I learned more about Haley’s personality from the interviews posted by the Chicago FOX station when she did the hometown visit, than from the whole Idol season. She was relaxed, fun, and did not give any “attitude” that some people seemed to take from Idol. The same goes for Michael’s excellent interview with Lauren…she was adorable and straightforward. Now if we could just get Michael’s interview with Haley.

    • Terry says:

      It’s too bad Hales didn’t have more time to prepare for Top 3 week, I think she should have turned that piece of crap “judges” choice song into something completely unrecognizable. That’s the only thing that could have saved that song… like turn it into jazz, or country (since everyone else was doing country). But since she didn’t change it up, she totally should have just belted out the original x-rated lyrics! That woulda been awesome!

      • (!) says:

        I for one love that song, but I totally see what you’re saying – if only Haley could have changed up the low parts! The chorus was phenomenal, however, and I wouldn’t have want it differently – it just blew everyone else out of the water. I really like Haley’s voice in all the genres she’s done, particularly classic/rock and the jazzy stuff she’s comfortable with

  3. renee says:

    Jennifer’s early competence was far outweighed by her characteristic willingness to toss all sense of responsibility and integrity to the wind when it benefited her personally.
    If she had just been mediocre, I’d say bring her back, but it’s worse – she HAS the skills, she just prefers to follow the producers’ agenda or her like/dislike for contestants. Stupid can be managed, evil is forever.
    As Randy would note, she really turned the other cheek in her performance with her current brother/husband in the finale. I think she has a big future in ass-shaking for better singers – it’s the new tambourine.
    No, please, no more JLO.

  4. Yo says:

    Oh Michael! Jennifer’s glowing skin is just moist make-up! JLo sells make-up on TV by thrusting out her chest while her hair blows around!

    You hooked us, dude. Everyone is dropping by to see if Haley’s interview is up, snagged by Mama Lopez. Not the same, but an AI article, and in our desperation we will take anything. I think this means AI will be a hit next year.

  5. Danielle Notaro says:

    Michael Slezak, I’m telling you those succinct noted came from her husband…I’d bet on it.

  6. Janet says:

    I say no more J-Lo, but yet I have absolutely no idea who would or should take her place….

  7. GeorgiaPat says:

    It’s been such several seasons since I’ve been satisfied with the judges. I was open minded going into Season 10, but the self promotion deals worked out with Steven (book) and Jennifer (music and video) were beyond irritating. That’s not their fault, because clearly that was one of the conditions, but it started the season off on the wrong foot. I do blame all three of them for not taking seriously the future careers of the contestants.

    • GeorgiaPat says:

      Oops. I meant “several seasons” – not “such several seasons”!

    • Tusk says:

      re: Taking an interest in contestant’s futre
      In recent interviews with Haley, she has listed Tyler as an artist she would like to work with. It may be my bias, but there seemed to be a strong connection between the two as the season went on and she has proven that she has the b@lls to hold her own on ANY challenge.

      As Tyler’s near future with Aerosmith seems off and on, it would be great to hear a duet with them, maybe as a quikie teaser put out on youTube.

      My dream collaberation is if Paul McCartney saw her Beatle’s performances and either dueted with her or allow her to do a Haley Beatle’s cover album.

      for example early Haley doing the chorus part of Because acapella with a singing group:

      Oh Darling

      Get Back:

  8. Time to clean up this joint says:

    NO to JLO
    NO, NO, NO to Randy…Please Uncle Nigel…Randy needs to G.T.F.O.
    YES! To Cheryl Cole.

  9. Rick says:

    I voted “no,” but really, I wouldn’t mind having her back if she actually voiced her opinion (like during the audition rounds) instead of taking producers’ notes. I think she had so much potential, but adding in a dash of Lythgoe spoiled the pie.

  10. susela says:

    Let’s get three new judges: Harry Connick, Jr., Cher, and David Foster.

  11. L says:

    All three need to go. If no one is going to actually judge, then we don’t need judges. Just let Ryan introduce everyone and let everyone know who’s going home. The judges were useless this year and I actually stopped watching out of frustration.

  12. Trisha says:

    All you had to say was “spider eyes” and that’s enough to get her booted!

  13. Vetle says:


    Sweep the whole panel clean please. :(

  14. Hali says:

    “Likely contamination with Imbecillus Maximus virus after sitting next to Randy Jackson for five months.” ~> LOL. That was great.

  15. schmozlo says:

    She sucks. Fire her now!!! She ain’t that pretty neither.

    She treated Haley like crap. You don’t treat the most talented person on the show like crap and still keep your job!! Fire her now!!!

    Ask her to return her salary from last season too!!! J-Lo go bye bye now, ok?

  16. Anna says:

    I vote no, based on her praising the vile Casey while harping on Pia.

  17. Terry says:

    Unfortunately I’m sure Jenny will be back, she needs the money to pay off her ex to keep that sex tape under wraps. LOL!

  18. Paisley says:

    I dislike J Lo immensely as a direct result of her ineffective “judging” on idol this season. Not a fan. I would get rid of all 3 of them, but that is not going to happen.

  19. Eurydice says:

    I see Nigel’s not the only one with a relentless narrative. JLo didn’t constantly harp on Pia – she told her she was amazing and spectacular and special and destined for greatness, and then she suggested that Pia study the styles of certain great performers, all so she could become even greater and more special and more amazing and blah, blah, blah.

    As for the malevolent spider glare, I saw her do that many times on AI and not exclusivly toward Haley – maybe she was plotting revenge or maybe she had a migraine or maybe she was squinting through her colored contacts or maybe her Spanx were a little too tight – it could be anything.

    I don’t care if she comes back or not, but I think she was a lot more pleasant to watch than the Sadistic Simon or Tapioca-Brained Paula. For me, the judge who was truly annoying and truly unfair to Haley is Randy – I’d be happy to never see him again.

  20. BB says:

    I voted NO! She was ok in the beginning, however, she became totally useless in the last 1/2 of the show. Her attacks on Haley were totally uncalled for and I saw Randy going right along with her (the evil spider-eyed puppet-master witch!) I sometimes wonder if her hubby said something complimentary about Haley and that is what set her off? She sure did act like she was jealous. And perhaps she was. She probably felt threatened by Haleys talent as well. Lord knows she could have never done what Haley did onstage live!

    Can’t wait to see Haleys interview (hoping for at least a 10 parter) =)

  21. Cheshire says:

    I think you should ask her co-workers what they think…
    TVline: Steven Tyler, what did you think of Jennifer’s judging this season?
    ST: I thought it was beautiful.
    TVline: OK… can you elaborate on that at all?
    ST: I thought it was beautiful.
    TVline: Allrighty then, thanks Steven.
    TVline: Randy Jackson, what did you think dawg?
    RJ: My opinion is, I didn’t like it, I thought she was screaming, I thought it was a bad choice. My opinion is, I didn’t like it, I thought she was screaming, I thought it was a bad choice. My opinion is, I didn’t like it, I thought she was screaming, I thought it was a bad choice.
    TVline: OK, OK, I heard it, shut the eff up already.
    RJ: I’m not wrong.
    TVline: Jackass.
    TVline: Ryan Seacrest, wait a second, where did Seacrest go?
    RS (at Simon’s house): Please let me host X-Factor, please please please please please.

    • Elaine says:

      LOL Cheshire…. Steven stuff was hilarious!

    • WDK says:

      XD oh my god I laughed so hard at this! Randy’s part was priceless:

      RJ: I’m not wrong!

      I remember when he screamed that like 3 times after Steven said he was wrong about Earth Song. What a queer….

  22. LauraHolt says:

    You are killin’ me with the mean spider eyes comment.

    I enjoyed this panel’s audition rounds more than I enjoyed Season 1 which was my favorite. Despite Randy initial attempts to be Simon (pathetic) I found the audition eps to be positive, energetic, lighthearted and I loved seeing Jlo and Steven get into the performance.

    Shortly after Hollywood week the “judges” became The Souless Whores Who Are More Interested In Hocking Their Wares Then Having Integrity. If the transition came without any prompting and prodding then they need to be fired. If it was all Nigel, then he needs to be fired. Something needs to change ’cause the “critiques” , the pimping, and the targeting were disgraceful.

  23. karenb says:

    J-Ho is dead to me-o. Ever since she pulled that crap with Haley. And also, because it’s painfully obvious, she only took the job on Idol to rejuvenate her career. She didn’t care about the contestants or their performances. At. All.

  24. ladyhelix says:

    I’m re-adjusting my expectations of Haley’s interview… as there are only a limited number of reasons it could be taking this long. I’m still looking forward to it – just cautiously. As time allows Michael! We love you no matter how it turns out.

  25. Bryan says:

    Wow! You can SO tell this was written by a man! A pro is her pretty hair?

  26. Mellie says:

    Based on what we saw of her hubby on AI, I’d much rather see HIM take the judging chair next year.

  27. Jessica says:

    Yes if she comes back FULL TIME as she was when giving actual constructive criticism. No to “you’re great!” “nothing to judge”-it’s easy to get another pretty face to do that (not that I ever want to hear that again from anyone)

  28. Kirby says:

    If we could get the early J. Lo back, then yes. I think this was one of the best top 24s we’ve ever had, with a lot of musical diversity. We can’t forget that J. Lo helped put Haley through to the top 24 and praised her in the first few weeks of the competition. I think she could have critiqued the others, as we saw when Casey was eliminated for the first time and she told him to get rid of all those bad habits that were distracting from the musicianship and performance, but for some reason chose not to. Randy is the much bigger problem. At least J. Lo could articulate well and didn’t just repeat inane statements. Maybe if there were another judge who could actually critique, she would be more willing to go for it. Get rid of Randy and Steven and replace them with more intelligent performers and maybe add a rotating fourth spot like on So You Think You Can Dance.

  29. MC says:

    NO NO NO I hope she doesn’t come back to AI. I feel sorry for her though; apparently she is in trouble for some old videos of her and her ex husband (ojani noa). He is trying to use those videos for producing a movie of his life…. what a jerk… problem is the rate of those intimate videos… they are in court, judge have those videos on a safe box until final veredict…omg

  30. Maggie says:

    ALL of the judges need to be replaced. They could use some new producers too.

  31. RM says:

    What makes you think the judges had anything to do with the Top 24 picks? It was the producers who found the talent along with the associated sob stories and got the judges to go along with the decisions. What made S10 a livelier group than S9 was the return of the evil genius producer. He was the guy responsible for resuscitating a dying franchise. He was also responsible for the judges’ comments to get rid of so-called lesser talent so that his chosen ones will get through. It is only for good TV. In Idol history, whenever a contestant gets panned by the panel, he usually gets sent packing pretty fast. This year was different in that Haley kept on getting voted through.

  32. Johnny Jerkovsky says:

    Can Slezak or someone please post a photo example of J LO’s “mean spider eyes”????

  33. not a j-lo fan says:

    Looking at that list of pros and cons, I wonder whether we should have the whole panel swapped out mid-season when the live rounds start. The judges did pick a great top 24 this year — but then they were too invested in their picks to be objective about the actual performances that followed. (And to be fair, Simon had the same problem sometimes.) Maybe after picking out their top 24, they’d have been better off in the “mentor” chairs with Jimmy, and the criticism could have come from a panel arriving at the live rounds with no preconceptions or attachments.

  34. takakupo says:

    Look, I’d hate to say it, but this is all about sexism. There hasn’t been a single woman that anyone has liked throughout the years. I know J. Lo screwed up a bit this season, but I think her pros far outway her cons. If she could take the criticism over the season break like a regular contestant on American Idol and continue what she was doing with the contestants that she didn’t like (even in top 12 week, she was a good judge, only to the people that weren’t her favorites a la Jacob, James, Scotty, and Lauren. As the pack got wittled down, we started seeing it more cause her favorites advanced).

    I want Jennifer back. I think she was more pivotal than Randy Jackson and if I had to choose between the two it’d be J. Lo by a long long LONNNNG mile.

  35. maddie says:

    I always thought she was too good for Idol, I don’t think she is that talented a vocalist but she is a big celeb and a good actress imo. I really just wish Idol would be canceled it has been going long enough. I like The Voice, it’s new and has a panel of very talented artists.

  36. garrisonsf says:

    If J-Lo doesn’t take Steven and Randy with her, then I’m not sure there’s all that much of a point to her leaving all by herself. The whole judges’ table and judging model is so woefully in need of a makeover. The show needs to put three competent musical judges in those seats. They don’t need to be stars–just experts whose opinions we come to respect as viewers. With that piece solidly in place, the attention can return to the singers on stage, where it belongs. Please, AI, start fresh!

  37. AR463 says:

    If keeping J-Lo and everything exactly the same as it was this year prevents another train wreck of a season like season 9 sign me up. I don’t think I could take another BORING season like 9…at the very least you have to say this season was entertaining…until the top 3 week of course when America typically votes for Mr and Ms American pie.

  38. Ellen says:

    How about if Jlo and Steven come back for the beginning only? I loved them when they chose the top 24. Then they were horrible, horrible after. Randy no!!!! I used to fast forwarded over the entire judging portion.

  39. SajiNoKami says:

    Jlo had here shot, she can go now, she needs to be fired… hell she should give some of that money back for awful job she did toward the end. Still annoyed that she never gave a constructive critique or wake up call to James during top 5 week… This chick was getting payed millions of dollars, plus she could pimp her stuff.. and she had nothing to say, wow really?

  40. SMS says:

    Do they want a judge or a cheerleader? She was fine as a cheerleader, but I don’t recall her giving any constructive criticism or actually judging anyone. She needs to move on to a guest judge role on So You Think You Can Dance.

  41. Yo says:

    Well, Michael Slezak, I have done my part: I have not nagged you about the Haley video and I have returned to the site over and over. I even kept posting and hitting the site solely to keep your numbers up. I love you and I have been loyal and I want you to keep making money writing, even if I am not and could use it more. Sniff.

    If Haley does not show up today we must break up. I can’t go on like this. I can’t keep hanging on when our relationship is so one-sided, so tawdry. You lied to me and I swallowed my pain. Today I am done, finished with you and your fickle ways. We are ovah.

    PS. The mag really needs to post articles on east coast time. Youse guys are always late with articles. Yes, it is a pain for writers, but…

  42. Ken The Great says:

    Still no Haleyloonie? It’s now been over 3 weeks since the finale and that’s just too long. I’m beginning to lose faith. I agree with doing a quality job rather than pushing something out in haste, but it also should be timely.

  43. Christi Lee says:

    Yet another mention of overrated, boring Kendra Chantelle. My eyes are bleeding.

  44. Sally in Chicago says:

    Bring her back. She helped lift the ratings and kept people interested. She’s glamorous and she knows how to fight the boys! Besides, who’s taking her place? Paula and Shania are engaged….Gladys Knight is tied up in Vegas….that leaves Diana Ross and Donna Summer.

    Nobody can take her place basically, she’s the best “girl” judge they have.

  45. Alexandre Leal says:

    Actually, I wouldn’t mind if she got back!
    She was a great adition during some part of the competiotion!

    I would kill for crossing Randy and Steven names off that list, though.

  46. aunt_deen says:

    Can she take Randy with her?

    I’m okay with Steven staying. He’s the new Paula, so his insanity and sweetness doesn’t bother me.

    But J-Lo & Randy just shredded any credibility they once had.

  47. Mayra says:

    I don’t know what to think. I like J.Lo. But she did screw things up a bit.

  48. wooster182 says:

    Can we get rid of the entire panel and just hire Harry Connick Jr. now? Why do we need 3 people spewing nonsense when you can have one intelligent, funny, and sane ARTIST?

  49. Rick says:

    Well at the end of the day the judges including J-blows suck! I would like to see them ALL replaced and bring back Kara Dioguardi, add Shania Twain and Harry Connick Jr.

  50. mada says:

    NOO. Get out! get out! No more actors. We need judges that don’t care about how they’re perceived by the viewers if they critique a contestant. They were all horrible, get them out of there, bring some real judges.