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July 13, 2012
By Ann Oldenburg


Jennifer Lopez waited until the Steven Tyler dust had settled to announce that she, too, will not be returning to the American Idol judge’s table.

“The time has come,” she told Ryan Seacrest on his radio showthis morning. Seacrest said his phone had been “blowing up” since Lopez talked about her exit on the Today show yesterday, hinting that “it’s time for me to go.” But he hadn’t talked to her.

So he asked her, since yesterday, has anything changed?

She explained that it takes about seven months out of the year to do Idol and, “It just started feeling like it’s a lot. Something had to give.”

Said Seacrest: “You’re breaking up with me.”

She moaned and groaned, hemmed and hawed. “You’re going to make me cry,” said. “I really was dreading this phone call with you! … I honestly feel the time has come to get back to do what I do. I have put it on hold because I love Idol so much. You have a lot of other responsibilities and other things you want to do.”

She said, “We had an amazing run.” She added that she would “come” if they call, but “I just don’t know if I can be there every day all the time.”

Seacrest said, “It sounds like you’ve made up your mind. … I understand you have to do what’s best for your family.”

Lopez said, “It’s just one of those special things you just don’t want to walk away from.” But, she said, “It wasn’t about playing games or wanting more money or any of that. It was a business decision.”

Fox has not made an official announcement yet. But JLo’s representative, Mark Young, told AP today that Lopez is definitely ending her stint on the show after two years. Now, all eyes are on Randy Jackson, who has not commented.

Idol began its 12th-season auditions June 7 in Los Angeles, but judges don’t enter the fray until September, which means producers can proceed with talking to Mariah Carey, Charlie Sheen, Jerry Lewis, Adam Lambert or any of the other possible names that are said to be up for the job.

One certainty: Seacrest will be back. He signed a two-year extension in April pegged at $30 million.


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