The rumors have been flying around for weeks. But, according to E! Online, Steven Tyler has already signed on to be your next "American Idol" judge. Fox is saying, "No Comment," of course, but E!'s "very inside music source" is confirming Tyler's deal, which was supposedly finalized late last week.
This Tyler thing will certainly create a curiosity-factor bump in "Idol" ratings. We used to be able to gawk at Paula Abdul and her ... look. And "Idol" has been lacking in visual, um, pizzazz since she left the show. Surely Tyler, with his mile-long mouth and broad fashion sense, will fill that gap, if he is on the panel. Also, I suspect he will be able to offer some interesting advice to the contestants, especially as the show has begun to promote rock as much as pop. Still, the gig seems like a comedown for Tyler. "American Idol" is a family show and the music it ushers into the mainstream is mostly generic, derivative pop. Stay tuned for more info.
By the way, E! is also claiming that Jennifer Lopez is still in the running, despite her massive demands, which include a $20-million-plus payday and an inordinately large styling, hair, and makeup crew.
Update at 6 p.m.: According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger and NJ.com, Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton is confirming the E! news:
"Steven is doing 'American Idol.' The ink is dry on that.
"So, we'll have to work around his schedule for a new record. I hope it doesn't hurt the new momentum we've built up on this tour, because that's been so important for us as a band. But I wouldn't want to be the one standing in the way of this for him. Steven is someone who absolutely lives to be in front of an audience, and the people closest to him know how witty and entertaining he can be.
"I don't know if 'American Idol' will be rock 'n' roll enough for him, but it is an opportunity for millions of people to see another side of Steven Tyler."
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Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
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Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
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Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.