LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler has signed a deal to become a judge on “American Idol,” according to a news report on Wednesday quoting one of his bandmates.
Tyler, 62, would fill one of three vacancies left on the four-person panel by the departures of Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres and the reported axing of songwriter Kara DioGuardi. Randy Jackson, the only remaining original judge, is expected to remain with the talent show.
For weeks speculation has centered around Tyler and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez joining “Idol,” which is undergoing a major restructuring to arrest its ratings decline. National auditions are already under way ahead of the show’s Season 10 premiere in January.
Fox and the show’s producers have kept largely quiet on the speculation, but Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton told the Star-Ledger of New Jersey that Tyler’s deal is done.
“Steven is doing ‘American Idol.’ The ink is dry on that,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
“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.”
Tyler would bring a harder edge to a show where contestants seem to favor soft pop ballads. The colorful showman can also be counted upon to deliver — maybe even sing — witty, Little Richard-style verdicts on the performances.
Aerosmith is on a North American trek that ends on September 16 in Vancouver. The veteran rockers nearly broke up last year amid a feud between Tyler and his bandmates. At the band’s Toronto show on Tuesday, Tyler fell off the stage midsong after guitarist Joe Perry backed into him. He was not injured. Fans debated the next day if it was deliberate.
Last year, Tyler broke his shoulder after falling off the stage without any assistance from his bandmates. The group was forced to cancel its tour, and once again put on the back burner any plans to record its first studio album since 2001.
“American Idol” is produced by 19 Entertainment, a unit of CKX Inc, and by London-based FremantleMedia, a unit of Bertelsmann AG-controlled broadcaster RTL Group. Fox is a unit of News Corp.
Reporting by Dean Goodman