After headlines were buzzing that Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson were leaving “American Idol,” it was Steven Tyler who actually pulled the trigger first on 7/12, saying he was the one leaving the show.
Sources tell FOX411’s Pop Tarts column that pressure from his Aerosmith bandmates to get off the show and back on tour may have been behind Tyler’s departure as the show gears up of Season 12: “We’re told that the promotional tour for their new album, tktk, could have clashed big time with Tyler’s “Idol” Tyler commitments. Initially, the album was slated for release in August, before being pushed back to November, which is when “Idol” tryouts are in full swing. That date change could have put Tyler in the position of having to choose one or the other.”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez, who has spent the last two years as a judge, will not return for a third season. Lopez broke the news to Idol host Ryan Seacrest on his “On Air” radio show Friday. Lopez is in the middle of launching a tour with Enrique Iglesias: “I honestly feel like the time has come for me to doing the other things I do that I’ve kind of put on hold because I love Idol so much.”
The rumors swirling around Lopez and Jackson may have also played a role with Tyler’s exodus:
“If they keep changing the judging panel, he probably doesn’t want to be the credible face sticking around,” an industry insider told Fox News. “Steven wants to regain some shred of independent credibility. I absolutely think there was pressure on him from bandmates not to go back on the show.”
When Tyler first signed onto the show in 2009, he said his band was “jealous.”
“They heard it through the press and not me,” Tyler said. “I’ve been on tour with these guys for forty years and they have been judging me every day. Sometimes it hurt – a lot of times… It’s a real journey with those guys.”
At the time, guitarist Joe Perry threatened to replace Tyler and vowed that he didn’t want Aerosmith’s name associated with the talent competition.
Tyler released a statement 7/12: “After some long…hard…thoughts…I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress ‘American Idol’ before she boils my rabbit. I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back – but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I’ve got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band. The next few years are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass – the ultimate in auditory takeover…”
Said FOX’s President of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell: “It’s been a tremendous honor to have Steven – one of the most prolific artists in the world – on ‘American Idol’ for the past two seasons. He’s been a terrific judge, a true friend and great mentor to everyone involved with the show, and we know he’ll continue to be a huge inspiration to “Idol” hopefuls for years to come. We are very sad that Steven has chosen to focus more on his music, but we always knew when we hired a rock ’n’ roll legend, he would go back to the music. We all wish him all the best and would love to have him back on the show anytime.”