Jennifer Lopez Joins the 'American Idol' Judges for the Low, Low Price of $12 Million
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
After weeks of negotiations, Jennifer Lopez has agreed to a deal with Fox to serve as a judge on the upcoming season of American Idol. Lopez's deal comes only after intense negotiations centered on the singing and acting star's contractual demands. With no additional perks reported in the final deal, Lopez will have to console herself with a mere $12 million.

Rumors have ascribed a divalicious list of demands to J-Lo in recent weeks. In addition to higher pay for her services, Lopez reportedly wanted television and film development deals along with a say in future judge selection. None of these side benefits appear in the announced agreement, so it looks like Lopez will have to be content with just the money.

Considering American Idol's falling ratings over the past few years, the producers must be hoping that $12 million is enough. While the show still commands a viewing audience equal to the population of many small countries, numbers are down. Entertainment value has been lacking as well. There's only so much mainstream-pop hopefulness that any audience can take before the longing for a good Simon Cowell evisceration sets in. With Simon gone, that need must remain unfulfilled.

What can Jennifer Lopez bring to American Idol? Fame doesn't hurt. How many of the audience's shrieking teenage masses had ever heard of Randy Jackson or Kara DioGuardi before their stints as Idol judges? Jennifer Lopez also benefits from simply being a pop music success story. Ellen DeGeneres is a funny lady but not exactly a musical sensation. Lopez's strengths in these areas will instantly command the respect of the pop-diva wannabes parading across the stage. They won't just want to listen to J-Lo, they'll want to be her.

The Jennifer Lopez announcement settles the identity of two out of three American Idol judges, with a third to be decided. Idol stalwart Randy Jackson alone remains on the panel following the departures of Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi (in order of how much the audience cares). While rumors point to Aerosmith's Steven Tyler as the most likely third judge, names like Shania Twain, Elton John and even Howard Stern remain tantalizing possibilities.

(Image courtesy of NBC)