One day after Steven Tyler officially announced that he was leaving American Idol while Jennifer Lopez hinted at a possible exit as well, J. Lo has made a more concise announcement that she is exiting the show as a judge,

Calling in to Ryan Seacrest‘s radio show Friday morning, Lopez announced that “the time has come” for her to start doing other projects she’s had to sideline since doing Idol for the past two seasons.

Lopez and Tyler both joined the show two years ago after Simon Cowell led a mass exodus that only left Randy Jackson. While Lopez and Tyler earned decent ratings for their first season as viewers were interested in the new dynamic, ratings took a huge nosedive this year.

Perhaps it was due to nonstop competition (The X Factor and The Voice) or maybe it was disinterest in the pair’s endlessly positive and unhelpful commentary to the contestants. Whatever the reason, American Idol is once again in search of a reboot.

There are a number of rumors running around (Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert, Charlie Sheen). The latest name being circulated is Mariah Carey, who People Magazine claims is in serious talks to join the show as a judge for season 12.

The truly difficult part for American Idol is going to be finding a judge who is more interested in finding a superstar than resurrecting their career. Major stars like Lopez and Tyler seemed more concerned about their own image and making sure they didn’t come across as mean, which hurts Idol. The appeal of a Simon Cowell (or, to a lesser degree, Randy Jackson), is that they are afraid to actually criticize the contestants to help them or help the viewers decide.

American Idol could search for a new mega-star to come on, boost the ratings for a little bit, but then settle back into the same disastrous pattern of the past two seasons, or it could try to go for a more permanent solution.

As far as I’m concerned, the show doesn’t need to look to the future, it needs to look to the past. With Paula Abdul off The X Factor, bringing her back to American Idol would be an easily marketable campaign (“Welcome Back, Paula”). And the show already has Jimmy Iovine offering his pointed and often harsh commentary on results shows, so why not bring him to the actual judging panel? Jimmy could take over the original Simon role and American Idol season 12 could be just like it used to be.

What do you think Idol should do now that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are leaving?

(Image courtesy of FOX)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.