The big news of the past week has been the announcements that both Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are leaving American Idol. And then the rumor mill continued on with countless names for who could replace them (and possibly Randy Jackson, if he leaves as well — but we shouldn’t get our hopes up just yet). But why did they actually leave?

Jennifer Lopez: More Money, Other Projects

For Jennifer Lopez, it seems like there’s a combination of intertwining reasons. She was in contract negotiations to return to Idol, reportedly wanting $17 million (a $2 million increase), according to The Wrap. (Keep in mind, these figures fluctuate depending on what you’re reading, but they all seem to point to a general area of between $15 million and $20 million.) But with decreased ratings, there will be cuts of all sorts — staff cuts, budget cuts and, yes, salary cuts.

It seems like they can’t afford to shell out huge paychecks to the stars anymore, or at least don’t want to. So FOX declined to renew her contract. We’ve heard Lopez say that she wants to spend more time with her children as well as focus on other projects that she had to put on hold because of Idol, but there’s obviously many more factors at play beyond what she has said herself.

And many though it was a little odd that her announcement came just a day after Tyler left. Did he steal her thunder? Lopez talked with ABC News and said, “We had magic. I don’t know, with him gone, it might be a different formula.” When the retooled judges panel of Tyler, Lopez and Jackson began, the three had obvious chemistry. So maybe she was worried the chemistry wouldn’t be there anymore.

Steven Tyler: Choosing Between Idol and Aerosmith?

But what about Steven Tyler? According to FOX News, Aerosmith’s new album “could have clashed big time with Tyler’s Idol 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.”

When Tyler first joined American Idol, there were reports and rumors swirling that Aerosmith band members were furious at him for signing on with the show. Since then, they’ve worked past it and have reunited. But now that they’re back together, it looks like Tyler didn’t want to bring more tension to the group by juggling both Aerosmith and Idol.

Phillip Phillips Goes for the Gold … and Scores

Idol fans everywhere have called Phillip Phillips’ “Home” one of the best winning songs in the history of the show. In fact, it hit #1 on the iTunes chart not long after it was released and sold more than any other coronation song. Now another accolade can be added: The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that “Home” is now certified Gold, meaning it has sold more than 500,000 units. And despite dissing the song and saying it’s not his first real single, he is currently performing it on the American Idol Live! tour. (As someone who attended a recent Idol concert, I can say that it’s one of the highlights of the night.)

The Top 5 on the Charts

Phillips’ Wal-Mart exclusive Highlights EP has made it onto the charts at #25, having sold 20,000 units. Everyone else in the Top 5 also released their own EPs, and all are on the Billboard 200 as well. Courtesy of Billboard:

Joshua Ledet at #59, Selling 9,000 units

Skylar Laine at #64, Selling 8,000 units

Jessica Sanchez at #77, Selling 6,000 units

Hollie Cavanagh at #176, Selling 3,000 units

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.