Steven Tyler on Judging “Idol”

Around the time that he was in rehab about a year ago, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler had considered the idea of being an “American Idol” judge. Then last July, as Aerosmith was in France for a tour, then-“Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi sent Tyler a text message about the subject.

“I responded, ‘How were the ratings?’” laughed Tyler in an interview with “And then my curiosity started coming up... I live by what Dylan said: [sings] ‘Gather 'round people throughout the land, and don't criticize what you don't understand.’ So I started asking questions and found out what was going on in the inside... I always thought J-Lo would be good. I thought that would be the perfect matchup.”

America will soon decide whether Tyler will match up well with his fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson when the new season of “American Idol” premieres Wednesday on FOX.

The veteran rocker admitted to Billboard that he previously didn’t watch the music competition show. He warmed up to it when he noticed similarities between the stories of the “Idol” contestants and his own life, such as singing in churches and appearing in Off-Broadway.

“I was wrong, because what inspired me? Church, and the lunchroom in high school. I got beaten up for having long hair…and all that stuff. But I'd show them in the lunchroom. And this is America's lunchroom. Everyone turns [the TV] on after dinner and watches "American Idol."”

On what he is looking for in an “Idol” hopeful, Tyler told Billboard: “That certain something which can't be defined…And whatever it is that magic comes from, it's the unknown. You can't put your finger on it. You can't say, ‘Well, sing in church and you'll be a great singer.’ It's an unspoken thing.”

Selected Reading:, “American Idol” Web site

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