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"We're all completely different. But we're all hot."
——Randy Jackson, on the new crew

A KINDER, GENTLER IDOL?

New Judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler Meet the Press
At a Wednesday press conference in Manhattan, newly named American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler spoke about their first time facing contestants, and the N.Y. Daily News got the low-down.

"I don't want to let anybody really great [not make it through] because they're nervous, and not get to see what they could have did," said Lopez in fractured English. "They're going to come in here and be a little bit nervous in the beginning, and then you realize, 'Wow, that person is really talented.' So we work them a little bit more than maybe you've seen in the past. We've given them more of a chance."

She added that a distinctive style is as critical to an effective performance as strong pipes. It’s important, the singer/actress explained, "that you have your own image, and that it's very unique. What we're looking for, I don't know. It's individual for each person."

Because J.Lo and Tyler are performers themselves, Idol mavens expect them to go easier on contestants than some of their predecessors. Lopez pretty much confirmed that theory yesterday, saying, "We know what it's like to be out there. I was energized by all of their spirit when they come in here, and they're so hopeful about what could happen and how it could be."

She evaluated her own performance during the first two days of judging as a combination of "tough, easy and fair."

"I take my cues from you," a surprisingly deferential Tyler told Lopez.

Tyler also seemed perfectly willing to shower praise on those he’s been hired to judge. "They were all on fire," he said of the local talent that showed up at the Liberty House restaurant in Jersey City. "They were spunky and crazy and over the top."

He also offered some preemptive advice for contestants whose performances are negatively critiqued: "Don't get mad at what we say, get better."

Joining Lopez and Tyler at yesterday's press conference was incumbent judge Randy Jackson, who repeated the advice he’d offered to his new colleagues: "I've just been telling them, 'You've got to keep it real. Give it the way that you feel it and see it. Don't listen and think about anything you've seen in the past from watching us do the show.’ They're bringing a new experience to it."

Lopez said she is looking for a singer's sense of style, as well as a good voice.

Ryan Seacrest, who was also on hand, described the chemistry between the new judges as “fantastic,” and Jackson concurred. "We're all completely different," he said. "But we're all hot."

For season 10, which kicks off in January, Idol has lowered the minimum age for contestants from 16 to 15. "Some of the kids are so young that I'm not sure if they can get how long it's taken me to be successful," said the 62-year-old Tyler, who’s old enough to be the granddad of the youngest contestants.



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