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Image: Jennifer Lopez
Natalie Behring  /  Reuters
Former "Idol" guest judge Jennifer Lopez may soon be a regular on the judges' panel.
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updated 7/30/2010 12:36:43 AM ET 2010-07-30T04:36:43

Former "Fly Girl" Jennifer Lopez is poised to return to television — this time as a judge on "American Idol."

The singer-dancer-actor was close to signing a deal to join Fox TV's hit singing contest, a person familiar with the negotiations said late Thursday. The person, who was not authorized to comment publicly, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fox declined comment. Phone and e-mail messages for Lopez's representatives were not immediately returned.

The "American Idol" opening for Lopez comes with comedian-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres' departure from the show.

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Degeneres announced Thursday she was leaving after one year as judge.

"A couple months ago, I let Fox and the 'American Idol' producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," DeGeneres said in a statement. The comedian-talk show host said she realized that while she "loved discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings."

In May, Simon Cowell exited after nine seasons to start a new talent show for Fox.

Those under consideration for his spot, according to reports, are a varied group that includes Steven Tyler and Harry Connick Jr.

Lopez' films include "Selena," "The Wedding Planner" and most recently "The Back-Up Plan." She has appeared as a mentor on "American Idol."

She was part of the "Fly Girl" house dancers on the comedy show "In Living Color" in 1990 before becoming a backup dancer for Janet Jackson.

Lopez's first album, "On the 6," came out in 1999, launching a career in pop, Latin, hip-hop and R&B. "Love?" is the latest CD from the Grammy-winner, who has twins with husband Marc Anthony.

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Video: Who will replace Ellen on ‘Idol’? J.Lo?

  1. Transcript of: Who will replace Ellen on ‘Idol’? J.Lo?

    AMY ROBACH, anchor: Some big news from the hit show " American Idol " last night, Ellen DeGeneres is quitting after only one season as judge and there are reports this morning that Kara is also out. Anne Marie Cruz is the staff editor at People magazine , which first broke the news about Ellen . Anne Marie , good morning.

    Ms. ANNE MARIE CRUZ (Staff Editor, People Magazine): Good morning.

    ROBACH: So this sounds like a huge overhaul, there's lots of rumors swirling around about the judges' panel, it seems like they've kind of cleaned slate, so to speak. Why is Ellen DeGeneres leaving after just one short season? We had heard that she had signed a multi-year deal prior to this.

    Ms. CRUZ: Mm-hmm. Yes. She felt that she was not a good fit, especially since she was so uncomfortable with judging other people and making them potentially feel bad. Plus, she said that having a day job and a night job was a little too much for her.

    ROBACH: Yet there are some reports that she was perhaps forced out...

    Ms. CRUZ: Mm-hmm.

    ROBACH: ...and that the producers were already looking to overhaul the judges' table with Simon leaving.

    Ms. CRUZ: Right.

    ROBACH: Any truth to that?

    Ms. CRUZ: That's not something that I can comment on, but in terms of her sensing that people were not entirely happy with her performance, I think that's probably a big factor in her decision.

    ROBACH: Right. She released a statement to People magazine ...

    Ms. CRUZ: Yes.

    ROBACH: ...saying she let Fox and the "Idol" producers know that, as you mentioned, "this didn't feel like the right fit me" a couple of months ago.

    Ms. CRUZ: Right.

    ROBACH: But that she'd wait to leave the show until the producers figured out where they wanted to take the panel next.

    Ms. CRUZ: Mm-hmm.

    ROBACH: So if we can go ahead by those words and say...

    Ms. CRUZ: Yeah.

    ROBACH: ...well, she said she's out, that must mean that the producers know who they want in her place.

    Ms. CRUZ: Right. It's an interesting turn of phrase. And that's -- it really does fit in with what we've heard from a couple of sources that Jennifer Lopez is definitely going to be a permanent judge. So Fox isn't talking about it, but we have different -- we have two different sources saying that.

    ROBACH: All right. So it's not -- so it could be a done deal or...

    Ms. CRUZ: Yes, it could be.

    ROBACH: You think it probably is. OK.

    Ms. CRUZ: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I mean, she's perfect.

    ROBACH: She would be.

    Ms. CRUZ: Like, she would bring a sexy element to a show that hasn't had sexy in a while, I think.

    ROBACH: OK. Well, as we mentioned earlier, Ellen not the only judge stepping down, we know obviously that Simon Cowell ...

    Ms. CRUZ: That's correct.

    ROBACH: ...is leaving, too, but we haven't heard who his replacement may be...

    Ms. CRUZ: Mm-hmm.

    ROBACH: ...although there are some names are floating around, Justin Timberlake has been mentioned...

    Ms. CRUZ: Mm-hmm.

    ROBACH: ... Steven Tyler has been mentioned...

    Ms. CRUZ: Right. Right, right.

    ROBACH: ... Elton John even.

    Ms. CRUZ: Yeah.

    ROBACH: What are you hearing?

    Ms. CRUZ: I mean, that's a reality show in itself, right?

    ROBACH: Right.

    Ms. CRUZ: Well, we actually heard that Justin was not ever discussed in terms of his rep talking to us. But also there is Jessica Simpson and Usher.

    ROBACH: Hm.

    Ms. CRUZ: And these are just names that are being thrown out as dream candidates.

    ROBACH: OK.

    Ms. CRUZ: But when you have J.Lo , I mean, that's a great start.

    ROBACH: Yeah, who else do you need, right?

    Ms. CRUZ: Yeah.

    ROBACH: So -- and so that leaves Kara and Randy .

    Ms. CRUZ: Mm-hmm.

    ROBACH: And now there are rumors that Kara may be leaving.

    Ms. CRUZ: Yes. That's unconfirmed, but with Nigel Lythgoe , who is the former executive producer of the show, possibly coming back, he had said last year that he wanted to clean slate ...

    ROBACH: Hm.

    Ms. CRUZ: ...and, you know, get a whole bunch of new judges if Simon left, so.

    ROBACH: All right. So what would you think about a Randy Jackson , J.Lo , Steven Tyler of Aerosmith trio of judges? How do you think that would do?

    Ms. CRUZ: I think that would be amazing. I mean, what a great way to start off a whole new era for the 10th season of the show. You have -- I think Randy and J.Lo would have an amazing chemistry. And then you have Steven Tyler who's sort of the X-factor . I mean...

    ROBACH: Yeah. Let's see if he can be like Simon or not.

    Ms. CRUZ: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    ROBACH: I think we need one of those cutting-edge judges to carry it over.

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