Pop Culture

‘Idol’ judges: There are 'superstars' in season 10

New judge Jennifer Lopez is convinced “American Idol’s” tenth season is going to feature some of the best contestants yet.

“We’ve put a bunch of people through, probably more than they have in the past. … We are confident that we have, I would say, 15 to 20 real superstars, I think. Really, really good people,” Lopez said during a break from the Los Angeles “Idol” auditions on Thursday. “That’s a big word to use, but definitely people with a lot of talent who could be recording artists for sure.”

Even “Idol” veteran Randy Jackson said the talent pool this season is ripe.

“This year, the talent is better than I think we’ve had in many, many ‘Idol’ seasons,” he said.

“American Idol” returns to FOX in 2011, and Lopez hinted that it may go a little bit country, thanks to the contestants that have impressed the judging panel (which also includes Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler).

“I think we’ve seen a lot of great country,” Lopez said.

The judges have also seen a lot of their own material performed in the audition rounds.

“Yes!” J.Lo said with a grimace.

Those auditions didn’t go down a storm, she added.

“The ones that sang my songs? No,” she said when asked if they impressed her. “Cute. It was very entertaining, super entertaining, flattering.”

Tyler revealed that his band Aerosmith’s song “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” has been a popular audition number, and J.Lo said one contestant actually got it right.

“We had one girl, well, you’ll see,” Lopez enthused. “It was awesome … an amazing moment.”

While “American Idol” always brings out a host of people whose voices don’t quite cut it, the newest members of the judges’ panel said they do their best not to break people when they let them go — except the ones who come just for a laugh.

“We don’t beat ‘em up,” Tyler said. “You know, they come here with a song in their heart and they really think they’re all that and we gotta let ‘em down easy. Sometimes it would be nice to flambé them, but when they come in looking like that, then we do and we will and we leave it up to Ryan [Seacrest] to pick their bones when we’re done.”

In addition to the talent, when “Idol” returns next year, expect some pizzazz at the newly shaped judges’ panel, thanks to J.Lo’s style.

“I’m just gonna be me and everyday that’s something different,” she said of her plans for her behind the table looks. “I like getting dressed up and that’s not gonna change for this show.”

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