Steven Tyler is exiting as judge of Fox's American Idol,
a role he has held for the last two seasons.
"After some long...hard...thoughts...I've decided it's time
for me to let go of my mistress American Idol before she boils my
rabbit," said Tyler in a statement Thursday. "I strayed from my first love,
Aerosmith, and I'm back - but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I've
got two fists in the air and I'm kicking the door open with my band."
Tyler went on to say that he would dedicate the next few
years to his band, which releases a new album, Music From Another Dimension, on Nov. 6, while noting that "Idol
was over-the-top fun, and I loved every minute of it."
"It's been a tremendous honor to have Steven - one of the
most prolific artists in the world - on American Idol for the past two
seasons," said Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment, Fox
Broadcasting Company. "He's been a terrific judge, a true friend and great
mentor to everyone involved with the show, and we know he'll continue to be a huge
inspiration to Idol hopefuls for years to come. We are very sad that
Steven has chosen to focus more on his music, but we always knew when we hired
a rock 'n' roll legend, he would go back to the music. We all wish him
all the best and would love to have him back on the show anytime."
Neither of Idol's two remaining judges, Randy Jackson
and Jennifer Lopez, is yet confirmed for the reality show's upcoming 12th
season. Lopez told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres back in May that she didn't
know if she could go a third year, and earlier this week, E! News reported that former Idol runner-up Adam Lambert was
in the running as a possible new judge.
The shakeup comes as Fox is debating how to retool the
decade-old reality show after it slid about 30% in the ratings this year in the
face of increased competition from NBC's The Voice.
"This year, we made the decision, 'Don't fix what ain't
broke,' and all of a sudden, we had a lot more competition in the space," Fox
Entertainment president Kevin Reilly told B&C in May. "American
Idol is not going to just come back on its heels next year. We are going to
rise to the occasion and have a little fun with our format as well."