(CBS) Big changes are in store at “American Idol.”
Reports say Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler are coming on board as judges, replacing Ellen DeGeneres, who announced Thursday she’s quitting after just one year.
CBS News contributor Jill Dobson reported DeGeneres tweeted about her departure, saying “Dim the lights … I’ve voted myself off ‘American Idol.’”
DeGeneres follows Simon Cowell out the door. In a statement, the so-called “King of Critical” was uncharacteristically kind, saying of DeGeneres, “I have huge respect for her because she’s always been in control of her own destiny.”
As for DeGeneres, rather than helping young talent, she says she felt she was hurting the hopefuls. On her website she wrote, “It was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings.”
But now “American Idol” has some very big shoes to fill now that two of its brightest stars have walked off stage.
And, according to the celebrity website TMZ.com, judge Kara Dioguardi has reportedly been fired after just two seasons on the show.
But as judge after judge leaves, will the viewers stay?
Michael Schneider, TV editor of Variety, told CBS News, “It had an off year. It actually had an off couple of years. It’s not the same show we used to watch. “
Ratings are down 20 percent from their peak four years ago, when an average of over 30 million viewers tuned in.
Dobson said the show will likely return to a three-judge panel. People magazine reports that Lopez has signed on to be a judge next season. And rumors on the web say Tyler will join her.
So will the replacements revitalize the show?
Anne Marie Cruz, staff editor at People magazine, said on “The Early Show” Friday that the show seems to have made a “fantastic move.”
“Now it’s the biggest buzz and it’s going it keep going until they figure out who they’re going to have,” she said. “Last year with they announced Ellen, 30 million viewers for the first show.”
But why didn’t it work out for Ellen?
“Early Show” co-anchor Erica Hill said, “We heard little tweets here and there. It seemed like she wasn’t happy and maybe her fans weren’t happy for her.”
Cruz added, “I think she never found her footing. Initially she was commenting on the performance quality of the contestants, but then she got away from that and wasn’t sure what her input was going to be different from Kara’s or Simon’s.”
Hill said the judging was more about her personality.
But what about Kara Dioguardi’s rumored exit?
Cruz said, “It’s still not confirmed, but Nigel Lythgoe, the former producer of ‘Idol’ (who is) this close to being back on the show, he said last year he would wipe the slate clean if Simon left.”
Source: Nigel Lythgoe May Return to “Idol”
So does that mean the only remaining original “American Idol” judge music industry veteran Randy Jackson will bow out, too?
“I don’t think he’s leaving,” Cruz said.
Hill said, “They obviously need to do something huge. (Will Lopez and Tyler be) enough to have the staying power this show needs?”
“J-Lo has the superstar music cred,” Cruz said. “That was not something that Ellen had. I mean she was a huge music fan. But she had not established herself as a pop star.”
Cruz continued, “[lastfm](J-Lo)[/lastfm]‘s a brand in herself. She has this whole fashion thing and everybody pays attention to what she wears. Plus, she’ll bring the sex factor into ‘Idol,’ which … I don’t think they’ve had.”
(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)