Jennifer Lopez has a lot going on. She just released her “Same Girl” music video to be followed by a new album coming this spring. She is enjoying her judging duties on this season’s American Idol. And the big news that will give her acting career a big boost is the announcement that she will executive produce and star in NBC’s Shades of Blue, a police drama set to debut in 2015. She has a 13-episode straight to series order from the network.
Whoa, and if that’s not enough, she says her number one priority is being a mom to her two kids. It seems the 44-year-old beauty can have it all and look stunning doing it, as she showed everyone at the Fox TV party for the American Idol finalists held at the Fig & Olive in West Hollywood last week. She was on hand with fellow judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., mentor Randy Jackson, and host Ryan Seacrest, plus the top 13 contestants. She says all are “incredible” and talented enough to win the competition.
After doing the show a couple of years ago, J.Lo returned as a judge and is happy to be part of helping make dreams come true on American Idol again. “The experience is great because of Harry and Keith,” she says. “It’s what makes it sparkly and fresh and new again.”
What made her decide not to come back last year? Jennifer says, “I never planned to do the show for more than a year, and I did it for two years because I just loved it so much. After that, when they asked me to come back for the third year, I really had some other things I had to do. It was a tough decision I had to make. I wanted to tour the world for the first time. And I was producing the series The Fosters, and doing a bunch of other things that I’m glad I did. When they asked me back this year, the decision was just as difficult because of the time frame, but somehow we were able to work it out with my schedule, and I’m glad I did because I’m having a great time.”
The hardest part about the judging gig for Jennifer was convincing Harry and Keith to save someone she liked but they wanted to cut. When this season started, Jennifer says the audience saw that there were “different sides of all of us. I don’t think there’s any one personality on this particular panel. For some reason what we bring out in each other is that we really feel comfortable being as honest as we want to be, as we can be. That is our job— to judge and do our best to make a very honest assessment of what’s going on.”
During the audition process several contestants sang her songs to her, but she didn’t hold that against them, nor did she let it influence her to vote in their favor. “It’s not difficult for me, it’s funny,” she reveals. “It reminds me of Steven (Tyler), when I was on the judging panel with Steven. Whenever somebody would come in and sing his song, I would just be like, ‘No, don’t sing his song,’ because he would be like, ‘No, no.’ And I asked Steven, ‘Why do you do that?’ Because I feel when they sing your song, it’s flattering, and at the same time you know they’re a fan or they like your music. But at the same time, it feels like you really want them to be great, because you don’t want to have to say ‘no’ to the person who’s singing your song.”
When American Idol contestants tell Jennifer she’s their role model, it can make it harder to deal with that as a judge. But she reports, “It’s so beautiful to hear that stuff. Honestly, sometimes it’s overwhelming. I can’t even look at them. I have to look down because I feel so humbled by the whole thing. When I think about it in the moment I get embarrassed. But at the end of the day, when I go away later on I think, ‘Wow, that’s awesome.’ I’m so happy that what I do can make people feel that way or inspire them in some way. That means a lot to me.”