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Q&A: Jennifer Lopez Gives Us Her 'American Idol' Judging Insight And How She Puts Her Kids First

Fred Topel Fred Topel
January 9th, 2012 1:00pm EST

Jennifer Lopez Gives Us Her 'American Idol' Judging Insight

Well, it’s a new year and reality fans know what that means. American Idol is back. The judges of American Idol met the Television Critics Association on Sunday, including Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez who were new to the show last year.

Lopez continues to be busy as an actor, a producer and a mother. She spoke about her family, her beauty and fitness tips, and mentoring the hopeful young singers who are going to compete for her vote this season.

Q: What do you know about American Idol now that you didn’t know last year?

Jennifer Lopez: It’s so funny because I was such a fan of the show in the beginning so I pretty much knew what the show was as opposed to Steven who didn’t know what it was at all. He didn’t. He had never watched the show so he didn’t know what it was but I was someone who’d watched it forever. What do I know about it now? That live TV’s tiring. I didn’t know that. I’d never done live TV so that’s a big thing. That’s why I marvel at Ryan when I think about like he gets up at three in the morning and then he comes down. If he can do it I can do it.

Q: How has your judging changed since last year?

JL: It hasn’t changed. We’re still the same people. I’m still an emotional person. We’re a little more comfortable. We’re still having fun. We have amazing talent so that always makes it more exciting.

Q: Will you be harder on contestants this year?

JL: We try to give them advice as we would like it to be given to us. That’s how I always deliver what I’m trying to say. I want them to hear me. There’s nothing wrong with a little tough love but there’s nothing wrong with a little encouragement at the same time. We all have our own style and personalities, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to get them through to be the winner. That’s the thing about this journey. We can feel that when we first see them, and it’s just how the pressure of the competition and grueling pace of it and who comes through. You have to see how he fares through it. At the end of the day, you never know what’s going to happen and that’s what’s great about watching the whole season.

Q: What factors do you look for to get that sense of who’s going to make it or not?

JL: Some people are just not ready. They have the beginnings of a great voice. They can sing, it’s obvious but they’re lacking something. They’re lacking confidence or direction or they don’t know who they are. You can have someone who’s 15 and knows all that and then have someone who’s 25 and doesn’t. We just see it. When it’s fully developed, because we know it and have been around it, we can tell.

Q: Did you use your save too early last year?

JL: I think it was the right thing to do and these are things we’re going to talk about later.

Q: You know, In Living Color is coming back.

JL: What? Is that right? Oh my God, I didn’t even know. That’s awesome.

Q: Would you go back and be a Fly Girl on the new version?

JL: I might, you know. Who knows? I haven’t heard from him but if he called me and wanted me to do something it would be awesome. I owe Keenan a lot from the beginning of my career. He always believed in me. He always was constantly putting in my brain, “You’re going to be a star, do you know that?” He was a mentor to me so I wish him the best in that.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

JL: The best advice ever? Oh my god, I’ve gotten so much advice over the years. To listen to yourself.

Q: How are you splitting your time between Idol and Que Viva? And what do you think of the telenovella version of Maid in Manhattan?

JL: I better call my lawyer. Really, what’s it called? Now I’m really going to call my lawyer. I want nothing but the best for them. Yeah, we’re working on a show called Que Viva. It’s worked out well. I’m producing that show so I have a little more leeway when I do things and when I don’t. Now that we’re more into the live part of Idol coming up, it’s only two days a week so we’re going to have time to work on both at the same time.

Q: Do your fans think they know you more personally now? Are you okay with that?

JL: Because of last season? I think they got to know us better for sure. They didn’t know our personalities the way they do now. I think it’s a great thing. They really got to know us for who we are. That’s the thing about reality television. You can’t really hide. I thought they knew me before but now they know you on a different level.

Q: What influence do the personal stories have on you, if a singer has a sick wife or something?

JL: We don’t really know their whole backstory. We have a little bit of what they tell us in the room. We see it on TV like you guys, like whoa, okay.

Q: Do the judges plan how you’re going to play off each other?

JL: I love it. I love that all three of us are so different. We’re all so different. We have different personalities, different senses of style. It’s nothing that calculated. We remind ourselves to have fun with it.

Q: How do you balance motherhood with all your work?

JL: They are so little and cute. It’s a juggling act just like any single mom. It’s just balancing everything out, making sure they’re okay. They come first though. I was just thinking, I sat down to look at my schedule for the next few months. I was like okay, this, this and this I’m doing with the kids at this time. That goes first and everybody works around that. that’s how we do it. So they feel loved, happy and what they are, the most important thing in my life.

Q: How do you keep your kids grounded in this business?

JL: It’s funny, they know a little bit of what I do but now they’re going to be four really soon, in February so they kind of get it. They know I dance, they know I sing. They know hair and makeup and I go and I do things. They don’t know everything but it’s funny, we get to go out where they’re not bombarded and stuff like that so I’ve learned how to move in those circles really well so they don’t get too overwhelmed with people and things like that. We do okay.

Q: Do they sing and dance?

JL: They sing very happy and loving and perfect.

 

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Photo Credits: Warwick Saint / FOX