‘American Idol’: Would Jennifer Lopez Ever Return As a Judge?

Being a judge on a show like American Idol is likely more stressful than it’s ever appeared on camera. If you’re overly perplexed about Idol being willing to pay a fortune to people like Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan to have a good time, keep in mind it’s likely not an easy gig to pull off.

Over the years, Idol brought in numerous A-list stars who brought clout, if also controversy. Jennifer Lopez was one who stayed respected thanks to her approachable personality. A while ago, she was asked if she’d ever return as a judge.

Jennifer Lopez on the runway at a fashion show
Jennifer Lopez | Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Jennifer Lopez is already busy judging another competition

There is a very good reason why Lopez would never return as a guest judge on American Idol: She’s already judging on World of Dance. In her mind, judging on WoD is far more important because her original career was working as a dancer.

When she judged on Idol, a lot of people wondered why she was judging about singing when she was better known for her dance moves. Then again, we know she can sing after hearing numerous hits in her catalog.

What made her judging stint so useful is she looked at the entire package of an artist rather than focus on their voice quality. Having dancing and singing backgrounds helps in realizing what image is and how that factors into becoming a major pop star.

It’s rare to find those kinds of insights from a judge, which created a void for Idol when Lopez wasn’t around for the ABC reboot.

There isn’t any realistic chance of Lopez returning … for now

Based on an interview she once did two years ago about returning to Idol, Lopez simply said she “knew nothing about that.” Of course, we’ve seen many people deny returns to shows by saying something almost identical.

Maybe the current ABC version of Idol is still courting her for a one-shot guest appearance. This wouldn’t make much sense though, considering World of Dance is on NBC, making it virtually impossible at the moment.

Those who’ve forgotten exactly when Lopez judged on Idol will have to look back nine years. She started judging on the old Fox edition of Idol starting during the 10th season after Paul Abdul quit and Ellen DeGeneres filled in for only one season (Season 9).

Lopez stayed around longer than you may remember. She started with Seasons 10-12, took a break for one year (during the Mariah Carey/Nicki Minaj fiasco), then returned for the rest of the Fox run.

The ABC edition of ‘Idol’ might not last much longer

Ratings for the ABC revival of Idol haven’t been what they were during its heyday. A good reason is The Voice now dominates the greatest vocal talent in the competitive reality show format.

What happens if the new Idol is ever canceled or switches gears on the judging panel? Recent reports show it’s been renewed for an eventual third season. Everyone’s still wondering whether Katy Perry will return, though, considering she’s pulling in an extravagant $25 million.

The show is already trying to cut costs based on the abysmal ratings it’s faced over the last couple of years. If Perry were to leave, you have to wonder if Lopez would be courted back, outside of her own likely steep asking price.

With Lopez’s commitment to World of Dance, she’d likely turn down such an offer. Only a WoD cancellation would ever up those chances. It makes us wonder if Idol will repeat its own trajectory eventually, with the original Fox judges reuniting, then departing to open the door to J. Lo once again.