Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez leaving ‘American Idol‘ may bum out their fans, but it actually gave producers a bit of relief — following the initial panic that ensued when they realized they may well be out of judges.The Hollywood Reporter says that ‘Idol’ is looking to downsize for season 12, and Lopez and Tyler’s soaring salaries didn’t fit in with that M.O. The mag notes that while Lopez and Tyler’s endorsement opportunities and public personas flourished (Tyler shilled for Burger King, while J. Lo’s singles ‘On the Floor’ and ‘Dance Again’ did superbly well on the charts), the ratings for the season 11 finale were the lowest ever.

Reports recently emerged suggesting that Lopez and Tyler were actually fired from their ‘Idol’ chairs instead of exiting on their own, though the show allowed the duo to publicly say they left at will. The reason they may have been let go? The bottom line is, well, the bottom line: they were costing more money than they were bringing in. The paycheck issue may pose problems for hopeful judge Mariah Carey, though ‘Idol’ producers may point out the extra cash J. Lo earned from endorsement deals with free P.R. from her time on the show, according to THR.

In the meantime, Randy Jackson released a statement on J. Lo and Tyler’s exits. “Steven and Jennifer are truly two of the most talented and consummate professionals I’ve worked with. I was friends with them before we hopped on this crazy journey together and I have no doubt our friendships will continue long after.”

It’s unclear in what capacity Jackson will remain on the series. Some reports say he’s leaving, some say he’s sticking around as a judge and others say he’s going to take on more of a mentor rather than a judge role.

However, despite all the financial snafus, THR reports that there’s another potentially more serious issue for season 12: Not a ton of talent is emerging from the auditions. Yikes!

Who do you think should be the next ‘American Idol’ judge? How do you think the show should change? Tell us in the comments!

Listen to Jennifer Lopez Confirm ‘American Idol’ Exit

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