The last time "American Idol" had news about Jennifer Lopez, they announced it with glitter and much fanfare on the "Idol" Hollywood stage. When the singer/actress joined the cast of the show last year there was much pomp and circumstance.
But on Wednesday when "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe confirmed that JLo would be back for another season alongside fellow newbie Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and old dawg Randy Jackson, there was no confetti.
In fact, there wasn't much fanfare at all. No press release from Lopez or the "Idol" camp, no media splash about her contract and, oddly, a "no comment" from a Fox spokesperson when MTV News asked for confirmation of the re-hire.
"I was quite surprised that it wasn't such a big deal," said "Naughty But Nice" columnist Rob Shuter, who did publicity for Lopez earlier in the decade. "The last time they did it with a glitter explosion with Steven and Randy on the 'Idol' set, but they didn't do that this time, which leads me to think that the rumors that the cast is still not happy about it [her reported salary]."
Considering that Tyler was the break-out star last season, Shuter suspects that the hard rock icon is angry that he signed a multi-year contract for what is said to be considerably less than Lopez's reported $20 million per year. "Her signing for one year was genius," he said. "He's probably pissed that he's sitting next to someone who is doing the same job as him, and not as well and he's doing it for half the money."
Shuter suspects that it's that bitterness that may explain why there was no fanfare this time. We already knew Randy and Steven were coming back, so perhaps to appease the egos of the other two, there was no press conference to announce the JLo news because there was no way to do it without bruising egos. "If they did a press conference with all the judges and they're there just to announce the Jennifer news they wouldn't like it and if she did a solo conference what does that say about the other judges?" Shuter said.
That might also explain why the announcement was made on friendly turf – host Ryan Seacrest's radio show – and downplayed a bit. Also, at a time when people are suffering financially, the stock market is tanking and so many are out of work, Shuter said there might have been something unseemly about making a big deal about Lopez's lavish salary for a gig that basically involves two days of work a week. "There's something grotesque about that," he said. "It's not something you cheer from the rooftops these days."
A spokesperson for "Idol" had no further comment on the announcement and Lopez's spokesperson did not return calls for confirmation.