Next season, Jennifer Lopez will be the female face of the "American Idol" judges' panel. She picks up where Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and, yes, Paula Abdul left off. Lopez, of course, will be joined by sole original "Idol" judge Randy Jackson and fellow newbie Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. But while Lopez will be new to the show, her career timeline begins nearly two decades ago.
In the early 1990s, the Bronx-born entertainer got a gig as a dancing "fly girl" on the groundbreaking comedy series "In Living Color." Lopez was really there to serve as background talent to would-be superstars like Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx and the Wayans brothers, but Hollywood was soon calling on her. She starred first in 1995's "Money Train," before landing the lead role in the biopic "Selena." The film allowed Lopez to display her abilities not only as an actress, but as a singer. That same year, she starred in "Anaconda." A part opposite George Clooney in 1998's Steven Soderbergh-directed "Out of Sight" made it clear that Jennifer was climbing the ranks.
Little did anyone know, however, that Lopez was also plotting her musical path. She released her debut album, On the 6, in '99, and the record made her a certifiable pop star thanks to hits like "If You Had My Love" and "Waiting for Tonight." On the 6 also featured the duet "No Me Ames" with Marc Anthony, whom she later married in 2004.
But Lopez didn't abandon the movie business. After appearing in the 2000 psychological thriller "The Cell," she turned up in a string of romantic comedies, including "The Wedding Planner," "Maid in Manhattan" and "Monster-In-Law." In the '03 action flick "Gigli," Lopez mixed business with pleasure, co-starring with beau Ben Affleck. But the pair's high-profile engagement fared just as badly as the movie did at the box-office; "Bennifer" called it off that same year. (The duo appeared together again, at least onscreen, in Kevin Smith's "Jersey Girl," though Lopez only had a small role in it.)
When she wasn't busy with her A-List acting career, J.Lo managed to squeeze out several more albums: J.Lo (2001); This Is Me ... Then (2002); Rebirth (2005); and Como Ama una Mujer and Brave, both 2007. Those projects spawned massive hits like "Love Don't Cost a Thing" and "Jenny From the Block." Not content with chart and box-office success, Lopez also conquered the fashion and fragrance industries, with her clothing lines and a series of top-selling perfumes eventually selling at major retailers.
Earlier this year, her rom-com "The Back-Up Plan" hit theaters, but she seemed to suffer a musical setback when her latest album, Love?, was indefinitely postponed. By summer 2010, though, Lopez was back in the headlines as one of a number of stars rumored to be replacing the departing "Idol" judges. While blogger Perez Hilton was critical of Lopez as a possible selection, her one-time "How I Met Your Mother" co-star, Neil Patrick Harris, was rooting for her.
"She's great. I have nothing bad to say about her. She's nice, crazy talented, super-gorgeous, has things to say about people," he raved. "[She has] good strong opinions so I think she'd be a great fit."
What do you think of Jennifer joining "AI" as a judge? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!