This is not going to be your grandma’s “American Idol.” When the show that’s beloved by everyone from tweens with blue hair to their indigo-coiffed nanas comes back Wednesday night with the first episode of season 10, it will have more surprises than the ones we’ve already told you about .
“Idol” has always been a kind of wholesome family affair that the entire clan can sit down and watch together without worrying about foul language, nudity or any other PG-13 antics. That’s before new judge Steven Tyler came onboard, so don’t be surprised if your sixth-grader starts asking, “Mommy, what’s a Lunesta?” or “Daddy, what’s a three-way?”
Tyler has done it all as the lead singer of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act Aerosmith, and he’s not afraid to talk about it in its X-rated glory, even when promoting his new G-rated gig. Appearing as the surprise guest on Howard Stern’s Sirius satellite radio show Tuesday (January 18), the motor-mouthed rocker made a modest attempt to play down his colorful past, but still ended up discussing the kind of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll debauchery you’ve never heard about from any of the past “Idol” judges.
Tyler left no stone unturned, speaking about everything from the inspiration for the song “Big 10 Inch Record” (hint: it’s not about vinyl) to masturbation, his active (and colorful) sex life with his current girlfriend, his love of guns, multiple trips to rehab for drugs and Penthouse Forum-worthy backstage activities with his sweetie and an eager groupie during a recent Aerosmith tour.
“He’s angry with me for what? Because I took f—ing ‘Idol’? What a crock of sh–!” he responded vehemently when Stern asked if the TV gig was putting even more distance between Tyler and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. “Wait till Wednesday,” he teased. “I saw the debut … I’m not a TV guy, I’m a rock-and-roll junkie whore. I’m not used to your stuff, [but] it blew me away,” he added about the emotions he felt watching the first 10 minutes of the debut episode.
Though he complained about his bandmates sometimes kicking him when he’s down (or in rehab), Tyler said he loves his Aerosmith pals dearly and said he explained to them that “Idol” was a good chance for him to slow down and get off the road for a while to rest his chronic and painful foot condition. “This is something else I could get into and see if it was a good fit,” he said.
Putting aside his belief that no one can really be a star without paying their dues in a million dingy clubs (though his wording was much more colorful on Stern’s show), Tyler, 62, said he realized it’s a new day in the music biz, and after boiling 700 contestants down to 20, he finally gets the show. “It’s something that I’ve never got into because I never caught the rhythm of the show,” he said. “When you watch it, you kind of fall in love with this guy … there’s some people who sing their ass off.”
He also explained for the first time how he got the gig, saying he was writing a song with former judge Kara DioGuardi last year for a Japanese movie, and she got him thinking about the show. Tyler said producers came to him after Aerosmith’s 2010 summer tour ended and made an offer. “She [DioGuardi] was talking to [executive producer] Nigel [Lythgoe] … and so Nigel got to management,” and that got the ball rolling, though Tyler said he swiftly rejected the show’s first offer with a brusque “f— that!”
And, in another breach of past “Idol” etiquette, Tyler alluded to his payday for the gig. When Stern suggested that fellow newbie judge Jennifer Lopez was earning $12 million a year on the show, Tyler sniggered and said, “More!,” then instantly realized he may have crossed a line in discussing his paycheck. When Stern countered that perhaps it was more like $18 million, Tyler declined to answer, but did admit that he’s free to bail after one season if things don’t work out.
But when it came to discussing their sex life, Tyler wasn’t so shy, with his girlfriend admitting that he’s still got plenty of stamina and never needs Viagra to get his motor running. “It gives me a headache!” he demurred of the male impotence drug, before describing his first experience on the pill a few years ago, as well as the laundry list of exotic drugs he did back in the bad old days of his addiction.
In fact, it was Tyler who asked Stern if he’d ever been with two women at the same time, telling the radio host that it was “the secret to life.” But when the singer’s girlfriend suggested that she and Tyler had already invited another woman into their circle of trust, the Aerosmith frontman suddenly got a bit more squeamish and tried to change the subject. “Ah, Jesus, we’re on television!” he moaned about the Stern TV cameras focused on him, before again insisting that it hadn’t (yet) happened, but might in the future.
But, soon enough, the story about the backstage tryst unfolded and Tyler groaned, “Wouldn’t you know, it would go to here?” Finally, after nearly an hour of the most unconventional “Idol” judge interview ever, he’d had enough when she divulged the gritty details of the encounter.
“You’re going too far!” he yelled. “No more! No more Joe Perry, no more the band! No more sex. We got too close. It’s enough.” Asked if he was being shy because of ” ‘Idol’ and his new image,” Tyler snorted, “F— no!”
Don’t miss our “American Idol” live stream “Judging the Judges: An ‘Idol’ Without Simon,” featuring post-show analysis from Jim Cantiello and special guests, on MTV.com this Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. Tweet your “Idol” commentary with the hashtag #idolwithoutsimon, and we could quote you on the show!
Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page , where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.