PASADENA, CA -- The King of Nasty Simon Cowell and wacky Paula Abdul have left the American Idol judging panel, and in their place we've got Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
J-Lo's Paula without the crazy, and Steve's Paula with the crazy. And no one's bringing the heat despite what you might have heard.
"They bring on more of a critique than pack your suitcase and you're gone," says producer Nigel Lythgoe of the new judging panel. "Their credibility is different."
The AI crew rolled into Pasadena to talk to TV reporters here for the winter Television Critics Association press tour.
Jackson says he'll be less inclined to go to his old standby lines, including the incessant use of the term "dawg." Then he said, "Maybe some hair of the dawg."
There's no evidence that J-Lo's going deliver the mean this season. In fact, she gets a little misty when she talks about the contestants, even the bad ones.
"We bring a different perspective than what's been brought before," Ms. Lopez says. "We've been through the ranks. We're there to help the kids, or break the news that they won't go on."
Tyler doesn't want to go off on the wannabes either. He says he'll be honest, but not cruel. Which might not be what the audience really wants. Perhaps sensing that this softer side of Idol wasn't going over well with the room, J-Lo flashed her street cred.
"The Bronx girl comes out once in a while," she assures. "You want to guide (the contestants) in the right direction, but it's about who can make it under the pressure of the show. They got to make our hair stand up and make our jaws drop."
Randy rushed to her aid.
"Trust me, we've got some heat this season," he says.
"If we weren't crazy, we wouldn't be here," says J-Lo about herself, Tyler and Jackson.
We want to believe.
Other news coming out of the tour is that obnoxiously loud Mary Murphy has signed on to bring her hot tamale train back to So You Think You Can Dance.
Also, the expensive Steven Spielberg series Terra Nova finally gets an air date -- or at least a sneak preview -- on May 23 and 24. The series stars Stehen Lang (Avatar) as the leader of a colony on a new planet. Following him there is the Shannon family.
And Fox's only semi-hit this past fall, Raising Hope, has been renewed for a second season.