Steven Tyler Talks 'Long Road' To 'American Idol' Top 24

'Idol' judge tells MTV News 'it's heartbreaking' to let go of hopefuls with loads of 'character' but OK voices.

Those who've been following the revamped 10th season of ratings juggernaut "American Idol" know that the addition of new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have spiced things up a bit. Particularly in the case of Tyler, who has peppered each episode with his colorful musings, mugging for the cameras, and interactions with contestants and fellow judges.

When MTV News spoke to the Aerosmith frontman during NBA All-Star weekend, we asked how he's doing, now that they've narrowed the thousands of "Idol" hopefuls down to a competitive 50.

"It was a long road whittling it down from 700 [contestants] to 400, then Hollywood Week and then, aw man ... letting them go," Tyler said, adding that it's particularly difficult to let go of the ones who are OK singers, but potentially great performers.

"You know what? Not everybody that's great sings good. They've got character, that certain something you can't put your finger on," he explained. "And man, when they sing, look out. A lot of these kids have got it, but we have to let them go and it's heartbreaking."

Tyler went on to say that his road to success in the music industry was paved with a few more hard knocks than the "Idol" contestants have to endure.

"I didn't watch 'Idol' because I grew up from, you had to play clubs. If you don't play in front of the people and get your hard knocks from that and get booed, [you don't learn] how to stand up when you fall back down," he said before likening himself and judges Lopez and Randy Jackson as the "American Idol" school of hard knocks.

"[When] they're in front of us," he said of the contestants. "We're the club."

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