And so begins the search for yet another "Idol" judge
Steven Tyler is leaving "American Idol" after two seasons with the show, sparking yet another retooling for the decade-old singing competition.
“After some long…hard…thoughts…I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress ‘American Idol’ before she boils my rabbit,” Tyler said in a statement.
The show will now have to look elsewhere for innuendo. Tyler's exit — and speculation that Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson might be ready to go as well — means television's former No. 1 show will have to reimagine itself for the second time in three seasons.
If Jackson and Lopez join Tyler in departing, "Idol" would return next season with an entirely new panel for the first time in the show's history.
Last season, "Idol" lost the top ratings slot for the first time in eight years, ceding it to NBC's "Sunday Night Football." It spent much of the season dueling with NBC's "The Voice" for second place.
Tyler's exit gives the show a publicity jolt as it starts another familiar cycle of speculation about who might join the judging panel. Adam Lambert, a former "Idol" runner-up, has expressed interest in the gig, but may lack the star power. Fox's other big singing show, "X Factor," hopes to juice its season 2 ratings by jettisoning first season judges Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul in favor of Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.
In his statement, the Aerosmith frontman said that he's refocusing his energies on his long-running rock band, likening his stint on "Idol" to a bout of infidelity.
"I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back – but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I’ve got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band. The next few years are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass," he said.
Fox's president of alternative entertainment, Mike Darnell, said Fox is "very sad" to see Tyler go, but said that his departure wasn't entirely surprising.
"It’s been a tremendous honor to have Steven – one of the most prolific artists in the world – on 'American Idol' for the past two seasons," Darnell said. "We are very sad that Steven has chosen to focus more on his music, but we always knew when we hired a rock ’n’ roll legend, he would go back to the music."
Tyler came aboard as a judge for the show for its 10th season, along with Lopez. The pair replaced departing judges Simon Cowell — who left to launch the American version of singing competition "The X Factor" — as well as Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi. Original judge Paula Abdul was the first to exit the show.
Lopez, meanwhile, fueled speculation that she's also on her way out at "Idol" earlier Thursday, telling NBC's "Today" that she thinks "maybe it's time for me to go and do other things that I really love to do."
"It's been on my mind a lot, as you can imagine," Lopez told Natalie Morales. "It's a tough decision either way. But I have to say that there are so many other things that I do, and that I put on hold for that. At the end of the day, whichever way, it's a heartbreaking decision if I'm going to have to go."
Speculation has also been rampant that Jackson, the sole remaining original "Idol" judge, may also be ready for a change.