Steven & Aerosmith on the Season 11 "Idol" finale [photo: Fox]During his underwhelming two-season stint on "American Idol," Steven Tyler was basically the least effective judge this side of Ellen DeGeneres--with a vocabulary that was pretty much limited to two adjectives ("beautiful" and "over-the-top"), a seemingly genetically predisposed allergic reaction to actual constructive criticism, and a transparent-as-one-of-his-rocker-scarves agenda that involved promoting Aerosmith's imminent comeback whenever he got the chance. His heart just never seemed in it (to win it), really, so perhaps it's no surprise that he has just confessed to Rolling Stone that "Idol" was "not [his] cup of tea."
Speaking to Rolling Stone to (of course) promote Aerosmith's forthcoming first album in 11 years, Music From Another Dimension, Steven admitted that the show was basically just a way for him to pass the time while his publicly feuding band got its act together. "It was something to do while the storm blew by, to be honest. I loved it and hated it. It was a great job; I sat next to J.Lo and I made a ton of money [a reported $10 million a year]. It was a moment in life, and it became larger than life."
Steven also admitted that, like Ellen before him, he didn't enjoy having to harshly critique the young contestants on the show--which handily explains why, well, he rarely did any critiquing at all. "The show's about kids and what you do to nurture their talent. They wanted me to take the piss out of the kids, and I don't have that in me," he said. "That's not what I'm about. That's more about that other guy. Not me."
See? This is why I have so strongly advocated that "Idol" hire music industry insiders, NOT celebrities, as judges. Celebrities always sign on with ulterior motives (it was also glaringly obvious that Steven's fellow former judge, Jennifer Lopez, used "Idol" to promote her own film and music projects, and it's surely no coincidence that Mariah Carey signed on as a judge only a week before announcing her new single). And celebrities--like Steven, J.Lo, and Ellen--are often flat-out afraid to really criticize, either because they empathize with fellow performers, or because they'd rather be universally loved by fans than angrily booed by a live studio audience. I'd like to imagine that Fox execs might read Steven's honest anti-"Idol" remarks and rethink their hiring policies for Season 12, and maybe go with a less famous name...but something tells me they won't. Sigh.
Anyway, one other Aerosmith member who seems thrilled that Steven's "Idol" run has come to an end is guitarist Joe Perry, who was never in favor of Steven taking the job in the first place. (Back in 2009, Joe told the Calgary Herald, "['Idol'] is a reality show designed to get people to watch that station and sell advertising. It's one step above Ninja Turtles...when we put this band together, this is not something that [Steven] would do. It's his business, but I don't want Aerosmith's name involved with it. We have nothing to do with it.") Speaking to Rolling Stone this month, an obviously relieved Joe stated: "There was certainly the fame and notoriety that went with ['Idol']. But you can't figure out what a band is about reading about it in the gossip column."
Aerosmith's Music From Another Dimension is due out in November. Ironically, the album will include a duet with none other than "American Idol" darling Carrie Underwood.