First, let's hold off on the talk of jumping sharks and crashing ratings for "American Idol."

Now that we know pop diva Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler will join a returning Randy Jackson at the judges table on the popular TV show, it is easy to get distracted by visions of disaster.

The star of "Monster-in-Law" and "Gigli" advising someone else on how to have a successful showbiz career? The jokes write themselves.

But their installation -- revealed Wednesday after months of rumors -- is only part of a widespread "Idol" makeover following the departure of star judge Simon Cowell that includes younger contestants, online auditions, a new in-house mentor in Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine and the return of producer Nigel Lythgoe.

"I just want to find the next Michael Jackson," Lopez said during an announcement of the three judges, held at the Forum in Los Angeles.

Tyler, who at 62 will be the oldest "Idol" judge, said "I just want to bring some rock to this roller coaster." In a later press conference, he acknowledged that some of his band mates might be jealous.

There is no doubt that the show's equation has changed. Here is a look at the winners and losers.


J.Lo: Say what you will about her singing abilities, but this gig is Lopez's instant ticket to showbiz relevance after a string of lackluster albums and movies. It doesn't hurt that Fox tossed in a first-look deal with its network and movie studio for her production company.

Future Biebers: The show lowered its age limit to 15 and will take online auditions through MySpace until Oct. 6. It couldn't scream louder for a new version of YouTube sensation Justin Bieber if it tried to clone him from a lock of those beautiful, oversize bangs.

Simon Cowell: It's looking more like he jumped off the "Idol" train at just the right time. If it crashes next year, he can claim it failed because he was gone. And his new "Idol" rip-off, "The X Factor," debuts in fall 2011, poised to take over where "Idol" fails.


"Idol" producers: The public flailing for new judges, combined with a lackluster past season, has left the industry carping loudly. Few beyond the biggest fans think adding Lopez and Tyler is a sure thing.

"Idol" judges: Two have never done this job before, joining the show after its biggest star has left and its newest star (Ellen Degeneres) has quit. Their backup: the guy long considered the most disposable judge, Randy Jackson, leaving some fans wishing producers had just eliminated the job.

Contestants: What the show really needs is more compelling talent. But thanks to all the hiring high jinks with Lopez and Tyler, the show's focus next season will be where it shouldn't, on the judges. Lowering the age limit also ensures that auditioners will be less sophisticated. Susan Boyle, the older "Britain's Got Talent" megastar, would have been reduced to a "Pants on the Ground"-style joke on "Idol."