Steven Tyler leaving 'American Idol'

Steven Tyler (right) and Joe Perry perform with

Steven Tyler (right) and Joe Perry perform with Aerosmith in Minneapolis on the opening night of their Global Warming Tour. (Credit: Ross Halfin)

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler announced his departure as an "American Idol" judge Thursday, saying he wants to return to his "first love," the band and rock and roll.

In a long statement, Tyler said (in part), "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," said Tyler. "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."

He added, " 'Idol' was over-the-top fun, and I loved every minute of it . . . Now it's time to bring Rock Back."

The band has been touring -- they performed recently at Nassau Coliseum -- and will release a new album in early November.

Tyler's departure announcement came hours after Jennifer Lopez said on "Today" that she might also leave. "I am thinking that maybe it's time for me to go and do other things that I really love to do," she said.

"I signed on to 'American Idol' to do one year, and . . . I wound up doing the two years," she added. "And now it's like, 'OK, do we continue on this journey?' At the end of the day, whichever way, it's a heartbreaking decision."

Lopez has mused about leaving before -- and did so this time last year -- but Thursday's statement was a more forceful indication that she's leaning toward the exit.

This opens the possibility that "Idol" will be adding two new judges next season, possibly three if Randy Jackson -- with the show since its inception in 2002 -- doesn't come to terms on a new deal. (His contract is also up.) Both Tyler and Lopez joined two seasons ago.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday