Jennifer Lopez signed a $12 million deal earlier this week to judge the upcoming season of American Idol. For Lopez, it was the latest step in a unique career path that has seen her go from pop star to indie film ingenue to tabloid fixture to washed-up megastar to well-compensated reality TV personality. Is Jenny from the Block moving up or fizzling out? Around the Web, opinion was split.
Relevant Again Lopez career is defined by well-timed reinventions, writes Black Book's Ben Barna. The Idol move should be no exception. She only transitioned to movies when her "brand of bland-but-catchy dance pop grew stale." With her "movie career sputtered out," Berna thinks now is the ideal time for Lopez to make the move to TV. "Lest you think appearing regularly on America’s top TV show spells the end of Lopez’s career as an actress, think again," notes Berna. "The Times reports that along with an estimated $12 million paycheck, Lopez is also getting a first-look film deal for her production company with Fox."
Curious Choice Entertainment Weekly's Michael Slezak says the pairing of Idol and Lopez doesn't seem like an ideal fit. How can Lopez play the role of the mentor while also trying to reclaim her own lost stardom? "As we learned from Ellen DeGeneres’ disastrous stint on Idol last season," writes Slezak, "it can be tough for a well-established, well-liked celebrity (especially one with an active career) to sit down at the judges’ table and give negative feedback to contestants." She runs the risk of turning off viewers who might not "absolve her of the 'sin' of crushing the dreams of so many wannabe music stars in front of 20 million viewers."
Knack For The Medium The Wrap's Josh Dickey argues TV just might be Lopez's ideal medium. "To dismiss her on account of a flagging music and film career is folly," he warns. In earlier Idol guest appearances, she came across as "a little squirrely" but also "sweetly maternal." It was obvious she "took the role seriously, offering constructive criticism with confidence and ease."
Great Unknown Lopez's presence might not be enough to "breathe life into the show," admits Gerrick Kennedy of The Los Angeles Times, but she's better suited to the task than just about anyone. "The wits that paid off early in [Lopez's] career" will be vital if Fox wants to rescue the Idol brand. Kennedy observes that she's already begun positioning herself as the anti-Simon Cowell. She can offer nice tidbits on stage presence, putting together a good look -- and hey, she can even offer a thing or two about singing," he writes. "She is, after all, a pop idol, the very thing the show is searching for."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.