Jennifer Lopez Talks Leaving American Idol & Aretha Franklin As Possible Judge

When it came time for Jennifer Lopez to say “Lopez out” from “American Idol” the superstar said she trusted her “gut.”

“My gut was telling me that it was time to go and get back to the things that I do… I’m a performer, I’m a actress, I’m an entrepreneur, those are the things that I do and to sit and judge for two years was an amazing experience for me, but that’s not what I do. So, it was time to move on,” Jennifer told Access Hollywood backstage at her concert with Enrique Iglesias this weekend at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

“As painful as it was, because I really fell in love with everybody on the show, I really did… everybody behind the scenes to the guys, Steven and Randy and Ryan… everybody was so great to me, but it’s time to move on. Sometimes, you know, you have to do it,” she continued.

Reports of Mariah Carey and Miley Cyrus as possible judges have surfaced since she and Steven Tyler announced their exit — and even Aretha Franklin threw her hat into the ring as replacement — and J.Lo weighed in on the Queen of Soul possibly joining the panel.

“She’s amazing…it’s such a delicate thing to find chemistry for that panel. That was another thing that made me think about it. It’s like once Steven kind of walked away as well, I was just like, ‘Ugh, it’s just all gonna be different,’” she told Access. “They’re gonna have their work cut out for them. I think just to find that balance again and that magic that happens when the people sit there.”

But finding the right balance for the panel on the FOX series that she loved working on is not making Jennifer second guess her decision to exit.

“I had only signed on to do one year in the beginning, so doing it for two years turned out to be a surprise and then contemplating a third year I was like, ‘This wasn’t the plan,’ and I just like to go with my gut. You gotta go with your first instinct!” she explained.

Jennifer turns 43 on Tuesday and she’ll be back performing with Enrique on Wednesday in Boston, but first she’ll get a well-deserved break from her tour.

“For my birthday… I would like to rest a little bit. I don’t want to do anything…I don’t want a big thing, I just want to relax,” she added.

-- Jesse Spero

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