After weeks of speculation, "American Idol" will unveil the new judging panel for its 10th season next Wednesday (Sept. 22), Fox and Ryan Seacrest have confirmed.
The "Idol" host broke the news on Twitter, writing, "Looks like I have some new plans on wed! I will be able to introduce the @AmericanIdol judges panel! We will send u a pic! Can't wait." It was not immediately clear whether the announcement would be made in the early morning on Seacrest's radio show or at the Forum in Los Angeles, where Fox recently announced that a final "American Idol" audition will take place.
Pop singer Jennifer Lopez and Aersomith frontman Steven Tyler are widely reported to be the new judges joining "Idol" next year. Randy Jackson will continue on the veteran series as the lone holdover from last season.
Sources say a music industry figure -- likely Interscope/Geffen/A&M Records chairmain Jimmy Iovine -- is also expected to play a role on the show. Additional format tweaks are possible as well.
The announcement will conclude an exhaustive search to replace lead judge Simon Cowell, who's launching his own singing competition, a domestic version of his U.K. hit "The X Factor," on Fox next fall.
Sources say Tyler's deal was finished weeks ago, with the singer and members of Aerosmith making little effort to keep secret his involvement on the show. Lopez's deal took considerably longer, with the singer accused of making "diva-like" demands (apparently when a talented female drives a hard bargain, she's a "diva," but when Elton John prices himself out of the "Idol" market, he's simply hard to get).
Lopez reportedly took a $12 million deal to join the show, which is still considerably less than Cowell's former salary of $36 million. It's also well above the $3.5 million that Paula Abdul made on the show.
(Additional reporting by Monica Herrera, Billboard.com)