'American Idol': Jennifer Lopez deal done, all three judges back for 2012

american-idol-judges-s11.jpgThe deal is done: Jennifer Lopez will return to "American Idol" next year, joining Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler at the judges' table.

Reports of Lopez being on the verge of signing have been swirling for several weeks, and on Aug. 10 executive producer Nigel Lythgoe called "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest's radio show to say J.Lo would be back. FOX made it official Wednesday morning (Aug. 17), presumably after all T's were crossed and such.

"Having both Jennifer and Steven return to 'Idol' in 2012 alongside Randy is such a positive reflection on what was a wonderful and hugely successful season last year, and everyone is delighted," "Idol" creator and exec producer Simon Fuller says in a statement.

Auditions for Season 11 of "Idol" have been going since June, but the time was getting short for FOX to lock in Lopez; the judges typically start filming their audition segments in late August.

"American Idol" will open its season on Sunday, Jan. 22, following FOX's coverage of the NFC championship game, which should deliver it a pretty huge lead-in audience.
Photo/Video credit: FOX