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Jennifer Lopez appears in a promotional photo for American Idol. - Provided courtesy of Tony Duran / FOX

Jennifer Lopez to return to 'American Idol,' Nigel Lythgoe says

08/10/2011 by Corinne Heller

Jennifer Lopez will return to "American Idol" next season to resume her role as a judge, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe says.

The 42-year-old actress and singer has not commented. It was reported in late July that Lopez was close to finalizing a deal over the matter.

"I believe we're still waiting for the official announcement, but I am delighted to say that all three judges, along with the brilliant host of 'American Idol,' (are) back for the next season," Lythgoe told series host Ryan Seacrest during an interview that aired on his syndicated KIIS-FM radio show on Wednesday, August 10.

Lopez made her debut on the FOX singing contest series at the start of its 10th season earlier this year, along with Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, who joined veteran judge Randy Jackson on the panel after Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres left as part of a program shake-up.

It was confirmed weeks ago that Tyler and Jackson will return for season 11, which begins in January 2012. Auditions before all three judges are set to be held in a couple of weeks, Seacrest Tweeted.

Lopez's initial contract was worth about $12 million and expired in May, the Wall Street Journal had reported. Tyler is said to have signed a multi-year contract worth about $18 million.

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