Yes, it’s official, Lopez is back on board for the 2011-’12 season of Idol.  She joins Randy Jackson, Stephen Tyler, and Ryan Seacrest on the air, and it took only $20 million bucks to get her there.

Lots of Lopez

How diverse will the contestant pool be this season?  Come back to Wide Lantern for full coverage when the show starts up.

Speaking of which, here’s an interesting Entertainment Weekly interview with Executive Producer Nigel Lithgoe that includes Lithgoe’s response to The Voice judge Adam Levine’s prodding Idol to featuring openly gay contestants:

You probably saw NBC’s The Voice judge Adam Levine saying Idol should show openly gay contestants. What do you think of that and could that change next season?
To be frank, I didn’t understand why we’re talking about contestants being gay or not gay. I don’t go into my dentist and say, “Are you gay?” I don’t say to contestants on So You Think You Can Dance, “Are you gay?” What does it got to do with me? What does it got to do with anybody? When does privacy stop in this country? If somebody wants to say they’re gay, it’s up to them. You don’t expect us to turn around and say, “Are you gay?” Why would we do that? — “By the way, he’s a Catholic and he supports Obama and here’s his sexuality” — what does that have anything to do with singing talent? Maybe it does for Adam Levine, but not for me.

So the reason nobody has been openly gay on Idol is that it’s up to the contestant.
Did [season eight Idol contestant] Adam Lambert come out?

Afterwards, I believe so.
He must have come out before being on Idol, he just didn’t talk about it on Idol. And why should he? Is every actor going on television going to say, “I’m only playing the part of a straight man, I’m really gay”? There’s no reason that I would see why anybody that goes on television should start coming out with who they are, what they are, what they’re sexuality is, who they’re going to vote for or what their religion is.

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