Pop & Circumstance: (Jennifer) Lopez tonight - Reverb

Pop & Circumstance: (Jennifer) Lopez tonight

She's ready for her close-up...again. AP Photo/Chris Pizzello.

She's ready for her close-up...again. AP Photo/Chris Pizzello.

After a string of mediocre rom-coms, Jennifer Lopez has returned to the music world in the form of a reality show judge, replacing Ellen DeGeneres for the 10th season of “American Idol,” which premieres tonight on Fox. Lopez, formerly known as “J.Lo,” has had almost as many career re-vamps as her ex, Sean Combs (formerly known as “Puff Daddy,” “P. Diddy,” and now just straight up “Diddy”).

After 20 years in the biz and a fresh gig on “Idol” (where washed-up musicians go to die), most would say that the 41-year-old’s time in the spotlight is just about over. To Lopez, however, these upcoming “Idol” appearances mean just one thing: potential career revival.

Those were the days. AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian.

Those were the days. AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian.

Her new single “On the Floor” leaked just a few days ago, and if you’ve heard it, you know that this track simply cannot compare to “Jenny on the Block,” “Waiting for Tonight,” “I’m Real,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “Play,” “If You Had My Love,” or pretty much any other of Lopez’s copious radio hits of the early 2000s. The new single will appear on Lopez’s much delayed seventh studio album, entitled, “Love?”

What exactly are you questioning, Jen?

We’re curious to see how the track will do on the charts — and how Lopez will do judging wannabe superstar singers next to Randy Jackson and newcomer Steven Tyler. Will Lopez dish it out hard for the $12 million gig? Or will she be soft-hearted and smiley like DeGeneres with a one-season shelf life? “I believe in tough love,” said Lopez at the Season 10 press conference in September, “but I could never be cruel to another artist. I think there’s definitely better ways to say things and still get your point across.”

If that comment was supposed to make us want to watch “Idol” this season, it’s hardly working. The best part of the show is the string of cringe-worthy audition episodes, right? So who will take place of hardass Simon Cowell? The 62-year-old Tyler? When asked if he saw any contestants that reminded him of a young version of himself, Tyler quipped, “No one had lips big enough.”

Other adventures coming up for Lopez include a coveted role in “Glee” this April as a cafeteria lady at McKinley High, as well as her second spokeswoman deal with L’Oreal (the commercials debuted this past Sunday).

Meanwhile, we’re waiting for tonight…

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Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a Pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.