Earlier today we shared a video featuring Jennifer Lopez on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show sounding dubious about the prospect of returning to American Idol to judge for the singing competition's third season. The latest report seems to further the stress the possibility that Lopez is on her way out. All things considered, I have to admit, I wouldn't be disappointed if this news turned out to be true.

E! Online is reporting that their (unnamed) sources say Lopez is "planning on calling it quits." Sources say she's too busy, and the site goes on to reference her upcoming concert tour, which will have her on the road possibly through the end of the year. That would obviously present a conflict with Idol's audition tour. There's also mention of Lopez looking to spend more time with her kids. Nothing sounds confirmed or set in stone, but that's the word right now.

Regardless of what the reason, I can't say that I'll be disappointed if she does exit the series. And I say this without any dislike toward Lopez. There's nothing about Lopez specifically that bothers me as an Idol judge. This is more about the dynamic and chemistry at the judges table lately, or lack thereof. One of the things I've noticed throughout the season this year is how lackluster the judges' commentary is, at least by comparison to how it used to be. Once upon a time, I used to anticipate the judges critiques during performance episodes as much as I did the performances themselves. Getting to hear what Simon, Paula and Randy had to say was a big part of what made the performance episodes so enjoyable. Simon's departure from the show was a big loss, but I don't believe Idol can't be great without him. But that spark that once ignited the judges table seems to have fizzled out. Instead, what we have is the Randy/Steven/Jennifer combo, which seems more like a sampled audience of three, as the trio of likable celebrities offer opinions on the performances, but no real in depth criticism or commentary.

The real meat of the criticism doesn't come until Thursday night when Jimmy Iovine weighs in with his packaged commentary of each contestant's performance. Granted, he has a bit more time to deliver a thought-out summary of comments for each contestant, but Iovine's words add more value to the show than all three judges' comments combined. But on Thursday night, after the votes are in, it's coming in a bit too-little-too-late. If Jennifer Lopez exits the series, I sincerely hope they don't go the X Factor route in scrambling to find big names, and instead, aim for someone who can really dig into each performance and explain to the contestant, and the audience, what worked and what didn't. Whether that be Iovine or someone with a similar level of knowledge, experience and charisma, a new judge could really improve Idol's performance episodes.

Do you agree that the Idol judge situation needs work?

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