During a long-winded response, Lopez hinted that she would mostly likely exit the show, citing her reason as a desire to pursue other projects.
“I am thinking that maybe it’s time for me to go and do other things that I really love to do,” said Lopez, “Like films, and right now I’m on tour and performing — all the things that I do.”
Still, despite the hint, Lopez remained visibly torn on whether she’ll actually follow through with her exit.
“This has been a great journey, but at the same time … I really love the show. All I can do is tell you what I’m thinking,” she said from Philadelphia, where she was promoting her new movie, Ice Age: Continental Drift.
“I signed onto American Idol to do one year … and I wound up doing the two years. And now it’s like, ‘okay, do we continue on this journey?'” she explained.
“I’ve loved it so much. I enjoy the show so much. I enjoy the whole process of the show and the whole thing. It’s a tough decision either way.
“But I have to say that there are so many things that I do and that I put on a hold for [Idol]. So, at the end of the day, whichever way, it’s a heartbreaking decision, if I’m gonna have to go,” she said.
For months, Lopez has been rumored to be leaving the show, due in part to her busy work schedule.
In recent weeks, a number of names have been floating around as possible additions to the judges’ panel — everyone from Katy Perry, who already confirmed that Idol is not in her immediate future, to former contestant Adam Lambert.
American Idol returns to FOX at midseason. So far, only Ryan Seacrest has committed to season 12. No word on the future for Lopez’s fellow judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson.
Lopez joined the show in season 10, after Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi left the show.
It was recently announced that she will produce a show about a lesbian couple for ABC Family.
Though she would be disappointing millions of TV viewers, should she leave American Idol, Lopez could be jumping ship from TV’s top-rated show at just the right time.
As discussed previously on Celebuzz, ratings are down significantly for Idol; May’s season 11 finale alone pulled in just 21.5 million viewers, down 26 percent from the previous year.
Now, as the aging show approaches its 12th season on television, it may be in Lopez’s best interests to indeed move on and let the show run its course.
“It’s not the kind of drop you can ignore,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Music Editor, Shirley Halperin, told Celebuzz, of the show’s declining ratings. “It could mean make-goods to advertisers, smaller budgets to work with, things that directly affect the bottom line.
“In times of desperation, drama often works and that’s what these alleged public shake-ups are. They’re also a way to test the field and see who the public reacts to,” she added, regarding the show’s potential new judges.
For now, it seems as though the public isn’t reacting much at all; if anything, they’re flocking away.
If that’s the case, why can’t Lopez do the same?
Ice Age: Continental Drift opens in theaters on Friday. For more on Lopez’s interview with TODAY, watch the interview above.