Did “Idol” Save Jennifer Lopez or Did Jennifer Lopez Save “Idol?”

The “most beautiful woman in the world” is more popular than ever. So is American Idol. Things are going swimmingly this season for both Jennifer Lopez and American Idol.

With the departure of 3 of its judges, both the future of this season’s American Idol and the career of once hot Jennifer Lopez, did not look particularly promising.

Last season, American Idol, with its mediocre talent and lack luster winners had become boring. With performers like Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert losing to the likes of forgetable Lee DeWyze, Taylor Hicks, and Kris Allen, Idol was losing its credibility.

The original judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and later judges Ellen DeGeneres and Kara Dioguardi had left. After a long search Steven Tyler, and Jennifer Lopez were selected as their replacements. Many thought the music careers of these two has seen better days and questioned their selection as judges.

All last year questions about Idol’s future were debated. Some thought American Idol would not survive especially without Simon Cowell. Had American Idol had run its course?

Instead, there is good news. American Idol is back. It is better than ever and much more enjoyable. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are giving Idol the new direction, it needed

Gone are the bickering, the silliness, the flirting, the nastiness and the juvenile insults between Simon and Ryan Seacrest. Even Randy Jackson (the remaining original judge) has settled down. He is dressing very classy and makes an effort not to say “pitchy” too often.

The contestants are unusually talented. We were spared most of the usual early audition silliness, no-talent kids wasting the judges and our time. Instead, everyone of this year’s contestants are serious likeable young people, who are actually very talented.

But it’s the new judges; rock icon, Steven Tyler and especially actress/singer Jennifer Lopez who take the show to a higher level. They take their roles as mentors and judges seriously.

The show, instead of being a bickering clash of judges’ egos, has turned into solid family entertainment with the focus on a very likeable group of extremely entertaining contestants.

We like these kids, every one of them, and have watched their hard work and professional growth. We look forward each week to their performances.

Steven, Randy with Jennifer in the middle, give polite constructive criticism. They encourage each contestant, telling them what worked and how to do even better next time. The kids hang on their every word, and it’s mutal respect along with admiration.

Steven Tyler is the credible rocker icon. He is funny, relaxed and encouraging. He is the kids’ cheerleader, but tells them how to do even better. He’s been around for years and the kids idolize him. He knows the music business inside out as does Randy Jackson. But it is Jennifer Lopez who has surprised everyone.

Jennifer is the consummate professional. She is warm, honest and polite. She doesn’t show off or try to be a diva. She is serious, articulate and specific in all her suggestions. She knows how to become a star. She’s done it all. She seems to care and respect each singer and the feeling is mutual.

All three judges seem to like each other. Steven and Randy sit on each side of Jennifer and treat her with respect. The conversation and focus is on the contestants, not them. They act like grown-ups, almost parental. Jennifer seems to set the tone in a professional caring way..

Jennifer, 41 is a triple threat performer: a dancer, singer and actress. She has been the highest paid Latina actress and has her own business empire of fashions and fragrances. She is married to singer Marc Anthony and they have 3 year old twins.

For a while it seemed Jennifer had lost some of her popularity. Her recent movies were not big hits, but her likeability and work on Idol has brought her favorable new publicity.

She has a new record out where she sings with Britney Spears and Rihanna, and she has recently been chosen “the most beautiful woman in the world” by People magazine. She acts in Idol’s commercials.

It looks like the pairing of Idol and Jennifer Lopez has been mutually beneficial for both. As Randy Jackson would say…. “J-Lo is back and so is American Idol.”