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Why Did American Idol Apologize for Steven Tyler?

Show Apologizes for Tyler’s Profane Joke but Skeptics Wonder Whether It’s Tongue-in-Cheek

Three weeks. That’s how long it took before “American Idol” had to apologize for judge Steven Tyler.

At the start of Wednesday’s show, Fox ran an apology for its most unrestrained judge: “American Idol would like to apologize for last week’s outrageous behavior by Steven Tyler.”

It was followed by a second black card, which read: “Mr. Tyler has been warned and assured us it will never happen again.”

Although many people had speculated earlier on what “it” was, the Fox producers were making amends for Tyler’s comment last week when he joked that a contestant’s last name rhymed with a profanity.

When Jake Muck introduced himself, Tyler, 62, said, “You know what Muck rhymes with, don’t you?” When Muck replied, “Duck,” Tyler responded, “Read my lips.”

The comment reportedly drew complaints from viewers.

But skeptics reportedly believe the apology was just another joke; this time from producers.

Fox declined to comment about the apology, and the show’s producers did not immediately respond to ABCNews.com’s request.

But, why would they apologize for that and not the first episode, when Tyler came under fire for hitting on teenage contestants young enough to be his granddaughter?

“American Idol” producers are smart enough to know that they have found a new star in judge Tyler. The more off-the-cuff remarks he makes, the more headlines he generates and the more — producers hope — viewers tune into the show.

Even before the 10th season started, Tyler was making headlines for comments he made about snorting Lunesta and partaking in a backstage three-way. Based on his comments, it was clear the Aerosmith frontman had not signed a morals clause with the family-favorite show or even been coached on what not to say.

On the season premiere, Tyler quickly upstaged fellow freshman judge Jennifer Lopez.

He punctuated the auditions with his signature scream, sometimes singing and tapping along with the contestants.

The show also played up Tyler’s reputation as a ladies man with a montage of his comments directed at some of the more attractive female contestants.

“You’re Italian with a tattoo?” he said. “I love you already.”

To another contestant, he flirted, “Where is your pitchfork, you little devil.”

His off-the-cuff remarks occasionally veered toward seamy. When Lopez sent through a sweet Southern 16-year-old girl, complimenting her on her skirt, Tyler quipped, “Yeah, just the right amount showing.”

The rocker has also shown his softer side. Last week, he provided one of the tear-jerker moments of the show. After contestant Chris Medina sang an emotional rendition of the Script’s “Breakeven,” then wheeled his brain-damaged fiancee Juliana Ramos into the room to meet the judges, Tyler leaned close to Ramos and said, “I just heard your fiance sing and he’s so good. You know, because he sings to you all the time. I could tell.”

Then Tyler kissed Ramos on the cheek, like he would one of his daughters, and whispered, “Oh, baby, that’s why he sings so good because he sings to you.”

On the show’s premiere, after greenlighting the first contestant for Hollywood, he said, “We have to water this flower.”

And when another woman got down on her knees, danced, cried and begged the judges to send her through to the next round, Tyler caved.

“That was unbridled enthusiasm,” he said. “I’m going to personally work that into something good.”

“That was unbridled enthusiasm,” he said. “I’m going to personally work that into something good.”

From the looks of things, Tyler is working something into the aging talent show, whether it’s good may be in the eyes of the beholder.

American Idol
Fremantle NA image
Luchina Fisher-ABC News

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