"The plastic and bottles I've been separating forever, probably not as much as I should," admits Steven Tyler, Aerosmith frontman and new member of the "American Idol" judges' panel alongside Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez. The lineup will make its debut when auditions commence Jan. 19 in the singing contest's tenth season —  one marked by change. The first installment without Simon Cowell will also feature online voting and other procedural and format tweaks, but Tyler insists he's not going to try to fill Cowell's snarky role.

"I'm not going to be the harsh judge. I'm just bringing Italian honesty," says the singer, who was not an "Idol" watcher and admits he was "a little leery at first" about the idea of shortcut stardom that skipped all the years of dues-paying that he and other musicians of his generation had to spend. "But I fell in love with the way that the show works," he says, noting that he brings honesty and experience to the table. "40 years I've been on the road developing my own stuff and watching other bands. It was always competition and competing. And God knows, I've been judged all my life for what I do."

As for the future of Aerosmith, "We're still rocking big time," declares Tyler. "We're starting the writing process, they're all coming out here [to L.A.]. We've got a tour booked for November, December in South America and Japan." He also just finished his autobiography, "Does The Noise in My Head Bother You," set for summer release.

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