"What I love is when she goes into that New Yawk attitude," said returning judge Randy Jackson, who's predicting "you'll see a little more of an assertive dog" and also claimed to have almost worn the same leopard-print half-boots Lopez was sporting.
As for Lopez herself, she refuses to predict how she'll come across on the live shows, saying her judging style is "spontaneous," and that's she's already cried a few times and that "I thought it'd be fun and it's been more fun than I thought it'd be."
"American Idol" returns Jan. 19 for Season 10.
'Off the Map'
If anything about the fictional South American jungle in ABC's new offshore medical series, "Off the Map" (10 tonight, Channel 6) reminds you of a certain fictional island where some other ABC characters were marooned - on and off - for six seasons, it's likely because this is one shooting location that's very much on the map.
"We knew 'Lost' was ending, so, you know, the topography of Hawaii, there's so many areas that can double for South America, so it seemed like a perfect fit, and so far we've been thrilled with the result," "Off the Map" creator Jenna Bans told reporters Monday.
Bans has been a writer for both "Grey's Anatomy" and its spin-off, "Private Practice," and her boss, "Grey's" creator Shonda Rhimes, is one of the show's executive producers, but it's not " 'Grey's Anatomy' in the jungle," insisted Rhimes. "Jenna's writing her own show, with her own voice set in a really interesting location, and I'm just lucky enough to get to be a part of it."
Whatever. "Off the Map" may exist, as TV people like to say, in a different universe from Rhimes' other shows - so don't hold your breath waiting for McSteamy to show up and start romancing all the female personnel in the scenic but undersupplied medical clinic in which the show is set - but writers write what they know and Bans clearly has the "Grey's" formula down.
So what we have here is another show in which pretty, mildly tortured people perform deeds of medical derring-do while trying to figure out how they, and various parts of their individual anatomies, might fit together. "Off the Map" adds its impossibly picturesque setting as an additional character to an ensemble that includes Caroline Dhavernas ("Wonderfalls"), Jason George ("Grey's Anatomy"), Zach Gilford ("Friday Night Lights"), Mamie Gummer ("Evening"), Valerie Cruz, Rachelle Lefevre and Martin Henderson.
Art it's not, but neither is it unwatchable. And if the immaturity of most of the characters and the improbability of the plots on "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" haven't already sent you screaming into the night, I don't see why adding a jungle theme should make a difference.
The Dude's on 'Masters'
In yet another sign that none of us is as young as we still feel: PBS' "American Masters" is profiling the star of "The Big Lebowski."
"Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides" (9 tonight, Channel 12) gives "El Duderino" the full "Masters" treatment - the celebrity talking heads, the clips, the extensive interview with Bridges himself.
I asked Bridges, who turned 61 last month, won an Oscar last year (and is in theaters right now in "True Grit") what it was like to be receiving the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award and whether he'd considered the effect the title might have on "Lebowski" fans, in particular.
"I was invited to participate in [the film], but I didn't really have any final say, and probably rightly so," Bridges said. "I didn't choose the title."
For years, the actor told reporters, "I tried to resist creating a strong persona because of my father [Lloyd Bridges]," who after starring in "Sea Hunt," "got offered a lot of skin diving scripts."
He's come, nevertheless, to embrace The Dude.
"The Big Lebowski" is "one of my favorite movies. Even if I wasn't in it, it would still be one of my favorite movies."
"Masters" executive producer Susan Lacy seemed eager to dispel the notion she's producing lifetime achievement awards, noting that Paul Simon was only about 50 when he was profiled on the show, which is marking its 25th anniversary this season.
"Jeff's made 62 movies. It's quite a body of work."
Especially for the Dude.
Ellen Gray (email@example.com) is attending the Television Critics Association's winter meetings in Pasadena, Calif. For updates, see go.philly.com/ellengray or follow
@elgray on Twitter.