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For the first time today, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez met with the nation’s TV critics, who showered the new American Idol judges with questions about who’ll replace Simon Cowell as the big meanie and what type of criticism they’ll offer to the legions of wannabes. “We are both spontaneous,” Lopez told the critics in Pasadena, Calif. “We’re very honest and in the moment with what we say and do. We have different perspectives from the previous judges. We’ve auditioned, we’ve been through the ranks.”

“I’ll tell them if you didn’t bring what you needed to bring, or if you have too much attitude,” promises Tyler of the contestants. “The best of us have the best attitude. You also gotta have the voice, the whole package.”

In the end, says executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, it will be about more than just who delivers the best zinger this season. “It’s just as important how they deal with the good ones as well as the bad ones. They bring more of a critique rather than just, `pack your bags, you’re going home.’” Adds Randy Jackson, “We’ve heard a lot of talk about who will be the tough one, who’s going to tell these kids where it is and where it’s not. You’ll still hear all of that from all three of us. If it’s terrible, it’s terrible. What are you going to say? We definitely loved Simon and will miss him. He was a great addition to the show. We added these two superstars. The show will go on and have huge success. Kids look at Jennifer and Steve and see a triple threat and a rock legend. I think we will be good, man.”

Speaking of which, even Jackson said he’s stepped up his game in light of the new talent on the panel. “In season 10, you’ll see more of an assertive dawg, a different side of the dawg. Fewer yos, maybe more nos. Less dawgs. My role has definitely changed. You’re gonna like this a lot.”

Both Tyler and Lopez offered different perspectives about settling into the gig. Lopez says it’s a lot more fun than she thought it would be, and fully plans to “be herself” when it comes to how she looks on live shows. “I’m a girl who likes to get dressed up. But I’m not getting anything especially designed.” [The network’s head of reality Mike Darnell, meanwhile, says Lopez has never been late and has never taken a long break, so so much for any diva concerns). Tyler, meanwhile, admits that he’s taken heat from his fellow band members for joining the most-watched show on TV. “Everyone’s got their opinion. I want to test my limitations. I’ve been judged all my life for what I do. Many have things to say about it, but it’s not going to fly. I am who I am.”

So will Fox need to institute a five-second delay whenever he talks? “F— no,” Tyler quipped.

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