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Is Steven Tyler, new 'American Idol' judge, dissing Simon Cowell?

January 18, 2011 | 12:31 pm

Steventyler Steven Tyler, the Aerosmith frontman embarking on a new phase of his career with "American Idol," says you can forget about him trying to be the new Simon Cowell.

"I'm not going in there to be a harsh judge or an overly bearing judge," Tyler said Tuesday in a phone call with reporters. "I'm not bringing my grumpiness ... and letting that cloak how I judge the kids."

Hmm. Harsh, grumpy, overbearing. Sounds like a certain British music impresario who likes flattop haircuts, tight T-shirts and sneaking cigarettes during commercial breaks.

During the audition phase, Tyler added, "I made some harsh comments first week .... I only did two of those because I didn't want that to happen again."

Indeed, self-doubt hasn't troubled his mind since. "I think I'm going to take it up a notch," Tyler said of "Idol" judging. "For all the videos I've done, I figured I'd be a shoo-in."

Tyler also reiterated what he told Howard Stern on the radio, that the "Idol" gig wouldn't interfere with a planned Aerosmith reunion. The group is already writing new songs and has booked tour dates later this year, although Tyler told Stern he communciates with guitarist Joe Perry only via text. The two have had a legendarily acrimonious relationship.

Viewers can expect Tyler to be an "Idol" fixture for a while. "I have more than a one-year contract, but as you know, things are what they are," he said. "Can I elaborate? No, I can't."

"American Idol" premieres Wednesday.

What do you think of Tyler's hiring? Is it a stroke of genius or the first step in a "Bring back Simon" movement?

— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Steven Tyler begins his "American Idol" stint. Credit: David Becker/Getty Images.