Jennifer Lopez on How American Idol Changed Her: “It Helped Me Grow as a Performer”

JLO American Idol
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

America hasn’t quite voted on this, but the results are in: 2016 is gearing up to be a major year for InStyle's February cover girl, Jennifer Lopez. Between kicking off her highly-anticipated Las Vegas residency and taking on a detective role in Shades of Blue, the 46-year-old talent is also finally saying goodbye to her unforgettable role as a judge on American Idol, which she first joined in 2011 for its 10th season.

Inside the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Friday, the sexy star and mother of two opened up about her time on the show, expressing gratitude towards the experience. “I’ve enjoyed this journey so much, working with talent, working with musicians, working with singers, more than I thought I would,” Lopez told reporters, explaining how finding a mentor is a rare occurrence in Hollywood. “But just to really talk about music and talk about performance, I really feel like it has enriched me in a way, like the exchange between me and the contestants. By helping them, it helped me grow as a performer over the past five, six years.”

The “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” singer also expressed interest in one day uprooting her own record label (“I’m pretty bogged down right now,” she added). In addition, Lopez said joining the show definitely opened up doors for her in Tinseltown. How so? Though the beauty was “already famous when I got on the show,” she explained that megawatt stars inside Oscars after-parties she’d previously attended began approaching her, asking her all about the show.

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“I went into this room, and it was like I was the biggest star in the room, with Steven Spielberg and George Clooney and this, every A-list star you could think of wanted to know about Idol. ‘Who do you think is going to win? What’s going to happen? Oh, my God, I love so and so,’” she said. “And I couldn’t believe it… It’s just been the most incredible journey, not just for me, but I realized the impact that it had. That’s when I really noticed it. And I said, ‘Wow, this is something that I am so fortunate to be a part of.”

—With reporting by Carita Rizzo

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