For Steven Tyler, it’s talent on ‘American Idol’ that rules

We had the chance to chat with Steven Tyler after the recent media session for “American Idol’’ and, as always, the Aerosmith frontman was at no loss for words.

Q. The big knock on you in the first season was that you were too nice to people whose performances didn’t merit that. Did you want to be more critical?

A. Yeah, sure I could do that, it’s good television right? “You suck, get out of here.’’ What would it be for?


Q. Some would say it was honest, constructive criticism.

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A. I’ve said so much [critical stuff] but it hasn’t been used and I’m grateful for it. There are those days when stuff has really sucked. But I kind of save it up for those that are really good, where it’s some 14- or 15-year-old kid that I have to ask them, “Where did you learn to sing like that, did you drop from a star?’’ I’d rather go off on that. Lookit, 80 percent of them suck. They’ve never played clubs. They’re not good good, but then there’s 20 percent that are so good they make it through to the end. That’s really what it’s all about, looking for that talent.

Q. Did you pick Scotty in the beginning?

A. You know, I just heard something that was phenomenal. There’s a couple of country-Western guys this year. One now that’s phenomenal, he’s got something. Remember it’s always a good song. You can get a great voice, a medium voice, a mediocre voice - with a good song you’re still going to have a number one hit, it’s not always the best voice. That’s why I got troubled last year when we picked the ones I thought [were great] and then who ended up really picking them? America. And I got pissed. I thought, wait a minute, you know Naima [Adedapo]? And Casey [Abrams]? I thought Casey had so much music, to play the bass fretless? We got one of those this year, oh yeah, we got a Casey.

Q. You mentioned Joe Perry is coming out next week to continue work on the new Aerosmith album. Are you working with other songwriters like Marti Frederiksen?


A. Well I worked with Marti. I got all the guys to come out here [earlier] except for Joe. And I promised them if you come out we’ll get a song a day and we did! We’ve got seven songs and I’ve listened to four of them, and I’ll be honest with you, I listened to four of them the other day looking at the ocean and I heard what I know the radio’s going to play. I know what a good song is. I know something that’s melodically compelling that’s got a really good melody line that I just throw some words over it. Remember that’s my game. Is it the right game? Is it the only game on the block? No. But it’s Aerosmith and people are going to love it. Some of it is so strange and so different, and some of it’s right off the outtakes from the second album, so it’s that kind of world, oh yeah.

Q. The show put together some montages with teen girls crushing on you, are you OK with that?

A. Yeah. It kind of bothered me a little bit but you know, I’m a sexy guy.