NEW YORK — Steven Tyler is mum on whether he or Jennifer Lopez will return to the judging panel on "American Idol" next year, but the rocker says he has loved the experience of sitting next to her.

"She's a sexy beast," Tyler said in a phone interview Monday. "I feed off that female energy with her."

He added: "I'm always flirting with her. It's not a bad thing. It's really a good thing. The best part of it all is that we been able to pick some good talent. Just look at this year."

Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez are the final two contestants. The winner will be crowned Wednesday night. If the 16-year old Sanchez wins, she'll be first girl to win the competition since Jordin Sparks took home the crown five years ago.

Tyler gives her the edge: "She sings so good you can't deny, but America votes for it, so we'll see."

While Tyler deflected a question as to whether he or Lopez would return to the show next season, the 64-year old rocker said he has loved the experience. He said he was always comfortable judging the talent competition and feels he's the same guy as an "American Idol" judge that he has been as a vocalist that has rocked audiences for 40 years.

"It doesn't really matter because I'm that big-lipped guy that fronts Aerosmith," Tyler joked.

When he took the job in 2010, it was rumored the band, which has had its share of friction over the years, would not survive. But this summer, Aerosmith is touring and is set to release its first studio album in 10 years.

Tyler said his "Idol" gig never was a problem for the band.

"There was no working through it. I took a job. I took a day job (and) for whatever reason it was very successful," he said.

Tyler attributes his "Idol' success to the chemistry among the judges and host Ryan Seacrest.

"The ride has been nothing but good. I think people at home see that realness. I didn't think it would transcend like that and God bless that it did."


http://www.americanidol.comhttp://www.aerosmith.comJohn Carucci covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him at