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Tyler likes the old way America found its idols

As an “American Idol” judge, Steven Tyler expects to find the best talent in the country via the fast-tracked, reality TV talent show. As a veteran rock star, the Aerosmith frontman admits he likes the old way America found its idols.

“You know, (Aerosmith) had to play every state in America in three years — by ’74, we’d played it three times around — and I always thought that in order to become an American idol, or any kind of idol, you have to pay your dues,” Tyler explained on Monday night’s “Late Show With David Letterman.” “But you know, today’s a different world. They’re out there. It's just that we had to pick through 120,000 (‘Idol’ hopefuls) to get these 20, so I think we’re doing all right.”

Letterman remained unconvinced.

"I prefer the process that gave us you to this process," the late night host responded. "I think that legitimizes. By the time you're ready, you're ready, and we have the honest, legitimate stamp of approval. Three years you toured every state in the country, three different times. That’s what I want.”

If Tyler’s initial reaction to Letterman’s sentiment was any indication, that’s what he wants, too — or would want, if it weren’t for a certain career move.

"I tend to agree," Tyler nodded before quickly coming to the defense of his new job. “But you know, this way is more fun. It’s more excruciating. We get to put them through hell and they do it. And they come out of the wormhole looking good.”

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