Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler is having the last laugh.
He took some ribbing for being a judge on “American Idol” last season. Now, they’re cool with him being on the hit singing contest (returning 8 p.m. EST Wednesday, Fox).
“It wasn’t really accepted up front, I must admit, mostly from my own band mates because they didn’t know what was going on with the Aerosmith thing,” Tyler said recently.
However, the audience reaction to being on “Idol” soon changed the minds of many who mocked him for doing it.
And the mocking lessened after Aerosmith reaped the benefits of Tyler’s newfound TV fame.
“It’s brought nothing but younger kids to our music anyway,” Tyler said.
Sales of Aerosmith’s old albums were up 260 percent last year. A new CD is in the works, combining the act’s traditional, hard-driving rock sound with a contemporary twist.
“I can’t go anywhere now because of the show,” Tyler said.
Judges of singing competitions are seeing the benefits of exposure more than the winners in many cases. Besides Tyler’s resurgence in celebrity culture, Jennifer Lopez, his fellow “Idol” judge, had a top-10 single in Billboard magazine last year, her first in several years.
Over on “The Voice,” judges Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine of the band Maroon 5 had top-10 songs in 2011, too.
At 63, Tyler is not exactly the rock star many of the solid devotees of “Idol” recognize. Many of the show’s voters — preteen girls — weren’t even alive when Aerosmith dominated the radio and sales charts in the 1970s.
The same audience wasn’t around for the band’s revival in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
So consider “Idol” Tyler’s third chance at stardom.
Now in his second season as a judge, Tyler plans to be as feisty as ever with his ’70s trademark style — big, floppy hair and colorful skintight outfits.
Beyond the career boost, Tyler said “Idol” has meant more to him on a personal level.
“I got in touch with that side of me again that loves music,” he said. “(It reminded me) that in order to be good you have to play the clubs, you have to be good at that sort of thing to be an idol.”
Other highlights for the week of Jan. 15-21 (all times EST; listings subject to change; check local listings):
“2012 Golden Globe Awards” (8 p.m., NBC). The Hollywood Foreign Press Association honors what it deems the best in TV and movies. But, really, all we will remember is what host Ricky Gervais said — and who he angers.
“Undercover Boss” (8 p.m., CBS). Top executives of major companies disguise themselves and work among the rank and file as the reality show enters its third season.
“Napoleon Dynamite” (8:30 p.m., Fox). The adventures of nerdy Napoleon go from the big screen to this new weekly animated series. Jon Heder, who wrote and starred in the 2004 live-action feature film, provides the voice of the title character.
“The Revolution” (2 p.m., ABC). A new makeover show takes one woman a week and works on her body, her mind and her style.
“Lost Girl” (10 p.m., Syfy). Bo (Anna Silk) discovers she’s a Succubus, who feeds off sexual energy. She goes through A LOT of boyfriends.
“Remodeled” (9 p.m., CW). An expert goes to various modeling agencies around the country and tries to save them from going under.
“Southland” (10 p.m., TNT). In season four, Detective Adams takes on a new partner.
“Justified” (10 p.m., FX). Boyd and his crew aren’t the only ones who want to rule the underground in Harlan, Ky., when season three starts.
“White Collar” (10 p.m., USA). For season three, Peter (Tim DeKay) tries to make sense of the stolen Nazi treasure and what that means for Neal and Elizabeth.
“Royal Pains” (10 p.m., USA). Dr. Hank (Mark Feuerstein) tries to revive a patient given the wrong medicine as season four launches.
“Unsupervised” (10:30 p.m., FX). This animated series about two losers who keep trying, no matter what, comes from the creators of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”
“Drew Peterson: Untouchable” (8 p.m., Lifetime). In this mystery movie, a man (Rob Lowe) and his new girlfriend find his ex-wife dead in a bathtub.