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Jennifer Lopez is a better singer after American Idol

Jennifer Lopez has credited American Idol with pushing her to "grow as an artist" after stepping down as a judge from the TV talent show.

The On The Floor hitmaker has quit the panel to return to performing but insists her two years serving as a mentor to contestants has helped her to evolve.

She tells MTV News, "Whenever it's things like that, where you're working with other people, like the audience, or even another artist, like we did with the contestants on the show, you learn, you grow. And whatever I'd tell them, it was funny, it was like telling myself. Like, 'Don't forget, when you're onstage... make sure you connect and make sure it's about the feeling.'

"Because we all get caught up, when we're the ones standing there, and everybody's watching. But it's about forgetting about that and conveying a feeling. And I always feel like whenever I was telling them this over the past two years of doing Idol, that it was helping me grow as an artist as well."

Lopez calls her American Idol stint a career highlight, but admits she is ready to step back into the spotlight as a singer.

She adds, "It was a great experience to sit there and do that for a while, and I honestly feel like it was put in my life for a reason, to be part of my journey and part of my growth, because it definitely did that. But as much as I love the show, this (singing) is what I do... And that was fun and it was great, but this is what I do."

R&B superstar Mariah Carey was confirmed on Monday (23Jul12) as the newest addition to the judging panel, following the departure of Lopez and Steven Tyler.

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