Nigel Lythgoe Can’t Let Go of Jlo (Time to Move On)

I do not understand American Idol executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe’s pining for Jennifer Lopez. She hasn’t officially announced absolutely positively that she’s leaving the Idol judges’ panel yet, although I think, “It’s time for me to move on.” is pretty much an indication that she doesn’t plan to come back.

But until Jennifer explicitly announces that she’s not returning, Nigel is holding out hope for her return, he said at a So You Think You Can Dance panel at today’s FOX Television Critics Association Tour in Los Angeles.

“All I said to Ryan is I was really upset to hear of Steven [Tyler] leaving us and the possibility of Jennifer leaving us. She did say 99 percent. Strange thing to say, 99 percent. You’re either leaving or you’re not leaving. So I’m hoping that 1 percent may mean she’s not leaving.”

You’ll notice that FOX has not sent out a press release announcing Jennifer’s resignation like they did for Steven Tyler. It could be if her salary demands are met, she would come back after all.

Nigel. It’s time to move on. Mooning over Jlo is like begging an ex-girlfriend–who has made it clear she doesn’t want you anymore unless you can show her the bling–to give you the time of day. It’s pathetic. There’s nothing Jlo did on that panel that merits paying her an astronomical fee. 17 million dollars is too much.

But then, he contradicted himself when he said, “I would really like to see the judges change every year.”

On the current negotiations for new judges, Nigel says:

“It’s horrible to be in this position where [reporters are asking], ‘Who’s it going to be?’ There are thousands of names being thrown about.”I try to deflect [the questions] by saying the Three Stooges,” Lythgoe added. “You can’t negotiate with somebody in a public marketplace. Once you’ve negotiated with the one person you want, you have to balance that with who is around that person. It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle without a picture on the front of the box.”

As for Nigel, he’s still negotiating HIS return as executive producer to American Idol.

“I can’t make any comments about my future with ‘Idol’ at the moment. We’re in negotiations is all I can say there,” he said.

The Wrap, The Hollywood Reporter

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  • Anonymous

    Maybe Nigel thought hiring her in the first place was the most brilliant move ever and when it didn’t work out two years down the line, he isn’t ready to admit defeat?

  • No Thanks

    He’s not even signed on.  This is why I won’t listen to anything he has to say about who’s judging next year.  Clearly he’s out of the loop.

  • Tiffany

    Its probably an eye candy thing for Nigel.  Certainly can’t be her judging.

  • DoesMonaKnow

    Nigel’s attitude makes it clear that JLo left of her own accord and didn’t get the boot, contrary to some published reports.

    My guess is that he’s pining for JLo still because TPTB really are scrambling on finding replacement judges, that maybe the Mariah negotiations aren’t going as swimmingly as reported and Jennifer coming back would just make things so much easier.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Nigel, time to go. For Steven Tyler, J.Lo, Randy Jackson, YOU, Ken Warwick, Simon Fuller etc. 

    The show needs fresh blood on both sides of the camera. 

  • k w

    Jlo needs to go. If she stays I will not be watching next year. I have always thought it is just a ploy for more money. She makes too much already.

  • Last Laugh Lane

    I’d say with all the Mariah rumors swirling, Randy has more of a say with the new panel than Nigel…
    I have an inchling the new management might want a 4 person panel for some reason, just to attract viewers. (Hypothetically) Say if Kanye West AND Harry Conick Jr were hired, then bam, you have an older demo and a younger, potentially urban demo. Just my feelings…

  • Anonymous

    Well to be honest, 17 mil for anyone would be too much for anyone, lest they go up there and perform every week…and even then. 

  • windmills

    Unless, this is a negotiation tactic with Mariah.



    I thought EW’s published report last week about JLo not being out of Idol yet was really weird considering it seemed she’d pretty much said she’s leaving well before press time. 

    Now I think there’s something to it. But what that is I don’t know.

  • Leandro

    The thing is, they can’t know who’ll be a good judge. Imagine put celebrities like Aretha, Bon Jovi, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Fergie in a line and give them a number to audition for the judge’s job.

    At least they know that J-Lo isn’t terrible as Steven and Randy. I always thought they have to be very careful with sudden changes or it can be a trainwreck. Yes, the judge panel can get much worse than it was last season.

  • DoesMonaKnow

    Oooh, I hadn’t thought of that, but you might be right. All the reports were that Mariah was signing on for $15-17 million, but now we hear that JLo could be back?  They couldn’t possibly have both of them on the panel at the same time…could they? That could be must-see TV right there (think of all the catfight stories) but they probably fill sort of the same role and I doubt TPTB would want to pay both of them at the same time.

  • halo9125

    Typical man, wanting what he can’t have lol.

  • Anonymous

    I hope JLo will stay! She’s an amazing woman.

    I don’t think she has time for Idol though. She is on a world tour at the moment and she will have a new movie out in a few months…

    Would be nice if she comes back as a mentor.

  • Madred

    We could still have over a month of this. I believe the year Steven and J-Lo were announced, it didn’t occur until the END of September. 

  • windmills

    Well, Mariah’s officially in for Idol. Now I don’t know what Nigel’s JLo thing is all about because IA, it’s hard to imagine Idol being able to afford them both. That would be pretty epic though. 

  • Madred

    J-Lo is gone for sure. Mariah hinted she wouldn’t work with her in another article on the matter. She wants to be the female lead on the show. 

  • DoesMonaKnow

    Mariah’s just been confirmed as a judge:

  • Anonymous

    According to a tweet from NPR, Kevin Reilly just shot down the idea that there’s a chance that Jennifer Lopez will return to the show. Kevin Reilly snuffs out Nigel Lythgoe’s previously stated 1 percent hope that J.Lo will come back. SNUFF. #tcas12 

    I think we may be seeing a situation where Nigel has to realize that Fox is going to be taking more control of how the show is run.  There was a story last year about how Fox, Freemantle and CKX all had a say in how the show is run, and that CKX are the ones who wanted to bring Nigel back.  It looks like there’s a power play going on.I don’t know if Fox can fix what’s wrong with the show, since last year’s ratings drop was mostly their fault, because they decided to run the X Factor in the fall.  Nigel is to blame for the poor way that the audition episodes were produced.

  • Pam

    I honestly hope J-Lo isn’t coming back.  I’m sick of her drama!

  • jobeob987

    Now that Mariah has definitely signed on the dotted line, I can’t imagine Jennifer wanting to return or Mariah wanting to work with a beautiful female.  Two divas on the panel? I predict the next judge will be decidedly MALE.

  • Anonymous

    Bye Bye Nigel, the writing is on the wall.

  • mmb

    not a snowball’s chance in hell of j-lo returning now that mariah is a done deal…neither one would ever agree to be on a panel with the other.  there can only be one queen bee….

  • Li Wright

     Well it could be she was a very good peachy person to work with.  What little bit we get from the personalities and demands of past judges, like Simon who was reportedly always late — could be Nigel just wants somebody who’s pleasant to work with.  And Jlo doesn’t have a reputation of being a “diva” with a bad attitude.
    She can always be a judge on SYTYCD.

  • Li Wright

     Uh — you’ll probby be saying the same about Mariah about mid-season…betcha.

  • Li Wright

     IF Mariah is getting $17Mil, you betcha she’s going to be singing on the show every week :)

  • Li Wright

     She and Mariah will not — repeat — will not sit at the same table.

  • Li Wright

     Windmills, it’s about chemistry.  That panel of Judges — Steven, Jlo and Randy — had chemistry and they were probably the best people to work with (for Nigel)….do you remember all the “diva” reports that came out about Simon and how he was always late….always made his “entrance” after Randy & Paula were on set?

  • Li Wright

     Nigel will probably move SYTYCD off of the Fox platform.  Sounds like bad blood between peeps.

  • Li Wright

    Pam, you aint seen drama till you’ve seen Mariah. :)

  • Eilonwy

     Nigel will probably move SYTYCD off of the Fox platform.

    He can’t. First, Lythgoe doesn’t own SYTYCD: Apollo Management Group (parent of CORE Media Group, which is parent of the properties that used to be CKx and 19) does. Second, Fox has a perpetual and exclusive license to broadcast SYTYCD, so the show leaves Fox only if Fox dumps it (official filing, go to page 7, second paragraph under SYTYCD).

    Anyway, I agree with the various people who’ve pointed out that all Lythgoe’s accomplished today is to make himself look out-of-the-loop.

  • hillstreetblooz

     He can take his narrow, whiney, out of touch, old no dancing ass on out the door. I used to like him, but he’s shown himself to be a petulant little bitch the last couple years.

  • Kariann Hart

    When Nigel admitted that Clay Aiken was the top vote-getter each and every week of Season 2, I thought he was OK.  Idol admitting the phone lines were the major problem was a good move.  Maybe down the road he may explain what happened in Season 8.

  • Anonymous

    Um, I think Kris won in Season 8.

    Why is it if your special snowflake didn’t win it was all about some horrible dark thing that happened with the voting? Kris won.

    The voting system is flawed – I think we all know that. But it is the same voting system they have had, with a few tweaks, since the beginning. Maybe we think someone else should have won certain seasons, including Clay in Season 2, Daughtry in Season 5 etc. But the person who won – won. If the wrong person is winning, does that mean that Fantasia didn’t really win, it really should have been the runner-up or the third place finisher? Was Carrie Underwood the wrong winner her season? Was there some sort of conspiracy that led to Jordin Sparks winning, or to David Cook winning? Every season, when someone’s favorite doesn’t win, they think there is some vast conspiracy. Yes, the voting system is flawed. But the winner is the winner each year via that same flawed system. I know there is a theory about votes from Arkansas blah blah blah. Adam did not win – period. So what? The likelihood of a vast conspiracy is about as likely as Elvis still being alive. It’s fun to think about, it makes people who support the non-winner feel better or justified in their ~ whatever. But who really cares? I hope they change the voting system. But the same system for the last 11 years has produced the winners – and no matter who each of us thinks should have been the winner – the winner won! Jessica rocks, Phil won. It is what it is.

  • Anonymous

    I always thought that was a lie or at least an exaggeration. Or that Clay lost steam at the end. Final three votes were within a percentage point so even if Clay was atop tat 34 or 35 percent I don’t see how anyone could surprised that Ruben could pull more of Kim Locke’s voters. The closeness surprised only those that thought Clay superior to Ruben. Frankly watching that season I don’t believe Nigel. I also never believe any voting anomalies ever messed with results. Even in seasons that I disagreed with the voters.