Nigel Lythgoe Shares His Thoughts on Improving Idol, Simon Cowell’s Fatherhood (VIDEO)

Ex American Idol producer, Nigel Lythgoe, told Access Live today, that in order for to turn around  the ailing show, new producers have to get the chemistry back with the judges.  Each of the judges, including Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban were fantastic individually, but didn’t “sit comfortably together.” Nigel revealed there was no screen testing at all before they were hired.

As far as fixing Idol, Nigel advised, “We’ve got to get the family back together again. If you can put a program there that is family entertainment they will come and watch together and enjoy it.

As far as star power on the panel, Nigel believes they need it nowadays. “Simon became such a big star, you need a star to replace him.” But by the same token, “just because you are great at one thing,” said Nigel.”Doesn’t mean to say you are going to be great at judging.”  He believes X Factor hired Britney Spears last year because viewers would tune in to see if she would crash and burn. “It didn’t work.” he said.

“Putting two women together to see if they would tease some aggravation doesn’t work either,” Nigel said, obviously referring to the reasoning behind putting two volatile diva stars like Nicki and Mariah together. He explained that FOX felt putting two female stars together that represented different generations would bring everyone together.

“It doesn’t work,” insisted Nigel, “You go for an entertaining middle group. No young kids are going to tune in to see Blake [The Voice]. At the same time they are now because he’s a wonderful character.”

If Nigel had his way last season, he would have had Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. on the panel.

Chemistry, fun and humor is necessary, Nigel stressed. “You can’t take this too seriously.” he added, “At the end of the day, the winner of this will go on to be a multi-millionaire.” (Hm.)

During the same interview, Nigel shared his thoughts on Simon Cowell’s impending fatherhood.

“Yes, I seriously was [stunned]. I thought he was confirmed bachelor, I don’t think he thought this relationship would go anywhere,” Nigel continued. “It was his best friend’s wife. So, I think it came as a surprise to everyone really. He’ll probably tell the kid off, every day!”

Nigel’s suggestions for baby gifts included “Nappies just a little too high, little black t-shirts,”

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  • Mateja Praznik

    If Nigel had his way last season, he would have had Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. on the panel.

    Clueless. Not that the new producers are much better, but still.

  • voco_qara

    I actually like that panel. Harry Connick Jr is still my preference as a judge out of all the people suggested. And I think the chemistry between jlo Keith and Harry would be a lot stronger than if or Dr Luke were on the panel – one is a bit of a loose cannon and the other is a little too low key.

  • PinkClouds20

    I think Harry Connick Jr. would make a great judge.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Nah. He is good at mentoring during the standards week, but he doesn’t seem to be to know much about current music.

    And Keith-J.Lo-Harry combo just seems bland.

  • EB

    I’m sure it will never be now, anyway.. but we will always have the “RANDY, STOP! STOP!!!” moment from HCJ. <3

  • EB

    Each of the judges, including Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban were fantastic individually.

    Yeah, except that, you know, they really weren’t…

  • Mateja Praznik

    Nicki Minaj was good. The other three … nope.

  • EB

    Too much drama from her for my liking… be it with Mariah, or on Twitter or whatever. She was funny though, at times. She did bring that.

    Keith was barely passable. I’m surprised he is back, TBH. Mariah and Randy’s judging isn’t even worth pondering again.

  • lkingcorn

    I must have been watching a different show. It was an total mess from day one. Jlo seems to have them all in her corner so would imagine she’s getting more money than Mariah and one more chance at being relevant again. This is not what the public wants too bad they can’t get that. And who pays the price for last year the contestants! What BS

  • Sassycatz

    I would’ve loved it. Loved his humor and snarky comebacks. The guy really knows music too and seems to put his all into mentoring and judging the talent. The contestants seem to enjoy him as well.

    I think he would’ve been a hit.

  • EB

    It’s mind-boggling how fixated they are on J-Lo.

  • voco_qara

    Individually I thought they had some good moments. Mariah offered some good vocal technical advice every now and again. Nicki was very honest and blunt. Keith was probably the most consistently good judge – giving very articulate insightful comments almost every week. Mariah/Nicki antics just overshadowed all of that too much.

  • Pippygirl

    I like that panel also. I liked JLo at first before she became Ms Goosies (and she was miles better than Steven Tyler). JLo is quite personable and I could see her having good chemistry with Harry and Keith. I think Harry could be the honest but not mean judge.

  • Sue tiedemann

    If they had Harry Connick Jr. on the judges panel I would definitely watch American Idol.

  • voco_qara

    I don’t know, Keith jlo and Harry would be a little bit more fun than the combination of Keith jlo and Pharrell or Dr Luke or any other name that’s been mentioned tbh.

  • JohannaW

    Just because they aren’t younger stars?

  • shenanigan

    I still maintain it was not the judges chemistry that was the problem, rather the producer’s choice to cast very unappealing male vocalists. Women dominate the viewing audience and they did not like the very flawed young men. There were no male contestants with any sort of entertaining charisma. The females were not very interesting as well, although they could sing. The cast was all around too bland or just plain bad to be entertaining. I have a feeling this may have been dictated by the powers that be, however, not Nigel.

    What makes So You Think You Can Dance so great is the very high quality of choreography and performance.

  • Karen C

    I think that was a big part of the problem, also. But I do think the judge’s lack of chemistry and fighting did also turn off some viewers, even before it became apparent who the finalists would be.

  • merkureye

    Mariah Carey really sabotaged the entire season with that, “Nicki threatened me and I’m scared she will shoot me!” routine. MC pushed it way too far by calling Barbara Walters. The NM/MC thing could have worked. Mariah didn’t give it a chance. The show would have been much better off just to have paid Mariah her $18 million and said so long during the auditions. Keith, Randy, and Nicki by themselves would have been fun. JMO.

    By the way. . .after Nigel watched the Britney Spears fiasco, he didn’t screen test Mariah!?? What gives??

  • LA944

    Well, I agree with some of Nigel’s sentiments in this interview. I have been saying all along that they need to interview a number of potential judges and test at least 9 of them in various groups to find the best chemistry. Why they aren’t doing it this year is beyond me–especially after last season’s disaster.

    ITA that HCJ would be a good addition to the panel. He’s smart, funny and a very, very talented guy. They should hire him. I think it’s safe to say he would bring some spark to the panel.

    There are better options than JLO. The paycheck she gets is sick. But, she did a better job than MC or NM because at least was cheerful and seemed vested in the competition. (Even tho it could have all been an act). She has a better personality for tv. But, there are other women who would have been better and done it for 1/4 of her salary.

    And I do agree that the fun has to be put back into the show. Last year was so somber. And since they probably can’t get the real young demo–just settle on being a family entertainment show. Nothing wrong with that anyway.

  • Incipit

    “If Nigel had his way last season…”

    Last Season? Are you trying to tell us something, Nigel? How long ago did Jennifer regret quitting Idol anyway….she already wanted back aboard last season?

    So, Nigel didn’t agree with the judges FOX hired – and he would have put HCjr on the panel…I can see that…Except, he didn’t, if he ever had a say post Cowell. He put Tyler.

    The only thing I buy, because I remember Nigel interviewed about putting the judges together to check out their joint chemistry – is that FOX didn’t do that last year or this year. Also Nigel appears to be laying the Mariah/Minaj goings on at FOX’s door – ‘they’ thought it was a good idea? “They’ being the dude who just left? Couldn’t be old Sh!t Stirring Nigel, of course.

    I don’t think this will play in Peoria; don’t take the story on the road just yet, Lithgoe.


  • gem2477

    I would have loved those three choices.