Nigel Lythgoe’s Weekly Interview

Nigel Lythgoe’s Weekly Interview with

  • The interviewer said it was a “tough show last night” and that “the singers sort of struggled.  Nigel shot right back, “I totally disagree with you…I think it was one of those shows…had the judges have said, ‘Well Katharine you were stunning’, the whole spirit of the show would have lifted up. They didn’t, they went in a different direction.”
  • Katharine – Nigel totally disagrees with Randy and Randy’s point of view regarding Katharine’s performance.  Nigel said, “Was she as good as Whitney Houston? No, but we’re not there to judge Whitney Houston, we’re there to judge Katharine McPhee, a waitress from the Valley, and not a superstar. So of course she’s not going to sing it as well as Whitney Houston.  But that isn’t the point of the show.  The show is, ‘Did Katharine McPhee sing it well for Katharine McPhee last night.'”  Nigel did not think her song was “too big” for her.  He said Katharine was a class above most singers who have been on American Idol
  • Elliott – Nigel was a little miffed that Randy would compare Whitney Houston to Katharine, but not compare Donny Hathaway to Elliott. But, Nigel thought Elliott did a brilliant job.  He doesn’t believe that songs are “off limits”. He said, “I don’t think you can compare a group of contestants on American Idol with any superstar at this moment in time in their careers.
  • Kellie – Nigel thought her performance was boring and plodding.
  • Paris – Paris reminded Nigel more of Gladys Knight last night (who covered “The Way We Were”) than Barbra Streisand. He thought Paris did a good job, but that she’s got to be careful, “she gets into the song, she gives it her all 25% through the song and then stays like that for 75% of the song.  There isn’t enough color for me in her vocal range.”
  • Taylor – Nigel didn’t think Taylor was at his best last night. He felt Taylor appeared very nervous, “There was one line where he just could not get the intonation over in the rehearsals and I think that was really bugging him. I think those nerves came across last night.”  Also, Nigel mentioned that Taylor had to change his song at the beginning of the week, because they felt his original song did not fit the “genre”.  The baseline question was “Could we see Andrea Bocelli singing these songs?”  Taylor’s original song was “Try a Little Tenderness”. Nigel then said, “That would be ok if were were doing a Blues Brothers week, but this is Andrea Bocelli week. Then he [Taylor] just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘lets get on with it.'” Nigel finally said, “In his defense, he had to change his song, and credit to him.”
  • Chris – Nigel said, “We were picked up last week on what I said…about I didn’t like him singing that classic song because he’s got a very fast vibrato I don’t think suits those melodies.  Well, I can say this week I think Chris is my favorite of the night.  It’s the first time for me that Chris has found a song that I particularly enjoy and I thought he sang it brilliantly.  There were a couple of bad notes where he lost it–he pushed it a bit too hard but in general during rehearsals and throughout the week he has been superb with that song.”  Nigel was not surprised that Chris was in the Bottom 3 last week.  He said, “I didn’t think that genre of music suited his voice.”  Nigel feels America votes for the people who they feel are good on the night they perform.  He added, “Generally, America gets it right by the end of the whole shebang.”
  • Nigel will be splitting the groups into the Top 2 vote getters, the Middle 2 vote getters and the Bottom 2 vote getters.  Said Nigel, “For the first time, you’ll see who the Top 2 are.”  Nigel mentions that this week, they had their 3rd highest vote of all time.  There were about 47.6 million votes this week. The highest number of votes they’ve ever had was for the Fantasia/Diana finale, Season 3. The second highest was the Carrie/Bo finale.
  • Next week the Top 5 will perform 2 songs. One song will be from the year they were born, and the other will be songs that are in the Billboard charts this week.  There will be no guest appearances.  The interviewer made a joke about his agent not getting through to Nigel about a guest appearance, and Nigel said, “Were you going to come on the show to help us? Maybe Randy could have attacked your arrangements.”
  • Nigel felt four of the Top 6 were brilliant last night.  I’m assuming he meant: Katharine, Elliott, Paris and Chris.

Whoa, Nigel engaged in some major back-pedalling there where Katharine was concerned!  He must be aware that many feel she was judged unfairly. ETA: So many disagreed, that they voted her into the Top 2, no wonder everyone concerned backpedalled…)

He didn’t have much to say about Elliott this week, but he seemed to like his performance.

So Taylor was supposed to sing “Try a Little Tenderness” but they felt that it didn’t fit the “genre”?  The Blues Brothers comparison was a little silly.  But, I have to agree that I can’t see Andrea Bocelli singing that song.  But then, I can’t exactly imagine Bocelli singing Bryan Adams either…  And that’s the first I heard of limitations on what kind of “Classic Love Song” they could choose.   Finally, I think Nigel speaking for Taylor (re: what was bugging him) seemed out of line.  Let Taylor speak for himself, mmkay?

Also, Nigel engaged in some backpedalling regarding Chris and his performance last week.  But he and the other producers are pimping Chris hard right now, so I’m not surprised.