Nigel Lythgoe’s Weekly Interview

Nigel Lythgoe’s Weekly Interview with

Nigel Discusses the Top 5

Nigel thought it was a good night.  He said it was a Potpourri of different musical styles. 

  • Elliott – Nigel preferred Scott Savol’s version of “On Broadway” from Season 4’s Top 5 (Scott was eliminated that night). “But, Elliott’s got such a wonderful voice, you can’t knock him, I don’t think, ” said Nigel.
  • Paris – Nigel said, “I thought she had a lot of fun with it, and showed that she’s got two sides to her.  There’s this sort of smokey voiced Princess P and this fun dancing one. I much prefer her singing the smokey stuff…she is old fashioned in her style, she should be proud of that, and I think she should embrace that…she puts herself with too many other people who sing like that, and her second number with Mary J. Blige, too…there is something very special about Paris, at this moment in time people are saying…she is too precocious, because she shouldn’t have that voice at her age.  She’s only 17, God has given her a wonderful instrument, and I hope she continues to sing like that. ”
  • Chris – The interviewer said he and his family thought Chris’s first song was the highlight of the night. “I think that Styx song was fantastic, ” said Nigel, “It was probably my second favorite of the night.” 
  • Katharine McPhee – Nigel’s first favorite of the night was Katharine’s performance of “Black Horse and Cherry Tree” About “Against All Odds” Nigel simply said, “I didn’t like it.”
  • Taylor Hicks – About “Play that Funky Music”, Nigel said, “I thought he had great fun with it, and that continued on when he lay on the floor at the end, and Ryan took him back to the floor for his numbers.  That just showed to me why we chose Ryan as a host.  He used that moment brilliantly.  It was another ‘Brokeback Moment’ on Idol, both of them lying on the floor there.”
  • Elliott Pt 2 – “It might be my ear, but I thought Elliott was slightly out of tune on that.  I don’t think I’ve heard Elliott sing out of tune–it could possibly be me.  I thought he was out of tune.”
  • Chris Pt 2 – About Chris having a “voice breakdown” on “I Dare You”–Nigel said, “I don’t know about that…he’s got a gravelly voice and he uses that when he wants to, I just didn’t really like that song.  I thought the Styx “Renegade” was so much better.”
  • Taylor Pt 2 – About Taylor singing a 30+ year old song for his Top 10 choice, Nigel said, “Well, we’ve always said they could sing from any chart, and there it was in the compilation charts…so he was entitled to use anything.  It was just great to hear a Beatles song on American Idol.  We only got it cleared because George Harrison wrote it, not Lennon/McCartney…delighted with him and I think as Simon said, ‘it’s nice to know you have a voice as well with all of the fun’…for my money, I think Taylor got it…nearly got it right on both songs.  I think everybody else let themselves down on one of their songs.

The interviewer asked if anybody ever asked to do the XTC song, “We’re Only Making Plans For Nigel” (one of the bad auditioners sang this song).  Nigel laughed and said, “No, and they wouldn’t.”  Then Nigel almost called the band “XLC”, until the interviewer corrected him.

No special elimination tricks this week.  Nigel said, “It’s difficult with 5…just got to get down to the Bottom 2.”  Each of the Bottom 2 will sing a song.  And according to Nigel, “They’ve got a fabulous song they’ll all sing together called, “Together We are One.”  It’s from the British Commonwealth Games, and….it allows everybody to shine…and we’ve got a big choir with that.  It’s going to be an exciting night.”

Next Tuesday, the Top 4 are taking a private jet down to Graceland.  Priscilla Presley is going to, according to Nigel,  “introduce the beautiful house to our contestants and Tommy Mottola is going to be there to take them through the Elvis catalogue and talk them through the songs…and they have to sing two Elvis songs next week.”

A couple of thoughts:

  • At first, it seemed like Nigel was flipping off Taylor a bit by using the first critique to praise Ryan and then make a gay joke–and then not discuss Taylor’s singing at all.  But then, the second critique was full of praise, and ultimately, Taylor received the highest praise from Nigel.  And hey, I saw Nigel clapping along with a huge smile on his face when Taylor was performing “Play that Funky Music.”
  • Paris’s critique sounded like Nigel bidding her a fond farewell.
  • He seemed very dismissive of Elliott this week.  He thought Elliott was out of tune on “Home”?  Ruh?  No he wasn’t.  Yeah, Nigel–it was just you.  Wow.
  • He didn’t overly pimp Chris this week.  He seemed very neutral.
  • He didn’t really over-praise Kat this week either.
  • Interesting tidbit about not being able to clear Lennon/McCartney songs.
  • It hurt my heart that Nigel, an Englishman of a certain age, has no idea who XTC is.  And he’s supposed to know music…<smacks head>
  • A tour of Graceland and TWO Elvis songs next week!

ETA:  I mentioned the legendary British pop band, XTC,  in my recap of Nigel’s weekly interview.  Check them out at Amazon.  They’ve been writing and recording inventive music since the late 70’s.  In 1999 and 2000, after a long hiatus due to record label issues, they released two highly praised CD’s,   Apple Venus Vol 1 and  Wasp Star.  Those records stayed on regular rotation in my player for quite awhile when I first bought them.  Also,  Terrie posted a great little summary of XTC here in the comments section:

“XTC is one of the more literate bands to break out of 1980s British New Wave. One of their signature songs is Dear God, a clever ode to religious cynicism. Their album Oranges and Lemons, which includes several arrangements in the style of Pet Sounds era Brian Wilson, spawned the 1989 radio hits King for a Day and Mayor of Simpleton.

Anyway, XTC recorded a song, Making Plans for Nigel, that the interview joked with Nigel Lythgoe about at today’s briefing. Nigel could not recall the band’s name correctly. Gray Charles has an mp3 of the song linked under “Nigel’s Plan” in his post titled Elimination Night – Final Four”

I’m shaking it out CL. Heh.