Nigel Lythgoe No Longer Wooing Paula Abdul, Suggests Big Changes for American Idol

So You Think You Can Dance producer, Nigel Lythgoe, always good for a juicy soundbite, tells the New York Post’s Popwrap that he’s done trying to woo Paula Abdul onto SYTYCD:

PW: Will you continue to try and woo Paula Abdul onto the show?
Nigel: No. I spent an entire season wooing her and if she was ever going to do it, she would have. The timing was perfect for her and I was rather shocked she didn’t pick up and join us at any point. I mean, Katie Holmes was there, Jennifer Lopez was there. I know we don’t have “Idol” money and so does Paula, but at the end of the day I do plenty of things for no money because I want to support dance. And as an dancer/performer/choreographer, I would have thought she’d like to support us.

Baby - Justin Bieber covered by Mig...
Baby - Justin Bieber covered by Miguel

And, as a former executive producer of American Idol, he’s got some advice for current producer Ken Warwick: Keep Ryan Seacrest, lose the 4th judge, hire Elton John to replace Simon and…replace the rest of the judges panel!

PW: Any other changes you’d make to the show?
Nigel: I’d lose the fourth judge, I don’t like four judges. I’d keep Ryan Seacrest and probably change the whole panel to go with Elton. The one thing everyone forgets is that “Idol” is an onion, it has many layers, but it’s about the talent. I think we’d forgotten that a bit — thank goodness for Adam Lambert because he was an outstanding talent that people could talk about.

Nigel promises some “shocking” changes ahead for the coming season of So You Think You Can dance, debuting on May 27, but won’t reveal them until he’s got everything in place.

Keep your eye on his twitter, @dizzyfeet–that’s where Nigel says he’ll be releasing the news…

via New York Post

About mj santilli 33705 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

47 Comments

  1. That is good advice re idol! While Iove Ellen I do not enjoy her as a judge, have no interest in her opinion and find the energy drains from the room during her critiques Randy has been useless for years. Kara actually has something pertinent to say but I think she is so scared about keeping her job that she has been turned into a nutcase

  2. i didnt like the four judges from the beginning. i agree mmb, i love ellen but not as a judge. also, its going to be very hard to replace simon so i think they should just start from scratch…except for ryan.

    have to love that he mentions adam!!!

  3. I love four judges and I would hate to see them get rid of Kara. I think Ellen is doing a great job so I don’t know how smart it would be to replace the ENTIRE panel…

  4. I think Elton would be a horrible judge. Imagine the nerves on these kids having to perform in front of Sir Elton? Some of them would have spontaneously combusted from the fear. Also I think that Elton has said some stuff in the past that might make him a not so unbiased, excuse the pun, judge. I do think that Kara and Ellen are horrible judges. While Kara’s critiques have gotten better, she seems just to be trying to hard to fit in. From the snuggling with Simon to the crying and dancing in her seat after sorta poking Paula about it in the past, she’s just all over the place. I do think that at least one original panelist should remain, just for continuity sake. Randy is the least offensive to me. That’s not saying much, but it’s all I got. Kara says alot, it’s just getting there isn’t always the most pleasant journey. I don’t think she’s cut out for this as her hesitance seems to be fake. Just spit it out and move on. Both she and Ellen suffer from the trying to be nice disease.

  5. Other than seacrests recent bizarre decision to refer to the female contestants as “sweetheart” and/or “darling” (seriously, what is up with that!) I really like Ryan and think he is a real talent and a shrewd businessman. He has unbelievable work ethic. He makes what he does look easy and it isn’t. They should never lose Ryan. But IMO the show should end this year or next year (10years is a nce round number)

  6. According to some article I read, and of course I can’t remember where, Ellen has a long term contract AND has a say in who replaces Simon. As much as I would like her off the judging panel, I don’t think she’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.

    Totally agree with Nigel about the four judges. It is overload. Just get three that actually have something to say. Kara could be effective if she could learn to condense her remarks and just get to the point.

    Glad Nigel gave up pursuing Paula. She doesn’t seem to be eager to get back to work on a regular basis. Maybe she has a deal in place with Simon already and therefore can afford to pass on the offers she’s had!

  7. I think Simon is going to be missed especially coming off this season. IF the show had more to offer with the contestants, maybe the judges wouldn’t be as much of an issue. I remember them saying they would focus less on the judges and more on the contestants. I think that’s why the format forming the Top 12 changed back so we got more backstories and info on the contestants. Unfortunately, the contestants aren’t strong enough either personality wise, talent wise or experience wise..something’s amiss this year.

    I agree, Kara is trying to hard to be liked and too many things; Simon’s new “Paula”, an “expert” on “artistry”, etc. She does say some things that are pertinent. Sometimes she seems annoyed which may make some viewers find her annoying.

    Randy hasn’t changed. He seems to know current trends and musicians but his critiques are general “not for me dawg” “dope” offering little details to help the contestants improve.

    Ryan is good at his job. With all the nonsense, he and Simon (and Randy) do seem to be geniune friends. He does his job well and it isn’t as easy as it seems.

    Ellen is a fan favorite from what I read. Gets loud applause during the tapings. I feel she offers very little though to the show and the contestants. She’s not as nurturing as Paula was and I expected her to be, and she isn’t as funny or knowledgable as I thought she would be. I like her a lot better on her own show where she seems much more comfortable and at home.

    The show this year needed someone to really pimp and for the audience to latch onto. They simply don’t have that. Crystal has a really good voice and some others are pretty good but none have it all. One is eye candy but not the bomb with his singing, another can sing but seems to have the weight of the world on her shoulders and has no “it” factor or star power. One is interesting….etc.
    Carrie had the voice and was America’s sweetheart, Kris is adorable, likeable, knew music and was talented, Adam is the whole package, Kelly could sing her ass off, David brilliantly changed it up and was personable and very talented too… etc…we need something like that this season!

  8. Is there some law I don’t know about that Idol must have a judge from the UK? Shows in the UK that have judges seem to be able to people those panels quite well without having to import Americans. Elton might be worth considering once possibilities in this country have been exhausted.

  9. Ellen is a fan favorite from what I read. Gets loud applause during the tapings. I feel she offers very little though to the show and the contestants. She’s not as nurturing as Paula was and I expected her to be, and she isn’t as funny or knowledgable as I thought she would be. I like her a lot better on her own show where she seems much more comfortable and at home.

    My guess is that on her own show, she can say what she likes, whereas on AI she has to follow a script, praise or criticze according to the evening guidelines.

    As for this year crew, I think that the general talent is not bad, whatss missing is big characters: The Davids + Castro, Adam and Danny etc..
    Simon mentioned personality twice this week for good reasons..

  10. I agree that Ryan should stay as a host.

    But, I want the show to have 4 judges. I think they should keep Kara. She can be annoying, but she and Simon are the ones whose opinion actually matters. She is actively working in the current music business as a songwriter, producer and A&R.

    Ellen is nice and I love her as a comedian and talk show host, but her critiques are not really helpful because she has no experience working in the music business. So I would replace her.

    Now, Randy. I think he is better than Ellen, he certainly can see talent. However, he lacks Kara’s knowledge about the current music scene. So maybe it’s time to replace him.

    I don’t think Elton John is the right replacement for Simon. Elton is still busy with his own career and I doubt he has the time for Idol.

    Still, Idol needs a singer on the judging panel (and a performer). Until this year, this was Paula’s role. We need a performer, but they need to find someone who will have the time for this and will be able to give some good advice to the contestants.

    And they need someone to fill Simon’s role – record label executive.

  11. larc:
    03/19/2010 at 9:52 am

    Is there some law I don’t know about that Idol must have a judge from the UK? Shows in the UK that have judges seem to be able to people those panels quite well without having to import Americans. Elton might be worth considering once possibilities in this country have been exhausted.

    I’ve been saying this for years. There are Brits and Australians on every talent competition. I totally want American judges who know something about American music and dance.

    And I agree that Elton would scare the crap out of some of the contestants (except Adam). I thought I read where he already said no. I’d like to see a successful singer who has been in the business for a long time, and a singer who is pretty current AND successful. That’s where Paula never impressed me at all. A one hit wonder who did some choreography work. IMO Ellen has more knowledge and experience than Paula ever did. And I’d love a hit making song writer as well (Jeffrey Steele was great on the Nashville/country talent show. Randy is useless. I like Kara’s comments – they are constructive and intelligent. She does need to shorten them though.

    Oh well, time will tell. The main thing they need to do next year is pick talented and interesting contestants from multiple genres.

  12. shorty, sorry, but I don’t agree with you about Paula – Paula had the real eye for talent, she was the first to notice Adam’s talent – Simon was against him at the beginning, she had her quirks, but she also could spot a talent.

  13. Is there some law I don’t know about that Idol must have a judge from the UK? Shows in the UK that have judges seem to be able to people those panels quite well without having to import Americans. Elton might be worth considering once possibilities in this country have been exhausted.

    I don’t know about laws, but on X Factor UK only two judges are British (Simon and Cheryl). Louis Walsh (manager) is Irish and Dannii Minugue is Australian.

  14. Say what you will about Paula but she was NOT a one hit wonder. She was huuge in the late 80s/early 90s and had multiple hits, popular videos, did arena tours, the whole works. And she was a choreographer for some of the biggest names and events in the business Yeah she was a loopy mess on the show but I think she has a lot more knowledge than people give her credit for and had a really good eye for spotting talent (in fact her track record wrt this is pretty impressive)

  15. Paula had the real eye for talent, she was the first to notice Adam’s talent – Simon was against him at the beginning, she had her quirks, but she also could spot a talent.

    ^^ I am blaming part of the lack of talent in the Top 12 on this. Paula was the one that fought for several of the eventual finalists when Simon didn’t like them in seasons past.

    Good advice from Nigel. Four judges are too many, Ryan is perfect at the job, none of the judges are worth keeping when Simon leaves.

  16. No don’t replace the judges! Keep Ryan and get rid of the 4th judge Kara. If we can’t get Paula back then keep Ellen.

  17. Paula was one of Adam’s early favorite performers, and he has a good taste in music :)

  18. yep Paula was the first one to say that DC was the dark horse and could win the whole thing. Simon voted against him during Hollywood week, as well as Daughtry. Once they went through the competition he finally was on board and supported them winning. I just read the TV Guide Magazine that had Ellen on the cover and she said that part of her contract was that she would be instrumental in picking Simon’s replacement. So she’s not going anywhere soon. On the other hand, Randy & Kara should be replaced. I mute the tv every tiime Randy spoke during S7 & S8. I’m not watching much this year – nobody has grabbed my heart like Cookie.

  19. I’ve really been enjoying Ellen on the show — much, much more so that Paula. Paula did have an eye for talent, I think, but her drugged, rambling, sometime defensive critiques, along with her mock fights with Simon was making the show increasingly unwatchable to me. Ellen may think everyone is great, but she’s funny and interesting. Kara bugs me less than Paula, but she still bugs.

    They do need a replacement for Simon. Simon does not have nearly the eye for talent he thinks he does, but he is not afraid to be critical and, most blessed of all, his critiques are short and to the point. Kara can be critical too, but it always comes with a long wind-up of sweeties and fake pity, often followed by advice that missing the mark.

    I’m actually ok with Randy. He can’t carry the show, but is fine for filler. Yo, at least his critiques are usually short.

  20. I just read the TV Guide Magazine that had Ellen on the cover and she said that part of her contract was that she would be instrumental in picking Simon’s replacement.

    Why would a new judge have a say in the replacement for Simon?

  21. Why would a new judge have a say in the replacement for Simon

    Because she bargained for it as part of her contract. This was a big risk for Ellen — she is a big name, coming into a long-established show, with no experience in the music business, and signing a long-term contract. Makes sense that she (or at least her lawyers and business advisors) would want to ensure that she had input into the hiring of new/replacement judges. I am glad for her sake that some people do like her on the show; but I just find her awful and uninteresting in the judge position. Maybe she will grow into it, but somehow I doubt it (even tho I adore her in other venues).

  22. This year is as big, if not bigger, dud then season 6. Contestants aren’t the best and have no personality. Judging panel is flat this year, no quirkiness or personality there either. The dynamic is gone. Ditch the 4th judge format, get rid of Kara who is trying to be Paula, replace Randy with someone who has a vocabulary and Ellen is there but not doing much so she can go too. A good replacement for Simon would be Big Machine Records exec Scott Borchetta. He was judge on last years Can You Duet and did a superb job. He knows talent, the “it” factor, gives constructive and honest critiques and is easy on the eye. Naomi Judd was a judge also and kinda mean spirited, Simonesque if you will lol. They need to remember its supposed to be a talent show and quit casting roles on a tv show in lieu of the best talent. I havent watched an elimination show in 2 seasons now, switch channels often when talent night is on. Something is definitely missing. Not sure AI will get another chance with the public if it messes up next year again.

  23. If I was a new Idol watcher, I would be gone by now and wonder why so many have raved about the show.

  24. mmb, I think the problem with Ellen is that here she is one of four judges and NOT the “head” judge. She has no authority and I think she likes to be in charge, so that’s why it feels like she is a fifth wheel, and that’s why she wants to have a say in selecting the new judge so she can be in charge

  25. A good replacement for Simon would be Big Machine Records exec Scott Borchetta. He was judge on last years Can You Duet and did a superb job. He knows talent, the “it” factor, gives constructive and honest critiques and is easy on the eye.

    Scott B is the guy who slammed Idol in his defense of Taylor Swift’s lame performance at the Grammys. Kelly Clarkson wrote a scathing (and awesome) response to his dig about AI singers. It was all over the internet. I don’t think he’ll be on the short list for Simon’s replacement.

    I think Ryan still brings a lot to the show. Four judges are too much, especially when Randy, Ellen and Kara end up saying the same thing (which is often nothing), but in different ways. The show needs people who have relevant experience in the business so that a) the contestants get something useful from the judges to work with and b) the viewers/voters hear opinions from credible professionals that may give them something to base their vote on other than hormones.

  26. Crazy thought….Ryan follows Simon (and Paula) to X-Factor as its host.

    Meaning there would a hosting position open. Ellen would be a fantastic host for AI.

    We can keep three judges…Randy and Kara of course, but the third judge has to be an industry heavyweight. As a fan of his for nearly four decades, I’d love to see Sir Elton. But I think he’d have too much on his plate.

  27. Paula has been getting offers left and right and has turned all of them down. ????? I’m super happy Nigel has stopped trying to convince her to join ‘SYTYCD’. Ugh. The Star Search project was a no go and even if Sir Simon decides to bring her on as a judge on the X-Factor, she will probably
    ‘fumble’ on that show as well. I never liked her as judge on Idol and I’ll probably dislike her on the X-Factor, and that depends if I will watch.

  28. Nigel might agree with you:

    “The one thing everyone forgets is that “Idol” is an onion, it has many layers, but it’s about the talent. I think we’d forgotten that a bit — thank goodness for Adam Lambert because he was an outstanding talent that people could talk about.”

    YAY!!!

  29. Ellen would be a fantastic host for AI.

    ITA — Ellen would be a terrific host. Hey, maybe ryan and ellen can switch places….Ryan actually would be a pretty good judge — he certainly knows the music business and pop music, has been a dj for years and helms the AT40…certainly he has more music “cred” than Ellen

  30. Only watched last season and I can say I don’t like Kara. I think she spent 10 minutes (exaggerated I know)reviewing Adam’s ROF performance and in the end she really said nothing at all. I bet she totally relates to Kesha’s Blah Blah Blah song. I just completely found her annoying.

    Lots of people said Idol is more than a judge, a contestant, a host but I have to wonder. I think people are watching it out of habit and not because of the talent.

  31. Nigel:“The one thing everyone forgets is that “Idol” is an onion, it has many layers, but it’s about the talent. I think we’d forgotten that a bit — thank goodness for Adam Lambert because he was an outstanding talent that people could talk about.”

    Finally good to hear someone make sense out of the whole fiasco. I, too, feel that the talent gets lost in the shuffle at times and it then becomes a popularity contest instead of a singing/talent contest. I have to agree with Nigel that four judges add nothing to the show. In fact, they detract and cut in to time that I would rather see given for contestant performances. I also feel that the group number is important and gives another perspective with everyone involved in the same song choice. Randy has served his time, however, he has used the same language and comments endlessly. He needs to research the english language and be a little more creative with his judging (boring to say the least). Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice enough guy but how many more years do we have to listen to dawg, pitchy, etc.(thesaurus anyone?)

    maybe ryan and ellen can switch places

    I think you may have something there, mmb Ellen certainly would be able to pull off the hosting (more so than judging)and, in as much as Ryan could probably judge and critique, I don’t know if he has the balls. I don’t see Ryan as that strong a person just from observing little nuances about him. Either way, the producers have some serious thinking and implementation ahead of them for the remainder of 2010 and years to come. It’s like a former top 36 contestant, Kristen Mc, said recently “it would be better for Idol to go out on a good note”. Time will tell, I guess.

  32. lorismile:Lots of people said Idol is more than a judge, a contestant, a host but I have to wonder. I think people are watching it out of habit and not because of the talent.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s human nature though to sit and hope that a star will be born, however, I am truly disappointed this year especially when you consider they had THOUSANDS TO CHOOSE FROM and this is what they end up with – simply not good enough. The judges and/or producers are at fault in this department (plain and simple).

  33. Reminder:

    Please don’t rehash Season 8 in this thread. Onward and upwards, right guys? Deleting those posts now.

  34. Question about Wednesday night–did Ryan say how many votes there were? I don’t recall his saying it on Wednesday, or the previous week, either. The last number of votes mention that I remember was at top 24 and/or top 20 and was around 24 million. That seems like a lower number than in years past.

    Lower viewership–> lower votes–> less messaging revenue for AT&T?

    As for Paula, yes, she’s missed because she helped sell the contestants to the audience–she helped people get hooked. From the offers she’s declining it sure seems like she’ll be back with Simon next fall. Hope she has it in writing!

    And the rest of the judges?

    Randy–you can tell when he’s delivering on the script.

    Ellen–she’s already looking unhappy on the panel at times–maybe because there is a script? (Praise ABC contestants and don’t praise XYZ contestants?) She did deliver on Tim Urban the week she hugged him…otherwise I don’t think she cares for him at all.

    Kara–I agree with those who say she’s trying too hard to be liked.

    Simon–I’m chuckling over the number of times he completely disagrees with Kara. Sometimes I think he does it just to be disagreeable.

  35. ohhh, i like Elton as a judge, that could be a good fit for the show. and yes, four judges is one too many. why? whats the point? i say hire Elton, and keep Kara and Randy. i like ellen, but she adds nothing to the mix. Randy is Randy, he’s there just for comfort. and Kara, can at times give good advice. too bad she is in need of being liked, she tries so fking hard. i just think replacing the entire panel might be too jolting to long time viewers.

  36. thank goodness for Adam Lambert because he was an outstanding talent that people could talk about.

    I knew I always liked him :)

    Paula, stop being so stubborn! I miss you!!

  37. I think Paula and Simon will be working together. I saw Leno interview Simon and Simon did say words to that effect. I would assume that is playing a part in why Paula hasn’t signed onto anything else.

    I am surprised a bit about how much control TBTB at AI gave to Ellen..if it’s true she has a say in the next judge. I’m wondering what they’re thinking now, upon maybe seeing and hearing some of the viewers comments about her. Overall seems that most love Ellen, the comedian and person, and on her own show, but feel she brings little to the judging on AI.

    What about Piers Morgan as the next judge? He and Simon are on Britians Got Talent (I think) and he is on America’s Got Talent. He has that same straight forward, no bones, this is what I think, definitive opinion as Simon. Maybe he knows music..I’m not sure. Maybe Sharron Osborne? Just suggestions.

    I think changing the entire panel would be too drastic as someone else said for the long term viewers. The other person who said this year lacked(big) personalities is on to something. Good looks, personalities, charasma, likeability all play a part along with talent, and originality in keeping the audience interested. Viewers need someone to attached to and I’m not hearing many stating they’re invested in anyone wholeheartedly. Still hoping for this season to bring it!

  38. I am surprised a bit about how much control TBTB at AI gave to Ellen..if it’s true she has a say in the next judge. I’m wondering what they’re thinking now,

    Another one of their blunders. Her own show is popular and she was a fan of Idol but why were they so sure that would translate to her being a successful judge. Wouldn’t a one year trial have been a good idea, for both sides because I actually don’t think Ellen looks happy on the show. I don’t think she is a good judge but at least she doesn’t annoy me like Kara does. I like the idea of returning to three judges but if the three are Randy, Ellen and Kara….the show is over.

  39. Question about Wednesday night–did Ryan say how many votes there were? I don’t recall his saying it on Wednesday, or the previous week, either. The last number of votes mention that I remember was at top 24 and/or top 20 and was around 24 million. That seems like a lower number than in years past.

    I don’t think Ryan said anything about the number of votes, note also that the numbers for the top 24 and 20 were totals for two nights, so you have to divide the those numbers by half to get the number for each night. I suspect the number of votes is way way down from previous years, people just aren’t that interested in this year’s contestants. I blame the producers and judges for concentrating so heavily on one type of female singers and deliberately choosing guys who were on the whole sub-par. Seems like a re-run of Season 3 actually with this concentration on one type of girls and poorly performing guys.

  40. JudyL:
    03/19/2010 at 4:53 pm
    I am surprised a bit about how much control TBTB at AI gave to Ellen..if it’s true she has a say in the next judge. I’m wondering what they’re thinking now,

    I’m thinking that maybe, JUST MAYBE, they brought Ellen on board because of her huge fanbase and hoped she would bring that with her, salvaging what appears to be a show that’s slowly fading into the sunset. Think?

  41. I think David Geffen would be fabulous as Simon’s replacement. He’s been a songwriter and producer and music mogul for decades and really knows his stuff. I don’t think Elton will do it even if asked – he was very upset the season Melinda Doolittle was on and called AI “racist”.

    I think they only need 3 judges and would LOVE to see Kara replaced with Bette Midler. Bette certainly knows the industry, but would be somewhat supportive, funny – seems that she would be perfect in that role.

  42. I would like the show to return to 3 judges myself. I think that 4 is too many; it’s too serious and critics take too much time. I realise also that I don’t really like Kara, even if I think that she brings constructive criticism. I just can’t warm up to her. I don’t like when she calls contestants honey and sweetie and the game she and Simon play sitting beside each others bug… Paula lacked substance in her critics – but she brought an emotional aspect to the judges’ table which is lacking this year and that Ellen is supposed to fill. The people’s view. I’m not sure she’s found her footing yet… She seems like she lacks confidence judging the contestants and taking decisions. I guess it’s not as easy as one may think to be a judge on AI. Simon commented on that one time. He was saying that most of the times he doesn’t have a clue as what to say to a contestant after they finish their song and as soon as Paula talks, then he knows what he will say. He was saying basically that he needed her on the show to be able to judge properly.

    ETA: And Bo Bice by the way was another one that Simon refused to advance but had to because of Randy and Paula.

  43. For those thinking that Ellen is not happy as a judge on Idol, you’re right. However, can you blame her? She is doing the show on the arm as part of the settlement with Sony and the RIAA over unpaid royalties. She will be gone after a year.

  44. Elton John has made several controversial statements lately and many would object to him being selected. Ringo Starr would be a good choice. I agree, drop the 4th judge. I wouldn’t want Ellen as a Host; however, I find the idea of Ryan as a judge fascinating.

    I think changing the entire panel would be too drastic as someone else said for the long term viewers.

    I certainly agree with this. I guess Randy is the link to the past even though he can easily be replaced.

    Some who voted in the past realize their votes don’t count compared to those who can send 10,000 votes in two hours.

  45. Four judges with Ellen in the mix is killing the show. After thinking about Paula’s role – she may have been in la la land on the live shows, but when you come to think of it, she did champion talent throughout the early segments to be advanced. She could see potential, and these characters didn’t seem able to select anyone this year that can captivate the majority of the audience. Years ago everyone was in their offices talking about Idol the next day. Who is talking now?
    We need a no-nonsense judge. So, no to Sharon Osbourne. She loves everyone and is too shrieky. Is David Foster interested in the job as judge? He can be informative and cutting. Kara would be OK, since she knows the business, if she stopped being so fake and talking so much on the show.
    I was in a blackout last week and missed the top 12. My power was restored and I was able to see the results show. I didn’t miss much, I see. I watched a few performances on line, and really that was enough. I missed the new episode of Lost last week, so I guess I’ll take a pass on the Top 11, too. I’d have never done that in the first 5 years. Then I watched live, followed online and taped everything to watch it over and over. This year’s deadly, and beating out season 6 as the worst.

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