Possible return of Nigel Lythgoe to ‘American Idol’ could signal clean sweep of current judges
July 27, 2010
(ChattahBox) – The constant rumors of multiple new candidates joining American Idol might not be just a question of filling Simon Cowell’s vacant judge’s seat. “Idol” producer 19 Entertainment chief Simon Fuller’s intention might be for a clean sweep with fresh new judges. Enter Nigel Lythgoe, who helped launch the “Idol” phenomenon in the U.K. with “Pop Idol” along with creator Fuller and shepherded the U.S. version for six years. Two years ago, Lythgoe left “Idol” as part of a shake-up by Fox and 19 Entertainment to try to freshen the series, but according to Hollywood Reporter, is near a deal to join again as a judge. When asked whom he would choose to judge “Idol,” Lythgoe has cited Elton John, Usher and Paula Abdul. However Justin Timberlake, Chris Isaak, Harry Connick Jr. are still among celebrity music industry folks under consideration. As for the existing judges, Kara DioGuardi’s one-year-at-time deal has yet to be renewed, but booting Ellen DeGeneres could be problematic, as she has a multiyear deal at the network. But surprisingly to me, Randy Jackson, who has another year left on his contract, is the most likely to survive any purge, according to Hollywood Reporter Sources. Also if Lythgoe gets his way there likely will be three judges instead of four, because he reasons an extra judge distracts viewers from focusing on the competitors. I like some of the new names being tossed around but if there are only going to be three judges I think Lythgoe should just work behind the scenes as a producer.