Nigel Lythgoe Reveals New Challenges on 'American Idol'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 18th 2010 8:10AM
'American Idol' logoNigel Lythgoe's "new broom" effect continues at 'American Idol.' The upcoming 10th season will not only see the debut of new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, but will also have some new tweaks to the format, and some brand-new challenges for the contestants

In an interview with TVGuide.com "Nasty Nigel" provided some details about the changes he's made since returning as executive producer. When the show returns Jan. 12, Lythgoe said that that the finalists will face a range of challenges new to the show, including making music videos, learning to promote themselves, and working with a band and dancers for an awards show-style performance.

Lythgoe also revealed that he's axed the semifinals round that shrinks the contestants from a group of 24 to 12, instead opting to go straight to the top 12.

Referring to previous seasons, he said "I didn't think [the top 24] were very good, I was bored with them by the time they got there." But he remained tight-lipped about what -- if anything -- will replace the episodes that usually cover the early voting rounds, though he did tell the New York Post that "the judges will still be bringing [the number] down."

"You don't know who's talented -- you only know the ones who've had a bit of their stories shown in the auditions," he told the Post. "It's much easier to say, 'Here are the Final 12, now here are their stories, and start figuring out who you like.'"

With the signing of music producer Jimmy Iovine to act as the contestants' in-house mentor, it sounds as though this season the show's aiming to create a viable artist, rather than just a show-winner. Iovine has worked with artists including Bruce Springsteen, U2, Dr. Dre and Eminem over his lengthy career, and his deal with the show came after 'American Idol' switched record labels from Sony Music to Universal Music Group. Iovine is chairman of UMG's Interscope Geffen A&M label, and under his tutelage, theme weeks will now focus on decades of music, rather than particular styles or artists.

"You don't really see Lady Gaga singing country music, so it should be people coming out and doing what they do," Lythgoe told the Post. "If we want to find the next 'American Idol,' I think the public should know what sort of record they're going to release -- it's crazy to sing country and then put out a rock record."

Producers have used a variety of methods to open up the talent pool for this season. In addition to lowering the eligible age to 15, they partnered with MySpace to accept online auditions for the first time.

And as the speculation over who'd be judging the 10th season reached fever pitch, and auditions starting taping without the new judges, new dates and cities were added.

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American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the Los Angeles auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Wednesday, Sept. 22. at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, CA. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta/ FOX. © 2010 FOX BROADCASTING

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the Los Angeles auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Wednesday, Sept. 22. at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, CA. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta/ FOX. © 2010 FOX BROADCASTING

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the Los Angeles auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Wednesday, Sept. 22. at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, CA. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta/ FOX. © 2010 FOX BROADCASTING

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the Los Angeles auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Wednesday, Sept. 22. at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, CA. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta/ FOX. © 2010 FOX BROADCASTING

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the Los Angeles auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Wednesday, Sept. 22. at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, CA. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta/ FOX. © 2010 FOX BROADCASTING

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the San Francisco auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Thursday, Aug, 19. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Michael Becker/ FOX.

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the San Francisco auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Thursday, Aug, 19. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Michael Becker/ FOX.

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Bo Bice greets Thousands of auditioners at the San Francisco auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Thursday, Aug, 19. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Michael Becker/ FOX.

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Thousands of people attend the San Francisco auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Thursday, Aug, 19. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Michael Becker/ FOX.

American Idol Season 10 Auditions

AMERICAN IDOL: Ryan Seacrest says hello to the crowd at the Austin auditions of AMERICAN IDOL on Wednesday Aug, 11. Season 10 of AMERICAN IDOL airs on FOX. CR: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX.

American Idol Season 10 Auditions



All this, according to Lygthgoe, means that the auditions stage of the contest has produced an even wider range of talent than ever, including many country, indie and jazz singers. He also added that because of the high volume of contestants, more contenders are being sent through to Hollywood.

But what about those really highly paid new judges? Have they been working hard for those massive pay checks? Lythgoe says that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are taking their new jobs seriously.

"They both listen intently, and don't make glib remarks. ... They give honest critiques." And the new format seems to have revitalized the much-criticized Randy Jackson: "He really has stepped up. He's essentially come out of himself. He's enjoying being in that position."

As far as the absence of Simon Cowell, Lythgoe brushed off critics who predict 'Idol' will suffer without him. ""I don't think the pressure is there for 'Idol' -- I feel upset for Simon a little bit," Lythgoe told The Post. "There's so much pressure for him to get it right, and everyone's talking about it."


Catch Up With Previous 'American Idol' Winners

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Roxie

i dont understand why they just dont ask some of the former american idol winners to be the judges? They've won before they understand what they should be looking for that season... SO why not do that? I feel like it would be a somewhat good idea...

November 21 2010 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hi all

next judge will be lindsay lohan

November 21 2010 at 6:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big truck

I think Idol shouldn't return th show has sucked for the past few years.I stopped watching and don't plan on watching to see Fat ass J LO give a no opinion to a person who can't sing. All good things come to an end and it's time to go Seacrest Out.

November 21 2010 at 5:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Big truck's comment
juliette paskowitz

I have enjoyed the show for years since day one. But without Simon and with J.Lopez? I say she is a joke! They need a person who knows about singing. She is so FAKE. No talent.....Goodbye Idol..;(

November 21 2010 at 9:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Suzy

There are some TV shows that just "poop out," after a while, for several seasons. Things change, people change, times change, etc. Whatever the reason, the producers really need to see some of the red flags popping up and realize they had a good run, but it's time to hang it up, and move on. There's too many producers out there, that are willing to do anything to save a show that had an amazing following and great ratings, it's sad! Just look at how Nigel, an American Idol producer, has chopped the hell out of AI and now it's even more different.. Not to mention the new faces that America will have to get used to, meaning the 2 new famous judges, Steven Tyler and J. Lo.

November 21 2010 at 5:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anthonydyer84

I have totally lost my interest for this show. Why can't they do it right, like they did 4 years ago?

November 21 2010 at 5:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ralph Novak

big deal!

November 21 2010 at 4:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ralph Novak

So what?

November 21 2010 at 4:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vicvod

Please God make this show go away! Amen.

November 21 2010 at 4:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
celyon

Have you ever heard of Aerosmith? Steven Tyler is the head singer of that group. Probably not all you listen to is rap or r&b whatever it is you would listen to.

November 21 2010 at 2:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
celyon

Robert you must be a rude a**hole for saying that about someone you don't even know. People like you ruin everything for others.

November 21 2010 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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