August 30th, 2010
09:28 AM ET
"American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is blaming Simon Cowell for Ellen DeGeneres's exit, claiming the talk-show host departed because she and the cranky Brit just weren't in tune.
"I'm sorry she's gone, to be honest with you," Lythgoe told Deadline.com, "because I think there's a place for Ellen DeGeneres on 'American Idol.' And that is being the voice of the people. She wasn't given a fair opportunity to serve that function. Ellen was constantly apologizing and overwhelmed, I think, by Simon."
According to Lythgoe, the 52-year-old comedian - who asked to be let out of her "Idol" contract a year before it expired - just didn't have chemistry with Cowell, 50, and fellow judges Randy Jackson, 54, and Kara DioGuardi, 39, though Lythgoe said it wasn't DeGeneres's fault. "She was misused," he explained. "And I'm sorry that turned out to be the case."
Though Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler are in the running to replace the departing DeGeneres and Cowell, Lythgoe would prefer to see music legend Elton John join the panel. "He's a favorite of mine," Lythgoe said, adding that John's packed schedule is always the problem.
Regardless of who takes over the vacant seats, it's important that all the judges are in sync. "You're looking for people that will have great chemistry," Lythgoe told CNN, noting that from the very beginning of "Idol," it was the "chemistry created that entire team."
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