December 10th, 2010
03:30 PM ET
Doesn’t sound like “American Idol’s” Nigel Lythgoe is going to miss Simon Cowell at all next season.
The producer tells Emmy Magazine that “If you like people being mean to people, you’ll miss it” – an apparent dig at the acerbic Cowell, who left the show last season.
Lythgoe returns this season to the show, which has seen its ratings dip from the ginormous numbers of the past. He told the publication he thinks the talent competition will go on even without fan favorite Cowell, and he praised new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
“Do I think ‘Idol’ can stay at the top?” he said. “Yes, I absolutely do. It dropped last year, and Simon Cowell was still in the show… [Lopez and Tyler] are artists, so there isn’t this attitude of, ‘Are you going to make me money? Are you going to make my company money?' It’s ‘Wow, you’re talented.’ Or as Steven says, ‘Your soul is singing to me.’”
The new judges are not as hung up on the contestants look and style, Lythgoe said.
“They haven’t got this attitude – you know, Simon, bless him, hated country music,” Lythgoe noted. So as soon as a country singer came in, he turned off straight away and they weren’t going to go anywhere.”
And, he said, returning judge Randy Jackson has really upped his game for the new season.
“He’s really stepped out of the shadow of Simon, if you will, and he’s his own man, making some very strong critiques,” Lythgoe said. “He says more than, ‘Pitchy, dog.’ I think Simon might have left him a thesaurus when he left.”
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