Nigel Lythgoe doesn’t chase the salacious headlines in the same way his old pal Simon Cowell does, so he’s not terribly happy that the latest series of his TV show American Idol has been overshadowed by a so called feud between the judges.
Ever since the first tryouts took place, it’s been claimed that new panel members Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj have been at each other’s throats, with repeated reports of arguments, rows and aggressive spats.
Many people suspected that the whole saga was being set up to increase reporting on the show, to raise the profile of the new series and to tempt more viewers to tune in, however boss Nigel Lythgoe has insisted that he has been annoyed with all the negative headlines and stories and said that he sees it as bad publicity for the hit Fox show.
In a press conference this week, Nigel said:
“I don’t think it’s been a bonus in any way, shape or form, to be frank.”
“It’s not publicity that I welcomed. I’ve said all the way since we began this show – it’s about the contestants.”
Nigel insisted that as a rule, in his TV shows (which also include So You Think You Can Dance) he is “not into that sort of publicity”, and would rather be making waves because of the talented contestants than the arguing judges.
Lythgoe did concede that perhaps the tension would be beneficial to the show in the short term and would lead to more people tuning in. He continued:
“What I do think we’ve got though is going to get people to watch to see if they blow up on television, so everybody tells me I should be grateful for that. I would much prefer that they watched because these judges are excellent.”
Nigel also praised country star Keith Urban – who was also a new addition to the panel for 2013 – saying he os a natural peace-keeper and a calming influence on the ladies.
He purposely made the performer the buffer between Nicki and Mariah and said:
“He is the scratching post between Mariah and Nicki. He sometimes looks like he’s watching a tennis match, with his head bobbing between the two girls, but when it’s his turn to speak he gives his mind and he won’t put up with anybody else knocking a kid down.”
Nigel said he’s no pushover though and continued:
“He’s had rows with Mariah, Randy and Nicki – a big one with Nicki, in truth. He’s passionate.”
Lythgoe is a busy man at present and as well as masterminding the new episodes of Idol, he’s also started work on the upcoming series of So You Think You Can Dance. He’s getting to work on the latest round of auditions and tweeted this week saying:
“#SYTYCD. I’m looking forward to coming to Detroit on Monday. We’re auditioning on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Fillmore Theater. Come along.”
Are you enjoying American Idol this year? What do you think of Mariah vs Nicki? Leave your comments below…