Nigel Lythgoe, Paul Abdul
Should it turn out that Paula Abdul is not forever American Idol's girl, she is welcome to drop by the judges' dais on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
"We would certainly consider her as a guest judge," Dance executive producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe told the New York Daily News. "Without question."
In the news: Paula Abdul gets support from Simon, Twitter campaign
Abdul — a choreographer-slash-pop star by trade — has thought about returning to her dancing roots before, as a contestant on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. "It would be a phenomenal experience," she told TV Guide. DWTS executive producer Conrad Green in turn deemed Abdul's interest "really flattering and a great story, potentially. But I would imagine that Fox might have something to say about it."
Her swinging by So You Think You Can Dance, however, would present fewer conflicts.
Having previously exec-produced Idol, Lythgoe offers special insight into the increasingly public contract talks going on between Abdul, Fox and the singing competition's producers. "Having spoken with [Fox reality boss] Mike Darnell, I know Fox wants to keep Paula," Lythgoe said.
As of last weekend, however, Abdul's manager said that she has yet to be offered a new contract — this while Idol host Ryan Seacrest has been signed to a new deal (said to be in the $15 million-a-year range) and Simon Cowell is reportedly in talks to snare a $100 million-plus salary.
"I don't know if they're true, but Paula seeing those figures would make her pretty upset," said Lythgoe.
While some argue that an Idol sans Abdul's special something wouldn't succeed, Lythgoe politely begs to differ: "At the end of the day, that program is bigger than any individual. Even Simon."