Returning American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe has a lot of decisions to make about the Fox reality series — including helping choose its new judges. No one knows what he'll do, but he told us what he won't do. Speaking backstage Thursday at his other show, So You Think You Can Dance, he shared five things you won't see on Idol next season:
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1. A big name judge who's just a big name: "There are so many [options] being discussed," he said. "I have no idea who the panel is going to be. My advice about it would be: Let's look at how the panel fits together, rather than the individual attributes of each panel member. At the end of the day, it is that chemistry between them that, to a certain degree, I think has been lacking for a couple of years."
2. Too much focus on the judges: "I want to get the focus off the judges, to be frank with you, and back on the talent," he said. "It's the talent that we've got to produce. Where is the next Michael Jackson? We have lost a brilliant artist and entertainer in Michael Jackson. We have the opportunity, with this show, of going into America and finding the next Michael Jackson."
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3. Him as a judge: Don't expect to see Lythgoe filling in for Simon Cowell. "I wouldn't want to do it because you do not follow Sean Connery into the role of James Bond, you follow George Lazenby. I think it would be wrong for the show to do it. You don't want to attempt to replace what has been there. You want to put something else there and move forward."
4. Tinkering for tinkering's sake: With the show's 10th season approaching, Lythgoe doesn't want to shake up Idol too much. "This is an old woman that you're dealing with now. You've got to take great care of her. She doesn't need to have Botox, she just needs a bit of a feather duster and [to be] tweaked up."
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5. Halfheartedness: On other performance shows, including So You Think You Can Dance, there's more stagecraft, Lythgoe said. "They've got dancers behind them, they've got pyrotechnics, there's a whole production number behind them. We need to look at starting to do that with the kids that come on Idol once they're in the top 10. They deserve the full production behind them."