Nigel Lythgoe Talks Replacing ‘Idol’ Judges Jennifer Lopez & Steven Tyler [AUDIO]

July 16, 2012 7:37 am

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe called in to “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” on Monday to talk about his new show “Opening Act,” his feelings on Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler leaving “American Idol,” and replacing the departing judges.

Who Will They Get To Replace The ‘Idol’ Judges?
“I think it’s a tough one, there are so many names coming at me at the moment, I joke about it and say: ‘Oh, I’m looking for The Three Stooges or Jerry Lewis.’ But at the end of the day I think what we’ve seriously got to talk about is just using people for a year. Because if we do want these big stars, and we do, you cannot take them away from what they do. That’s depriving the public of a star for a start, but also earning a lot of money.”

Is Denis Leary JLo’s Replacement on American Idol?

So, are there any names at the top of the list? “I love so many people. When names come by you go: ‘Wouldn’t they be fantastic, wouldn’t they be great.’ But at the end of the day…it’s chemistry. No matter how good you are as an individual, it’s how you fit into a panel of other people as well. So, we’ve got our work cut out for us. I’m sure nobody’s name will be mentioned at this time while we’re getting it together.”

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On Jennifer Lopez & Steven Tyler Leaving ‘Idol':
“I’m really upset. I spoke to Jennifer last Friday. She called me just after she spoke to you and I have to respect both Jennifer and Steven’s decisions. They’ve got a much bigger career than just sitting judging ‘Idol.’ They’re both very talented people and you have to respect their decision to carry on and do what they were doing before ‘Idol.’ It breaks my heart, because I love them both dearly.”

‘American Idol’ Judge Jennifer Lopez Says ‘It’s Time For Me To Go’

How Did Nigel React When He Heard The News?
“I was shocked to start with. Then when we spoke about it, I have to respect the fact that she is not only the world’s most beautiful woman, as it was pointed out by the magazines, but she’s an extremely talented woman as well and she’s somewhat restricted by being there judging people. She’s got an executive producer’s role to do, she’s got her own singing role to do, she’s a fantastic dancer and actress. We work so hard with ‘Idol,’ but it just keeps you busy and stops you doing other things. So, I have to say at the end of the day I respect her decision.

Steven Tyler Announces He is Leaving ‘American Idol’

On His New Show ‘Opening Act':
“It’s a lot of fun and great to be able to give these kids opportunity,” Nigel tells us. So, what is the key to being a great opening act? “First and foremost, you’ve got to meet the criteria from our little artist development team of Jason Derulo, Martina McBride, Pete Wentz, and myself. You’ve got to have charisma…whether you’re dancing, whether you’re singing, you’ve got to have that wonderful little charismatic quality that’s magnetic and connects you with the audience. As an opening act you’ve got to remember that the audience is not there to see you…they are there to see the star of the show. So, they’ve got to go out there and make an impact straightaway.”

“Opening Act” airs Monday nights at 10/9c on E!


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