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Ousted American Idol producer says they stole his idea

Former American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe is stunned by the Season 13 judges picks — not because of who they are, but because the threesome was his idea in the first place.

Nigel Lythgoe

Nigel Lythgoe was fired from American Idol after the show’s ratings tanked, but it turns out his big idea to save the sinking ship was pushed aside — until yesterday.

Lythgoe told Yahoo! Music that having Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. sit as judges was his idea before he was fired, but no one would listen.

“Both [fellow ousted Idol producer] Ken Warwick and myself asked for that team last year. It feels a bit like a kick in the teeth,” he said.

“But I’m thrilled for American Idol. At least they’ve made one good decision this season!”

Instead of his picks, the FOX team went with Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, a foursome that got more attention for on-set drama than the talent they were judging.

Jackson announced he was leaving Idol last spring, but yesterday it was revealed he would return as a mentor in place of Jimmy Iovine. With so many familiar faces coming back, does that leave a door open for Lythgoe?

“I very much doubt it,” he said, adding, “I think Randy is a fantastic ambassador, I’m sorry that they’ve lost Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy Iovine was a good voice and a good opinion, whether you agreed with him or disagreed with him.”

“It’s going to be an interesting season, one that I think they’ve now put on the right track… It’s never going to be the same, it’s never going to be in that 35-40 million mark, but the program is still brilliant… For me, every single season that I worked on American Idol, even when we were going downhill last season, has been brilliant. It’s been an honor to work on it.”

For now, Lythgoe is focusing on his other hit show So You Think You Can Dance. Look for Season 13 of American Idol starting in January 2014 on FOX.

Image courtesy FayesVision/

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