“American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe is starting to sound like a scorned spouse when it comes to Simon Cowell, whose career he launched on a British talent show in 2001.
Except instead of quibbling over the way the children are being raised, Lythgoe is taking shots at their formerly shared reality TV ventures.
Lythgoe said Cowell’s new American “X Factor” didn’t really count as a talent show, and that on the British version, some acts succeeded because of the “circus” of them. (He cited Jedward and Wagner, for you British reality TV fans out there.)
“Simon knows what he’s doing. It certainly gives the press something to feed off. But it destroys the integrity of the show,” Lythgoe told Radio Times in the UK.
Lythgoe implied Cowell’s departure from their shared show has turned out to be a good thing. “In a way, I’m delighted Simon’s left ‘American Idol.’ He’s given us the opportunity to refurbish it,” he said.
He bragged that the singing competition was thriving. “The ratings are equal to last year’s, we got 30 million votes the other evening and if we lost 50% of our audience we would still be the number one show.”
Lythgoe seemed happy with the combination of new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. “Does there always need to be a ‘nasty’ judge? No, now that Simon’s left “American Idol” we don’t have a mean person and everyone’s saying this is the best season since the early days.”
No word from Cowell on Lythgoe’s comments, presumably he’s busy counting his share of the piles of money the pair have made.
Cowell’s American version of “X Factor” is set to premiere in the fall on Fox, with music producer L.A. Reid as one of the four judges. Former “Idol” judge Paula Abdul is also rumored to be on the short list.