Nigel Lythgoe on Ellen DeGeneres: 'Idol stole her from us'

So You Think You Can Dance judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told EW that American Idol “stole” Ellen DeGeneres from his show so he’ll “steal” Paula Abdul as a guest judge in the future. Talking from the red carpet of Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmys in Los Angeles, Lythgoe said though he “loved” having DeGeneres on the Fox dance show (“We hope she will still be able to come and help us out from time to time”) Lythgoe said it would be a “great idea” to have Abdul join the SYTYCD team in the near future. “I’d prefer Paula,” he said. “I think it is a great idea to put her on.”

But Lythgoe was quick to add that DeGeneres will be a valued addition to Idol. “What it does is give the public, who are the people who decide in the end who is crowned the victor, a voice on the judges panel and they have never had that before,” the former Idol producer told EW. “They already have industry experts, musicians and producers and songwriters represented and Ellen will be that judge who comes at it from a fan perspective. She loves music and she will be able to speak about what people will like and what would sound good on the radio. And she’s funny. And I also think she is strong enough to keep Simon in his place, which I am always worried about.” —With reporting from Carrie Bell


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  • Leann

    How can Ellen be the voice of the people when she lives in her 20 million dollar mansion in the Hollywood hills??? She simply does not belong on the panel at American Idol. Why can’t anyone in Hollywood admit that??

    • kristinb2

      You don’t think Simon Cowell lives in a $20+ million dollar mansion? I agree 100% with fancynancy.

  • fancynancy

    When they say “voice of the people” the mean as a FAN. So what if she’s rich, doesn’t mean she doesn’t care any less or more than the rest of us. I look forward to seeing her.

  • sara

    why in the world would SYTYCD want her so bad when she was HORRIBLE when she was on the show the first time?? what is wrong with these people?? oh right, they are morons.

    • Gemini

      Agreed that she was horrible. Ellen was a one joke pony on SYTYCD and I expect more of the same on AI. I don’t but the producers “voice of the people” reason at all. The producers clearly see the addition of Ellen as free daily promotion of AI on her talk show.

    • kristy

      She was too busy trying to be funny than give an honest critique and her comments were way too long.

  • o

    im sick of reading about idol and ellen. i dont care. i dont plan to watch it. simon is probably gonna leave after season 9 and then idol will go from dying, to dead, anyway. i cannot wait to see Paula on SYTYCD!!

    • Jason

      If you hate the articles, don’t read them dummy

  • hi

    am I the only one who noticed SIMON hasnt commented on Ellen yet? its been almost a week with no word from mr honest guy. I think that says it all. Even if SImon eventually comments, the fact that he still hasnt tells me he doesnt give a damn about idol anymore. I think he will leave after season 9. He doesnt need Idol, he can easily start another show, hopefully with Paula, and steal all the viewers away from Idol starring Randy, Kara, Ellen. And then Paula and SImon would be working for themselves and not for Fuller anymore! Right now, Simon is Fullers’s slave in America and you would think he would be sick of that after 8 years. Im crossing my fingers.

    • Veronica

      That’s wrong. He made a comment last week. Google it.

  • Emily

    American Idol will NOT stay nr 1 without PAULA. Idol is the kind of show that NEEDS a star who creates MOMENTS for it to remain nr 1. PAULA was that star. She has created moment after moment of buzz worthy TV. She has single hand put this show in the headlines again and again. Ellen has NEVER created a single TV moment in her entire career- and she isnt about to start now, because you either have IT or you dont. Paula has IT. Ellen doesnt. Idol nr 1= 2002-2009.

    • Me

      Ummm… what about coming out on her sitcom?

      • T

        Yeah, Ellen has made TV history in her career, Paula’s moments were just drunken blathering.

        Seriously though, when was Paula ever liked before Kara came. All I ever heard were complaints about Paula and how Simon made the show.

        Kara shows up and suddenly Paula has throngs of adoring fans?

    • Sean

      Ellen has not created a single TV moment? How about when she made the cover of Time magazine when she aired her “coming out” episode?! Or when she received glowing praise for hosting the Emmys after 9-11?! Or when she won 4 straight Daytime Emmys for her talk show?! Or when she became the only personality to host all the major award shows (Emmys, Grammys and Oscars!!) Congrats on your new gig Ellen. I hope it goes well for all parties involved.

  • Mags

    If Ellen is a fan, she should remain a fan, and watch it from home- like the rest of us. The kids on the show deserve better, and there are people that are far more qualified in the music industry to sit on that panel.
    I think it is a selfish move on Ellen’s part. I agree, she cannot be the voice of the public, she is very out of touch, and I agree, money has something to do with it. Ellen has also has shown disrespect for the industry by violating copyright laws.
    I think it is a bad move and is an insult to all professional musicians.

  • Beth

    I agree, Simon not commenting on Ellen’s new Idol gig speaks VOLUMES.

  • jenn

    Why do we need a “voice of the people” when we all already know what we’re thinking, we don’t need Ellen speaking for us. It’s like their saying the judges think one way (read: the “right” way) and America thinks another way (read: we’re a bunch of hicks that thinks everything sounds good, and oh yeah, that Simon fella is so mean and never speaks the truth). Ellen’s “voice” on SYTYCD was about as useless as a box of hair, telling everyone she liked their routine and “are you a carpenter? because you nailed it!”). Give me a break! If I had my way, Simon would be the only one allowed to speak, and that includes Ryan and most of the contestants. Nothing against Ellen, but she has her reputation of being nice and a friend to everybody to worry about, so she will never tell the truth on Idol if it means being controversal.

  • gio88888

    wowwwwwwwwwww..i think paula is a great dancer and choreographer.she’s perfect for sytycd
    ellen is funny..but she can’t be a Idol’s judge ..she hasn’t background..i’m also an idol fan but i’m not able to be an idol judge..it’s a big mistake..fox is worried for ratings but what about contestants?? they need paula !

  • addiesmith

    simon how could you let this happen to her. your the master of the show and you let us all down. i wont be watching anymore

  • debra

    if AI is looking for the voice of the people…why not audition a judge the same way the do the singers..

  • Shel

    I would prefer Paula back on AI, period. That said, I really am not that up-in-arms over Ellen being a judge. The SYTYCD was a one-time thing and it was obvious they didn’t actually expect her to give critique, she was there as a comic. It will be different for Idol, I’m sure. The part that really bothers me is Lythgoe claiming again he would want Paula on his judging panel. No, no, no, hell to the no! She is a complete joke. She belongs on AI if anywhere.

  • Me

    I think Paula could be good for SYTYCD. She’s a better dancer/coreographer than singer (look to her “performance” on rock week results night for proof). As far as Ellen on AI goes, I think I’ll do a wait and see with this one.

  • kate

    I like Ellen.. But I don’t think she is a right choice for being Idol judge.

    I believe people who has voice would like to be judged by the real singing artist..

    • Sean

      …a real singing artist….like Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell?!

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