American Idol: Nigel Lythgoe Speaks Out
At the recent FOX press tour, American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe admitted that he and other producers made mistakes with American Idol last season.  The biggest regret, in Lythgoe's mind, was the amount of time spent featuring celebrity guests, rather than getting to know the individual contestants.  Nigel Lythgoe, who along with his Idol duties is the head judge and executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance, a show that he says Idol can learn from.  Here are a few of his remarks.

On the overuse of celebrity mentors:

''We realized we made mistakes on Idol last season. We were so engrossed with the mentors and didn't really focus on the Melinda Doolittles of the show. We didn't know them as much as the Kellie Picklers of last season.''

On what So You Think You Can Dance is doing better than Idol:

''We're all attached to them a little more [Dance's contestants]. I think that's affected us all a little bit more. There are little emotional hooks that come out.''

On Sanjaya and the So You Think You Can Dance top ten:

''There isn't a Sanjaya here, although I do think Sanjaya helped the last season of Idol. I think there's enough talent with enough great stories to warrant the fact that we are basing it on their talent. No one needs to alter their hair on this program.''

Lythgoe also admits that the producers are always ready and willing to tinker with American Idol.  Personally, doing away with the intense focus on the celebrity mentors would be a welcome change.  Their appearances are solely motivated by self-publicity, and it always forces the contestants into narrow genres of music.  They should either do away with them completely or scale them back to once every couple of weeks.

What do you think?  Should American Idol mess with a good thing?  Should celebrity mentors be a part of Idol or not?

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)