“American Idol’s” former Executive Producer, Nigel Lythgoe, said he plans to meet with Paula Abdul in the coming days to discuss potential opportunities for the now-former reality show judge.
During a FOX Television Critics Association panel in Pasadena, Calif., on Thursday to promote his current show, “So You Think You Can Dance,” Nigel revealed he spoke with Paula and the two will meet up in Las Vegas this coming weekend.
“I spoke to her yesterday morning… And I said we were going to Vegas for [‘SYTYCD’] Season 6 this weekend and what was she doing? Did she want a break?’” Nigel told reporters. “And she’s coming out to me and we’re going to talk about the opportunities there are out there.”
At least one opportunity that could head Paula’s way is a guest judging slot on “SYTYCD,” but Nigel clarified that there were no plans to expand the judging panel on his current show from two permanent seats.
“At this moment in time we’re talking about opportunities, not just as a judge on this program, but opportunities for Paula. So that’s what I’d like to continue with,” Nigel explained. “With this program, Mary [Murphy] and I are the solid full time judges…I’m not a huge fan… of four judges. I don’t mind a fourth guest judge every now and again, but four judges on any panel — it should never be about the judges, it should be about the talent that’s up there…. So no, at this moment in time I’m not talking about filling a third chair or a fourth chair.”
Although the executives at FOX confirmed on Thursday they plan to replace Paula, following her Tweet earlier this week announcing she wasn’t returning to “American Idol,” Nigel, who worked with Paula for seven seasons of the show, said he thinks she could still come back.
Nigel told reporters that Paula could potentially get back into negotiations by noting that her announcement wasn’t a traditionally recognized form of business communication.
”[She could say] ‘I didn’t do this officially. It was on a Tweet. I was emotional when I did it. Can we carry on talking? My attorney hasn’t gotten back to your attorney,’” Nigel suggested. “Hopefully she’ll go back. But I know Kara’s booked, isn’t she, so they’ve got the three judges anyway.”
When asked if Kara DioGuardi, who was brought on as a judge last season, played a role in Paula’s leaving, Nigel said her addition didn’t help matters.
“I suppose it opened up the little dysfunctional family,” he said. “It brought in the step-sister.”
Nigel said if Paula’s announcement is the final word, her departure from “Idol” has a Beatles-esque quality to it.
“It’s sad to see anything like that break up. I mean, I felt when Paul McCartney decided he was going to leave the Beatles, ‘It’s like, ‘You can’t do that. How dare you!’ It’s a bit like that with Paula,” Nigel said.