Exclusive Podcast: ‘Idol’ Producer Defends Simon

Apr 18, 2007  •  Post A Comment

In this week’s exclusive Backlot Talk, “American Idol” showrunner Nigel Lythgoe vehemently opposes the attacks made on Simon Cowell after Tuesday’s episode showed the judge seemingly rolling his eyes as contestant Chris Richardson gave a message of encouragement to friends at Virginia Tech.

“What upsets me a great deal about this is: Who on Earth would make a face about Virginia Tech like that? Nobody,” the producer said. “So this disparaging remark that’s been said about this is just disgusting as far as I’m concerned.”

Mr. Lythgoe went on to say that Simon was in fact responding to what Mr. Richardson had said about singing nasally on purpose. Mr. Cowell hadn’t understood the remark, so he turned to Paula for clarification. After she recounted what the singer had said, that is when the eye rolling took place.

“Paula’s listening to what Chris is saying, Simon isn’t,” Mr. Lythgoe said. “He’s talking across it. And we’ll actually show it on tonight’s show and put an end to this.”

The producer also said they had discussed before the show aired whether or not to mention the recent shootings, concluding that they would — thus Mr. Cowell’s comments after Blake Lewis performed. The crew even went on to discuss gun laws and other tragedies across schools nationwide.

“As far as I’m concerned, we’re an entertainment show,” he said. “We should be taking people away from the tragedies of their lives. However we all felt at the end of the discussion that we had to take the mood of the country into consideration, and the country was thinking about this terrible disaster.”

“But these naysayers who have got a thing either against ‘Idol’ or Simon just need to shut up, especially in a situation like this where the whole country is devastated by something,” Mr. Lythgoe said. “To condemn Simon for doing that…nobody whatsoever would do that.”

For the full interview with Mr. Lythgoe, go to TVWeek.com’s Backlot Talk to listen to the podcast.

(Editor: Romanelli)