'American Idol': Official word on judges in three weeks?

nigel-lythgoe-american-idol-320.jpg "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says the final, official word on who will judge the contestants this season will come in the next few weeks. He thinks.

Lythgoe spoke with "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest on Seacrest's radio show Thursday (Aug. 19), and he noted that time is getting short to have the judges' deals locked in. Mass auditions have been going on for a few weeks -- Seacrest and Lythgoe are currently in San Francisco for the open calls -- and the judges are scheduled to hit the audition cities starting in September.

"I guess a decision has got to be made within three weeks," Lythgoe says. "I think decisions have been made -- let's be honest about this. I think decisions have been made, and then negotiations happen. ... When you're dealing with stars who have other lives concentrate on, and you say 'I want to take you off the planet and you'll join us on planet "American Idol" for four months,' that's really tough.

"So you've got to let them work everything out, and of course come up with money that they'll appreciate."

Word got out Wednesday that Steven Tyler had signed a contract to judge Season 10, but Lythgoe is sticking to the party line of not commenting until everyone is in place. "I can tell you, Ryan, absolutely nothing," he tells Seacrest. "While negotiations are going on, I'm not at liberty to discuss even who we're negotiating with."

Lythgoe does say that he knows "certain details" about the talks, but that's as close to spilling the beans as he came.

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Photo credit: FOX