'American Idol's' Nigel Lythgoe would have Paula Abdul back 'in a heartbeat'

nigel-lythgoe-getty.jpg Nigel Lythgoe is reportedly returning to "American Idol" as an executive producer. He tells Variety that he wants to bring back Paula Abdul if he can.

"I still love Paula," Lythgoe said. "She's signed to CBS, probably exclusively, but I'd recommend we have her in a heartbeat."

But that doesn't mean he's not in favor of the rumors about Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joining the show. "They can knock her film career, but (audiences) know she's a good actress. And as J-Lo she had some great pop records. If she joins, I'm happy," Lythgoes says of Lopez.

As for Tyler, Lythgoe is a fan of his wild side.

"He has come through that whole rock 'n' roll circus. Why wouldn't you want a legend there? You never know what he's going to say. That, as a TV producer, you're interested in."

He also pays current judge Randy Jackson a bit of a back-handed compliment, calling him the show's "barnacle."

One thing he knows the show needs to get  back to is focusing on the contestants.

"My concerns were over the last couple of years, we've lost sight of the fact that the most important people on the show are the young artists. It revolved around Kara coming in to make four judges, which often left no time for them to talk. Then it was about Paula leaving, and then about Ellen joining," says Lythgoe.

To read the rest of the interview, head over to Variety.

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