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Former "American Idol" Producer Responds To Abdul's Stalker Claims

December 12, 2008 11:29 AM ET

Former American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has responded to Paula Abdul's claims that the show's producers put her in an uncomfortable position by allowing her stalker to audition because of the encounter's "entertainment value." "[Paula Goodspeed] had been through an audition process with the producers, an audition process with the executive producers, and we were wheeling her in as a huge fan of Paula Abdul," Lythgoe said. "This is what we knew: She was a great fan, she was a lovely girl. And a great fan of Paula."

Goodspeed later committed suicide in front of Abdul's home following a string of threatening letters addressed to Abdul. As for whether Abdul asked producers not to let Goodspeed audition, "This is three years ago. I honestly say I can't remember the conversation. If Paula said, that's what she said, I believe her," Lythgoe said. "We've seen over 700,000 contestants. And one has made a terrible, terrible mistake. If you're an odds man, they are great odds," he added. Lythgoe left American Idol this past summer to concentrate on So You Think You Can Dance? and Superstars of Dance.

Related Stories:
Paula Abdul Criticizes "American Idol" Producers For Allowing Stalker To Audition
Paula Abdul Fan Found Dead Outside "American Idol" Judge's House
Cowell, Abdul Send Condolences to Jennifer Hudson

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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