Idol' Producer Still Wants Elton John as Judge

Nigel Lythgoe also says that Ellen DeGeneres was not "given a fair opportunity"

August 30, 2010 3:57 PM ET

The revamped judges panel for American Idol's coming season should be announced in early September, but conflicting messages about the lineup are still coming from within the show. Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and current judge Randy Jackson are apparently locked in for two of the three seats, but executive producer Nigel Lythgoe still seems to have his heart set on Elton John, whose touring schedule and high cost likely mean he won't join the show. When Deadline Hollywood asked him to confirm that Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, another rumored candidate, will come to Idol, Lythgoe responded instead by saying, "I must say, I really do love Elton John."

Lythgoe also addressed Ellen DeGeneres's exit, which came at the end of last season. "I'm sorry she's gone, to be honest with you, because I think there's a place for Ellen DeGeneres on American Idol," he tells Deadline. "And that is being the voice of the people. She wasn't given a fair opportunity to serve that function. Ellen was constantly apologizing and overwhelmed, I think, by Simon. There was no chemistry between she and the rest of the panel, but to my mind it wasn't her fault. She was misused. And I'm sorry that turned out to be the case."

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