Talent shows are in trouble. American Idol has been struggling for a couple seasons, The X Factor USA was canceled earlier this year, Rising Star was a ratings flop, and even the most successful show of the bunch, The Voice, has failed so far to produce a major recording star. But while former Idol producer and current So You Think You Can Dance producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe admits that television is “cyclical,” he hasn’t given up on the talent-show genre.
[Related: Ricky Ubeda Wins SYTYCD Season 11]
“It needs courage from the networks [to greenlight a new talent show] that are watching so many other shows fail,” Nigel told Yahoo Music’s Reality Rocks Wednesday night after the SYTYCD Season 11 finale. “But that doesn’t mean that the public doesn’t want it. I think a lot of people out there want that. You’ve just got to be careful that you put the right talent in front of the camera — and not ignore the talent. There’s so many gimmicks on these shows that we’re forgetting what the real idea of the show is, which is to promote the talent out there! It’s about [the contestants]. It’s not about the judges; it’s not about gimmicks. It’s about talent. And I think everyone can respect that.
“When you see people like Susan Boyle, who you just don’t anticipate is going to be that good, it leaves you open-mouthed when you hear them sing. And that’s what we need to be finding. Let’s not get lazy with the talent search. Don’t just look on the Web and think you can find the talent. Go out and find it. It’s there!”
[Related: A Day With SYTYCD Choreographers Nappytabs]
While many TV talent shows get dismissed by music critics and rock snobs, Nigel thinks they serve real purpose when it comes to the arts. “For me, any way that we can show the talent that is in this country that is somewhat being ignored the education system [is a good thing],” he said Wednesday. “That’s very sad for a generation of kids that are so talented. We will never again, unless we’re careful, get the sort of talent that has been there in the Stevie Wonders, in the Michael Jacksons. So unless we keep these platforms, we might lose that, and that would be a great shame.”
Nigel is currently developing several new talent shows, and his “fingers are crossed” that a meeting with Fox next week will lead to the perpetually on-the-bubble SYTYCD getting renewed for a 12th season.