photo: FoxSpeaking backstage to Yahoo!'s Reality Rocks at this week's "So You Think You Can Dance" finale, show producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe was quick to admit that he frequently caught flak this season from "SYTYCD" fans on Twitter--sometimes for supporting untrained finalist Cyrus Spencer, and then later for openly championing eventual winner Chehon Wespi-Tschopp instead. But the discussion, of course, soon turned to Nigel's other show, "American Idol," since viewers have had plenty to say on Twitter about "Idol"s new judges--particularly the very polarizing Nicki Minaj.
"Nobody knows what they're like as judges. So let [viewers] judge once they see the judges! At this moment in time, they have no right to say anything, because they haven't seen how [Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban] judge, or how they handle themselves. I have to say, I have never, ever had as good a first ['Idol'] day as we had on Sunday with the judges. I think they are articulate, they're smart, they're witty, and they give good constructive criticism. So I'm really not worried about what anyone thinks on Twitter."
The new "Idol" judges [photo: Fox]As for ongoing, TMZ-perpetuated rumors that Mariah and Nicki are already catfighting, Nigel laughed those off. "I'm having a response with [TMZ's] Harvey Levin at the moment, where he's saying, 'I've got someone in the camp there, and I know [Mariah and Nicki] are at each other's throats!' No, they're not. 'Mariah was pissed because Nicki was 45 minutes late'? No, she wasn't--we were all pissed because Nicki was 45 minutes late! It was like the first day at school and I was the principal, smacking legs. It's all in the fun of it. I really think it's going to be a great season."
Nigel, aka @dizzyfeet, has never been shy on Twitter himself, surprisingly and unfiltered-ly confronting his haters in ALL CAPS and famously (almost affectionately) referring to them as "morons"--when other reality judges, like Simon Cowell or Christina Aguilera, would be more likely to just hit the "Block" function and move on. Explaining his online outspokenness, Nigel shrugged, "If you ever worry about what anybody's saying about you, you will never judge. Because the hardest thing in the world is to judge somebody...I'm going to give my opinion, and if you disagree with it, fine. It just gets sometimes a little cruel, and extremely rude, when people [on Twitter] don't have to take responsibility for what they say. It's upsetting. I love people being passionate and fighting for what they believe in, but there's no need for people to be as foul-mouthed as they are. Anyone who says, 'F*** you, you old f***, I am never watching your program again'--it's got nothing to do with me! But I could be having a big row with some 6-year-old in Wisconsin, I don't know."
See Nigel discuss Season 9's "SYTYCD" finale results, "SYTYCD's" longshot Emmy chances for this Sunday, and his thoughts on the new "Idol" panel, in his full interview below.
- Chehon Wespi-Tschopp & Eliana Girard make "SYTYCD" history
- The pros & cons of Nicki Minaj joining "American Idol"
- More on "So You Think You Can Dance"