Now, this could be interesting.
"I'm back because it was tough being away," Nigel told USA Today. "And it was tough to watch things going down. I was never happy with the four judges, and I was watching the chemistry sort of be lost."
But there's one familiar, friendly face that Nigel (as well as many longtime "Idol" viewers like myself) would like to see return to the judging table.
Actually, Nigel, who recently defused rumors that he might judge "Idol" himself, would like to take the focus off the judges altogether. He explained to USA Today: "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." Nigel also doesn't dig the idea of having guest judges, even though they played a prominent role during "Idol's" Season 9 Paula-less audition rounds and are a regular part of the "SYTYCD" format. Nigel simply wants to refocus on the contestants: "At the end of the day, the fundamental thing about 'American Idol' is that you take the burger-flipper [editor's note: or paint salesman!] and turn him into a star, with America's help in choosing."
Nigel helmed "Idol" when it was in its heyday, so he just may be the man to restore the faded series to its former luster. ("Nigel helped to define the show I created almost 10 years ago, mentoring our judging panel and nurturing our talent," show creator Simon Fuller told Variety. "His unbridled passion has been missed...I felt it was an important time to collaborate with Nigel once again to help redefine 'American Idol.') But Nigel has a tough job cut out, even for him: "Idol" ratings were down 9 percent and "Idol"-related Yahoo! searches were down a whopping 43 percent last season, and subsequent Season 9 iTunes downloads and ticket sales for the 2010 Idols Live Tour also nosedived. And despite Nigel's desire to shift the focus off the judges, many viewers (including, to a point, myself) truly do feel that without main judge Simon Cowell, there IS no "American Idol."
Which brings us back to that aforementioned rumored Nigel/Simon feud. When Simon Cowell left his original judging job on Britain's "Pop Idol" in 2004, it was a death knell for the program, which was basically displaced and replaced by Simon's hugely successful new talent show, "The X Factor." And now Simon has made the same move in the U.S., planning to launch the Stateside version of "The X Factor" in 2011. So get ready for Nigel and his alleged nemesis to engage the ultimate battle of the Brits for reality ratings next year.
Like I said, this could be interesting. Bring it on.
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