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Nigel Lythgoe: “Pia Toscano Was Never A Frontrunner”

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

On Friday, "So You Think You Can Dance" held its callback auditions in Las Vegas, but everyone still had a contestant from another reality show on the brain: The night before, belting beauty Pia Toscano had been shockingly booted from "SYTYCD" producer Nigel Lythgoe's other TV talent competition, "American Idol," in what was possibly one of "AI's" most jaw-dropping eliminations ever.

So when I got a little facetime with Nigel in Vegas, I just had to get his take on the surreal situation. His answers, frankly, surprised me--but then again, Nigel's never been one to mince words, on or off the air.

"I know the [voting] results, so I know she was never a frontrunner," revealed Nigel, adding: "The fact of the matter is, it appears that Pia didn't connect with the audience the way we maybe think she did."

Addressing feedback from fans that the elimination process should be changed so that these sorts of results don't happen anymore, Nigel pooh-poohed the possibility of limiting the number of times each fan can vote, but did say: "Maybe if we change the rules next season, maybe do the same thing we do on 'So You Think You Can Dance' that America votes for the bottom three, and then the judges decide who goes home....I think that will be thought about."

As for criticism that the controversial Judges' Save was used "too soon," during Top 11 week, on Casey Abrams, Nigel quickly dismissed that claim, asserting: "I agree with the judges saving Casey. I think Casey is unique, and really good for 'Idol,' and doesn't just give us the same old singer every time; he gives us something totally different. I'm all for that."

And although everyone is still fuming over Pia's unjust elimination, Nigel did have a point when he said, "This is going to happen every week now, because the talent is so strong....every week it's going to happen, that a really strong singer goes." So get ready, diehard 'Idol' fans, because there are many more sad Thursday nights to come.

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