Photo Credit: Michael Kovac/FilmMagic;Jon Furniss/WireImage
Simon Cowell isn't typically the one on the receiving end of hearing some harsh criticism, but Nigel Lythgoe just changed that. Lythgoe, who produces American Idol (and created another little reality competition called So You Think You Can Dance) told USMagazine.com that the mood around AI has changed for the better since Cowell's decision to leave.
"The energy in the audition rooms is totally different," Lythgoe said. "You aren't tired at the end of the day, even though we are seeing twice as many kids as we did in the past. We are enjoying it; we are laughing."
Another not-so-surprising revelation: More talent is getting through without Cowell's judgment. "We've had some incredible country voices -- in truth, Simon would have gotten rid of them straight-away because he wasn't a country fan," Lythgoe divulged (though we think Carrie Underwood would beg to differ!).
But, the biggest shift in the preliminary rounds? Idol hopefuls are no longer being judged on their looks. "It's not about saying, 'You are carrying too much weight, you don't look like an American Idol.' What I see is warmth and artistic understanding of the person standing in front of them," he says.
And it seems as though Lythgoe already likes new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez more than Cowell. The producer recently twittered: "Steven Tyler is a rock'n'roll rogue. He's #*#*ing hilarious. I'll have to bleep a few choice words though." Lythgoe also told US that the Aerosmith front man lets down contestants kindly. "He'll say, 'I hear your soul. But it's not in the voice of American Idol. Thanks so much for coming," Lythgoe explains.
In case you had any doubts that American Idol hadn't moved on from Cowell, Lythgoe reiterated that the former judge -- who has moved on to X-Factor -- "is not involved at all" next season. "He's never been a producer. Simon Fuller created Idol. Simon Cowell has never had a producer credit. He just got too big for his boots."
Do you think American Idol will be better or worse without Simon Cowell? Chime in below!