The So You Think You Can Dance judge posted the news last Saturday that he was fired, which clearly took the music icon by surprise: “Just had 10 days in the Bahamas, rain everyday. I get back to the States and get fired. Sad!” he wrote on Twitter. “Monday we choose our top 20. I’ll smile again.”
But he’s not going out with a few last words to make his departure official, in a statement obtained by Celebuzz:
“It has been a tremendous honor to launch and build American Idol over the course of a decade and to see it recognized with 51 nominations and 6 Emmy Awards including the Academy’s highest honor, the Governors Award,” said Lythgoe. “To be a part of the spin-off program, ‘IDOL GIVES BACK’ was incredible. As well as raising nearly $200 million for various charities it was a personal life-changing experience for me. It also provided me with the opportunity to produce and direct a magical sequence with Celine Dion together with Elvis Presley. This continues to be one of the highlights of my entire career.
“Over the years, I believe we have changed the face of American television forever and eventually created a true global phenomenon. It has been inspiring to find and launch the careers of artists ranging from Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Phillip Phillips and many more, spanning all musical styles and genres.
“I am truly saddened to be leaving a great team of friends and colleagues. However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to maintain this incredible platform for America’s young talent. This will only happen with the success of the program. If the executives that are now in charge of American Idol believe that the ratings will improve with my departure, I have no complaints. It has been a great ride and I’ve loved every moment of it.
“After dedicating over 12 years to Idol I look forward to continuing work on my beloved So You Think You Can Dance, which is going strong in its 10th season. In addition, this will allow me more time to devote to Nigel Lythgoe Productions and our exciting new partnership with Shine America.”
Among the judging switch-a-roo, the show has reportedly inked a deal with AI alum and Oscar-winning singer Jennifer Hudson to head up the panel for season 13, according to E!. Others rumored to fill the vacant seats are season 10 judge Jennifer Lopez and even more alums Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambertor Clay Aiken.