Now that Paula Abdul has announced she won’t be returning as a judge on the upcoming ninth season of “American Idol,” the question is what she will do next. If she finds herself hard up for work, Abdul can always turn to former “Idol” show-runner Nigel Lythgoe.
At Tuesday night’s taping of the finale of “So You Think You Can Dance,” Lythgoe was asked about Paula’s departure, and he repeated the invitation he had previously extended to her to be a guest judge and choreographer on the show, which he executive produces.
“We’ve certainly invited her here, and we’ve invited her to do some choreography this season as well,” Lythgoe told Yahoo! Music. “We just haven’t been able to get it together at the moment, obviously because negotiations with Fox have been at the top of her mind.”
Last month, Lythgoe told the New York Daily News that he would be open to having Abdul as a guest judge, should her “Idol” negotiations fall apart. A spot on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” would probably be a better fit for Abdul, whose career as a dancer and choreographer has been far more distinguished than her singing career. But it would definitely be a step down: While “So You Think You Can Dance” is a hit, the show averages just shy of 6 million viewers, and though the “Idol” numbers have been down compared to past seasons, it still averages 30 million pairs of eyeballs every week.
Lythgoe helped launch “American Idol” back in 2000 but left the show last year to focus solely on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Abdul, meanwhile, was the only female member of the judging team on “Idol” until the arrival of Kara DioGuardi last season. “So You Think You Can Dance” features Lythgoe and ballroom-dance champion Mary Murphy in the permanent judges’ chairs, with a third seat reserved for guest judges like Debbie Allen and Adam Shankman.
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