'American Idol' Is About 'Warmth' and 'Eccentricity' This Season, Says Lythgoe

As the cast of "American Idol" season 10 is cut down to 12 finalists, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says "something happened with Jennifer (Lopez) that would have never happened" in prior seasons during Wednesday night's taping. Though Lythgoe would not go into specifics, he indicated that it was a moment of warmth and tenderness, an element he feels the new judges bring to the show.

"This is a different time in society than when 'American Idol' began," Lythgoe said. "We need warmth. The true mark of success (for a show) is in judging the (atmosphere) in society. We need to be warmer and brighter, and we need to think we have a future. Now is the time to have that warmth - along with the eccentricity of a rock star."

Lythgoe was also short on details about future episodes, refusing to make any comment on whether Aerosmith will join Steven Tyler on the show, even though his silence appeared to indicate that the band's appearance is inevitable.

He did clarify a few points about the show, which heads back to solo performances tonight after Wednesday's group performances:

On cameras in the group house: "It will not be 'Big Brother' 24/7 surveillance. The cameras will be in full view. Any way we can find to get across their personality."

On parental coaching: "Everybody's mom is welcome to come in and we also have a lot of professionals giving help - Katharine McPhee's mother has been hired as a vocal coach."

On recent winners struggling with album sales: "Whether the person is going to be successful is not in our hands...We have no control in assisting (their careers) apart from putting them on future shows."

On showing fewer bad singers: "Maybe it's my British humor, but I like smiling at the delusional (people who think they have talent). But often, when we hit the top 20, 50% of the performers the audiences do not know. It was more important this year to follow up on people we might be following (through the competition)."

On the size of the Hollywood talent pool -- 327 singers -- and "soft judging": "At then end of the day, does it help the program that more people (move forward)? (The judges) have to bring it down and...they have been extremely flexible in giving people second and third chances."

On Randy Jackson: "Everyone is focusing on Steven and Jennifer and the role Randy Jackson is playing is being overlooked. He is the anchor. He will move the process along and he is using more words than 'dawg.'"