With "The Voice," "The X Factor" and the upcoming "Duets," the original "American Idol" is understandably suffering from something of a ratings decline this season.
Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe addressed this concern honestly with reporters on Friday.
"It would be very nice to remain at the top for the next 20 years," he said. "We've been at the top for 11 years. We've got to go somewhere, and the only place we can go is either stay there or go down. I still can't believe that we're still No. 1 after 11 years. The public does get bored with singing shows, and unless you produce the talent, like I believe we've done this year, we'll go down again next year."
Lythgoe also didn't mince words when it came to Joshua Ledet, who looked like a favorite for Tuesday night's final performance show. Why did he get eliminated?
"He didn't get enough votes," he said. "At the end of the day it doesn't matter if I think he's the best, if you think he's the best -- if not enough people do, then he doesn't get the votes."
And despite what some tweeted complaints might've suggested, "at the end of the day it's just like watching a soccer team or your football team and you're just hoping that they're going to win, and if they don't win tough, come back next season," Lythgoe said of "Idol." "At least with this I truly believe that both Colton, actually, and Joshua are going to have good careers."
One thing all of the "Idol" competitors have in common is an element of the celebrity judges also coaching the contestants. Lythgoe was careful to draw a contrast with Jimmy Iovine's role as a mentor.
"I'm not sure people understand the difference between mentoring and judging," he said. "Judging is making a judgment. End of story. 'I didn't like that. I liked it. You were brilliant. You were wonderful. You were crap.' Mentor is, 'Let's look at this song, what does it mean, can you reach this note, can you get down to there, where's the feeling behind that, what are you actually saying, what does this lyric say, what are you wearing, how's your hair going to be?' It's a whole different ball game. What Jimmy does is sit there and do all of that. I don't want him going out there and judging like that when he's been that intimate with the kids. The same with the judges, if they start trying to mentor in that sense I'll lose them."
As soon as "Idol's" season ends on Wednesday, Lythgoe's "So You Think You Can Dance" kicks off on Thursday. With only one show a week this season, changes are afoot.
"The first week of it, nobody will be going home of the top 18 or 20," he explained. "The second week, America will vote, and there are going to be telephone numbers for each one of the dancers."
And, this year will also see "a male winner and a female winner," he said. "At the end of the show, the judges will cut one male and one female from the people that America voted in the bottom three the week before. So in other words, America voting for its favorite dancers will always keep them away from the judges."
Last year's trend of celebrity judges will most certainly continue as well.
"Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] spent a day with me in Los Angeles in the real auditions, where you're looking at everybody, and we had a lot of fun, I must say."
A certain "adork-able" star on the same network as "SYTYCD" may make an appearance as well.
"I'd love a lot of the ones that did it last year to come back. At the [Fox] upfront, I must say I spoke to Zooey Deschanel, who's an ardent fan, and hopefully we'll get her on. I love the fact that people admire the show and love the show and I welcome them to give an opinion. We've got enough technicalities with me and Mary [Murphy], so anybody else there is going to bring fun to the table."