E! Online reported yesterday (February 12, 2012) that Nigel Lythgoe has accused The Voice and X Factor of 'diluting' audience figures for American Idol. In a conference call with reporters, the Idol executive said that it was inevitable that ratings from the show would have dropped, because whether or not people like The Voice and X factor, "they're still feeding from the same talent and it's still going to dilute our audience."
When asked what he thought of The Voice, (which is currently performing well in the ratings war and experienced an impressive viewer count of 17.7 million viewers on average during its 2 hour post-Super Bowl show), Lythgoe called it "very gimmicky" and suggested that they need "stronger talent" if they want to keep their viewers on board. He did admit though, that he liked the relationship between Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Nigel also pointed out that the stars of NBC's hit programmes The Voice and the musical theatre drama Smash actually feature former stars of American Idol (Kelly Clarkson is being brought in as a mentor on The Voice and former Idol alumni Katharine Mcphee stars in Smash). Lythgoe commented "I feel like we're turning stars out."
When questioned about the role that Ryan Seacrest plays in the success of American Idol, Lythgoe explained that no one is indispensible on the show: "'m surprised that question's still being asked after Simon (Cowell) left us when everybody said there wouldn't be an Idol without Simon." He admitted, though, that he doesn't want Seacrest to leave the show, calling him "the glue that sticks it all together." The latest episode of American Idol is scheduled to air tonigh, February 8, 2012)