Nigel Lythgoe Defends Carly Smithson

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As we reported a few weeks ago, American Idol finalist Carly Smithson is no stranger to the music business.

The Irish crooner released a CD in 2001 entitled "Ultimate High." Despite a $2 million promotional campaign from MCA records, the album tanked. Now, Carly is getting another shot at stardom on Idol.

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Many fans believe this to be unfair. But executive produce Nigel Lythgoe doesn't understand the controversy.

"We have never not shown their past when we can," Lythgoe told reporters during a conference call Friday, claiming the show never intended on hiding Smithson's professional background. "There is nothing wrong with saying she had a deal and she didn't get anywhere in that deal and now here she is. I've got no problems with that whatsoever."

Do you care that Carly Smithson had a recording contract years ago? Chime in now in our American Idol forum!

According to show rules, contestants simply must be free from any recording contracts when they audition.

"[Fellow American Idol 7 Top 24 semifinalist] David Archuleta won [the CBS Star Search revival] Arsenio Hall [hosted] when he was 11. That's fantastic. That's all part of their careers," said Lythgoe. "I'm not worried about that. I don't honestly know what the angle is, because all we're saying is this girl is extremely talented. It's within the rules of the competition. What's wrong with it. She's not broken any rules."

In the end, Nigel reasoned, fans will have the final say.

"They're going to have to decide, 'Is she good enough to be on the show?' It's not what's happened in her past. She's not breaking any rules of the competition. I don't see the logic. I don't see any logic in there."


She is amazing talent, she has a amazing and beautiful voice and she was the best singer in the America Idol Contest. SHE IS A BRILLIANT GIRL. PLEASE, give her a second chance...she really deserve it. ***CARLY, YOU WILL WIN THIS GAME AND YOU WILL BE VERY SUCCESSFUL LOVE YOU AND YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY FAVORITE IDOL . GOD BLESS


Everyone who doens't like carly.. or who used to like her but don't anymore because of the so called "lying".. well.. put yourselves in her shoes.. what would you have done?? given up on your dream because of one failure?? life gives you more than one shot at things and AI gave her another one!! big deal!! if she can get something good out of it then why does anyone have to HATE her! doesnt that sound utterly stupid??!! anyway.. if youre still stuck on your conservative thought then ive got a compass pointing straight up... SIT ON IT!!


I used to like carly, but when she pretended not being familiar about what is going on inside the recording studio (when AI showed the contestants recording longer versions of their songs for iTunes) is just one FAT LIE (maybe more fat than she is). Does Nigel think Americans are all stupid and buying this pretensions about Carly who spent time (and $2.2 Million) inside a recording studio for a failed CD?


Nigel is lying! I re-watched Carly's audition video and I was truly disappointed. Carly was pictured as an amateur. I feel cheated that majority of the contestants in the current season were "pimped" as "discoveries" thru auditions. The AI producers were "silent" about their pasts, to lure viewers into the mistaken belief that someone like Carly hurdled the auditions. She appears "planted" by the producers.


I am tired of people who don't understand AI is not an Amateur show. It is an unsigned talent show period. Its only unfair if you are cluless about the rules and the history of the show.


I think Carly is the best singer in the competition, but now with the exposure she has gotten, someone oughta pick her up and give her a second chance. Now let the other contestants AMATUER contestants have a chance. I was in love with her from the beginning, but now I do not think she belongs there. I am VERY disappointed to learn all of this about her. Too bad she didn't get promoted properly before, I would buy her album now!


If Nigel has so much power, then why not just get her to record a new album without AI? There are plenty of well-promoted "new" artitsts out there. It's not fair to the people with talent that really need the show to get noticed.


Just shows what a fraud AI really is - nearly half of the Season 7 contestants seem to have past professional entertainment backgrounds, several of the Top-50 - like Carly were CLEARLY "Plants" with past record deals. Its a shame they can't actually be promoting UNDISCOVERED talent over RECYCLED talent.


carly is amazing and i think we all missed out on something amazing with her previous album! she is my absolute favorite and i think she deserves to be right where she is!


You are absolutely correct Mr. Litygoe. Give her a second chance, otherwise, she would not audition with the idol if she's got the success. Everybody deserves a second chance. She's got the voice and the personality.

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American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]