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.

Woman Lover

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."

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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]