At least that's what American Idol's returning producer Nigel Lythgoe tell us…
"There are no roles to play," Lythgoe said last night at the Carousel of Hope Ball at the Beverly Hilton hotel. "Randy is Randy. People have said to me, ‘Who's the new Simon?' Well, Simon's Simon. There's no one else like Simon…Randy has become the elder statesman now. He is the one that says, ‘Who do you think?' He's taken control of the panel."
And for the .009 percent of you who don't know already, that panel consists of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. "Terrific," Lythgoe said when asked how the newbie judges are doing. "Jennifer has been through it. She started with nothing and became a star. That's exactly what these kids want to do. They're quite awe-struck when they walk in the room. She is beautiful."
Lythgoe says he's planning on changing the show "quite a bit."
"Like those whole middle rounds where you get to choose from 34 and you don't know who they are," he said. "We're going to try to get more of a sense of the singers, so we care a little more."
Last night's gala, presented by Mercedes-Benz and benefiting the Barbara Davi Center for Childhood Diabetes, honored Quincy Jones and Maria Shriver.