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Nigel Lythgoe Returning to American Idol

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E! Upfront, Nigel Lythgoe
E! Upfront, Nigel Lythgoe Dimitrios Kambouris/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images for E!

The head honcho is coming back.

After months of negotiations, Nigel Lythgoe will return as executive producer of American Idol next season, E! News exclusively confirms.

An official announcement will be made soon.

Take that, Simon Cowell! Idol finalist Mandisa shows off 100-pound weight loss!

Due to the prolonged negotiation, a show source tells E! News that production is "way behind normal schedule," and that the first thing on Nigel's to-do list is to "lock in judges."

There have been numerous rumors as to who would join Mariah Carey on Idol

Recently, Miley Cyrus' name was thrown into the mix, but that has since been taken off. E! News confirms that Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Enrique Iglesias are all still in the discussion for the retooled four-person judging panel, but no one is signed yet. As for that last of the original judges, Randy Jackson, he's expected to be back but in a reduced capacity, presumably in the role of mentor, provided producers can land fresh talent.

So who's it going to be Lythgoe?

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Let's take a look back at last season's finale

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