Nigel Lythgoe

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And the American Idol vs. The Voice battle rages on!

Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe hopped on a conference call with reporters this morning where he was asked how he felt about the ratings success of The Voice's second season and whether or not it's contributing to American Idol's ratings decline. In typical Lythgoe fashion, his answer may surprise you.

Lythgoe also addressed host Ryan Seacrest's future on Idol and whether Katharine McPhee's Smash will continue to be a, well, smash hit...

"My thoughts on The Voice at the moment are I think it's a fun format. It's very gimmicky, which is interesting at this moment and time. I particularly like the relationship between Blake [Shelton] and Adam [Levine]. Other than that, I think they need stronger talent. We'll see."

While The Voice's ratings are growing, Idol's numbers are down from last season, but Lythgoe isn't worried. "After 11 years, I am thrilled with these ratings. We're constantly compared against ourselves and against our own ratings," he explains. "Of course, there's going to be some kind of deterioration in the ratings. We've now got two major programs in The Voice and The X Factor against us. Whether people like them or dislike them, they're still feeding from the same talent and it's still going to dilute our audience."

When asked what he thought of the series premiere of Smash, NBC's new Broadway-based drama, Lythgoe says, "I think Katharine McPhee is fantastic," before questioning whether viewers will stick with the show. "It's going to be interesting to see if the public stays with it. I'm not sure, it depends on the drama now. I'm not positive America is going to necessarily get a musical show at this time without the campery of Glee, if you like."

MORE: The Voice: Season Off to a Smashing Start, but What About Smash?


Will Hart/NBC

Still, Lythgoe credits Idol for paving the way for a show like Smash to be on the air, saying, "Katharine McPhee is the star of it and Kelly Clarkson is being brought in to mentor on The Voice. I feel like we're turning stars out."

Finally, Lythgoe was asked about Seacrest's future as the host of American Idol and whether the show could survive without him. "There can always be an Idol without anybody," he says. "I'm surprised that question's still being asked after Simon [Cowell] left us when everybody said there wouldn't be an Idol without Simon."

Though the show can go on without him, it doesn't mean Lythgoe wants it to. "Seacrest is probably the best host in the business. Why he hasn't received an Emmy yet, I'm not sure. I hate to think of him leaving American Idol. I think he is the glue that sticks it all together and moves it along," he says. "I don't have anything bad to say about Ryan, apart from he's too good-looking and he's got too much money. I just hope he doesn't leave, to be frank with you. I think they should try and sort out a deal."

Do you think The Voice needs better singers, as Lythgoe suggested? Will you stick with Smash after tuning in to the premiere? Would you like Seacrest to stick around on Idol? Sound off in the comments!

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