E! Upfront, Nigel Lythgoe

Dimitrios Kambouris/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images for E!

"It was embarrassing for everybody."

Though he released an official statement earlier in the day, recently fired executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is opening up about his "embarrassing" exit from American Idol. Lythgoe chatted with reporters on the red carpet at the third annual Critics' Choice Awards on Monday night, where he says he learned of his dismissal from the Fox reality series while on vacation from reading the report online. "It was embarrassing for everybody," he admitted.

The So You Think You Can Dance exec-producer and judge went on to speak candidly about Idol's chances of cancellation and season 13's judging panel drama. Plus, what does he think of Idol alum Jennifer Hudson returning as a judge?!

Of the reports that Hudson and other famous Idol contestants will be sitting at the judges' table in season 13, Lythgoe said, "I don't know," before stressing the importance of screen tests, citing original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson's chemistry.

"I believe in getting people together, testing their chemistry which is what I did with Randy, Paula and Simon," he explained. "After that whoever you bring in is a risk because we've saw it happen before. Its one of those things, you don't know how anybody's going to be as a judge. You could be the greatest singer in the world that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a good judge."

Lythgoe added, "That little team, Randy, Paula and Simon, again are the template for judges forever now." When it was suggested that the struggling Fox series try to lure back the original three judges, Lyhgoe said "maybe they should!"

When asked if it will be weird to see another person at the helm, Lythgoe told E! News, "Of course, and I'm saddened from that point of view. I suppose both Ken [Warwick] and myself, we created the production that then went worldwide and certainly created the results show, which was never in anybody's thoughts until we came to America. And it feels like that's the template for many other reality shows now. So then to be asked to leave, it's then like, 'Oh wow.'"

Finally, Lythgoe said he doesn't take his firing "personally" and wants to see the show succeed.

"Nobody wants to see that program fail, so if the people that are now in charge as I said in my statement feel as though its going to improve by giving it to somebody else to recharge the batteries if you will, I'm happy," he explained. "The big thing for me is to keep that platform for the talent. If the ratings keep going down the program is going to be canceled and the platform's gonna go. And you won't get the Kelly Clarksons and Carrie Underwoods."

Do you think Idol should try to bring Simon, Paula and Randy back? Sound off in the comments!

PHOTOS: After American Idol: Where are they now?

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