Nigel Lythgoe: Elton John “Absolutely” The Best to Replace Simon Cowell


If you ask former "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, there's only one candidate who can replace Simon Cowell after the longtime judge's departure – Elton John.

"He's absolutely it," Nigel told The Hollywood Reporter's Showbiz 411 blog of the legendary British rock pianist.

Nigel left "Idol" prior to Season 8. The show is now in the midst of its ninth season, with Simon due to leave the show upon its conclusion and his replacement still up in the air.

For Elton's part, the musician's rep told Access Hollywood in January that "there is no truth to reports that he is in talks to replace Simon on 'Idol'" – though that, of course, may change in the coming months.

Nevertheless, Elton has no lack of projects to keep him busy. He and partner David Furnish are among the producers of Broadway's latest drama, "Next Fall," which opened last night in New York.

And according to Billboard, the star is working on a new album in Los Angeles with Oscar and Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett and songwriter Leon Russell. Neil Young and Booker T. Jones are among the guests who will reportedly appear on the 15-track release, which longtime songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin described as an "organic recording unlike anything you've heard from our duo before."

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