Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Television Critics AssociationFox’s first TCA panel Monday brought together representatives of So You Think You Can Dance, nominated last week for six Emmys, including Outstanding Reality Competition Program. But both during and after the session, judge Nigel Lythgoe was not surprisingly peppered with questions about his other day job: producing American Idol. Nigel Lythgoe American IdolLythgoe was asked to address the current musical chairs involving judges, including the recent departure of Steven Tyler and the probable (at least according to Lythgoe) departure of Jennifer Lopez. “I can’t make any comment about my negotiations”, he said. “What I said to Ryan [host Ryan Seacrest] is, I was really upset about the possibility of Jennifer leaving. She did say 99% percent [sure that she’s leaving], which is a strange thing to say. 99 percent — you’re either leaving or you’re not leaving. I’m hoping that 1% means she may not be leaving.”

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After the session, Lythgoe repeated his bafflement about Lopez’s statement, adding that he wondered if it was a “negotiating ploy.” “It would truly be wonderful to have her back,” he said. But he added that “I would truly like to see the judges change every year” because the highly publicized negotiations become such a distraction each year. “It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the front of the box.” He deflected further questions saying: “I’m here to talk about dance.”

On the Dance front, Lythgoe said during the panel session that included Emmy-nominated choreographers Stacey Tookey, Christopher Scott, Spencer Liff, judge Mary Murphy and host Cat Deeley that next season there will be both a male and female winner — or in the language of the dance program, a girl and a boy. “Going down to one night a week, we wanted to make some changes as well,” he said. “I have no idea why we never did that in the first place, it makes so much sense. Guys do dance more athletically than girls.”

(Photo: Getty Images)