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November 10, 2010 at 06:28 PM EST

Image Credit: Michael Becker/Fox; Toby Canham/Getty ImagesWhen it comes to the new American Idol judges, so far so good, claims executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. EW chatted exclusively with the Idol guru at a red carpet event recently and he had this to say about the new panel, which is auditioning wanna-be Carrie Underwoods and Lee DeWyzes today in San Francisco.

“It’s going great. It is a lot of fun to be there and test out the new judges,” Lythgoe said. “We’re having an awful lot of fun in the audition room. Hopefully, that will translate on to the program. Jennifer Lopez is not making glib over-rehearsed remarks. She’s listening to what they say and how they sound and commenting and being Jennifer Lopez. She’s seen the program and she knows what she’s doing and she is taking it seriously.

“Steven Tyler is giving great criticisms too,” Lythgoe continued. “I don’t think there are any softies on this panel, but if you legitimately wow them, they will tell you. They are still in the studio and working currently. They are still making albums and they really know the current business and what people are looking for, so that makes them great judges and sources of information and advice for these young people just starting out or those going down the wrong career path as it were.”

Today is the last day of auditions until Hollywood week, says Fox. The road auditions officially wrap tonight. – With reporting from Carrie Bell

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