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Image: Nigel Lythgoe
Dan Steinberg  /  AP
Producer Nigel Lythgoe thinks "Idol" has plenty of talent this year.
updated 1/19/2011 6:14:54 PM ET 2011-01-19T23:14:54

Move over, Kelly Clarkson!

"American Idol's"Nigel Lythgoe says there's a new female powerhouse that may just be the one to watch when the show premieres its tenth season tonight.

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"There's a 15 year-old girl who sings like Kelly Clarkson, [she] might give Kelly a real run for her money!" Lythgoe tells UsMagazine.com without naming names. "We've got good church voices we haven't had since Jennifer Hudson and it's [a male singer]. We've [also] never had a double bass country voice, but we've got a 16 year-old kid who sings right down in his boots. It's unique."

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With the age limit for "Idol" wannabes lowered from 16 to 15, Lythgoe tells Us the singers come into the judging room much more savvy.

"[Contestants] have been watching the show since they were four or five years of age," the executive producer says. "They know exactly what's required of them...and go out there with full confidence. They don't come in with this dark foreboding nervousness."

Once "Idol" moves beyond the initial audition phases, the finalists will live together in a Los Angeles-area mansion.

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But don't expect any over-the-top after hours antics, says "Idol's" man in charge.

"The whole idea of the mansion is to give [viewers] another platform to see how they interact," Lythgoe explains. "We're not really interested in who's looking at who and if they're touching or holding hands. It's not 'Big Brother'!"

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