AI executive producer Nigel Lythgoe answered questions on a conference call Thursday morning. Later today we’ll post the entire transcript of that call.

But in the meantime, he said:

– They brought 329 contestants to Hollywood. The largest number ever.

– The group of 100 will be whittled down to 60 on tonight’s show and those 60 will go to Las Vegas. Then they will eventually get down to 40 and finally a Top 20.

– He claimed this is the best talent pool overall “ever” on the show. (Well, it certainly wouldn’t be hard to top last year’s group…)

– He claimed the note on-screen was not an “apology” for Steven Tyler, just a British shot at humor over some of the Mr. Tyler’s language. (I still don’t buy that. Someone, somewhere told them to do something about Tyler’s mouth).

Transcript coming and you can lots of comments re. Simon Cowell…