It isn’t just Carly Smithson who thinks she got the boot because popularity is more important than performance on American Idol.

The show’s executive producer agrees with her, too.

The Irish singer has said that she thinks the guys’ female fans are making it hard for the girls to progress in the competition this year, no matter how talented they are.

Now a top Idol exec, Nigel Lythgoe has said that he thinks Jason Castro should have gone home — but was saved by his fan club.

Exec producer Nigel Lythgoe told the Extra show that he was surprised Carly was sent packing on Wednesday, adding, "In my opinion, I felt that Jason was the weakest in the bunch.

"But he’s got a following, a good following.”

Nigel will be appearing on Extra tonight to talk about the new series of So You Think You Can Dance.

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