Simon Lythgoe
Simon Lythgoe Contributed

Dreams really do come true on the Opening Act

EVERY week is like Christmas for Simon Lythgoe.

As a producer of Opening Act, he gets to play Santa Clause to the internet's rising stars.

In each episode of the online talent search, a panel of celebrity judges including Martina McBride, Pete Wentz, Jason Derulo and Simon's dad Nigel Lythgoe, pick an opening act for stars Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, Gym Class Heroes, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Rod Stewart, Jason Mraz and Lady Gaga.

"That's a good analogy of this series. There's one surprise after another," Lythgoe told The Guide.

"Like in episode one, Arielle opened for Rod Stewart in Las Vegas. She needed a dress, so we opened the keys to Neiman Marcus. We shut the store down and told her 'the whole store is yours'. It's a dream maker show."

Lythgoe, who currently calls the Gold Coast home, has produced an array of TV talent shows including American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Can You Duet? and A Chance to Dance.

But the seasoned TV insider admits it was hard getting Opening Act off the ground.

"It was a really, really hard show to sell to the networks," he said.

"They said 'come back to us when you've got Lady Gaga signed off'.

"It was an easy sell to the artists though. They were really easy. We said 'for one night we're going to give you an opening act and you're giving them your stage for 15 minutes'. Every artist we approached said yes."

The show's final episode features a singer named Von opening for Lady Gaga at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

"He's from Kansas City and we surprised him at the airport. He screamed; he went crazy. There were lots of tears."

Opening Act - E! - Tuesday at 8.30pm Qld, 9.30pm NSW.

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