3:30 PM PT -- Lythgoe tells us he strongly denies giving Taylor, or any contestant, the heads-up on results at any time.
Former "American Idol" champ Taylor Hicks says he had inside information about who was getting eliminated each week when he was on the show -- and says he wasn't the only one.
Taylor was on WJOX radio Friday in Birmingham, AL when he dropped the bombshell. As he put it, "I had an 'in' in the whole production of the show" who told him the results before they were revealed during season 5.
Mr. Soul Patrol says the only night he didn't get the info was the finale in 2006 -- where he was up against Katharine McPhee. He did say executive producer Nigel Lythgoe gave him a "wink and a nod" before the results were announced.
To be clear, Taylor's not suggesting the voting was rigged. However, if what he's saying is true ... you'd have to question the shocked looks on contestants' faces when Ryan Seacrest revealed the elimination.
Also ... for how many other seasons was Taylor's source tipping off contestants?
We've got calls in to Nigel and FremantleMedia, which produces 'Idol.'