American Idol XIII – Randy Jackson Returns with a Two Day Workshop, And More Twists

You can read the new American Idol XIII schedule and changes at this link. Here are a few tidbits that came out of the Idol session at today’s Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena, CA.

  • A new role for Randy Jackson: “There’s a new role for Randy this year, it’s a sort of Randy Jackson workshop,” said producer, Trish Kinane. “Randy is going to be hosting a two-day workshop where the kids who got through to the live show have an education, if you like, in song choices, personal style and other things.” There’s no word on if , when or how the workshop will be aired. Randy will mentor the kids every week as Jimmy Iovine did before him.
  • Kinane also revealed “a new element called The Chamber… where they’re on their own [with Ryan] to collect themselves [before seeing the judges].”   The chamber is a teeny tiny little room attached to the audition room. The hopeful MUST pass through it first to get to the judges.  There’s a camera inside that records the nervous hopeful collecting themselves for what could be the most important moment in their lives.
  •  Harry Connick Jr. will be the truth teller, at least in the taped rounds.  While watching previous seasons of Idol, he used to shout at his TV “That kid can’t sing!”  He says,  “If somebody can’t sing,” he said, “they need to go home.” In the preview I saw, Harry is indeed blunt, but fair.  The kids nicknamed him “Harsh Harry.”
  • Kinane confirmed that Idol has “expanded the song list” from which singers can choose, including “many more contemporary songs.”  Theme weeks will change. “We’re going to work differently with the themes,” said EP Per Blankens. “We have a new approach … where we try to get songs they can really relate to and pick from.”
  • There will be wildcards: “An additional taping in Santa Monica brought the post-Hollywood Week group down to 30 contestants, 15 boys and 15 girls. From this group, America will vote in a final 10 and each judge will have an additional “wild card” pick.”
  • Kinane on The Voice dominance: “”I don’t think The Voice is more popular than American Idol,” she said. “If you look at the ratings, Idol still beat it. American Idol is the gold standard. The Voice is the good show. There’s room for two shows in the market.” (Actually, The Voice beat Idol in the Demo, but Idol had more viewers)

Via: THR, THR, TV Line

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  • Amy Beth

    So we’re back to a Top 30, not 31?

  • inmyslumber

    It’s a Top 31. That’s probably the big twist they keep teasing.

  • Incipit

    “Randy is going to be hosting a two-day workshop where the kids who got through to the live show have an education, if you like, in song choices, personal style and other things.”

    This Randy Jackson Workshop is interesting – and different. So even the staff calls this group “kids”, and takes note of their limited life experience. And here I’ve been trying to be polite about the Very Young People! *snerk*

    Either TPTB have chosen so many minors who are too young to have a personal style, know about song choices, or realize that you pick a song because it shows something about your voice, not because you “love” it, that they have to have a workshop to bring them up to speed, (in two days) or the new production staff is trying to start contestants out with something resembling a level playing field – whichever way it gets spun – it’s a new wrinkle!

    It sounds like what Byrd is offering on her website – tips on how to survive and thrive on Idol – although she addresses the singing part – looks like Randy will be covering the “Etc.” Unless he has a separate class on “The Uses and Abuses of Melisma” – we know he’s partial to that!

    Removed from the judges’ table – where he can’t bellow catch phrases and instigate useless standing ovations, I’m willing to see what Randy really has to offer. I hope he tells them all not to use “I had a good time, I had fun…” and variations thereof as a lame excuse, when they are called on a less than competent performance. We’ll see.

    IMO. Of Course.

  • AussieB

    Don’t like the wild cards again. Is there going to be a save too; I don’t see that mentioned. The theme this year is we all love each other…Hopefully they’ll stick to the quotes of putting focus back on contestants (not sure JLO wardrobe, makeup and hair team were on that memo list). The Chamber doesnt sound like anything new. Hasn’t Idol done something like that for the finalists launch where we got to see them cry as Ryan escorted them out. I kind of remember seeing that on other shows too.. They should show more behind the scenes of HOW the contestants choose their songs or change them at the last minute, what role if any they have on wardrobe and where they move on the stage. Lets see more of THEM and more of what we havent seen. So when the judge criticizes their outfit or song choice or movements, we can see who made those decisions. Hopefully we won’t see songs from the year you were born again…Although the younger they get, these become current pop songs

  • Roimeister

    I’d rather have more cowbell and less Randy

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Randy was a lame judge. Hoping that as a mentor, he has some insightful and helpful comments for the contestants.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “The Chamber doesnt sound like anything new.”

    It actually sounds exactly like what “The Voice” does right before a contestant auditions (except in a smaller room).

  • Incipit

    Heh. It reminds me of the camera in the elevator on the way to see the judges that Idol had one year. That one was lame. They are still trying to make Drama-Rama out of the Green Mile – while holding it somewhere else and calling it something else? Will there be more obnoxious questions like, “How do you FEEL”??? smh.

  • Sicola789

    Yep, I’m betting at the green mile they will bring the last two of the boys in and make them think only one of them made it, then they will say that the other made it also.

  • Sassycatz

    The Chamber sounds like some dramatic name they give a ride at a theme park. It sounds like the “before” to what they’ve done in past seasons where they followed a contestant off stage and asked them how they felt about how they did and what the judges said … so nothing new, except it has a dumb name, like THE CHAMBER! Whoooh! Scary!

  • Guest
  • Miz

    The production staff has always called the contestants ‘kids’. Many of the older idols have commented about it even.

    There was one infamous incident with Shakira. Debbie (stage manager) asked her if she wanted to go talk to the kids after she performed. She had no idea she was talking about the idols, and thought it was kids in the audience. She thought that would be distracting. The next day the media blew up with what a diva she was because she wouldn’t say hello to the contestants.

  • Sicola789

    I’m sure a lot of you guys will love this change that was listed in the Hollywood Reporter article:

    6. No more sob stories for sob’s sake: A production insider reveals that segments on finalists, while championing the everyman, won’t have that extra layer of sap for which Idol is known. “We don’t want to tug at the heartstrings where it’s like, ‘Let’s feel bad and vote for this kid even though he can’t sing.’ We want great stories and great people.”

    I wonder if it was a subtle dig at Lazaro lol.

  • dabney_c

    More like the elevator-cam before the Green Mile in early seasons.

  • Incipit

    Exactly! That’s what it remind me of earlier, dabney_c. The contestant trapped in a metallic ‘chamber’ – while the show tries to milk some Drama-Rama. (In spite of their high sounding talk about changes. *snerk*)

  • HKfan

    After watching him on Idol for so many years, I just can’t imagine how he would be a good mentor and be able to advise on song choice, stage presence, vocals, and especially personal style………he could advise on skin care though, he has beautiful skin!!

  • Incipit

    Never heard about that one, Miz, but it’s revelatory when the staff takes the condescension for granted, and other people in the industry don’t even get it.

    We say “kids” about the 15 yr olds we are presented with , who truly “are” kids – the show calls all of them kids, regardless of age or experience – and the irony is THEY picked them.

  • Incipit

    Oh, even more subtle than that, Sicola789 – a dig at the now Fired Producers who put Lazaro through to the voting rounds. He didn’t advance himself – not to say he wouldn’t have, given the choice. Heh.

    We have SUBTEXT from the “production insider” – “We’re not like “those people” – we will make GOOD choices.

    Bless their hearts – they are working it hard. If even 50% is true, it will be a better season, I think.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    It sounds like Harry may be the judge who actually helps the contestants the most with his honest critiques. He was very diplomatic about describing JLo’s singing ability too. lol

  • fuzzywuzzy

    That sounds good, but I’ll wait to see who the producers put through to the voting rounds before I applaud them or get excited.

  • Tess Herself

    The kids haven’t gotten younger (maybe the minimum age has dropped a year) but time does march on. A viewer, as they have aged with the show, can easily relate back 16 years and feel that music of 1998 is a heck of a lot more current than the birth years of past Idols who are now in their mid 30s. Currency in the music business has a lot more to do with the age of the listener than it has to do with the year of the song. A 16 year old viewer is going to think that songs recorded in the year they were born are really, really ancient.

  • Tess Herself

    I think I’ll take a wait and see attitude on the judges until I hear the top 30…people thought Iovine would be the saviour of Idol (able to judge voices) and he was total crap as a reviewer and ruined more song choices than he helped. (Though I really, really like Harry and feel he’ll be good at what he does).

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Yeah, it appears that Idol is just going to have viewers watch the contestants stress out before their auditions this year (and make it more stressful by putting them in a closet-sized room? lol ).

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Yeah, we never know what’s really happening until we see who the producers put through to the voting rounds and the live shows begin. The perception of the judges can be very different between the edited shows and the live shows.

  • Incipit

    “He was very diplomatic about describing JLo’s singing ability too. lol”

    Oh, he was – and he has that N’awlins charm – but it’s mixed with a good dose of snark – and sprinkled with honesty – and not Cowell’s Faux Kind. The trick will be for watchers to discern the difference, especially when I don’t think we are always meant to.

    I cannot find where I saw the link to the Yahoo article about “10 Ways America Idol Is Trying To Win You Back” – I’ve looked up and down these posts -it’s eluding me…so frustrating.

    But it’s good, not because of LP – but because of Harry and Keith – check the whole bit in the embedded video about the “Lomance” and how quickly it disappears in the next sentence. But that’s not the best part of it –

    This is, #3 on the list:

    ” he’s wildly funny, and he’s genuinely smart, peppering his critiques with musical lessons about the pentatonic scale and whatnot. (“What’s wrong with challenging America?” he says — a question probably no one on “Idol” has ever thought to ask before.)”

    No matter how many viewers tune into watch Duck People and Kid’s Beauty Pageants and the like – there is always a demographic that enjoys intelligence – and provided an audience for Fractured Fairy Tales over The Three Stooges – or “Mash” and “House” and “The West Wing”, among others – and are nowadays getting their fix from the John Stewart and The Colbert Report…

    I think this has a chance to work – it’s not relying on how mean spirited, rude and unkind can we be – like too many past seasons.

    JMO. Of Course.

  • mmb

    Actually, of all the judges who have been on Idol, Randy is the only one who has actually had much of anything to do with any alums’ post idol careers. He worked with Brooke White and has provided others with advice as well. He also works with/manages/produces other acts. I actually think that Randy could turn out to be a decent mentor and is probably much better suited to that role than to being a judge

  • iani

    Not really a Randy live-show judge fan, but I will miss Randy’s audition-“faces”, the hidden face behind a piece of paper, the genuine reactions for the “good: or “bad” with little acting, very expressive audition-face to get the idea how he felt about the contender. From the so many videos around advertising this year, I think there are so many staged actions from judges to show the “good chemistry” between them to a point of awkward for the over 40-ones, acting sometimes like teenagers to show how cool they are. Hope he’d be a surprisingly good mentor.

  • Montavilla

    But Shakira isn’t a native English speaker. She may not be familiar with that terms as it can be used in the industry.

    I was listening to some interview that Adam did with Ryan on the radio. After he hung up the phone, Ryan referred to Adam (to his co-host) as a “talented kid.”

    It startled me a little, because Adam is a grown-ass man, but I understand it as a showbiz convention, even if it sounds a bit quaint. It makes Ryan sound like one of those cigar-chompin producers from the 1930s. I half-expected him to follow it up with talking about how much “moxie” Adam has. :)