Idol Made the Decision to Tour the Top 11 Before The Save

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19 Entertainment president Iain Pirie tells USA Today that a decision to include the Top 11 on the summer tour  was made separately from last night’s save of Casey Abrams. In fact, he swears it had nothing to do with the save, at all:

“It was actually totally unconnected,” Pirie says. “Any of them could have been in the bottom. Whether that person was saved or not saved, we made the decision that we wanted to tour these 11 kids and make an exception this year and really celebrate the strength of this cast.”

Pirie says the decision was made very recently, but before the results of this week’s audience voting was known. “The decision was really based on our genuine enthusiasm for how this season is evolving and the quality of talent we’ve been able to find.”

The Grassy Knoller in me is going Hmmm… So…even if Haley Reinhart or Naima Adedapo–two frequent bottom-dwellers–had been eliminated last night, Idol producers would have been willing to bear the extra expense to take them along on tour this summer? Particularly after last year’s outing lost money?

I’m having a hard time buying it. What do you think?

ETA: At the very least, the decision had to be about the fear of losing somebody they wanted on tour. There have been other extremely talented casts–I’m thinking Season 5 & 7 & 8, yet those tours were not expanded. Heck, when Season 2 lost both Corey (DQ’d) and Josh Gracin (Marine’s wouldn’t release him), they STILL only toured with 11 contestants.

UPDATE:  A source tells the Hollywood Reporter that:

the added cost of adding another cast member to the production and travel schedule won’t make a major impact on the tour’s budget. “The thinking is, ‘It’s a great season, why not pull out all the stops?’,” says an insider.

Taking 11 contestants on tour because it’s the Greatest! Season! Evah! is a way to hype the season I suppose. Actually, Season 10 isn’t the best ever in my opinion. But maybe TPTB figure if they keep repeating it–even to the point of padding the tour–people will believe it.

 
  • Girl4Reba

    NO

  • Tony

    So either they’re lying, or Ryan has been lying the whole season.

    Either way, someone’s lying.

  • windmills

    I think the decision was made this week with the expectation that Naima, Casey, or possibly Stefano might get voted out this week. Maybe Casey’s been close to bottom 3 all along.

    I definitely think they want Naima on the tour. She’ll be quite entertaining live and she’s got the live dancing and a contemporary, offbeat relevance none of the others do.

    Haley I don’t think they cared about making the tour but maybe they see a fanbase there that they expected to carry her through a couple more weeks so she was making the tour anyway.

    Like at least one other person already posted, IMO the save being used already probably means there’s a pack of their favorites that are well ahead of the rest of the group and unlikely to get voted out too early. I’d guess James/Scotty/Pia/Lauren are big frontrunners now and maybe even Jacob’s in pretty good shape.

  • tommy

    Agree MJ, sounds a little too convenient. But why even bother with such an announcement. It seems the logical decision to make that if the save was done at this juncture it’s only fair to include all 11 in the tour. Otherwise it would be only 9, or cut out the first eliminated contestant next week, and that would seem unduly cruel.

    AI did the right thing and nobody questioned it. Leave well enough alone, this just stirs skepticism.

  • tripp_ncwy

    I would say this was just one of their contingency plans to go with 11 if one of their favs did not make it on tour.

  • jpfan

    So all the stuff about only the top 10 touring Ryan said was just bs. And Nigel’s tweet about the shocking news was that the tour would be a top 11.
    Okay, whatever.

  • halo9125

    I think it’s pretty damn obvious- they figured this is way of having a backup performer on the tour if and when Casey is too ill to perform. Given the way the color drained from his face last night, this poor kid is clearly still struggling with his health issues.

    The entire thing was contrived last night- not Casey’s response, but I did feel like I was being manipulated quite a bit.

  • gangreen29

    I think they would want Naima on tour. I think she is very entertaining, and would be a draw on tour. Even Haley seems to have a bit of a fanbase already. I don’t think they are worried about the tour losing money this season either. I think that might be an isolated season 9 problem.

    IMO the save being used already probably means there’s a pack of their favorites that are well ahead of the rest of the group and unlikely to get voted out too early. I’d guess James/Scotty/Pia/Lauren are big frontrunners now and maybe even Jacob’s in pretty good shape.

    I agree, especially about James, Scotty, and Pia probably being in safe positions right now. I think there is enough talent this season too that they could afford to use the save this early because even with a shock elimination or two there would still be a lot of talent left.

  • Ratna12

    I’m not Casey’s fan, but poor guy. He was feeling special last night because of the save ,and now, this announcement.
    Why did the 19 guy even disclose this ?
    I don’t believe if Haley or Thia was at the bottom that they would save them.

  • gangreen29

    I’m not Casey’s fan, but poor guy. He was feeling special last night because of the save ,and now, this announcement.
    Why did the 19 guy even disclose this ?
    I don’t believe if Haley or Thia was at the bottom that they would save them.

    They didn’t say they would save whoever was eliminated last night, just that they were planning on taking 11 on tour.

  • lla2827

    I think it’s pretty damn obvious- they figured this is way of having a backup performer on the tour if and when Casey is too ill to perform. Given the way the color drained from his face last night, this poor kid is clearly still struggling with his health issues.The entire thing was contrived last night- not Casey’s response, but I did feel like I was being manipulated quite a bit.

    ITA–Not only because of Casey’s health–but because Paul has some throat issues. If either of them or both need to sit out some concerts–the audience will still see at least 9 idol performances. I doubt it will put much of a financial burden on the idol machine. If Thia or someone else had been voted off–not sure they would have been saved–but I bet they would have been given the news that they still would tour.

  • tripp_ncwy

    I think it’s pretty damn obvious- they figured this is way of having a backup performer on the tour if and when Casey is too ill to perform.

    They have had less than 10 perform on tour before so I don’t think this was a factor.

  • Valentin432

    I actually think this makes much more sense this way.

    Nigel tweet is much less knolly. He knew it was going to be a top 11 wheter or not the judges used the save on Casey.

    They kept this under wrap to make a big surprise last night to the audience.

    Of course we can doubt their word, but there’s really no way to know either way.

  • BootStar

    I would say this was just one of their contingency plans to go with 11 if one of their favs did not make it on tour.

    Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! :-D

    Seriously, if it had been Haley, I doubt she’d be touring this summer.

    Poor Karen Rodriguez. She must feel like total sh*t right now.

  • http://myspace.com/girlgeek mj

    At the very least, this had to have something to do with the fear of losing somebody they wanted on tour. There have been other extremely talented casts–I’m thinking Season 5 & 7 & 8, yet those tours were not expanded.

  • nigerdelta

    I believe him cos if they thought casey wld make the tour then they needed an extra just incase he got sick. they may have decided this way back when casey got sick for the 3rd time and didn’t go to Arizona with them. either way i am happy it ended this way.

  • Inconnu

    If it’s really true that they intended to have 11 going on tour regardless of the Save (and it must be since it’s the president of 19 Entertainment who is saying this) I think they are making a mistake by revealing it. Ryan said at the very end of the show last night that: “it was predetermined that if something happens like this again, i.e., a Save at Top 11, then the whole 11 go on tour”.
    It’s a bit of a PR blunder if you ask me in that they are telling 2 different stories.

  • http://myspace.com/susanatfox sumidol

    “”Haley I don’t think they cared about making the tour but maybe they see a fanbase there that they expected to carry her through a couple more weeks so she was making the tour anyway.”"”Why dont you think they care about Haley? I dont get the Haley dislike? It was so funny yesterday that everyone from here to kingdom come was saying, bye Haley, you are a goner and she is wasnt even bottom? She has great control of that voice, looks good and I have three teens with tons of friends and they all like her, so I say go Haley, glad you showed the people who were telling you to get lost yesterday that you are still there today. My favs are Paul, James, Pia and Casey, I hope they get to the top but I sure wouldnt mind seeing Haley there a few more weeks

  • emmuzka

    *If* the top 11 decision was truly made beforehand, the producers either feared that someone they really wanted in the tour would be cut, or they fear that someone (Casey?) will pull out from the tour for health reasons.

  • Chicagolaw

    Either Casey will not be touring, or he will only be doing a limited number shows. That is the only way this makes sense.

  • St.Lucia

    I thought last night was a little bit staged, for me. It may not have been but while I’m sure Casey’s excitement was genuine, it was almost TOO much to be unscripted.

    So this feels a little too convenient for me too.

  • tripp_ncwy

    Ryan said at the very end of the show last night that: “it was predetermined that if something happens like this again, i.e., a Save at Top 11, then the whole 11 go on tour”.

    I disagree. i.e. it was predetermined that all 11 would go on tour regardless of when/if the Save is used.

  • sma11ie

    I would say this was just one of their contingency plans to go with 11 if one of their favs did not make it on tour.

    Yes. If Naima, Casey, Stefano, or Jacob got booted, they probably still would’ve done the 11. Haley, not so much. Thia, doubtful, unless somehow their research tellls them she’ll be a tour draw.

  • http://myspace.com/girlgeek mj

    Ryan said at the very end of the show last night that: “it was predetermined that if something happens like this again, i.e., a Save at Top 11, then the whole 11 go on tour”.

    That’s the thing. Ryan’s language last night when he announced the Top 11 going on tour was VERY specific and is actually at odds with what Ian is now saying.

  • gangreen29

    That’s the thing. Ryan’s language last night when he announced the Top 11 going on tour was VERY specific and is actually at odds with what Ian is now saying.

    Maybe both are correct. Maybe they did decide to have 11 on tour but at the same time the contingency plan for the save at 11 was for all of them to go on tour. The second explanation was the better one to give on air at the moment.

  • Inconnu

    I disagree. i.e. it was predetermined that all 11 would go on tour regardless of when/if the Save is used.

    No. I just replayed it. Ryan said: it’s been predetermined, should something like this occur, all 11 will go out on tour.

  • Mtlfan

    it is a given that the top 10 is going on tour. That would have been mean, because of the save, to have the 10th contestant deprived of the tour the week after hence the tour with 11. It makes total sense. My point is why would they say that it was already pre-determined if this wasn’t true? It’s not like they had to justify a poor decision.. this is why i think it’s true

  • tripp_ncwy

    Ryan had a lot of flubbing of his lines last night so who knows what he meant to say.

  • girlygirl

    I don’t get why all 11 need to go on tour. In my opinion the 11th person this season isn’t any more talented/unique/interesting as the 11th person in S9 or S8, for example. So why do it this year when they didn’t do it for, say Alexis Grace?

    Of course, I’m not going to the S10 AI tour anyway, so my opinion really doesn’t matter. :)

  • Tamarynd

    tommy says:
    03/25/2011 at 3:23 pm

    AI did the right thing and nobody questioned it. Leave well enough alone, this just stirs skepticism.

    Once again, the AI TPTB just have to shoot themselves in the foot and waste whatever goodwill they’ve gained back from the audience. They simply don’t know how to sit back and enjoy a lucky success when it happens- they need to make things so complicated.

  • Inconnu

    Ryan had a lot of flubbing of his lines last night so who knows what he meant to say.

    That’s it right there! I think it’s Ryan who misspoke at first and they are making a mistake by coming in the morning after and saying it was decided all along to have a Top 11 going on tour (which I believe).
    They are shooting themselves a bit in the foot, media wise…

  • webster

    it is a given that the top 10 is going on tour. That would have been mean, because of the save, to have the 10th contestant deprived of the tour the week after hence the tour with 11

    I don’t understand this. If they wanted 10, then next week they could say good bye to the lowest vote getter, and goodbye but see you on tour to the second lowest vote getter. I have no idea why they’re going with 11. Is it necessarily a lot more expensive? Ie, they are probably just now signing contracts. Maybe the salary pool is just being divided differently.

  • gferna

    Yeah…
    And, also, in april I will marry Kate Middleton…

  • milwlovesadam

    “It was actually totally unconnected,” Pirie says. “Any of them could have been in the bottom. Whether that person was saved or not saved, we made the decision that we wanted to tour these 11 kids and make an exception this year and really celebrate the strength of this cast.”

    Pirie says the decision was made very recently, but before the results of this week’s audience voting was known. “The decision was really based on our genuine enthusiasm for how this season is evolving and the quality of talent we’ve been able to find.”

    Okay. The decision was made, because this year is more talented? I’m not sure about that. I think the decision was made because last year’s show sucked big time. And the tour wasn’t successful. And, now they need to compete with XFactor and The Voice. This is all about ratings , profit margins and gimmicks.

    That’s all. And, as I said last night, this decision was made before the show. It was known to all in Idol world, except the kids. It didn’t matter who was the bottom vote getter, they were safe. The save was wasted. It was a hoax.

  • shell29

    I don’t have a problem with the decision to allow the Top 11 to tour this season. Sure it’s too bad for those who just missed the Top 10 tour cut in previous seasons but hey, that’s life. If they want to add new wrinkles into the show and change the game up a little bit, so be it. While there are a couple of folks I could take or leave on this year’s tour lineup, I’m actually looking forward to seeing the bulk of the Top 11 on tour so I’m happy. I’ll be buying tickets this summer (had no interest in doing so the past couple of seasons).

  • CindyM

    I’ve only been to one Idol Top 10 concert ever and it was just to see 20 minutes of Adam Lambert. I actually think this seasons contestants would put on a good show and if they go to Denver, I might drive there. Not driving to Phoenix again like I did for Adam, too hot, but there are some pretty entertaining peeps this year.

  • weese

    I think it is possible they decided they needed 11 this year due to lots of issues with their top contenders. Paul–vocal chords
    Casey–bleeding ulcers, James–tourettes, aspbergers
    Stephano–has mentioned he is still in PT and may have lingering issues. It is possible they could lose two in one night or someone for a long period of time(paul, casey). This is just a smart move given the makeup of the cast.

  • http://kristentheyellowlab.blogspot.com/ Zsus

    It made for a good TV, and as a viewer of the show, that’s all that matters to me.

  • milwlovesadam

    Weese, ITA. However, they all need a medical exam/clearance before touring, for liability/insurance purposes.

    But, it is highly likely with this group that somebody will miss an appearance.

    Paul’s vocal cord nodule could be tricky.
    Casey’s coloitis will flare up with the rigors of touring.
    Jame’s Asperger’s and Tourrette’s are chronic. He needs low anxiety to help . Asperger’s doesn’t flare up. But, I actually feel that all the social situations he’s now facing are a challenge that he is handling quite well.

  • MayMirabella

    Yeah…
    And, also, in april I will marry Kate Middleton…

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats Will , she is a beautiful young woman. You are a lucky prince. LOL!!!!

  • OldHag

    Once again, the AI TPTB just have to shoot themselves in the foot and waste whatever goodwill they’ve gained back from the audience. They simply don’t know how to sit back and enjoy a lucky success when it happens- they need to make things so complicated.

    How have they lost goodwill? I think it is great ~ more for the money. :)

  • Elliegrll

    At the very least, the decision had to be about the fear of losing somebody they wanted on tour. There have been other extremely talented casts–I’m thinking Season 5 & 7 & 8, yet those tours were not expanded.

    I think a large part was about keeping Casey, who is someone who has been very popular, and received a lot of mainstream press. And another part was that this group as a whole has gotten a lot of press, and is being seen as the main reason why the show is doing a lot better than last year. Given their diversity and popularity, I would have sent all eleven out on tour too.

  • Trina

    I plan on going to the tour, maybe even two shows, and I have no problem with them making it the top 11. I always felt they should have allowed all 12 to tour. Doesn’t bother me they didn’t do it in the past. One more person being able to make a lot of money is a good thing.

  • Elliegrll

    That’s all. And, as I said last night, this decision was made before the show. It was known to all in Idol world, except the kids. It didn’t matter who was the bottom vote getter, they were safe. The save was wasted. It was a hoax.

    You are talking about two different things. Casey could have gone out on tour, even if they didn’t use the save.

    In the past, the save was a big joke. They only started it to appease Simon, who wanted to have more control over who stayed, who left and when they left, but the save never really changed anything, and just became a way to amp up the drama of the results shows.

    Last night made for good tv, and it’s a topic that has been discussed everywhere, including being played over and over on CNN today, so I’d say that AI achieved what they wanted.

  • Indigobunting

    Long time watcher of AI since Season 3, but never went to a tour concert until S8, because I wanted to see Danny Gokey in concert. The whole show was fairly entertaining though, and it was fun to meet so many of them- they all came out ahead of time at the concert I was at except for Adam and Lil.

    Didn’t go last year but I may actually attend this year’s show if the price is right.

  • eyelinerandcigarettes

    Naaah I’m not buying it. But whatever floats their boat…..

  • claudette

    I hear lots of speculation that they would have a top 11 because Casey wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of the tour and so much time on a tour bus. (hopefully he feels well and makes every show but that’s an unknown) So, I believe them.

    Also, I think they are all probably even in votes with the leaders changing every week. Therefore there really isn’t any fodder and no 1 or 2 that stand out as favorites to draw people to the concert and wait with anticipation until the last 2. I think they all bring something and I couldn’t pick a person who I wanted off the concert except for Thia. (and only because I can’t sit through both Thia and Pia)

  • MrDuffin

    It made for a good TV, and as a viewer of the show, that’s all that matters to me.

    ITA…AI is just like the WWF….if it makes for good TV TPTB will do it. And like the WWF…it is entertainment and not real so it can’t be predicted as to what will happen.

  • ross

    I hear lots of speculation that they would have a top 11 because Casey wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of the tour and so much time on a tour bus. (hopefully he feels well and makes every show but that’s an unknown) So, I believe them.

    I don’t know whether anyone has mentioned this or not, but – they could have just let him be eliminated, not used the save – and then they would have a Top 10 without Casey in it, and wouldn’t have any need to worry about him getting sick and their needing to have 11 people on the tour to cover for him.

    Also, does anyone else find it ironic that this is the guy that got the LEAST number of votes – that everyone is so concerned may get sick on the tour? I mean, the voters obviously didn’t even care if he’s on the tour, since they didn’t give him enough votes to make the tour. And they were well aware that whoever was eliminated last night wouldn’t be on the tour.

  • tripp_ncwy

    With the money the tour rakes in and the little sums they pay the finalist in comparison I guess it wouldn’t make a major impact.

  • broddybounce

    No, MJ, this definitely is not the best season. Far & away, Season 8 was the best (Gokey notwithstanding) — and not just Adam & Kris & Allison (albeit very big reasons) but that was simply an outstanding group altogether.

  • jammasta

    I actually do think this is a better season than the last two (at least in terms of how spread the talent is).

    In Season 8, Kradison seemed to dominate, but the changes kinda seemed to throw people off. Top 36 was awkward and cut a crapload of people who could have gone much farther, Kara didn’t turn out so well, the 10th-7th place finishers did not hit their stride until the tour (which was a little late for TV), blah blah blah…..

    Season 9… well, that was a total disaster. The Top 24 return was a good idea IMO, but for whatever reason, the voters cut the talent so early that the season was terrible. Hell, it was so bad it may have shot down Paul McDonald’s chance of winning this season, as the abundance of guitarists last season was “solved” this season by limiting instruments. “Solved” in quotations because it wasn’t the best solution at all.

    Cut to Season 10. We’ve got Nigel Lythgoe back and changes to the judges panel that were awesome (well, in Steven Tyler’s case, he started out awesome, but now is too nice) there’s probably only one or two contestants who got eliminated too early (Lauren Turner and Kendra Chantelle), the talent is spread out among the 11 we have right now. We may not have had any real “moments” when it comes to singing, but we make up for that with a relatively solid group where everyone deserves to be there, and, compared to the previous seasons, there were not as many talented people being cut too early. Thia and Haley might be the two weak links, but both have had some interesting performances.

    Best season ever? Probably not. However, it’s one of the more evenly spread groups in terms of talent. It seems like half the group or more have been considered front-runners at one point or another. I sense a few dark horses if some of them step it up. For the past two seasons, we’ve had people front runners declared for finale already (and being at least half-right). This season, I don’t see the finale as definite. Granted, I do have my Top 2 for finale, and I do want a third in there (James and Scott are my Top 2 with Pia as my third), but I can see that changing throughout the season if many of these contestants continue to improve.

    Yeah, that was a lot of past season rehashing, but I felt the “BEST SEASON EVAH” thing had to be commented on. I still think S5 and S7 were the best groups overall. But the balance in this group may be a breath of fresh air compared to S6-S9 (probably S5, but not sure) where the front runners seemed so obvious even at this point in the season that the other contestants seemed to be scoffed. Granted, it’ll probably happen again this season, but I think I’ve declared 7 different contestants in our top 11 a front runner, and 1 of them a dark horse. I believe it calls for a good season. Now we just gotta hope that a bunch of these people don’t pull a Lil Rounds on us.

    Could Nigel Lythgoe coming back have been one of the best things to happen to this show?

  • gangreen29

    Taking 11 contestants on tour because it’s the Greatest! Season! Evah! is a way to hype the season I suppose. Actually, Season 10 isn’t the best ever in my opinion. But maybe TPTB figure if they keep repeating it–even to the point of padding the tour–people will believe it.

    They didn’t call it the greatest season ever. They called it a great season. YOU are the one who brought greatest season into this.

  • Elek

    Now that Simon Cowell is not in the panel, I am sure that having even the Top 24 on the road will not be a burden on the tour budget. The guy was paid a hefty load and I don’t think the existing judges are costing the producers that much.

    What I always hear them (AI) saying is that this season has the BEST group of all so using GREATEST would actually mean the same. But how can this group now be declared as the best when it is a fact that two previously rejected contestants made it to the Top 24 and one even made it to Top 10?

    One way of determining which is the best group is probably comparing the number of garnered votes during the Top 11 Performance Night of each season. The highest would somehow mean that the contestants of that season must be that good that they have to vote hard (bleeding fingers as fanatics would say) in order to keep the very best in the group. I do not have the figures and I am not going to make a research just to make a point here but I know that someone could produce those here for further discussion.

    I have seen practically all seasons and comparing the pre-selection that occured then and now, I have noticed that a lot of good singers are OUT before the Top 24. And if the judges were not only insisting on the contestant’s so-called uniqueness and marketability, I am sure that any season could have had a much solid group of great aspiring singers.

    The problem (perhaps the success) of finding the best crop is choosing the best panel of judges first and foremost. Judges with real ears for outstanding and uniquely distinctive voices and who are not affected by the contestants personalities are the best people for the task. It is when the judges dig into one’s personality that they cannot avoid creating their favourites in them. But I guess that is so much of a human factor.

    Considering the group right now, my pick for the top spots goes to (1) James Durbin for his star quality, uniqueness, incredible high pitch and Tourette’s; (2) Scotty McCreery for his great love for country music and his deep solid voice not to mention how he showed the world that he is a true gentleman at his very young age; (3) Thia Megia for her very distinctive and pleasant voice that I could actually close my eyes and listen to wonderful music; (4) Lauren Alaina for her very relaxed voice and youthful take on all the songs she chooses; and (5) Stefano for delivering some great moments in the show.

    Though Thia and Stefano have been bottomed recently for the first time, I know that they would do better next time and my impression towards them still remains strong.

    IMO

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I think that there’s a lot of talent this season, but it’s a bit odd for me because I don’t think that anyone has had a “wow” moment that separates them from the pack. Regarding the goal of the show (to find a major recording star), I’m not sure that there’s anyone that fits the bill so far. I’ve learned to ignore Randy and his yearly claims that they have the most talented people ever.

  • tripp_ncwy

    It seems there could be some truth to the decision of TPTB to go with 11 on tour. TMZ reports that Casey had another blood transfusion Thursday morning.

    http://www.tmz.com/2011/03/26/american-idol-casey-abrams-save-voted-off-hospital-stomach-heard-it-through-the-grape-vine-ryan-seacrest/

  • nncw

    Logically – if you are saving someone then you don’t need to have 11 people on the tour as the person with the least number of votes next week would not go on tour say that would be determined at the top of the show; and at the end of the show the person with the 2nd lowest number of votes (tenth person) would go on the tour. I think it is just to hype the show and the talent – but changing rules is always risky and I think Nigel has a history of doing it on So You Think You Can Dance (where injured dancers were treated differently as to whether they could stay if they missed a week of performing). Maybe it would be more transparent if the show said at the start we will have a judges or producers’ pick for the tour as an option that would add a bit of suspense like a wild card pick for the tour.