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.