American Idol 10: Use of Instruments Will Be Limited, Contestants Will Live Together in a House

Instruments will definitely be limited for American Idol season 10.

Nigel Lythgoe

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tweets,

“AI contestants will still be able to play instruments just not every week. “Playing” a guitar is totally different from “hiding” behind it.”

Also, the kids will be living together in a house again,

“If you remember the first couple of seasons we are going back to putting Idol contestants in a house together. It may prove interesting?”

Maybe I was cranky because I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet, but Nigel set me off on a little twitter rant this morning.  Here’s the jist of it, after the jump.

Pssst Nigel! Don’t blame American Idol’s recent ratings slide and disinterest on the contestants. Instruments aren’t the issue. Cast the show well, and the rest will take care of itself. WTF does “hiding behind a guitar” mean anyway?

Also, having the kids live together in a mansion has never added much to the show in the past. Sure, we got a few cute clips here and there, but what we DON’T need is the kind of fake drama Simon Cowell drums up for his UK X Factor.

Every day, there are tabloid stories coming out of the X Factor house–probably fed to the press by Simon. It’s a distraction.  I’d rather have behind-the-scenes footage of the kids working out song arrangements with the band, working with the mentor and vocal coaches, etc.

If the show is cast well, all the drama necessary will come from the kid’s struggle to navigate the competition.  American Idol is like no other reality show. There are real consequences at stake here.  The experience changes these kid’s lives forever.

Cast the show with a wide variety of talent,   give the kids the tools they need to succeed, allow the viewers to know the contestants, widen the pool of available song choices, fix the sound and direction problems, add a few twists like songwriters week (Jimmy Iovine could set the kids up with hot songwriters).

If Nigel limits instrument use, I only hope it’s not severely.  Maybe pick a few weeks out of the competition where the contestants can’t play instruments. But, if a guitar or piano is appropriate for a performance, let the contestants make that choice.

I think the producers are trying to keep a guitar-strumming male from taking the crown 4 years in a row.  That’s the bottom line, at this point.  They want a pop star desperately and are probably afraid Simon Cowell will beat them to it when X Factor bows in Fall 2011.

Hey, I’m all for a diversified pool of winners, but anytime the producers try to stack the deck, it always backfires.  Always.

I want to hear what YOU think.

About mj santilli 33697 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

130 Comments

  1. Copying my thoughts from the headlines thread:

    It shouldn’t be dictated by TPTB when an instrument can be used, because honestly, who would have expected a disco themed song to work with a guitar (Kris Allen She Works Hard for the Money). And while I understand what they were trying to do on Sinatra week last season, I think a bigger part of the problem was that they were expected to sing the Harry Connick Jr. arrangements of the songs, rather then taking stab at it on their own. The season before, none of the instrument players (Kris, Matt, Allison sort of) used them on Rat Pack week but they were still making their own decisions on the arrangement.

  2. It’s definitely them trying to keep a WGWG from winning it four years in a row, but it’s also aggravating considering David and Kris never hid behind their guitars and Lee went a few weeks without the guitar.

  3. Wait, I’m confused, did you send a bunch of separate tweets to Nigel, MJ? Because I agree with everything you said. (He should hire YOU as a consultant.)

  4. Wait, I’m confused, did you send a bunch of separate tweets to Nigel, MJ?

    I didn’t @dizzyfeet, no, But I did post a series of tweets on the subject.

  5. MJ I think you are completely right. Sure I admit the talent level last season was low , but that was the Producers’ faults, and their fault alone. They casted the people who supposedly ” hide behind their guitars”. Now they are trying to throw these people under the bus and say it’s their fault for idol’s decline. Are you kidding me?
    Cast better people. Let us get to know them better by showing more backstage footage. Improve the production of the show.

  6. I didn’t watch last season, so I have no idea what they did about living arrangements, but I’m sure the contestants lived together in a big ol’ house in season 8. Right? Kris and Adam were roommates yada yada. What is Nigel saying will be different about that? I don’t get it.

  7. Season 8 contestants lived in a house together as well. That was just so much fun. They barely showed any of the interaction. I guess since Nigel wasn’t there during season 8, he forgot about that part. This is just ass talking as per Nigel’s usual MO.

  8. I have a strange feeling that the reason Nigel specifically mentioned the contestants living in a house together and that it “may prove interesting” is because Idol is going to concentrate on that idea like never before. Imagine Idol meets Big Brother.

    Or don’t because it’s scary.

  9. Just wondering, is Nigel capable of saying anything without belittling other people?

    I wish they could have maybe one episode where they show the contestants getting the songlists, picking songs, figuring out arrangements, etc. Maybe many of the misconceptions about the show would go away, like the idea that they don’t have crappy songs to choose from.

  10. Are they going to be taping them 24/7 like in the ” If I can dream” house. That would suck.

  11. who would have expected a disco themed song to work with a guitar.

    Copying my reply to Anovich from the headlines thread as well – and yes to the Rant, mj.

    Exactly. And who would have expected Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” to work with an electric guitar? Certainly not the judges.

    Also, there have been contestants in Season7 and Season9 who played instruments, but didn’t chose to use them at all on the show…some saying quite honestly after the fact that they didn’t want to take the chance of splitting their concentration during a performance. They were quite capable of assessing their strengths, and making the choice.

    This paternalism is fake – and it bites,

    ETA – These are adult performers, if they don’t know who they are, we will soon find out – unless, of course, they cast children with instruments – somehow I don’t think that’s the plan this year- KWIM?

    Get your thumb off the scale, Idol….it’s one of the most distasteful things about the show,

    IMO. Of Course.

  12. That was just so much fun. They barely showed any of the interaction.

    LOL, I remember waiting to see what footage they would show and when they finally did, it was all staged stuff.

    I agree that I don’t need to see how the contestants live. I agree with MJ, I would LOVE to see them preparing to perform on the show, picking their song, practicing, trying things out, etc. I want to know how they approach music, not their interactions with people they didn’t know a year ago. (Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy good cast chemistry, but I don’t think the individuals should be judged by it).

    I’m annoyed by the vague restriction on instruments. It really feels like, especially in the last few years, that they are just making things up as they go along (kinda like what SYTYCD has devolved into). I think that really makes it hard on the contestants who are learning how to perform on TV for the first time (which I think is the real problem – not all singers/performers are TV stars.) I think in Hollywood rounds they need to spend more time determining who has good TV charisma.

  13. Every day, there are tabloid stories coming out of the X Factor house–probably fed to the press by Simon. It’s a distraction. I’d rather have behind-the-scenes footage of the kids working out song arrangements with the band, working with the mentor and vocal coaches, etc.

    The problem is that the ratings for the UK X Factor are through the roof. It is likely that the US show will use the same tricks, and if they work, it leaves AI in a quandary. What direction do they take?
    I think that they need to go for the serious talent competition, but they have fully do it, no back-handed maneuvering at all. If they go half way, they’ll loose in my opinion, but I am not sure that they’ll resist it. They are already pitching the show to certain gaps in the market, and they have the label representative mentoring the contestants.

  14. American Idol is like no other reality show. There are real consequences at stake here. The experience changes these kid’s lives forever.

    But how many idol fans really take this premise into consideration. Once you make a show more about the competition and the voting the less emphasis is placed on the ultimate goal of the series.

    I just wish AI would use the example of other competition shows and allow the judges to have a say in who stays and who goes…like SYTYCD and X Factor. This may eliminate the VFTW contestant from throwing a spanner into the works week after week…it could also help save a contestant who doesn’t have the emotional back-story that moves many voters to vote but is an excellent singer.

    As far as instruments…not my favorite just for the fact that few of the peeps that have used them really do much more than play chords on the piano or strum chords on the guitar.

    If I was in Nigel’s shoes I would: limit the voting to phone use only (no mass texting), have judges choose between the bottom 2 until the final five, have a “free” night where singers can sing their own material, limit instruments to only certain nights, get rid of “taped” group performances and make them sing live, and have one week where everyone has to sing acapella, oh, and most of all, increase the length of songs from the 2 minutes they are now given.

  15. Well, they really do need someone who isn’t a WGWG to win this year. But, it is going to be tough, because this is the type of performer that AI’s current demographic connects with. Sorry Nigel, but a Katy Perry or a Kesha will never win this show. An R&B singer (unless he is just awesome) is never going to win this show.

    Maybe the change they really need to make is limiting the number of votes. Of course, they will never do this.

  16. They casted the people who supposedly ” hide behind their guitars”. Now they are trying to throw these people under the bus and say it’s their fault for idol’s decline. Are you kidding me?

    lili_anne7,don’t forget the part where it’s also the voters’ fault – because they called in for the guitar playing contestants that TPTB cast.

    It makes no sense, does it – no matter how many times or in how many ways Nigel says it.

    Good that people are calling him on this nonsense. IMO.

  17. I’ve always thought that the two biggest reasons for the show’s continued success is that it only airs once a year, and that they don’t make us sit through stories of which contestants are hooking up, don’t like each other, fighting, or other silly drama that has nothing to do with the point of the show. ABC tried to air a singing competition that focused on the contestants personal drama, and I don’t think it lasted more than five episodes. Very few people care about drama that only exists for the tv cameras, and if people think that instruments give some contestants an unfair advantage, what’s going to happen when they start airing partially scripted footage of what goes on between the contestants when they are off screen. We will have what we had before, with contestants taking on certain roles, but it will be ten times worse, and incredibly contrived.

  18. I do not believe they will ever change the voting system! That is one of their biggest revenues! Being sponsored by AT&T x all the % of millions of texts= a LOT of money!

  19. If Nigel limits instrument use, I only hope it’s not severely. Maybe pick a few weeks out of the competition where the contestants can’t play instruments. But, if a guitar or piano is appropriate for a performance, let the contestants make that choice.

    YES.

    Every day, there are tabloid stories coming out of the X Factor house–probably fed to the press by Simon. It’s a distraction. I’d rather have behind-the-scenes footage of the kids working out song arrangements with the band, working with the mentor and vocal coaches, etc.

    If the show is cast well, all the drama necessary will come from the kid’s struggle to navigate the competition. American Idol is like no other reality show. There are real consequences at stake here. The experience changes these kid’s lives forever.

    YES YES YES times a million!

    Also, having the kids live together in a mansion has never added much to the show in the past.

    Well, last time they lived in the house (S8), Nigel wasn’t at the helm… I didn’t watch the early seasons. I’m hopeful this could help viewers get to know the contestants and their struggles WITHIN the competition better, and these struggles are kept mostly music related, and not about fake drama. Am I dreaming?

  20. WTF does “hiding behind a guitar” mean anyway?
    ========================================
    Well MJ it means it’s a crutch. They don’t need it. If they can sing well and entertain us they don’t need the crutch. Can’t wait to see what season 10 has in store for us. :)

  21. Being sponsored by AT&T x all the % of millions of texts= a LOT of money!

    Once upon a time in a land far far away texting cost 10 cents a pop or more. Now a days texting is part of a phone package and individual texts are not charged. Also, I can only speculate here, but I think limiting texting to AT&T has done as much to curtail the voting as anything and I think it has negatively influenced participation. I won’t vote no matter how much I like someone, anymore, ’cause I know my vote can’t compete with someone who texts a couple of hundreds if not thousands of times. So until AI figures out how to get voters back and allow every voter to feel as though their vote is important..the show will suffer.

  22. That’s the bottom line, at this point. They want a pop star desperately and are probably afraid Simon Cowell will beat them to it when X Factor bows in Fall 2011.

    IDK I think they’d be just as happy with a big country star.

  23. ^yes maybe, but have you been on the AI boards and see how many people purchase these packages or buy a go phone with the extra package just for AI voting? I am pretty sure as part of the sponsorship, that for every text(or set# of texts) from an AT&T phone service to AI results in some kind of percentage. It just makes sense to me, not that i have any real knowledge of how it works ;)

  24. If I was in Nigel’s shoes I would: limit the voting to phone use only (no mass texting), have judges choose between the bottom 2 until the final five, have a “free” night where singers can sing their own material, limit instruments to only certain nights, get rid of “taped” group performances and make them sing live, and have one week where everyone has to sing acapella, oh, and most of all, increase the length of songs from the 2 minutes they are now given.

    My wish list. Do you think Santa will deliver this year? Nah.. didn’t think so. ;)

  25. They should have a no-ballad night (or two). If they want a pop-star, ballads wont do it, even though they seem to work with the Idol audience.

    eta: and limit voting to a few times per phone

  26. MJ, you should consider tweeting your thoughts to Nigel. He does read his tweets. He answered someone I know several times and they had a twitter converstaion!

  27. I think the biggest problem Idol has is that it’s viewers skew old. Older people like musicians not pop stars. So they vote for people like Taylor Hicks and Bo Bice and David Cook and Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox and Kris Allen and not for the little pop stars Nigel needs to produce to keep the show relevant.

    I suppose he hopes that by stacking the deck with young kids, he can bring back young viewers, but I don’t think it will work. Idol fans are, as always, overwhelmingly middle-aged women, and the next Justin Bieber just isn’t going to do it for them.

  28. ITA with all you said, MJ. I really don’t want this to become about the drama between contestants. If it does, it may sacrifice a future career for the winner for more ‘dramatic’ TV and TV ratings. I think it will damage them going forward, creating a realization of everything AI is accused of in supposedly manufacturing stars. AI had the happy accident of ending up with a number of winners who could really compete in the marketplace, almost in spite of itself. Some of what they suggest could kill that. I agree with whoever suggested more stuff showing the people working with the band, coming up with arrangements, doing the nuts and bolts, and even working in some songwriting. That kind of drama would serve the purpose of the later career. The other kind won’t.

    I appreciate the fact that at least Nigel acknowledged that you can play guitar without hiding behind it. I don’t trust AI to make the call on when to have them allowed, however. Maybe they could limit it to X number of times for the season and let the contestants make the call as to when to use this, if they are determined to eradicate it. Notice that no one ever accuses anyone of hiding behind the piano, but I think it’s been done. Instruments can really add to a performance, but they can also detract.

  29. MJ, you should consider tweeting your thoughts to Nigel. He does read his tweets. He answered someone I know several times and they had a twitter converstaion!

    I expect Nigel reads here so she doesn’t need to do that.

  30. Also, I can only speculate here, but I think limiting texting to AT&T has done as much to curtail the voting as anything and I think it has negatively influenced participation. I won’t vote no matter how much I like someone, anymore, ’cause I know my vote can’t compete with someone who texts a couple of hundreds if not thousands of times.

    This^^^^
    AT&T is not my carrier, either, so I don’t vote anymore. No sense, really, unless you can text in those 1,000s of votes via text. This will never change though, because AT&T is one of their biggest sponsors.

  31. Maybe they could limit it to X number of times for the season and let the contestants make the call as to when to use this, if they are determined to eradicate it.

    IndyMuse, The contestants don’t know how long they will stay, what the themes could be changed to at the last minute – what the REAL list of song choices will be, or even if they will get their choice. How can they judge ahead of time when to use up some of their quota for a particular song without information? It’s just as artificial as if TPTB chose for them, XFactor style. It only sounds good, IMO.

    TPTB really don’t want a guitar player to win – the easiest thing is not to cast any – but – their audience likes them – obviously. So – they can cast a few, and then handicap them with limited artistic choices – and try to stack the deck.

    They can Point with Pride to how “Fair” they were – just like they point to all the song choices – even if it’s a pile of steaming crud.

    *Gag*

    And like that. So transparent.

    IMO. Of Course.

  32. Just wondering, is Nigel capable of saying anything without belittling other people?

    I was wondering the same exact thing Cristi.

  33. Well MJ it means it’s a crutch. They don’t need it. If they can sing well and entertain us they don’t need the crutch.

    I object the implication that just because some contestants use guitars as a crutch, therefore all good contestants must be able to entertain us at every performance without it and never use it. Instruments when used right often enhance a performance– AI is on television, not radio.

    If we take away any tool that could enhance a performance but potentially be used as a crutch, it will get to be a very long and boring 5 months of competition. If we insist that contestants wow us enough with just their amazing voice and nothing else, where does it end? No more mood lighting, smoke machines, staircases/chairs/stools as props? No hair and make-up help? A capella every night? We should get rid of the big fancy stage and just have every week look like audition weeks. Have everyone just stand in one place looking like a regular joe singing with a voice of an angel like Susan Boyle. Maybe some people want that– she does sell really well, but I won’t be watching that show.

  34. The voting system IS the biggest downfall of the whole competition. It is too easy to manipulate by mass texting. When you have organized fan groups on internet sites planning strategies for mass texting on behalf of or against contestants, some of the very talented contestants don’t have a chance if they are not one of the more “popular” contestants. It just doesn’t accurately show how a contestant rates when one person votes once or twice and masses of others ore voting 1000’s of times.

  35. To me, the funniest thing about all of this, is Seasons 7 and 8 were not so stacked with instrument players. Season 7 had Cook, Brooke and Jason (maybe there was 1 or 2 others, I don’t remember) as the primary instrumentalists (Archie didn’t play on the show). Season 8 had Kris, Matt, Scott and Allison sort of (Alexis never got the chance to play on the show). Last year, they went looking for a specific type and stacked the deck with guitar/instrument players (Crystal, Lee, Mike, Casey, Didi, Lily, Tim, Katelyn, etc.) What did they expect to have happen? In Seasons 7 and 8 they didn’t stack the deck and got a good balance between instruments and not. Last year they stacked the deck and so they were left with a lot of guitarists. Cast for talent, regardless of type or instrument use and the show can be good.

  36. I think that AI is fixing the wrong problem with the show. Even some of the most theatrical pop stars play instruments in their shows — Gaga play piano, Ke$ha guitar, and so on……

    The problem with Idol is not the instruments. IMO the problem is that the show is not designed to really showcase the talents and skills that make someone a popular star in any genre. And, if they stumbled upon an emerging pop superstar, the Idol system would try to turn them into last years pop star. The folks at 19 have no vision, just rear view mirrors.

    Star Search was more successful in part because the singer could pick whatever genre they wanted each week. (It also did not have the screwy Idol voting system.)

    Idol producers need to cast the show with better singers and performers. Stop putting on so many novelty acts and people who can’t sing.

    Since AI6 they focus became more and more on the judges. If the winner is supposed to be a star, then the contestants need to be the stars of the show.

    Most themes are dated and the contestants have to sing a lot of 40 to 60 year old music.

    The accompaniment options are dated — maybe they will fix this. In the past there has been no one capable of effectively providing contemporary electo beats and synth backup for the contestants. Blake tried and failed. Adam’s attempt to do this was meh because they have a gap with accompaniment. If you have a brilliant producer-singer could they do their own programming? (Studio work is also dated production.)

    The group production numbers are stale and to be fair to the people who cannot dance has to do simple choreo for the lipsynched number. If you really can dance, you have to do it while you compete singing.

    The producers manipulate the way the contestants look to the audience and most were presented as 2-D caricatures.

    The voting system doesn’t work. And with power text voting, it is worse than it was at the beginning.

    Finally, the 19R/Sony system for make AI albums tends to push almost everyone into formulaic albums that parrot someone who has already been successful. Occasionally, someone comes along who doesn’t easily fit into the Idol formula and they have not fared that well after their season was over — Bo, Taylor and Blake come to mind.

    ETA: Sagi I agree about the voting. Since viewers know that you did not have to win and the mass texters power out other voters — why bother voting? It will never be fixed because AT&T is a sponsor.

  37. I knew months ago that Nigel was going to come up with this. Remember he said we would get to know the contestants better? Going back to the house is one way.

    LOL, I remember waiting to see what footage they would show and when they finally did, it was all staged stuff.

    This is exactly what I think will happen. Does anyone remember Allison and the flour fight in the kitchen? I thought it was with Danny, but I can’t recall. I like one episode where they showed the girls shopping for clothes to wear for the show. That was kinda cute.

    The thing is the 15, 16, and 17 year-olds, need a parent or chaperone – so would that make a difference?

    MJ, please don’t ever stop telling “whomever” what needs to be done to make the show better! The obvious is get better and more varied talent. I do agree the voting system needs to be changed, but that will never happen.

  38. IDK, if someone does ballads really well – will they limit the number of ballads they can do? After all – they talk about versatility – they could force people to show it, or not. If someone can rearrange music – and someone else is stuck with Bandzilla’s ideas, will they be forbidden to use that skill, and ‘have’ to go with the House version? Where do the limitations stop?

    None of it has a logical basis – all of it is about who TPTB want to see as a winner – but they seem to have no faith in finding the performer they want unless they fiddle with the odds – because what they want and what their audience wants to hear has a Major Disconnect. Unless they Really pay attention to the casting, they’re still doomed to disappointment, IMO – – all things being equal.

    But with Idol – all things are never equal.

    Eh.

  39. I just wish AI would use the example of other competition shows and allow the judges to have a say in who stays and who goes…like SYTYCD and X Factor. This may eliminate the VFTW contestant from throwing a spanner into the works week after week

    VFTW has never been successful, even if they like to think that they are. Bringing in the judges is the same as any other type of manipulation, and has nothing to do with letting the most talented people get through. This past week on the UK X Factor one of the best singers was slammed, while the joke contestant was praised. AI is a tv show, and if the joke contestant is bringing in attention, the judges will make sure that they stick around for a long time.

  40. Bringing in the judges is the same as any other type of manipulation, and has nothing to do with letting the most talented people get through. This past week on the UK X Factor one of the best singers was slammed, while the joke contestant was praised. AI is a tv show, and if the joke contestant is bringing in attention, the judges will make sure that they stick around for a long time.

    Another example of judges screwing things up – Season 8 wildcard choices…Megan and Jasmine were chosen because of their looks, not their singing ability.

  41. The voting system IS the biggest downfall of the whole competition. It is too easy to manipulate by mass texting. When you have organized fan groups on internet sites planning strategies for mass texting on behalf of or against contestants, some of the very talented contestants don’t have a chance if they are not one of the more “popular” contestants. It just doesn’t accurately show how a contestant rates when one person votes once or twice and masses of others ore voting 1000’s of times.

    I don’t see the problem with this. It has always been a popularity contest, the point of the show is for the contestants to appeal to the audience, and inspire people to power vote for them, or to form these voting coalitions. If they can’t do that, that’s there problem.

  42. All Nigel needs to do to pull in viewers is to look at Season 5, the most watched season ever. Why was season 5 the most successful? Because they had talented, attractive contestants, who represented all the genres, and had interesting/quirky personality traits. Simple formula.

  43. Season 8 contestants lived in a house together as well. That was just so much fun.

    I liked the contestants all living in the home together.

    I think a non WGWG needs to win to save the show.

    But I agree it is the demographic of the show that drives this; not the instruments.

    But limiting instrumental usage will be helpful (they just shouldn’t ban it). I agree with this reasoning:

    As far as instruments…not my favorite just for the fact that few of the peeps that have used them really do much more than play chords on the piano or strum chords on the guitar

    Only Casey really shone on the guitar. Although others like Cook and Kris were adept, I think it would add to the spice if they limited some usage.

  44. I was on here last season and saw the MULTITUDE of complaints about people hiding behind their instruments, and how people wanted them to step out from behind the instruments just a few times. We shouldn’t act like Nigel is making this up from thin air. He is just trying to satisfy both sides. Instruments will remain, because many people enjoy them on the show, but they can’t be used every week, which will satisfy those who want to hear the instrument players just rely on their vocals. It seems like a fair compromise.

  45. Nothing is going to change unless the Idol viewing audience changes. Face it, Nigel, the audience for this show is old (and I admit, I am in my 30’s), and it is female. The people who watch the show aren’t listening to KISS FM, they are tuned into AC/HAC or rock. They aren’t going to be interested in the latest Justin Beiber clone, or Kesha, or Rhianna, or whoever. People were outraged when he pimped all the “amazing” 15 and 16 yr. olds they were seeing at auditions—this AI audience doesn’t care.

    And the voting is a joke. Unless you are sending out thousands of texts at a time, what is the point?

    The whole idea that you have to sing AC songs to win the show, then you are forced out into the world of CHR is just the biggest disconnect ever. Radio has figured it out. CHR doesn’t want or need the middle-aged fans of Idol winners (and the runner-ups). Good luck getting that pop star.

  46. Another example of judges screwing things up – Season 8 wildcard choices…Megan and Jasmine were chosen because of their looks, not their singing ability.

    I think Megan was picked because she was different and quirky, and Jasmine for a few reasons, including the genre that she was performing. Even though there were a lot better singers who could have been chosen in place of those two, I don’t have a problem with either of these because it was more about getting a diverse cast than getting the best singers, as season eight was very diverse. But these picks do show that the judges/producers aren’t just basing their picks on who is the better singer.

  47. Aileen:
    Season 8 contestants lived in a house together as well.

    It’s at 277 St. Pierre Rd. in the Bel Air section of LA. That same 9-bdr house is currently for rent at $75K per month, so maybe the Season 10 Top 12 could be in it as well.

  48. I have often seen in sport that when they start fiddling around with all kinds of rules it usually doesn’t work. The best thing is to stick to the basics and do those well, before you start thinking about other things. AI needs to try and connect with the real music industry more.

    Well MJ it means it’s a crutch. They don’t need it. If they can sing well and entertain us they don’t need the crutch. Can’t wait to see what season 10 has in store for us.

    Arguments like these are very short sighted, and it doesn’t apply to the real world. Some artist are always going to perform with a guitar or whatever, and no one is going to tell them stop playing guitar and be more versatile, and these artist can still be very successful. That is a huge part of the problem, the show has created all of these useless clichés that just doesn’t apply to the music industry.

    The first thing they should at the very least be able to, is to give the contestant a chance to really showcase what they can do. They didn’t manage to do this in S9, as a lot of the people where loads better as soon as left the idol stage, we still dont understand what went wrong and why this happened.

    I think the best thing is to start making the songs longer, real length songs. Some genres or people who played instruments for example, cant really show what they do in 90 seconds, limit the judges replies and rather have more music. Another thing that has always bothered me with for example the guitar players, is why don’t they have the whole band on the stage next to them? Most of these people will play with a band if they are not on idols, having just one guitar on stage looks a bit silly at times, and it doesn’t represent what the person will really be doing. I think it would be much better if the contestants just concentrate on what they will really be doing after the show. Forget things like growth and versatility, some people have been performing for years all of these concepts are superficial nonsense. A person should at least be able to display that they are good in their chosen genre, because that is what they will have to do in the real music industry.

    The casting is important, they should stop casting people for certain roles and back stories, and most importantly stop trying to manipulate people. After 9 season it is pretty easy spot and it insults people’s intelligence. I remember reading right after the the top 12 boys performances this year many people where already saying that they are pushing Lee for the win. It just makes the whole process boring and predictable when people can spot the agenda so quickly, and it is also very discouraging at times. The pushing of some sort of an agenda really needs to stop, therefore it is better to have the judges saying as little as possible and only relevant things. Then of course there are others things like getting new songs and casting a verity of different artists for example. These are just some of the basic things that they can look at first before they start limiting instruments.

  49. Q3: The problem with Idol is not the instruments. IMO the problem is that the show is not designed to really showcase the talents and skills that make someone a popular star in any genre. And, if they stumbled upon an emerging pop superstar, the Idol system would try to turn them into last years pop star. The folks at 19 have no vision, just rear view mirrors.

    Brilliant statement Q3. Thanks.

  50. The casting is important, they should stop casting people for certain roles and back stories, and most importantly stop trying to manipulate people. After 9 season it is pretty easy spot and it insults people’s intelligence. I remember reading right after the the top 12 boys performances this year many people where already saying that they are pushing Lee for the win. It just makes the whole process boring and predictable when people can spot the agenda so quickly,

    I think this happened in season 7 too. It wasn’t choreographed from the start as to which David would win, just that it would be one of them. TPTB need to get a clue that this is not how you keep viewers. One of the best parts of the show is seeing people get better week to week, and believing that most of the contestants have a chance to win. But, the fault of this not happening last year, and parts of season 7 is on the contestants as well as the producers.

  51. I prefer people playing instruments than trying to watch someone with no rhythm try to dance and prance their way around the stage while mugging the camera Constantine-style. What would be nice is to have a good mix of talent. Some young kids with all the right moves, some more mature young adults who kill on the guitar or piano or vice versa. I also agree with MJ that watching them be mentored is waaay more interesting than a food fight at the house!

  52. I think this happened in season 7 too. It wasn’t choreographed from the start as to which David would win, just that it would be one of them. TPTB need to get a clue that this is not how you keep viewers. One of the best parts of the show is seeing people get better week to week, and believing that most of the contestants have a chance to win. But, the fault of this not happening last year, and parts of season 7 is on the contestants as well as the producers.

    I think Season 7 still played out well because the contestants aside from Cook and Archie were all pretty good. And I don’t think Cook was on the radar too early whehn coming out of Hollywood they buzz was around Archie and Brooke, with Carly and Michael Johns to a lesser extent.

    One of the reasons, despite all the backlash, that Season 8 played out so well is because Allison and Kris, 2 overlooked contestants, captured the voters, similar to what happened with Jason Castro. Because as we all know, the script was always Danny/Adam for the season.

    Last season I think they overstacked the box for a certain type and then right before top 12 lost 3 of the stronges contestants they had at the time. Once that happened, I think Lee became the guy to beat and the girls were clearly going to be one of Crystal or Siobhan, with Katie having an outside chance. The problem was they had all the other guitar playing guys who just kept sticking around.

  53. I think the reason Season 8 worked out so well for me is that you had a nice mixture of contestants. You had rockers in Adam and Allison, Pop-Rock/Acoustic with Kris, Anoop & Matt were pop/soul, Lil was R&B, Danny & Sarver were hybrids. I also think it worked well because the contestants seemed to really care about each other. The commercials worked better, the choreographed numbers worked better and I think the contestants pushed each other every week to excel. Last year just didn’t seem to have that same vibe at all to me. Interactions seemed awkward between the contestants and it didn’t seem like many, not all, wanted to take any step outside their comfort zones. The lack of variety is the problem of the TPTB, but I think some of the contestants felt that just making the top 10 would guarantee them a career.

  54. If we take away any tool that could enhance a performance but potentially be used as a crutch, it will get to be a very long and boring 5 months of competition. If we insist that contestants wow us enough with just their amazing voice and nothing else, where does it end? No more mood lighting, smoke machines, staircases/chairs/stools as props? No hair and make-up help? A capella every night? We should get rid of the big fancy stage and just have every week look like audition weeks. Have everyone just stand in one place looking like a regular joe singing with a voice of an angel like Susan Boyle. Maybe some people want that– she does sell really well, but I won’t be watching that show.

    I think the show needs to focus on the talent of the performer first and foremost, the voice of course but also his/her ability to entertain and inherent charisma.
    That’s how the first winners distinguished themselves and they were much more successfull afterwards because those are qualities that can’t be really taught.
    The problem with focusing on the musicianship is that it’s IMO, often very overrated on the show. For every orginal versions like David Cook “Hello”, you have a lot of performances that were just based on lesser known covers that impress the general audience because they don’t know them.
    Also, the judges don’t criticize the way people play their instruments, even when it’s clear the guitar/piano is there just as a prop.
    Anyone here can use google to find a cool version of a song but nobody could mimic the charisma of the better idol performances.

    I don’t see the problem with this. It has always been a popularity contest, the point of the show is for the contestants to appeal to the audience, and inspire people to power vote for them, or to form these voting coalitions. If they can’t do that, that’s there problem.

    It is problem because it favorizes contestant who have good depth of support and not breadth of support. Meaning that the mass appeal of a contestant doesn’t count as much as his/her ability to count a few tousands fans who will vote countless times to see him/her win. It’s a problem because those type of idol voters favorize certain type of contestant, for instance, since the change has taken place, female contestants have been slashed in the voting.
    Where would be Idol if Kelly lost to Justin, Fantasia to JPL or Carrie lost to Constantine?

  55. There are dozens of suggestions here. It makes me wonder what happened to the survey we completed? Is this where Nigel is getting his ideas from or not?

    I like this suggestion: Get rid of “taped” group performances and make them sing live. Looking back, those were some of the best and funniest parts of the show.

  56. MJ – I so agree with all your points in your “rant”. Hope somehow they get to Nigel.

  57. I think this happened in season 7 too. It wasn’t choreographed from the start as to which David would win, just that it would be one of them.

    IMO it wasn’t choreographed from the start that David Cook could challenge Archie. Coming out of Hollywood, I remembered Michael Johns, Carly, Archie, Ramiele, Danny Noriega, and Brooke White– oh I think I remembered Asiah (forget where the apostrophe goes). Week 1 and two, those emerging as contenders to me, seemed to be Brooke and Jason Castro. Cook came out of nowhere with Hello in week 3 and changed the game, but until then, he was not choreographed to be in the top 2, IMO no way.

    anovich:
    11/09/2010 at 1:36 pm
    I think this happened in season 7 too. It wasn’t choreographed from the start as to which David would win, just that it would be one of them. TPTB need to get a clue that this is not how you keep viewers. One of the best parts of the show is seeing people get better week to week, and believing that most of the contestants have a chance to win. But, the fault of this not happening last year, and parts of season 7 is on the contestants as well as the producers.

    I think Season 7 still played out well because the contestants aside from Cook and Archie were all pretty good. […]

    One of the reasons, despite all the backlash, that Season 8 played out so well is because Allison and Kris, 2 overlooked contestants, captured the voters, similar to what happened with Jason Castro. Because as we all know, the script was always Danny/Adam for the season.

    I agree. It’s about the depth of the talent PLUS one or two frontrunners. If you just have one or two pimped frontrunners, the season is boring cuz it seems preordained. Frontrunners are important because you need a critical mass of fans to care a lot about the “stars”, but you also need some drama with underdogs creeping up each week, something to shock people and make the competition seem wide open. Bottom line, I liked S7 and S8 regardless of the outcome because I liked a LOT of the contestants a lot. S9 I didn’t like because I liked some of them somewhat, but even the ones I would root for always disappointed me (Didi, Crystal, Siobhan).

  58. I think the show needs to focus on the talent of the performer first and foremost, the voice of course but also his/her ability to entertain and inherent charisma. […] The problem with focusing on the musicianship is that it’s IMO, often very overrated on the show.

    Yes, but vocals, ability to entertain, and charisma IMO includes musicianship. I think both musicianship and showmanship are crucial. Vocals are part of both. Musicianship to me isn’t necessarily playing an instrument—it’s what distinguishes good covers with karaoke. That’s JMO though.

    Also, the judges don’t criticize the way people play their instruments, even when it’s clear the guitar/piano is there just as a prop.

    I agree! Randy really needs to step up with that. Interestingly, I think Paula, who doesn’t play an instrument (that I know) was the only one I can think of who said something to Jason Castro on week 2 of S7. It worked, because he heeded her advice and put down the guitar for week 3 and came back with Hallelujah, which was one of his best performances.

  59. There are dozens of suggestions here. It makes me wonder what happened to the survey we completed? Is this where Nigel is getting his ideas from or not?

    Of course not! That “survey” was PR pure and simple. It was meant to make fans believe Idol really cares what they think. If TPTB even bothered to keep the results, they are probably gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.

  60. It is problem because it favorizes contestant who have good depth of support and not breadth of support

    So, the point is to get people to support you. Those who don’t will not win. This was one of Crystal’s problems, and it was up to her to figure out how she could connect with the audience. The truth is that these people will face the same issue in the real world, there are plenty of people who can sing, but if they can’t promote themselves, and connect with people then they won’t standout from the rest of the pack.

  61. WTF does “hiding behind a guitar” mean anyway?

    Good question. Looking at S9, the Top 4 contestants – Lee, Crystal, Casey & Big Mike – obviously didn’t “hide” very well since they were front & center by being voted to the top. LOL.

    ITA the issue is casting, not instruments, and if Nigel is trying to tell America who to vote for again, he can be sure America won’t listen.

  62. The first thing they should at the very least be able to, is to give the contestant a chance to really showcase what they can do.

    People may have forgotten but Adam Lambert has said, time and again, that he was free to set up his songs the way HE wanted…whether it be staging, outfits, accompaniment, lighting, band or accoustic, props, etc. I also remember Daughtry and his mic stand covering the whole stage…and Taylor was a good showman.

    I don’t think it is AI who holds the contestants back…I think the contestants are also at fault. Everyone has to sing “old” songs, just some of the contestants can make them seem current by arrangements. We all know the band and the sound is borderline awful but everyone deals with that and some make it work while others don’t.

    AI contestants know months before that they are going to Hollywood. If they were serious they would take the time to improve themselves as vocalists or performers. They would watch you-tube, have their friends help them learn to dance, research the program, learn something aout staging and presentation. So many of these kids seem to be utterly clueless when it comes to presenting themselves or their talent. If they really wanted to be the next American Idol they would work for it long before the final 24/36 are chosen.

  63. I agree. It’s about the depth of the talent PLUS one or two frontrunners. If you just have one or two pimped frontrunners, the season is boring cuz it seems preordained.

    Agreed with this. I know WNTS doesn’t mean everything, but looking back at S9, only 4 of 12 finalists managed at least an 80 rating and above. No prizes for guessing which four. Compare this to season 8 (6) and season 7 (9). Two frontrunners cannot carry an entire season. And all this actually boils down to one thing – cast better contestants.

    They also need to allow them to sing for more than 90seconds.

  64. It is problem because it favorizes contestant who have good depth of support and not breadth of support

    So, the point is to get people to support you. Those who don’t will not win. This was one of Crystal’s problems, and it was up to her to figure out how she could connect with the audience. The truth is that these people will face the same issue in the real world, there are plenty of people who can sing, but if they can’t promote themselves, and connect with people then they won’t standout from the rest of the pack.

    Right, but “support” covers a spectrum of behavior. Picking up someone’s album in the fall is not solely the purview of the people who voted 500 times every night; when it is, those sales drop like a rock by week 3. It’s also a reflection of the vaguely favorable memories of people who voted once or twice a week for a contestant and who remembered that by liking the single once it was finally on the radio. That’s the entire point of the holiday season cycle: capturing sales from casual fans when they are already in the stores.

    And those people who might have the chance to build up favorable memories across that wide-but-not-overinvested base are may well lose out when a power-texting cabal gives contestants whose appeal is primarily to one particular audience segment or another appear to be running away with the whole thing. They just tune out, and make it just a TV show. And then the core fans continue to grow in relative influence, and so on, and so on.

  65. AI contestants know months before that they are going to Hollywood. If they were serious they would take the time to improve themselves as vocalists or performers.

    I’ve always wondered why more of the Hollywood bound contestants didn’t seek out a voice coach before they went to the audition. There have been a lo of former contestants who were very talented, but who could have benefited from some coaching.

  66. Tess:
    People may have forgotten but Adam Lambert has said, time and again, that he was free to set up his songs the way HE wanted…whether it be staging, outfits, accompaniment, lighting, band or accoustic, props, etc.

    Rickey Minor said he always gave contestants his phone number and told them they could call him anytime with questions or suggestions about music for their performances. He said most of them never took advantage of his offer, but Adam did constantly. Rickey also said most of the other contestants were afraid to take chances with performances even when he suggested them.

  67. Right, but “support” covers a spectrum of behavior. Picking up someone’s album in the fall is not solely the purview of the people who voted 500 times every night; when it is, those sales drop like a rock by week 3.

    What happens on the show is different from what happens when it ends. It’s been said a million times but voters don’t equal buyers, and most viewers and voters could care less about what happens to these people once the show is over. So, how many albums someone could sell or will sell has nothing to do with them being an entertaining reality show contestant who is able to showcase their abilities, connect with people, and get people to vote for them. Most people would not watch the show if the politics of what happened after the show is over invaded what they like to watch on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    If we followed what you want the diversity that existed in the first seven years among the winners wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have Fantasia, Taylor, Ruben, Kimberly, Clay, and many others, and the show would have been over long ago.

  68. WTF does “hiding behind a guitar” mean anyway?

    Frankly, it’s actually beyond me why “hiding behind a guitar” misses a major point, especially to those who accuse it of being a prop; a guitar on stage is stage presence. No less so than any on-stage movement or theatrical hand-wave or what have you. A different kind, but one all the same.

    To call it a gimmick… well, I guess that could be true, but certainly no more so than any “dancing” would be. Nor any dramatic pose from the back of the stage, or anything else an Idol contestant is going to have in the bag. And, frankly, it’s been the central prop of musical creation for a while now, so singling it out seems odd when compared to its alternatives.

    (Not, mind you, that it is consistently effective stage presence. Especially when put up against 10 others doing the same thing. But that goes for everything regarding stage presence.)

    I think people have basically hit it on the head here, though; the seasons that are remembered best have both diversity and a strong overall cast. I might also say that blatant pimping hasn’t helped the show, but its effects have more to do with retaining current viewers than in determining how the season was remembered.

  69. If we followed what you want the diversity that existed in the first seven years among the winners wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have Fantasia, Taylor, Ruben, Kimberly, Clay, and many others, and the show would have been over long ago.

    Power-texting plans didn’t exist during the early seasons. You really think none of those winners or runners-up had broad-based support beyond some core power-voting fans? I don’t think that’s true at all. If there’s some documentation to that effect, I’d like to know about it.

    And as I’ve said before, the show has the opportunity to make people feel more invested in the outcome by highlighting the aspects of the competition that tie into the final prize being a recording contract. It can be a virtuous cycle if they want it to be. I’m not entertained by people standing there and putting on 90 seconds of a song; I’m entertained by the projection from those 90 seconds to what they might do with an album if I actually pick up the phone and try to give them that opportunity.

  70. Rickey also said most of the other contestants were afraid to take chances with performances even when he suggested them.

    Meaning they lacked the hunger to win in my book.

  71. Power-texting plans didn’t exist during the early seasons. You really think none of those winners or runners-up had broad-based support beyond their core power-voting fans? I don’t think that’s true at all.

    I think everybody has hardcore fans, casual fans, fans who like their style of music, fans who like their backstory, fans who will only vote every so often, ten times a night, or fans that will vote for two or four hours straight. I could go on and on. This is why the arguments about testing, or who has the more passionate voters. All of them have voters who fall into at least one of these groups, and all of them have the potential to attract voters who fall into these groups, so what is the problem?

  72. Meaning they lacked the hunger to win in my book.

    Or, they didn’t think Rickey’s suggestions were the right choice for them.

  73. The first thing they should at the very least be able to, is to give the contestant a chance to really showcase what they can do.

    People may have forgotten but Adam Lambert has said, time and again, that he was free to set up his songs the way HE wanted…whether it be staging, outfits, accompaniment, lighting, band or accoustic, props, etc. I also remember Daughtry and his mic stand covering the whole stage…and Taylor was a good showman.

    I don’t think it is AI who holds the contestants back…I think the contestants are also at fault. Everyone has to sing “old” songs, just some of the contestants can make them seem current by arrangements. We all know the band and the sound is borderline awful but everyone deals with that and some make it work while others don’t.

    AI contestants know months before that they are going to Hollywood. If they were serious they would take the time to improve themselves as vocalists or performers. They would watch you-tube, have their friends help them learn to dance, research the program, learn something aout staging and presentation. So many of these kids seem to be utterly clueless when it comes to presenting themselves or their talent. If they really wanted to be the next American Idol they would work for it long before the final 24/36 are chosen.

    I agree with everything you wrote. What I would like to add is I am glad Nigel is limiting the use of instruments for this season. While I loved last season there were “too” many contestants who did “hide” behind the guitar. How I think Nigel meant in that statement is they used the guitar as a clutch and did “hide” behind it in a way. I don’t blame the contestants on that I do blame the people who do pick the top 12. If they want a so called “variety” then pick a “variety”. I am a Rock Chick and so I do want someone who is more rock. That is just my taste. At the end of the day give us a “variety” and let us choose who we want to stay on there. That is all I am saying……..stop controlling who YOU think we should like AI, let US decide that……

  74. All of them have voters who fall into at least one of these groups, and all of them have the potential to attract voters who fall into these groups, so what is the problem?

    This is like saying that all voters in national elections might fall into certain profiles, and all candidates have the potential to attract voters who fall into those profiles, so there’s no problem. But redistricting means that certain demographic profiles in those districts make them much more likely to break one way or another every time. And in those “predetermined” districts, it’s been documented that voters who are unlikely to see their preferred candidate win may also vote less. Since not everyone has access to power-texting (either for financial reasons or because of the regional strengths of AT&T), I think the parallel is obvious.

    It’s not good for the show for the majority of the audience to feel less invested (even if a small core is more invested), and it’s not good for building a broad audience coalition after the show. Ratings and sales would have declined regardless, but the idea that people feel that there is a thumb on the lever seems likely to have influenced both.

  75. Elliegrll:
    11/09/2010 at 2:46 pm
    Meaning they lacked the hunger to win in my book.

    Or, they didn’t think Rickey’s suggestions were the right choice for them.

    Or they weren’t concerned enough to make sure Rickey was getting the arrangement they had in mind correct. Its not just about listening, but also about making sure your point of view is understood and executed as you wished.

  76. Incipit, late to the party here, but you are right. I hadn’t thought about the aspect that they don’t know how long they’ll be on. I don’t like any of the manipulation and was not behind the idea of limiting guitar; I was just casting about for an alternative to tptb choosing who uses an instrument when. I guess no such limits really are fair.

    Q3, I am puzzled at the idea that Star Search was ‘more successful’ than AI. It didn’t have higher ratings, did it? Did it produce more stars? I always took it as a nice piece of fluff that produced few stars. I guess it produced a few, but I didn’t think to the degree that AI has.

    I also dispute the idea that all the best stars of AI are in the first few years. I think the idea comes from declining sales, but the winners of the last 4 seasons have had to face a drastic decline in music sales that the others did not begin with. I know most of them are not selling now what they did then (see Kelly Clarkson and Chris Daughtry, for instance). Why are we holding the winners of the last few years to the same standard of debut when even those considered the top stars of AI are not selling what they once did? Yes, I know Fantasia has sold really well this cycle compared to the past, and Carrie just sells and sells. And yes, I know some sales declines within AI are way out of proportion to the overall decline in the industry (sadly, Kris’s sales are not a function of the loss of sales).

    There is more to this than just a decline in quality of winners. There are genre sales differences, etc. I was interested in the analysis that compared where various winners ended their chart year as far as album sales rank. It really gave a different perspective.

  77. is is like saying that all voters in national elections might fall into certain profiles, and all candidates have the potential to attract voters who fall into those profiles, so there’s no problem. But redistricting means that certain demographic profiles in those districts make them much more likely to break one way or another every time. And in those “predetermined” districts, it’s been documented that voters who are unlikely to see their preferred candidate win may also vote less. Since not everyone has access to power-texting (either for financial reasons or because of the regional strengths of AT&T), I think the parallel is obvious.

    It’s not good for the show for the majority of the audience to feel less invested (even if a small core is more invested), and it’s not good for building a broad audience coalition after the show. Ratings and sales would have declined regardless, but the idea that people feel that there is a thumb on the lever seems likely to have influenced both.

    Great post. At&t coverage is sketchy in my area, its not even an option. My going in position is why vote if I can’t text. I can’t remember the last time I voted, even for a fav.

  78. The one thing I have enjoyed with AI over the past several seasons is that the kareoke has been turned into good covers by some of the contestants…and there is a difference. I would like to see more contestants make it to the final 12 who, at least, have an inkling about how to do more than imitate the original. This is why so many of the divas fail…because they can’t seem to think of a way to turn a classic diva song into something else or vice-versa. And it can be done…think ‘I will Always Love You’ and Dolly and Whitney.

    I guess I just want the contestants to step up to the plate and realize, even though it is their career at stake, that they are also on a national TV show with a huge audience. If these kids really want to be a professional singer then they need to figure out, long before the chair episode, what they have to offer the viewing public.

  79. Agreed with this. I know WNTS doesn’t mean everything, but looking back at S9, only 4 of 12 finalists managed at least an 80 rating and above.

    What is WNTS and where can I see the information it presents?

    Thank you, Larc for answering my question.

  80. It’s not good for the show for the majority of the audience to feel less invested (even if a small core is more invested)

    How do you know a majority feels less invested? It’s a tv show, and if people don’t feel invested they will stop watching and stop voting, which is what happened last year. The problem is that this is not as clear cut or as black and white as people labeling themselves democrats, republicans or independents. This race is wide open, and people have the potential and do vote all types of voters.

  81. Great post. At&t coverage is sketchy in my area, its not even an option. My going in position is why vote if I can’t text. I can’t remember the last time I voted, even for a fav.

    It’s your choice not to vote, and it’s a choice that is made by the majority of the viewers who watch the show, so how does this benefit one contestant over another. And lots of people don’t have AT&T, or don’t have phones where they can send texts. Other people have issues where there are not enough phone lines, so they get more busy signals than people in other areas. None of this really matters.

  82. How do you know a majority feels less invested? It’s a tv show, and if people don’t feel invested they will stop watching and stop voting, which is what happened last year

    You just answered your own question.

  83. Star Search was more successful in part because the singer could pick whatever genre they wanted each week. (It also did not have the screwy Idol voting system.)

    Hmmmmm.

    Q3, I am puzzled at the idea that Star Search was ‘more successful’ than AI. It didn’t have higher ratings, did it? Did it produce more stars? I always took it as a nice piece of fluff that produced few stars. I guess it produced a few, but I didn’t think to the degree that AI has.

    Good question. I am not Q3, neither do I agree with her opinion of Star search producing more stars…..but she will I am sure have a list of folk from that show who are far more famous than Idol alumni. Britney, Xtina, etc. I agree that they are more famous, for sure, but I’m almost certain that they are their stint on another show is what made them famous. And if we do want to draw that conclusion, we also have to add that they did that show as kids. Younger than idol’s minimum age requirement now, and most of us hate that!

    Anyway, I am not going to stick up for Nigel but to say that if idol viewers pick yet another wgwg, and he is not superior to David Cook, who was the best of his ‘ilk’ to use phrase very loosely, it will be the death knell for idol, for sure, and I think that is what Nigel is trying to avoid. Maybe he should have just said it that way. Truthfully though, not casting a good balance, and frontloading, hoping for a specific result is the thing that idol has been doing from the beginning, and it hasn’t always worked out to their advantage, or ours.

  84. What is WNTS and where can I see the information it presents

    What Not to Sing – MJ has a link in her sidebar. they compile all sorts of statistics using osme formula they’ve derived regarding all AI contestsnts.

  85. (sadly, Kris’s sales are not a function of the loss of sales).

    Kris is an exception to some of the AI rules because of a lot of perceptions coming out of Season 8 regarding his win which have been rehashed a million times on these boards. However, there is clearly still more interest in him as compared to Lee, which says something about how poor Season 9 was, IMO.

  86. The musicians have had success on Idol in recent years because they are the ones freshening up the show and not making us suffer through disco tunes or Elvis night with songs done the traditional way. If anything I see it as the audience begging for originality and amusement than some obsessive fixation on men who play guitar. The problem isn’t the casting or contestants, the problem is the manipulative nature of the show and the producers who refuse to elevate the show out of a cheesy family friendly variety hour. They are afraid to embrace real creativity and change, to showcase real artists and musicians, maybe then they would lose control of everything.

    For me bottom line is I like rock music. Male voices who are musicians and have arrangement skills and play a guitar. Not show tunes, not diva balladeering, not cutesy children dancing around the stage, not R&B crooners. So if there is some discrimination on the type of music I enjoy hearing on Idol then there is no reason for me to watch. I’ve watched the show since day 1 but never gave a crap about any of it until they started showcasing rock music and musicians. I’ll quickly go back to not caring the second they abolish that.

  87. I think that with Jimmy Iovine in the Tim Gunn role, and all contestants living together in a house, American Idol is starting to sound like Project Runway.

  88. I favor the restriction on instrument usage. I’m more interested in the voice and if you suck at singing, instruments act as annoying illusions.

  89. koshka:
    11/09/2010 at 2:42 pm

    Rickey also said most of the other contestants were afraid to take chances with performances even when he suggested them.

    Meaning they lacked the hunger to win in my book.

    Personally, I don’t see it as lacking ambition, but more likely contestants are overthinking everything at that point. Talking to Rickey Minor and his Bandzilla wasn’t on their minds. Maybe it should have been, but I can see where it wouldn’t be. Already stressed out and wondering if the guy is sincere with his offer of help. That’s real life, not necessarily a lack of ‘hunger,’ as you put it.

  90. The musicians have had success on Idol in recent years because they are the ones freshening up the show and not making us suffer through disco tunes or Elvis night with songs done the traditional way. If anything I see it as the audience begging for originality and amusement than some obsessive fixation on men who play guitar.

    Good point. I’m pro-instrument, anti-boring/not-diverse seasons like S9, but I’ll play devil’s advocate. I think the success of musicians in S7-9 are largely due to what you said. But after S9, after witnessing an entire season of musicians that showed so little originality and amusement, a lot of the audience is now begging for a freshening up of the show with non-instrumentalists. It’s like a pendulum swing. People were bored with diva note-holders, moved towards rockers/pseudo-rockers. Now they’re bored with that, and want to go back to the diva note-holders, lol. What’s old is new again, lol.

  91. I’ve finally come out of lurking on this board because of this interesting discussion!

    First off, the problem wasn’t that people were hiding behind their instruments in Season 9. It was that there were so many of them playing guitar that it became tiresome. If I think about it, the only ones who seemed to be “hiding” behind their guitars were Lee and Andrew. With Casey, it was just an extension of him. When he and Michael did their duet, I suddenly wanted more guitar, because it was really great for that song.

    With Crystal, it hardly mattered what she had in front of her, even when she was playing guitar and harmonica. She could have been a one-woman band with the big brass drum and it would have worked, because she burst through it all with that voice.

    No, as everyone here has said, it was the casting. Too many similar singers, with the most distinctive ones voted out early and only Crystal and Siobhan standing out when the finals began.

    I’m going to put in a good word for the Idol Mansion, though. It’s true that the only “drama” we get out of it is stupid stuff like the cake fight (and, as I recall, some footage of Scott winning a basketball game). But something magical happened in Season 8. All the contestants bonded with, pushed, and helped each other to create good performances. Season 9 contestants were close, too. But I don’t think they achieved the same level of cohesion. I’m convinced that living in the same place contributed to the achievement of Season 8.

    As for that survey, I remember it consisting of a lot of questions about the format of the show and the judges. Did we like Ellen? Did we like four judges at all? Then there was a whole section on mentors. Did we like mentors? Did we want more of them? Who would we want to see? I don’t remember them asking if we liked instruments or not.

  92. Tony:
    11/09/2010 at 3:48 pm
    I favor the restriction on instrument usage. I’m more interested in the voice and if you suck at singing, instruments act as annoying illusions.

    This is what worries me about X-Factor. It is all about the production, which frequently hides the voice. Contestants seem to have even less freedom there than on AI.

  93. I’ll restate what I said in the other thread. If the instrument is an extension of the artists image, they should allow it. If it’s not and the chosen instrument is the artists voice then they shouldn’t.

    Examples. Casey James and Crystal will always have a guitar strapped on as artists. While David Cook and Daughtry don’t.

  94. tigervixxxen:
    11/09/2010 at 3:46 pm

    The musicians have had success on Idol in recent years because they are the ones freshening up the show and not making us suffer through disco tunes or Elvis night with songs done the traditional way.

    SOME instrument players have freshened up the show. Some instrument players haven’t. I agree that DAvid Cook was great at interpreting songs, so was Kris. However, no one freshened up Idol for me more than Adam, who didn’t play an instrument (except his voice), but definitely interpreted songs his way. It’s not the guitar that allows the interpretation it’s the musicality of the performer. That musicality can shine whether or not they are holding a guitar or playing a piano. Look at Cook, Kris and Adam. They all had amazing moments interpreting songs without playing an instrument and just showcasing their voices. It can be done.

  95. HotHotHot:
    11/09/2010 at 4:25 pm
    Tony:
    11/09/2010 at 3:48 pm
    I favor the restriction on instrument usage. I’m more interested in the voice and if you suck at singing, instruments act as annoying illusions.

    This is what worries me about X-Factor. It is all about the production, which frequently hides the voice. Contestants seem to have even less freedom there than on AI.

    Its all well and good until the finalists are expected to record something… oh yeah.. thats what auto tune is for. ;)

  96. Some of the best AI seasons (in my opinion, of course) Seasons 6 & 7, didn’t have the idols living together in a house. and the season 7 contestants bonded pretty darn well without it. With limited tv minutes, I really think the house stuff is superfluous.

  97. I think that with Jimmy Iovine in the Tim Gunn role, and all contestants living together in a house, American Idol is starting to sound like Project Runway.

    I wish that the audience voted rather than the judges in PR. I wanted Mondo to win rather than that b***h Gretchen. And agree with MJ that more backstory of choosing the songs, practice, etc will be interesting.
    Project R was interesting to me this past year because they showed more on how the judges reach the decision, and the question and answer with the contestants on the runway. In other words, even when they extend the time by half an hour, they did not show more of the living arrangement.

  98. Cast the show with a wide variety of talent, give the kids the tools they need to succeed, allow the viewers to know the contestants, widen the pool of available song choices, fix the sound and direction problems, add a few twists like songwriters week (Jimmy Iovine could set the kids up with hot songwriters).

    MJ I agree totally with your thoughts here. Looking at comments on this & other threads – having a wide variety of talent is the most common idea!!
    I see that some still haven’t moved on from the texting issue [lol] but to me the actual show is more important than the voting [well for those of us not in the US anyway] & so if Nigel tries to manipulate it too much viewers will switch off. Give us good production , the best talent & good songs & no manipulation is needed!

  99. If the instrument is an extension of the artists image, they should allow it. If it’s not and the chosen instrument is the artists voice then they shouldn’t.

    Examples. Casey James and Crystal will always have a guitar strapped on as artists. While David Cook and Daughtry don’t.

    Huh? I don’t get the Casey/Crystal vs Cook/Daughtry categories. So if they will always have a guitar strapped on, they’re allowed, if not, they’re not? That argument seems… circular, to say the least? So people like Daughtry, who plays guitar on about 50% of his songs on tour, and Cook, who played guitar on 50% of his performances on Idol, and plays guitar on the majority of his songs on tour, should not be allowed to play an instrument on Idol ever, simply because they don’t ALWAYS play? What about people like Kris and Brooke, who can play piano and guitar, and choose to use either or neither depending on what suits the particular arrangement? Colbie Caillat sings most of her songs without an instrument on tour, except for Bubbly, which is her signature song and works really well with with her plucking along… but were she on Idol, she would have to choose all or nothing? Either she defines herself as someone with a guitar always, like Casey/Crystal, or she’s half-half like Daughtry/Cook and should be denied using it ever? I’m so lost as to the logic of the original statement…

  100. I won’t vote no matter how much I like someone, anymore, ’cause I know my vote can’t compete with someone who texts a couple of hundreds if not thousands of times.

    According to this ( http://moconews.net/article/419-american-idol-fans-shatter-previous-years-text-messaging-records/ ) there were 78 million text votes cast the entire season of AI8. Since there were 100 million votes of all types cast during the finale alone it would appear to me that text votes are still not nearly as important as regular old phone votes are. However, my math could be wrong.

    As far as instruments go I feel strongly that it should be left up to the contestant and should be an artistic choice. I can live with,however, limiting them to a certain extent but this is really not the problem. As others have stated during AI9 it seemed as though no one really cared whether they won or not. Considering how the previous winner was treated I guess I can understand why they felt that way.

    The whole idea of capitalizing on the contestants living in a house with the possible scripted drama is just a train wreck waiting to happen. Of course, since the Kardashians are A list stars with no talent at all I can definitely see this happening :(

  101. Sma11ie and CindyM I agree with your point that one doesn’t *have* to be an instrument player to rearrange and freshen up the show (such as Adam) but I still say most who have were the “musicians” with some notable exceptions of course. If a vocalist can bring rearrangement and originality to their performances then I will keep an open mind. But that isn’t what Nigel is pushing, he wants the show back to early era form and I think the show has evolved way past that. The audience is clearly interested in more than the karaoke variety show song and dance, I wish they would acknowledge that instead of trying to turn back the clock and put the genie back in the bottle. And I understand it is always easier to recapture the glory years than to utilize forward thinking. The goal should be to differentiate as much as possible from Xfactor using their strengths/competitive advantages and built up loyal audience affection rather than to try and out spectacle Xfactor.

  102. If a vocalist can bring rearrangement and originality to their performances then I will keep an open mind.

    Good examples: Billie Jean, Always Be My Baby, Love Is A Battlefield (probably my favorite Brooke White performance) pretty much anything Adam did, and like him or not, most of what Blake did.

    But that isn’t what Nigel is pushing, he wants the show back to early era form and I think the show has evolved way past that. The audience is clearly interested in more than the karaoke variety show song and dance, I wish they would acknowledge that instead of trying to turn back the clock and put the genie back in the bottle. And I understand it is always easier to recapture the glory years than to utilize forward thinking. The goal should be to differentiate as much as possible from Xfactor using their strengths/competitive advantages and built up loyal audience affection rather than to try and out spectacle Xfactor.

    Oh yeah, I agree with you entirely. I do think that is what Nigel is (unfortunately) trying to do– go back to early form/recapture the glory years.

  103. But that isn’t what Nigel is pushing, he wants the show back to early era form and I think the show has evolved way past that. The audience is clearly interested in more than the karaoke variety show song and dance, I wish they would acknowledge that instead of trying to turn back the clock and put the genie back in the bottle. And I understand it is always easier to recapture the glory years than to utilize forward thinking.

    For me, seasons 4-6 were better than 7-9. I would even take seasons 1-3 over 7-9.

    Sure, there was a lot of karaoke performances in seasons 1-6, but there were also great performances, moments when we could see great singers that made songs their own, without instruments or drastic rearrangements.

  104. I agree with everything you wrote, mj. Didn’t find it cranky at all. It’s just good sense. Thanks.

  105. I think that AI will be pushing a youngster this year. That’s where the megabucks are.

  106. Not looking forward to the season at all. With all these changes, it’s going to be even less focused on the contestants than s9 :(

  107. @sma11ie:
    Maybe never is extreme but not often. My point about the comment is that people like Daughtry and Cook are not guitarists, in their performances the guitar is a prop. Casey is defined by it. Crystal less so, she’s not a guitar player but it’s part of her image and is always on. David, Daughtry and Colbie’s brand don’t include a guitar.

    Imo, anything goes but if Nigel is going to be dork then you have to draw the line somewhere.

  108. people like Daughtry and Cook are not guitarists, in their performances the guitar is a prop. Casey is defined by it. Crystal less so, she’s not a guitar player but it’s part of her image and is always on. David, Daughtry and Colbie’s brand don’t include a guitar.

    I’ll focus on David’s examples since I’m more familiar. I can’t imagine David Cook’s The World I Know performance on Idol without a guitar. I think it serves the song, and is not used as a prop. Even songs like All Right Now and Hello, or his recent performance last season of Jumping Jack Flash, the electric guitar is an integral part of the performances. On the other hand, I can’t imagine him doing Permanent with a guitar. That would be odd and won’t serve the song. Choice of accompaniment should depend on the music, not an artist’s “brand” or image. YMMV. You may argue that David, Daughtry, and Colbie’s brand don’t include a guitar, but that doesn’t mean it’s a prop when they do use it– and they should be allowed to use it when it serves the song/performance.

  109. I disagree with pretty much everything MJ said. Playing the guitar every week absolutely makes the show more boring. I see on this blog that everyone wants it to be all about the singing and playing the guitar means its not all about the singing. The house is a great idea and TV is about drama and that will bring much more attention to the show if its in the newspapers. I understand your theory about just casting the show better but its unlikely they will find good interesting talent to cast( you could count the amount of interesting contestants on 1, maybe 2 hands, in idol history).

  110. Tess,, I agree with so many of your comments today. I also agree that the contestants coming across as karaoke and hokey or imitating someone else are not as popular as the more original and unique types that can change things up and make a song current. Please, no more old fashioned mediocre belters/crooners and copy cats.

    Also, I hope they have changed all the producers and choreographers too – every year you can find the exact same patterns in the cast they choose and the group songs are so bad – how can you take any of the contestants seriously when they are asked to perform in such a cheesy manner?

  111. I agree that much of what Nigel seems to be doing is trying to put the genie back in the bottle as far as instrumentalists and singer/songwriter types being successful on Idol. He appears to be doing it so that the type of contestant TPTB/he wants to win will win or at least have a better shot at winning (i.e., a Bieber/Taylor Swiftian clone preferably). I have no problem with Idol having that type of winner this year (closer to what Jordin was supposed to be but with a more invested fanbase) — but only if they are (even broadly speaking) one of the top two or three performers/vocalists of the season. However, all this “limited use of instruments” crap just annoys me because it seems to be trying to get at a predetermined result and that’s annoying and insulting.

  112. Playing the guitar every week absolutely makes the show more boring.

    Very few people have played the guitar every week. Last season was pretty much the first time that ever happened.

    If people are boring playing the guitar, they don’t suddenly become enthralling just because they’re holding a mic. Boring performers are boring.

    Doesn’t matter whether they’re playing an instrument or what. It’s really not about that – that’s why Nigel doesn’t get it. mj had it right. They need a good, varied cast of talented singers; it’s not about playing or not playing instruments.

  113. tigervixxxen:

    The goal should be to differentiate as much as possible from Xfactor using their strengths/competitive advantages and built up loyal audience affection rather than to try and out spectacle Xfactor.

    I believe you are right, Tigervixxen. But I’m puzzling over what it is that differentiates AI and makes it better than X-Factor. I think what is better about AI is it does put more emphasis on the contestant as an artist. The Idol “Moments” come when a contestant either twists up a song to make it their own (You Give Love a Bad Name, Ring of Fire), makes a great counter-intuitive song choice (Falling Slowly, Stuff Like That There), or really emotionally connects (Summertime, The World I know).

    As far as I can see (from limited X-Factor exposure), the contestants are more like puppets, or horses being put through their paces under the firm hand of their mentors. On the positive side, they don’t have to take the heat for a bad song choice, but the downside is that they don’t seem to develop much of an identity. It’s nice that the X-Factor shows us behind the scenes footage, but it’s all starting to look the same to me. It’s all about whatever challenge the singer has (Matt trying to hit a high C, Mary having her to change her song mid-week), never about any choices he or she is making.

    When I think about wanting to see more behind the scenes footage, I’m imagining shots where the contestant is trying to decide between two different songs, or going over a phrase of music with their coach, or shopping for an outfit with a stylist. Somewhat similar to the behind the pimpmercial stuff. What I don’t want to see is obviously staged hi-jinks (like on SYTYCD) or the trumped-up drama of the X-Factor.

    We like to pretend that the American Idols are musicians who are serious about their craft. Please help us preserve that concept, even if it’s just an illusion.

  114. I love when a contestant uses there guitar,but I do think their should be times when they just sing.But they should be able to choose,when they don’t use them. Say tell them for 4 or 5 shows they can’t use their guitar’s. Or if they use them one week the following week they can’t use them. And maybe on the final show they can’t use them.I don’t know if i’m going to like seeing them all the time in the house.But I did like the little bit of time on season 8 when they showed them in the house.I never watched when they had them in the house before that. I didn’t really start watching until the end of season 2.

  115. Ross I so agree with everything you said. That’s one of the reason’s I loved Kris so much.When he played I loved him and even when he didn’t I still loved him. The only week I didn’t care for kris was week 8.I think the pit is what I didn’t like about it.I shouldn’t say I didn’t like Kris thou, I just thought the whole pit thing was just so strange. I didn’t like it even the week Matt G did it. It makes everything seem so out of place.

  116. For me, seasons 4-6 were better than 7-9. I would even take seasons 1-3 over 7-9.

    Completely different for me. I almost stopped watching Idol because of seasons 5 and 6. Daughtry and Blake were the only saving graces for me and it nearly wasn’t enough. I agree that season 9 could have been much more creative as a whole but it isn’t the guitar’s fault, I think casting too many similar contestants and the producers trying to exert more control did it. I firmly believe had Lee been able to play the guitar during the finale he would have delivered his version of BD and it would have been much more interesting than the version the producers forced out of him.

    Montavilla, good question and you pretty much answered it for me. It is the “artistry” expectation that the Idol audience has evolved to. We’ve seen the same songs performed over and over again and we’ve seen some amazing and creative performances. Idol isn’t going to suddenly attract new viewers who have never seen the show before so there is a history and relationship there with the audience. The producers should hone in on this more and use it to their advantage. Use winners and popular contestants more (the goodwill achieved with the Idol winners commercials should make this pretty obvious). By degrading and ignoring some of the more artistic elements of the show defies what the audience has grown to appreciate and expect. They should encourage more creativity and building off of what has been done on the show before, challenge them to make their mark as well. I don’t think contestants should use their instruments every week but it should be up to them to decide how best to present their performance. What if a guitar player goes to the piano is that not as good as going sans instrument or does that make it even more interesting?

    sma11ie, good example of how TWIK worked because DC played it on guitar. I will have to disagree and say I can see him play Permanent similar to how he does Lie and Avalanche live with the solo acoustic guitar. I find it interesting how he uses the guitar even more during his shows than he ever did on Idol but that discussion may be veering too off topic.

  117. Thanks, Tigervixxen. You remind me of something I was thinking about as well. I may be in the minority about this, but I really enjoyed the All-Stars aspect of the last season’s SYTYCD. Partly it was the thrill of seeing Mark again. (Loved Mark!) But it was also the mentorship aspect of having these dancers, who had competed on the show themselves, come back to give a helping hand to others. It emphasized the idea that finishing less than first doesn’t make you a loser. You continue to grow and work after leaving the show.

    I loved seeing Adam come back to mentor on Season 9. I thought he did a terrific job and the only thing that would have made it better would have been having more time. But I think Kris could have done a great job mentoring. Or David Cook. Or most of the people who finished in the top five. Why not have a “Big Brother/Sister” week where past idols return to sing a duet with a new contestant? It might give us another look at idols who have maybe fallen out of the spotlight, but are still working. And I think it would help the newer people to work with someone who has been there before.

  118. Maybe never is extreme but not often. My point about the comment is that people like Daughtry and Cook are not guitarists, in their performances the guitar is a prop. Casey is defined by it. Crystal less so, she’s not a guitar player but it’s part of her image and is always on. David, Daughtry and Colbie’s brand don’t include a guitar.

    Imo, anything goes but if Nigel is going to be dork then you have to draw the line somewhere.

    I think I understand what you are trying to say, if you are not playing lead guitar then you don’t have to play the guitar?

  119. To some extent, I can see where the producers are coming from. They don’t want the same type of winner that has won the past few years. But they could just say they want to do something different this year. I feel that especially with Nigel Lythgoes comments, there is too much negativity against previous contestants. Even him saying contestants hiding behind a guitar. They can just say we are looking for different types of singers this year.

    The contestants I have enjoyed on the show most have been the ones that could really do something original even with their covers. To me it shows that they have the potential to do their own music, and what type they will do. And I like the direction that the show has had in the past few years. The next step would have been to allow songwriting, especially with so many songwriters in the competition. That would differentiate American Idol from the X factor. But it seems like they are making it more like the x factor.

    I think the contestants should be allowed to do what they want with their arrangements. If they are the type of artist that uses an instrument every week, so let them do it. If people don’t like them they won’t vote for them.

    And I would also much rather see the contestants talk about music, and their song choices. In season 8, they did do interviews from the house that were exclusive to the iphone app they had. A lot of the interviews were about music. Other than that they barely showed the house. If they are looking for drama between contestants, that isn’t what I want to see on the show. I even don’t like what happens during the group rounds.

    I agree this isn’t just any reality show. I have looked at it the past few years of more of a talent showcase.

  120. If they are the type of artist that uses an instrument every week, so let them do it. If people don’t like them they won’t vote for them.

    I totally agree. And also second your comments about hearing more behind the scenes about how they choose the music, arrange it or just more music/background info in general.

    I really enjoyed the All-Stars aspect of the last season’s SYTYCD

    I did too. Maybe the way they executed it was a bit rough but I am happy to hear the all stars will be back next season. I think familiarity is a big deal to the audience. This is why all-stars seasons of Survivor and the Amazing Race do so well or the Bachelor/Bachelorette now casts their main “character” from their previous seasons. Idol really could utilize the previous contestants and winners a lot more.

  121. To some extent, I can see where the producers are coming from. They don’t want the same type of winner that has won the past few years.

    Yup. Plus they want a huge Pop star and instruments don’t work in that genre at all. Good luck Nigel. It’ll be very ironic if after all this another WGWG wins.

  122. Plus they want a huge Pop star and instruments don’t work in that genre at all.

    Yeah, I thought it was great when Gaga burned up her piano and never played again and when TSwift smashed her guitar as soon as Love Story crossed over…oh, wait.

  123. Yup. Plus they want a huge Pop star and instruments don’t work in that genre at all. Good luck Nigel. It’ll be very ironic if after all this another WGWG wins.

    There are several, that are huge pop stars and do play instruments. Two of the biggest pop stars right now do, with Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. Also Alicia Keyes. THis also shows that someone can play an instrument, and be in a different genre, which would still differentiate the contestants. Like, say there was an R&B female that played piano, like Alicia Keyes does, it would be a different kind of winner but still be using an instrument.

    It will be ironic if another WGWG wins, especially if he’s good and becomes a big star.

  124. Like, say there was an R&B female that played piano, like Alicia Keyes does, it would be a different kind of winner but still be using an instrument.

    This will never happen because it’s AI, but I still dream of some R&B chanteuse coming out with a bass or guitar and doing the Solange Knowles version of The Dirty Projectors’ “Stillness is the Move.” I would vote my fingers off for that girl.

  125. I need my coffee in the a.m. too! lol

    MJ, I wouldn’t call that cranky. You’ve seen some of us get cranky here. :)

    I do like the idea of the kids living in a house together. Maybe that will build the camaraderie that we saw in S8. That was sweet.

    edit: I missed that last season and it might have helped me get to know and be a little more excited about the contestants. (Rude drama stuff, I can do without though!)

  126. karenc:

    The next step would have been to allow songwriting, especially with so many songwriters in the competition.

    That is a logical evolution — one that Michael Slezak over at EW pushed for all through Season 9. The difficulty is making it fair to contestants who haven’t written original songs before. I think it could work, if it were part of Top 4, 3, or even the finale. If each contestant had the option of working with an experienced writing partner, they could work on the song over a period of time (four weeks?) and lessen the advantage for those who have written. Even those who have written songs might benefit from feedback from a professional.

    Perhaps the coronation song could be written or co-written by the contestant? That couldn’t be worse than the coronation songs we’ve had in the past, right?

    It would give an added incentive for contestants to reach the finale, since they would be releasing a single that showcases their personal vision, instead of a generic inspirational anthem. The song would be probably be more cohesive to the eventual album. And it would up the trainwreck possibilities for the viewers.

    It does seem like a natural evolution for AI, one that they lurched for in Season 9 by casting more singer-songwriters. It seems like it would favor contestants like Lee, Crystal, and Kris, who came into the competition with serious musical skills. But I don’t think it would hurt contestants like Adam, who isn’t a musician, but does have songwriting aspirations. With a professional partner, even someone like Danny, who knew he wasn’t ready to be a songwriter, could come up with an effective song.

  127. Montavilla:
    That’s what I think too. They shoould be able to work with songwriters by that stage.

    It struck me last night after watching Lee that if Nigel Lythogoe gets his way, next year at his time it may be a 15 yr old that doesnt write their own music releasing an album.

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