The always obsequious Chuck Ross has resumed his weekly interviews with the producers of American Idol. Nigel Lythgoe’s Top 24 interview had a couple of interesting bits in it. He revealed that Blake Lewis would be singing a Jamiroquai song that week, and he and Ross had an interesting exchange about this so-called AI special “surprise”:
TVWeek: OK, and last thing, and I don’t mean to embarrass you, and please if you don’t want to answer this, feel free, but we’ve gotten a lot of emails and a lot of folks said ask him this, so I’m going to go ahead and ask you, that maybe the big news is that Paul McCartney is coming on the show, so I’ll throw it out there.
Mr. Lythgoe: No, the big news is not about an individual. I’ve been asked about that, if Paul McCartney’s coming on the show-no. Does that mean Michael Jackson’s coming on the show? No. We gave out last night all the stars that are coming on the show.
TVWeek: Right, I heard all that, yes.
Mr. Lythgoe: But no, I’m so sorry that I can’t talk about it. It’s so annoying and I know I started the tease of it so I’m silly to myself. But it is something very special, and I did say it does involve “American Idol” and it also involves America. It involves the viewers, it involves a whole big issue here. It’s something that I know we’re all very proud of. We’re going to be the first program that will talk about this sort of thing and.well, it will have to wait until next time. But I can’t wait to tell you.
TVWeek: My guess.
Mr. Lythgoe: Because I’m going to need your help and everybody else’s help.
What could Nigel be talking about?
This past week, Ross interviewed Ken Warwick about the Top 20. You can read what Ken had to say about each contestant here.
It was American Idol night at the Museum of Television & Radio’s 24th annual William S. Paley TV festival on Thursday. The panel consisted of Ryan Seacrest; judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson; and executive producers Ken Warwick and Cecile Frot-Coutaz. Journalist, Lisa Morales, was there. Here are a few excerpts from her report:
The gang recalled how in the show’s first season, not so many people auditioned and stars stayed away from the guest-judging idea. Now the show is fighting them off — both auditioners and professional singers. Exec producer Warwick said Janet Jackson wanted to be on “Idol” this season but they couldn’t squeeze her in.
The Beatles night we’d been promised this season is a bust because Paul McCartney can’t make it. “Ringo was available, ” Simon cracked. Instead, “Idol” is planning a British Invasion night.
As we were reminded by the gang onstage, whenever a singer appears on “Idol, ” his or her catalogue sales go through the roof. “Except Neil Sedaka, ” Simon said. “His went backwards.”
Simon also said he did not like the inclusion of Prince on last year’s finale because he declined to sing a duet with the finalists, insisting he perform alone.
One last article: American Idol is, for the first time, aggressively launching off-air promotional programs with advertisers. Freemantle and 19E have recently signed deals with McDonald’s. The promotion involves “Happy Meals” but no specifics yet.
Pringles potato chips will be offering, “limited edition Idol-branded cans, an Idol-themed 15-second TV spot…and a national sweepstakes offering…a trip to Los Angeles for the Idol finale.”
Dreyer’s Ice cream is featuring American Idol themed flavors. Fans can vote for their favorite flavor and enter a contest. The winners will be treated to a surprise visit at their homes by Idol Ace Young who will perform a private mini-concert.
Dreyer’s parent company, Nestle, will offer specially marked packages of Nestle chocolate bars that will include one of eight letters. The five fans who collect the series of wrappers that spell the phrase “Go to Hollywood” will win a trip for two to Hollywood, including tickets to the American Idol performance and results finales.