Perhaps due to the memo I leaked last week making its way around the net, (thanks to Andy Dehnart of MSNBC) American Idol executive producer, Ken Warwick, is holding a press conference at 3 pm ET later today.
In the meantime, Bill Keveney from USA Today managed to speak with Warwick about the changes in store for Season 8:
Thirty-six hopefuls, up from 24, will be chosen for February’s semifinals, and wild-card picks ‘ back for the first time since Season 3 ‘ will let the judges put three singers into the top 12.
Those changes, along with the addition of fourth judge Kara DioGuardi and a second week of the Hollywood round, constitute Season 8 “tweaks” for Fox’s top-rated Idol, executive producer Ken Warwick says. “They’re not mega-changes. They are just little things to keep the whole format fresh and interesting.”
The questions fans had about how the Top 36 format (broken by VFTW weeks ago) will work are answered:
Starting Feb. 17, six male and six female semifinalists perform each week for three weeks, with the top man and woman in viewer votes moving to the finals, along with the next highest vote-getter.
The judges will bring back some semifinalists and pick three to round out the top 12, a practice that gave new life to Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson in the past. The final round won’t necessarily start with six men and six women, as it has in recent years.
- Warwick confirms that Idol Gives Back is canceled this year. Shouldn’t be a surprise–producers hinted previously they might skip a year.
- Warwick also confirms the auditions will be cut back to 3 weeks, Hollywood week expanded to two weeks. Plus, the group numbers will return.
- Warwick denies being aware that Paula Goodspeed was stalking Paula Abdul when he advanced Goodspeed to the Judges Round.
- Contrary to the memo, Warwick claims that auditions will feature the same ratio of good vs bad auditions as previous seasons “If the judges are mean, the judges are mean, ” says Warwick.
These changes aren’t tweaks. TPTB are just retreiving old sh*t from the recycle bin.
Switching back to the pre-Season 4 semi-final format is a horrible idea. The format was changed in the first place, for a good reason.
The revamp at the top of Season 4 organized the semi’s much like the finals, streamlining the process. The new format allowed contestants more time to grow as we saw them perform each week, put more of the decision-making into the viewer’s hands, and in my opinion, helped make the show more popular. Watching the same contestants compete during the 3 weeks of the semi’s built excitement for the Top 12.
Now, a contestant who has one great song in their repertoire will sail into the Top 12, while a talented contestant who needs some time to grow (think David Cook peeps) could be eliminated right off the bat. As it is, who will even remember the contestants who made it through back in week 1 once the finals begin?
I don’t think the judges should be allowed to send the producer’s pet ringers into the Top 12. If this competition is truly a voting competition, then let the people decide.
These so-called tweaks seem a bit desperate. The ratings are down by 7% from last year, it was time for change, but the creative thinkers at Idol appear to have run out of ideas.
That’s called “jumping the shark” peeps.