If you’re following along, the schedule for Season 8 was released this morning. The basic changes are outlined HERE. Check out the schedule HERE.
Here’s more detailed information from producer Ken Warwick–from Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times and today’s scheduled 3 pm press conference.
- A reason for the switch to a Top 36: Warwick says by the time the competition got to the Top 8, viewers became bored seeing the same people for so long, especially if they weren’t good personalities.
- Warwick thinks allowing the judges to choose 3 contestants in a “wildcard” round will give good singers a better chance to advance. “If something goes horrendously awry, the judges could fix it on the wild card show, ” he says.
- No narrow themes during the Semi-finals. The Top 36 will sing from a catalog drawn from the top ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart since the chart began in the 1950s all the way to the present.
- It’s the 50th anniversary of Motown next year–there will be a Motown theme. Warwick is staying mum regarding other themes.
- Warwick says Paula’s job is NOT in jeopardy, “I hope she’s there ’til the show goes off the air. We never ever discussed ‘Paula’s gotta go.’ Never, ever happened. America loves her. Don’t wanna lose her and neither does America.”
- Warwick got asked about Paula Goodspeed–several times–at today’s press conference. He insists that he did not know she was stalking Paula Abdul. And he insists the alleged suicide of Paula Goodspeed has NOT affected the Audition Rounds.
- Hollywood Week took place at the Kodak theater in Los Angeles, rather than in Pasadena. Warwick says, that the bigger theater intimidated some, while others stepped up their game, “If they were good, their passion to get through was more intense than it had been in previous years.”
- Standout audition cities were Phoenix, Arizona and Louisville. Puerto Rico was the biggest disappointment. (Hm. Simon and Randy liked Salt Lake City…). Warwick admits there may be a few less bad auditions this year, but contends the show would be boring without the trainwrecks.
- There will be more backstage footage of the contestants. Warwick says, “There is going to be slightly more reality.”
- Look for “twists” during Hollywood Week. As I mentioned in a prior post, the group rounds are coming back to Hollywood.
- There may be some younger mentors this year. Warwick says, “I only like mentors who’ve had a string of hits, who have been there for a long time and actually have something of value to pass on.” Warwick says he’s going after some kids, “…and I call them kids, they’re not kids, they’re 24, 25…that I’m going after…” Warwick says, “If I get a third of who Im going after it would be great.
- About the so called “ringers”–contestants with previous music industry experience–Warwick says “If there’s any form of management or recording contact we shy away from it. We love the fact that we are finding previously undiscovered stars…generally speaking when they walk through the door, we like to take them at face value. People have been damaged by the music biz, we restore their faith in it again. If someone was really fantastic and was great and then said ‘I used to be on Broadway, ‘ my question would be, ‘Do you have a recording contract now? No? OK then you’re fine.'”
- Warwick insists that new judge, Kara DioGuardi is working out well. She’s very qualified, because she worked with Idols post-show and knows what TPTB are looking for. She and Paula are ganging up on Simon, and he’s upset that he can’t convince the judges to go his way so easily. Warwick told Entertainment Weekly that he wanted a 4th judge to keep Simon from getting his own way.