'American Idol' new challenges include music videos

american-idol-jersey-cityImage Credit: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup/FoxJennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler won’t be the only new changes when American Idol premieres Jan. 12. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe tells TV Guide that the contest’s finalists will now be required to make a music video, promote themselves, and learn to work with a band and back-up dancers. In a structural change, the show will now skip the round-of-24 and simply move directly to the top-12. “I didn’t think [the top-24] were very good,” Lythgoe said. “I was bored with them by the time they got there.”

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  • Matt S.

    I think eliminating the Top 24 is a bad idea. Nigel may have been bored – but its the only way in the show’s structure to get to know some of the contestants and start to establish favorites. Its a risk move to go right from Hollywood to a set in stone Top 12. Previously America voted to reduce Top 24 to Top 12 – what is the process now?

  • dctoronto

    I like the idea of learning to promote themselves and work with the band. I’m not too sure about the video aspect. I’m ok with loosing the top 24 (who cares!) but they better spend a lot of time letting people get to know who the top 12 are before we have to for/against them.
    Nigel should take his own advice and get rid of the unwieldy 24 dancers on SYTYCD.

    • ax20

      they did. and it was 20. (ten now)

  • Al

    Good move getting rid of the top 24. It dragged on for three weeks then, they sometimes had a second chance as well.

    • Uh

      Don’t care, just stop the unlimited text voting.

      • Kiki

        Actually, you are quite right. All of these changes won’t make a bit of difference if unlimited voting continues to skew the show results away from performers who could actually be successful.

        AI’s winners have become nothing more than the guy who gets the most votes in a televised popularity contest. Winning AI does not translate into chart or even solo touring success because the people who are invested in sending thousands of free text messages are not investing their money in buying music or concert tickets.

        If they don’t do away with unlimited voting, they should change to a format in which the winner basically gets a cash prize and a chance to headline the tour and that’s it. The various record labels can make their own decision about whether to sign a winner or not. So no guarantees, which means less loss of credibility for the show.

      • Michael

        Kiki…more importantly, I think that more people who don’t normally vote would be willing to do so. I don’t bother. My 2 or 3 votes(that’s all Ihave the patience and time to send in) mean very little. If the voting was limited, I wouldn’t hesitate to send a few in.

  • LG

    Backup dancers? WTF – I guess they want to eliminate any rock oriented singers who have no need for dancers.

    • sarah d

      I’m sure the dancers are going to be style appropriate. The stage would get crowded if there were a band and dancers all at once!

    • SXiPPY

      Wow, if that’s the case, Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze should be thankful they were on the last season where this curriculum wasn’t required. They never would’ve made it. I think that is kind of a limiting factor considering folks like Daughtry, David Cook, & Kris Allen (who!? LOL) aren’t acts that benefit from back-up dancers. Simon’s gone folks, that was the final nail in the coffin…just let it rest in piece.

  • Derek

    So does that mean the judges pick the top 12 instead of viewers? I’m not crazy about this. Without that middle roung,we would have missed out on people like Bo Bice, David Cook, Alison Iraheta, Latoya London, etc. who were not originally high on the judges list. We wouldn’t of had Kelly Clarkson who we never saw or heard from until the night of her semifinal performance.

  • JoshP

    Wow they’re taking all the ideas from X-Factor. Making them work with background dancers and making the show flashy. It will be nice to see them promote themselves that might change the dynamic.

  • Derek

    Without the top 24, they now have 3 weeks on the schedule they have to fill somehow. I shudder to think that means even more auditions episodes or prolonged Hollywood week episodes.

  • Fran

    The show needs sme new material to keep the interest. Dancers are fabulous but will they take away from what is really suppose to be happening? A singing contest…..

    • Jeremy

      The show was never supposed to be a singing contest. It was a contest to find a Pop star, and that generally does include, to some extent, backup dancers.

  • jason

    whether they are stealing ideas or not, at least they’re shaking it up a little. i have a feeling they may eliminate instruments too. they tried so hard to find an “artist” they ended up with the MOST boring people ever. and look at who’s topping the cahrts, not people who write their own songs or play instruments. i’m not saying that’s a good thing, because it’s not, but that’s why idol artists are failing, well the new ones anyway. i like the video idea, we can see how REALLY hard they suck in the charisma department.

  • Grumpster

    God this show is so far over the shark it’s not funny.

    • Jamie

      I agree.

    • Mike

      Yeah, I hesitate to even use the “jump the shark” comment these days because the actual expression has jumped the shark lol But in Idol’s case…it couldn’t be more appropriate. This sounds really bad! Of course, I won’t be able to stop myself from tuning in to see the trainwreck maybe just not EVERY episode of the trainwreck anymore lol

  • John T.

    I’m on the fence about this season, I think I might just wait for The X Factor in the fall.

  • Elizabeth

    But we’ll still be forced to endure the same lame theme weeks and hear “Black Velvet” for the umpteenth time, right?

    Here’s an idea: don’t wait 8 months to release the first album. Ride the mo’, people, ride the mo’!

  • Fridge

    I haven’t watched this show in seasons, and hearing these changes I don’t know if I’ll be watching this time around either. Maybe I’ll give the first couple of episodes a chance, but I’m going to have say that X-factor sounds much more interesting at this point.

  • moi

    nice move stealing ideas from X factor. kind of stealing Simon’s thunder before he comes over here with the show. now it won’t be “new” and different if idol does it first. niiiiceee.. lol

  • jake

    I thought nygel wanted to expand the 24 — because he thought a lot of talent was getting lost. This already seems like a show i no longer want to watch. changing the judges is one thing, changing the format is another — at the same time?!

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