The ‘American Idol‘ hype machine is revving up, and newly returned executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is making the rounds today, announcing some of the changes that are afoot for the show’s 10th season, which you might have heard is going to bring with it some new faces. It returns Jan. 12 on Fox.
Lythgoe, who returns to run the show after having skipped out for Seasons 8 and 9, filled TVGuide.com in on some twists, “including contests to create the best music video, to promote themselves, and to work with a band and dancers for an awards-show-style performance,” the site reports.
On top of that, the Top 24 round of voting will be gone. Other big changes, which had already been announced, are the minimum age being dropped to 15 and the singers all being moved into a house where their off-stage lives will also be caught on camera.
One other change Lythgoe mentioned when he sat down with the ladies on ‘The View‘ Thursday morning is that Randy Jackson is taking on more of the Simon Cowell role and that he’s really embracing it. What this means remains to be seen, but we’ve come to know Randy pretty well over the past nine years and any major change in his personality or approach is going to feel forced and awkward.
Some of these changes seem like they could be a little refreshing, but most of them feel like desperate attempts to keep something going despite the fact that the heart and soul of the show (which came in the forms of Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell) are gone.
And, is it just me or does seeing Randy and Ryan in that photo with Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez bring back flashes of when Oliver moved in with the Bradys, or when Olivia moved in with the Cosbys?
Anyway, on to the requisite premature analysis of the changes we’ve learned about in recent weeks.
The good: Cutting the Top 24 segment of voting will vastly improve the talent that settles into the Top 12. We’ve seen too many examples in recent seasons of very talented singers who were left out of the final 12 because the results are so watered down when there are 24 singers vying for America’s vote.
The only other possibly good change is the re-introduction of the singers-all-living-in-the-same-house concept. If you remember way back in the day, this was part of the show’s original concept, and it offered a bit of insight into the singers’ personalities. Used the right way, this could be a nice way to fill some results-show time, but it can’t turn into ‘The Real World,’ or, worse, ‘The Surreal Life.’
The bad: I shudder at the notion of a contest in which the singers have to “make the best music video.” As if the Ford commercials weren’t bad enough? There will no doubt be more to add to this critique once we see it action. Until then, let’s pretend we know nothing about it, along with the notion of a contest to see how well they promote themselves. This isn’t ‘The Apprentice.’
The only one of this bunch of alterations that might be interesting is the concept of working with a band and dancers for an awards-show-style performance. It really lends itself to helping the singers develop a stage presence, and that’s what has been lacking most in the past few seasons.
What’s your take on the proposed changes for the new season?