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MANILA, Philippines - January 17 sees the beginning of a new season of “American Idol” when new stars will be unveiled and someone’s dreams will come true.
In a conference call with the press, Nigel Lythgoe, the show’s executive producer, reveals some changes in the show that include surprise auditions, the division of elimination rounds based on gender, and a different semi-finals that goes straight to the top 10.
Revamped search for “Idols”
Watch Randy Jackson talk about the new judges here:
For its 12th season, Lythgoe says the show took an extra step in looking for potential “Idols” in distant areas previously not reached by the show.
Aside from going out to cities and occupying football stadiums for auditions, Lythgoe reveals: “We’ve actually taken an American Idol bus out to the little towns this year with a producer on board who have (sic) brought kids back in to the audition; kids that wouldn’t necessarily be either close enough to one of the cities we were at or even have the financial means to get to one of the big cities.”
According to the producer, this has helped “introduce new talent” to the show and allows it to more properly represent the American populace.
For closet “Idols,” the show introduces an “I Nominate” portion in which someone with a great voice but who is too nervous to audition is nominated by their friends or family.
Nigel elaborates, “Randy Jackson actually went out and we did some hidden camera stuff and shocked them and surprised them, and then gave them an audition number so that they actually skipped the lines...”
New formats: Hollywood Week and Las Vegas semi-finals
Here's a sneak peek of the season 12 premiere:
For the first time ever, Hollywood Week and the Las Vegas semi-final rounds — up until the Top 10 are selected — will be split by gender with separate weeks for boys and girls.
Writer Verne Gay, in an article on Newsday.com, explains that at the end of Hollywood Week on February 14, there will be 20 men and 20 women who will move on to the Las Vegas semi-finals (February 20 to 28).
From these, 10 men and 10 women semi-finalists will be selected. Five from each gender category will form the Top 10 to be announced on March 7. Only within the Top 10 will men and women compete against each other until an “Idol” is voted.
Nigel says this new format “really gave us an awful lot more focus on our talent this year that allowed us to see the woods through the trees.”
Writer Verne Gay says this new way of doing things “theoretically levels the playing field (last season had 7 men finalists, and 6 women finalists), giving underdog women contestants a greater chance of success.”
The new complication now is that the new format shortens the show. Gay asks, “With one elimination a week, ‘Idol’ would conclude in early May. So what will the show do to stretch itself out to late May?”
With all these changes ahead, there’s no doubt we’ll be getting a new show. After 12 seasons, revamps and innovations are only to be expected.
But whether viewers will see the changes as improvements or as unwelcome deviations remains to be seen. - Rappler.com
[American Idol will have a two-night premiere in the Philippines: January 17, 6pm via satellite (with primetime telecast at 8pm) and January 18, 6pm via satellite (with primetime telecast at 9pm) on ETC.]
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