December 17, 2007 05:32 AM by Joe Reality
With the premiere of American Idol 7 just a month away, American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe talked about the upcoming season on a conference call with media. One of the first questions that Lythgoe faced was what he thought about the talent level for American Idol 7 compared to previous seasons.
Lythgoe said “I would say that we’ve got some excellent individuals this year. And last year, I said I thought it would be our strongest top twelve as a top twelve, and I still stand by that. Even though a lot of people dished us last year with our final group, but as a group, they were the strongest ones. When I think of other years where we’ve had bad people in it, and you keep your fingers crossed they’re going to be voted out or you’re embarrassed by them. I wasn’t embarrassed by anybody last year, even young Sanjaya I thought came through all of the hits that he was taking very competently.”
In regards to the soft openings for Jordin Sparks’ and Blake Lewis’ new albums, Lythgoe said “I’ve never believed that the television audience is the same as the record buying audience, and if that were true then my god, they would be selling sixty million albums as opposed to two million albums.”
When Lythgoe was asked if there would be any special stunts on the show this year to revive the ratings, he said “No, I’m not into jumping sharks with this program. This program will be around as long as people want it around. If we lost fifty percent of our audience tomorrow, we would still be the biggest show on television.”
Even though the American Idol finalists might not be jumping sharks, there are actually several changes for season seven. Some of the changes include less celebrity mentors, more time spent talking to the kids about their lives and what they want from the competition, and contestants playing instruments during Hollywood week.
In regards to how the use of instruments turned out, Lythgoe said “For some it worked out brilliantly. Three that I’m positive are going to be in our top twelve, as much as you can be, were terrific. And a couple of others just really crashed and burned.” Lythgoe also added that they were undecided on if contestants would be allowed to play instruments in the top twelve. His concern was that it might not be fair to the contestants that couldn’t play an instrument.
However, viewers can count on several things about American Idol to stay the same as they have in the past. When asked if viewers would see more good singers than bad singers during the initial round of auditions this year, Lythgoe said “No, of course not. We’ve been showing those people for the last six years. I mean that’s what American Idol is in the first stages.”
In regards to if producers would show more early round footage of contestants that they knew were moving forward in the competition, Lythgoe explained “All I’m interested in at the end of the day is turning out a good show. If they are as boring as hell in front of the camera, then I’m not going to show them, so they should be grateful that they’re not being seen to be frank with you.”
One thing that viewers can count on is that the judges and the host that help keep the show alive whenever the talent might be dragging are not changing. In regards to the dynamic between the judges this year, Lythgoe described it as “pitiful.” Lythgoe explained “Childish, pitiful, the same as every year. It’s wonderful to see actually.” When responding to a later question about other possible judges, Lythgoe said “We have got the best judges for American Idol on American Idol. That chemistry and their chemistry with Ryan Seacrest is one of the main elements of the success of this show, and I wouldn’t dream of changing any one of them.”
Photo Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX