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Song Clearance Issues Cost American Idol Contestants Exposure

February 17, 2008 08:49 PM by Joe Reality


Some of the contestantswho made the top twenty-four for American Idol 7 likely had viewers scratching their heads wondering why they had not seen their auditions. According to American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe, there are actually a couple different reasons why some of the semifinalists’ auditions weren’t shown

One reason is that American Idol doesn’t focus on featuring who is going to make the top twenty-four, but rather focuses on who has the best story. For example, Josiah Leming received a great deal of screen time even though he didn’t make it into the top twenty-four. In regards to Josiah’s spotlight on the show, Lythgoe explained, “Great story. It’s always the same decision, editorial decisions based on stories. It’s the same way, as you know sometimes there’s probably about six of the top twelve, of the top twenty-four, you’ve never seen.”

In regards to Hollywood week, Lythgoe continued, “It’s just about stories. There’s a certain amount of airtime. We’ve got to cover four days of taping in two hours, and it’s one of the most interesting stories, and we all felt that Josiah was a major story.” Therefore, some of the top twenty-four might not have been featured because they did not have as compelling stories as some of the contestants whodidn’t make it.

Another reason that an audition of a contestant might not be shown is because of song clearance issues. Addressing a question about two semifinalistswho had received little screen time, Lythgoe said, “We’re destroyed and distraught about certainly Jason. He sang a song in his audition, and then he sang the same song, and brilliantly, at Hollywood week. And then he decided to do one of his own songs, so that’s what we were left with to show. And the song that he chose was the same as Asia’h, another young lady, and David Archuleta, and the song was ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley, and Gnarls Barkley is made up of two DJs, Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse.”

Lythgoe explained that Cee-Lo had given his clearance for the song, so they gave thecontestants the ok to sing it. However, Danger Mouse then came in and told them that he didn’t want them to use the song. Lythgoe said they put the contestants’ auditions on a DVD and sent them out to Danger Mouse, but he still said that he didn’t want them to use it. Because there was nothing Idol could do about getting the song cleared, they weren’t able to show any of the audition footage from the contestantswho had sung “Crazy.”

Lythgoe did not specify if he was talking about Jason Yeager or Jason Castro in regards to the “Crazy” clearance issue. Neither of the two have had their auditions featured on American Idol 7, even though Jason Yeager was briefly shown in an episode preview clip. It’s likely that Lythgoe was referring to Jason Castro, because there is a video that has circulated on YouTube that shows Jason Castro performing “Crazy” at a bar.

For all the disheartened semifinalists, who might think they don’t stand a chance because they weren’t shown in the audition rounds, there was one statement made by Lythgoe that should give them hope. Lythgoe said, “Kelly Clarkson won, and she wasn’t shown at all.”

Photo Credit: FOX

Topics: American Idol |

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