March 16, 2008 10:54 AM by Joe Reality
Have you ever wondered how song selection works on American Idol? In a press interview, recently eliminated American Idol finalist David Hernandez tried to clear up some of the confusion over the song selection process. On theme weeks, contestants are given a pre-selected list of songs from which to choose. Hernandez said, “We just put in our top three and then it’s chosen from there.”
So, what happens when two contestants want the same song? This very situation happened to David Hernandez. Hernandez revealed that the song he sang during the American Idol top twelve performance show, “I Saw Her Standing There,” was not his first choice of song. Hernandez said, “My first choice was ‘Let It Be,’ but that was already taken.”
As American Idol viewers know, Brook White was the finalist who actually sang “Let It Be.” Hernandez explained, “It just is a first come, first serve basis, and it was between ‘Let It Be’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ and I chose the more upbeat song, because I wanted to perform it and have a little bit more of an upbeat paced song. That’s basically how it worked.”
A couple weeks ago, eliminated American Idol semi-finalist Garrett Haley, who also didn’t get his first song choice, offered up a similar explanation. Garrett said, “We’re allowed to choose three songs from a list, and every contestant is like for sure to get one of the songs, and I didn’t get to get any of my songs because they gave the songs out to all the contestants before that. So, I was just ending up with having to choose from the list again. And I don’t know, I didn’t really get to choose, they just threw the song at me and said, ‘here sing this one,’ and I was like ‘ok.’”
So, how is it decided which contestant gets first crack at the songs? Here is where it gets confusing. When Garrett Haley was asked that question, he said, “You know what, I wasn’t too sure about that. I think it was random.” However, when asked the same question, Hernandez said, “If someone has the same song, then we draw out of a hat.” So, is there some type of random order assigned to who gets first dibs on song selection or do contestants draw out of a hat if they select the same song? Or do producers decide who they want to have a certain song and then work to try to convince other contestants to be happy with another song?
While how which singer has preference if two singers select the same song might still be a little confusing, Hernandez did make it clear that he was not upset over Brooke White getting the song that he originally wanted. Hernandez said, “I did want to do ‘Let It Be,’ but it was, in fact, gone when it was my turn to pick, but just to clarify, I am happy with what I did choose and in no way do I feel like Brooke White didn’t deserve the song. Do you know what I mean? I don’t want there to be a misconception there for everybody that’s listening. It was fair. Everything was fair, like it always is on American Idol, and I felt confident in my song or else they wouldn’t have made me move forward with that song. It’s all up to the contestants and they choose their songs.”
Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX