January 15, 2011 10:00 AM by Paula_Kosowski
Want to know how Fox’s hit show American Idol started? Check out journalist Richard Rushfield’s new book “American Idol: The Untold Story” on shelves this Teusday for all the behind-the-scenes details. Keep reading to see what Rushfield has to say about “Idol,” judge Simon Cowell and more…
USA Today reports Rushfield has been covering American Idol for four seasons since season six. So who better to write an “Idol” exposÃ©?
The website spoke with Rushfield about his new book, asking: “What is the “untold” story of American Idol?”
Rushfield says it’s “the story backstage, about producing something that no one expected to be a hit.”
He tells USA Today the show was written off completely when it first aired as a “Star Search” retread. The book covers decisions that led to elements of the show, like a three-judge panel, that Rushfield says feel like “the natural order of the universe.”
According to USA Today, the book not only covers “Idol’s” beginnings, but also discusses it’s impact.
“When the show came along, it changed the lives of all the people involved, from the contestants to the producers to the stars. It changed their relationships with each other.”
Rushfield went to direct sources for the story, speaking with “Idol” creator Simon Fuller, producers and judges.
“If you look at competition shows, it seems like half the airwaves are dominated by them now. ‘Idol’ completely opened up the world to that.”
Rushfield tells USA Today “Idol” also changed the way viewers were able to interact with a show. “It opened up and allowed the audiences to feel like they owned the show,” he says.
“Idol” fans often have disputes over contestants on the show. Looks like the “Idol” team also did in season seven.
According to Rushfield, “Nigel Lythgoe said there was a huge dispute that led to a permanent rift within the “Idol” production about whether a certain contestant should be brought on the show.”
Rushfield said Lythgoe told him Simon Cowell wanted to bring on contestant Kyle Ensley to simply make fun of him. Cowell disputes this, saying he actually believed Ensley was talented and had a chance as he connected with young people.
Rushfield leaves the final say to readers.
USA Today says Rushfield’s book also details Cowell’s departure, “Idol’s” myths and the changes the show has seen throughout the years.
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Photo Credit: Nicole LaPorte, NONE