'American Idol' producer Nigel Lythgoe: No big changes for Season 11
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/25/2011
American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says the show won't be implementing any big changes for its upcoming eleventh season.
"I think we made a lot of tweaks last year," Lythgoe toldThe Associated Press in a recent interview. "I'm not sure that we want to make too many more tweaks this year."
While Idol introduced new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, changed its label to Interscope Records and took music producer Jimmy Iovine onboard to mentor the contestants last season, Lythgoe said in retrospect, eliminating theme weeks was the most significant change the show executed for its tenth season.
"The biggest change we made last year was to say, 'OK, if you're a country singer, you can sing any of these genres in your country style,'" Lythgoe said. "'We're not going to force you to do rock or anything you can't do. You can take a Michael Jackson song and turn it country.'"
Lythgoe said tenth-season winner Scotty McCreery, runner-up Lauren Alaina, and finalists Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart probably wouldn't have lasted as long in the competition last year had they been forced to sing songs out of their comfort zones like in prior seasons.
"We got this great jazz singer in Casey, we got a soft jazz singer in Haley, and the two country kids [in the finale] probably in previous years wouldn't have been as successful because they would have been asked to sing in the different styles that we used to do then," the executive producer said.
Lythgoe teased that Idol's next season, which will premiere in January, should be packed with a variety of promising talent just like its last edition.
"The kids that have auditioned this year that we're going to be taking to Hollywood in December are again really talented and really diverse," he told The AP.
"Hopefully they'll get through one of the toughest auditions, which is the Hollywood week, and get themselves into the top 20."
In addition, Lythgoe explained that Idol should be "totally about the talent" and the recent changes have reflected that goal by highlighting the contestants' vocal strengths.
"For me, it's really showing the talent that is here and not trying to take somebody who's talented, beat them around the bucket and turn them out," Lythgoe added.
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