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'American Idol' producer says songwriting contest on the "back burner"

By Christopher Rocchio, 03/23/2007 

The sixth season of American Idol currently has a lot on its plate, which might spell an end for the national songwriting contest the show had planned to use to determine the tune sung by the Top 2 during the series' May 23 finale.

"It's just that we're so, what with the charity show and everything... we're up to our ears in it," Idol executive producer Ken Warwick told TV Week magazine during a recent interview.  "It may still happen, but at the moment it's on the back burner."

First reported by The Los Angeles Times last August, the contest was slated to be open to both signed or unsigned songwriters and would determine the original song heard by millions of Americans as they watch the sixth season's finalists perform.  Idol creator Simon Fuller had acknowledged it would solve a problem that has plagued the competition since its 2002 debut -- the fact that due to the uncertainty over who will be the series' finalists, less-than-perfect song matches are frequently created during the finales. 

In addition, Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said in early February that Idol finalists from previous seasons could be brought back to perform the original songs during an Idol 6 special episode.

But when Idol launched Idol Gives Back -- a special two-night event that will raise both awareness and funds for organizations that provide relief to children and young people living in poverty in Africa  -- the sixth season's schedule apparently got a little hectic, even for Idol

"[It's] anybody's guess," Warwick replied when TV Week asked him when a final decision on the songwriting contest would be made.

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