An interesting article:Nigel Lythgoe Dishes On Season 7http://www.americanidol.com/news/view/?pid=1122
With rumors swirling that this year's contestants are going to yield the strongest Top 12 in "Idol" history, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe took time out of his insanely busy schedule to give his own two cents…and he didn't hold back in issuing his opinions either. Nigel said that there are a number of "strong individuals," but he still stands by his comment that last year's Top 12 was one of the strongest as a group. Whereas he felt that Melinda, Blake, Chris and many others from last year formed very a talented group, Nigel says we can expect to see a number of "stand-out individuals right from the beginning this year." This is in contrast to Jordin, who Nigel says actually grew quite a bit throughout the season.
As has also been discussed quite a bit during the off-season, Nigel does admit that the focus last year went too much toward the mentors and that, this season, the show will definitely spend a lot more time talking to the kids about their lives and what they want from the competition. They might even go to the parents for this kind of information. Another thing we can expect to see is less specialized genres, such as '60's/'70's music, instead of dedicating an entire night to one particular artist. Don't expect an entirely new concept, however. Nigel says that they will be sticking by the tried and true "Idol" format, while keeping the show as fresh as possible. This includes showing the good and the bad auditions. He went on to say that the bad auditions are usually what make people smile and laugh, calling it a virtual "Cirque du Lack of Talent." This also means that there won't necessarily be a complete equality of screen time when it comes down to it. As Nigel so frankly puts it, it's their job to show the entertaining ones, so if someone does something interesting or good, he or she will end up on camera.
Another thing that won't change is the talent. Don't expect Nigel to ever change the lineup of judges or enlisting Ryan Seacrest as the host. As he says, he would never "mess with the chemistry." He does say, however, that we can expect the usual bickering amongst them, jokingly calling the dynamics between them "pitiful, childish…same as every year."
While Nigel prefers to keep the themes a surprise, he did say that he always keeps his fingers crossed for a Beatles night. Sadly, he says that Paul McCartney will not be on the show this year despite the many rumors that he will be! Nigel is still holding out hope, though, that the Lennon/McCartney songbook will be opened up to the Idols.
As far as what Nigel likes to see in contestants, he says that there is no real set criterion. He doesn't care if the person came from a musical background or if they've had absolutely no musical training whatsoever. He says that this year we will see about three 16 to 17-year-olds that are "brilliant," but admits that when the show increased the age limit a few years back, he was quite impressed with many of the older contestants, like Bo Bice. As far as the season seven audition cities go, Nigel did say that he thought that San Diego was the clear winner for producing the most talent.
As for the best "Idol" alumni, Nigel wasn't able to pinpoint a clear favorite, citing the greatest things about each season's winner. He says that Kelly Clarkson has made herself into a legitimate star. He calls Ruben "probably one of the best cross-over artists," like Donny Hathaway or Luther Vandross. Fantasia is so unique that Nigel feels she stands out amongst the others. He calls Carrie Underwood a "beautiful and talented" girl that will have the most longevity because of her success in country music. Nigel says that Taylor brought fun to the show, although he does feel like America might have gotten it wrong that season. The person he thinks should have won is Chris Daughtry, saying he was the real "musical star." Nigel calls Jordin a "young, fresh pop singer" who will develop into a fine artist. He does admit that American Idol doesn't mean automatic success, even for the winners. Instead, he calls the show the perfect springboard, but says that the rest is up to them. He's also thrilled with the huge amount of Grammy nominations the Idols received this year, saying that it definitely validates the program.
According to Nigel, Idol Gives Back will be even better this year, as they have longer to plan the event. As opposed to having six weeks to put it together, as they did last year, they will now have plenty of time to enlist the talent they want to make it an incredible evening once again. They also plan on separating it out from the show and giving the event its own evening, with the most probable format being the performances on Tuesday, Idol Gives Back on a Wednesday, and the results show on a Thursday.
While many have wondered whether American Idol will pick up the slack that the writers' strike is leaving in the TV schedule, Nigel says that this will just not be so. As they also only like to air the show once per year, they wouldn't want to expand the nights in order to protect the successful brand that has been created.
Want to see if you can catch a glimpse of some of these talented season seven individuals? Check out our audition preview video #1, audition preview video #2, and our just-added audition preview video #3!