Music videos to feature in revamped "American Idol"
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - "American Idol" contestants will have to make a music video, and work with a band and dancers when the revamped TV contest returns in January, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said in interviews on Thursday.
In other major changes to the 10 year-old show, the competitive round that takes the group of singers from 24 to a Top 12 will be eliminated, and the finalists will be faced with new challenges, Lythgoe told TVGuide.com.
"I didn't think (the top 24) were very good. I was bored with them by the time they got there," Lythgoe said about contestants from previous seasons.
Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler joined the "American Idol" judging panel in September in a sweeping makeover aimed at keeping the aging show No.1 with viewers. The weekly audience for "Idol" has fallen about six million viewers, on average, since 2006.
Lopez and Tyler replaced departing Briton Simon Cowell, and judges Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi also exited. Original judge Randy Jackson remains.
"With Simon Cowell leaving, it needed a revamp," Lythgoe said in a separate interview Thursday on TV talk show "The View".
Lythgoe also said more contenders from nationwide auditions will be sent to Hollywood to prove themselves, and the Top 12 finalists will face challenges each week to promote themselves. These will include making the best music video, and creating an awards-show style performance with a band and back-up dancers.
Lythgoe said in Twitter messages last week that the top 12 would live in a house together, and that they would not be allowed to "hide behind" guitars and pianos every week. Continued...