Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Executive Producer of “American Idol,” talks about the “Idol Gives Back” elimination, the performers and the charities involved this year.
How will the elimination be worked into the show?
Cecile: We found “Idol Gives Back” worked better as an extended results show to make it more organic to “American Idol.” As such, we do have to do results. Within the two hours we obviously have plenty of time to cover both the charity portion of the event and the results portion. It’s a blend of entertainment and actual “Idol” competition.
So someone will be sent home this week?
Cecile: Yes, absolutely.
They’re bringing in both younger performers like Alicia Keys and Justin Bieber and older performers like Jeff Beck and Annie Lennox. Is it designed to appeal to a wide variety of audience members?
Cecile: Our show is a very broad show. Our demos are fairly young but ultimately when you have a show like “Idol,” you have to appeal to a broad demo. When we booked people, we didn’t think about their demos, per se, we invited groups who wanted to participate, who are excited at the notion of donating their time to give back and would also provide exciting entertainment.
How are the charities benefited?
Cecile: Historically, we’ve done 50% to Africa and 50% to domestic charities. This year we’re a little more weighted to domestic causes because “American Idol” is an American show. It’s been a very tough couple of years in this country and we think it’s only fair that we focus on U.S. causes. “Idol Gives Back” is targeting primarily kids. Kids’ poverty and health are the issues we’re looking at … It’s all about raising awareness for these causes.
Do you contact celebrities or are there ones who contact you about participating?
Cecile: I think we probably contacted most of the performers. I’m not aware of anyone who called and said I want to get involved … but nobody turns us down. The people who can’t participate it’s because they’re touring, they’re out of the country, they can’t be there physically, but it’s one of those events that people are proud to be part of.
Elton John was the big announcement for “Idol Gives Back.” Are you still booking celebrities or performers right up until the day of the show, or is the lineup pretty much set?
Cecile: It’s pretty set. There’s one that we haven’t announced yet, but other than that I think we’ve announced everybody. It’s a two hour show and it’s packed. We’re trying to figure out a way to fit it into 2 hours at the moment, there’s too much good stuff.
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