nigel lythgoe american idol 320 'American Idol' Season 10: Music videos, no Top 24In addition to new “American Idol” judges, in-house mentor Jimmy Iovine and contestants not being forced to sing all different genres, the singers will now be made to try their hands at music videos and to work with a band and dancers for an awards show-style performance, executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe tells TV Guide.

Nigel also says that instead of a Top 24, the show will now go straight to a Top 12. Whether that means the Top 12 will come straight out of Hollywood Week or that there will be something in between Hollywood Week and the Top 12 remains to be seen.

“I didn’t think [the top 24] were very good, I was bored with them by
the time they got there,” Lythgoe says of previous seasons.

These changes have us excited for two reasons:

1. The music videos and awards show-style performances open the door up for trainwrecks of epic proportions. Not that we want to see kids fail, but we do like to have things to make snarky commentary about and these projects sound like they will be ripe for the snarky picking.

2. No Top 24 means we might actually get the most talented 12 singers in the finals. Can you point to any Top 12 in the history of “Idol” and say that the best 12 singers out of the semi-finals advanced? We don’t think you can. That’s because the American public is voting and a cute boy or a pretty girl who may not have the best voice will get through and someone more talented will go home. If the show makes the decisions right up through the Top 12, there is still margin for voter error, but we think it becomes much less likely.

While we don’t have any actual information on the voting demographics for “Idol,” it’s not hard to see how in recent years male contestants (and especially cute male contestants) have been skating through, even though in some cases they are no where near the most talented singers. For the last two years, the Top 5 has been four men and one woman and a female singer hasn’t won the competition since Jordin Sparks in 2007.

Will these changes stop the gender imbalance from happening again? No, but they will (hopefully) assure that the Top 12 is full of talent and not (for example) contestants like Tim Urban.

“American Idol” sounds like it will be almost unrecognizable from the show we’ve watched the last nine years. Will it be for the better? That remains to be seen, but we are definitely curious to see how it plays out and whether or not this jump starts the franchise.

What do you think of the new changes, “Idol” fans?

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Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."