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American Idol Fodder

"Idol" Answers Your Questions!

Ever wonder why you hear some of the same songs every year? Do you spend your days puzzling why contestants picked a particular song? Well, fret no more, as Entertainment Weekly recently asked these questions to both executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and vocal coach Debra Byrd.

Byrd fielded several questions regarding the contestants' song choices and, from her interview, it sounds like finalists should definitely heed her warnings. She informed Asia'h Epperson before her performance of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," that the song had been the death knell of two contestants before her. As we know now, the song just claimed its third victim.

As for the amount of songs available for contestants to sing, Byrd says it depends on the week's theme. For this Tuesday's Beatle theme, there are only 25 songs available. And since producers won't allow repeats of songs on the same night, the finalists must resort to flipping coins to determine who gets a certain song. She also notes how difficult it was for some of the Top 12 to sing these songs, when they haven't heard most of them before.

Nigel Lythgoe, on the other hand, answered questions pertaining to theme nights and song rights. As to why "Idol" chose themes (the 60s, 70s and 80s) for this season's semifinals, Lythgoe says it was to deter contestants from just singing songs they liked. They instead need to choose songs the public will enjoy, and he says "they're too naïve at that early stage of the competition to realize that." In addition, by letting the singers pick from a whole decade of songs, you get to see what type of singer they are, such as pop, country or rock. Look for other themes this season, including songs from the year they were born, and songs revolving around four different mentors.

When asked if there were any songs he'd love to see on the show, Lythgoe recounted one such song during Hollywood week. David Archuleta, Jason Castro and Asia'h Epperson all performed Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" in very different and unique ways during the Hollywood round, but "Idol" couldn't secure the rights to the song. Therefore, the footage ended up on the cutting room floor.

Head over to EW to read the whole Q&A. –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on March 11, 2008 6:29 PM
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