‘American Idol’ Won’t Air Bad Auditions This Time Around
American Idol is returning to television, but one popular facet of the format will be changing. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the new season of the iconic reality singing contest will not start off by showing terrible auditions from contestants who are wholly unqualified for the show.
Auditions that were terrible to the point of being laughable were a staple of the early seasons of American Idol, and in one instance even made a minor celebrity out of William Hung after his cringe-worthy performance of "She Bangs" went viral. But during a press conference at the 2018 Television Critics Association's winter press tour on Monday (Jan. 8), showrunner Trish Kinane told reporters that the new, revitalized show will steer away from that kind of cheap sensationalism.
"It doesn't feel comfortable to put borderline unstable people up on stage and laugh at them," Kinane says, pointing out that American Idol had already begun to move away from airing those auditions toward the end of its run on Fox.
"I think that people once thought that the judges saw everyone, and now you know there's a line of producers who screen before them," she says, adding that the early phases will still have room to showcase some more eccentric performers. "We want the humor, but we don't want the exploitation," Kinane states.
Though Idol discovered some of the biggest stars in music, including Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, the last few years of its run on Fox yielded no big success stories. The new season on ABC is geared entirely toward aggressively finding new stars, according to the new hosts. Katy Perry says everyone involved is "wasting our time if we are not finding another star."
"That makes us work harder as a judging panel," Luke Bryan adds. "Because there are a few years where you don't remember those contestants, we don't want it to go that way. We want it to go right back to what it was known for."
The new season of American Idol premieres with two shows airing on Sunday, March 11 at 8PM ET and Monday, March 12 at 8PM ET. The show will air opposite longtime rival The Voice on Monday nights this season, with Perry, Bryan and Lionel Richie serving as judges. Longtime host Ryan Seacrest has returned to American Idol for its new season.
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