When "American Idol" bigwigs decided two years ago to use their show's cultural influence to raise money for charity, "Idol Gives Back" became an instant success. Huge stars — from Brad Pitt to Snoop Dogg to Ellen DeGeneres — took part in the events and helped raise millions of dollars for causes around the globe.
So why have producers decided to take a year off from "Idol Gives Back"?
"When we're making three, sometimes four hours a week of broadcast TV, to add the actual weight of making a huge charity show on top of that, at the same time, stretches the team like there's no tomorrow," executive producer Ken Warwick told reporters Monday. "And it's really very, very difficult to keep the standard of the main show up as well as make ['Idol Gives Back'] something special."
Warwick said he plans to stage the charity special "every other year" from now on. "This is a difficult financial time for everybody, globally," Warwick said. "I think that the decision that was made was, 'Let's hold it over till next year and do it then.' "
Warwick also addressed another big change for season eight: fourth judge Kara DioGuardi. He described the songwriter as "young, opinionated and incredibly talented."
"It's just a question of mixing it up, slightly changing the dynamic," Warwick said. "If Simon hated somebody, then invariably, they didn't go through. This time, Kara and [artist id="1397"]Paula[/artist] — the two girls — if they thought someone showed potential, then they could kind of gang up on Simon, which was quite good TV."
How does Simon feel about the new resistance? "Miserable," Warwick said. "He doesn't like it."
Another plus, Warwick said, is the new judge's singing ability: "In the past, when the kid standing in front of you says, 'You sing it then, if you know so much about it.' This is the one situation where the judge has been able to say, 'All right ... you should have sung it like this,' and show the kid exactly how they should have sung it."
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