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"American Idol" Producer Discusses Changes, Strikes iTunes Deal

February 19, 2008 10:40 AM ET

In an effort to boost decreasing viewership and relevancy, American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe held a press conference to discuss the series' new twists. The most noticeable difference this time around will be the contestants' use of instruments during the competition (already seen in many of the auditions). The number of celebrity judges has also been scaled back to four for this coming season, but those four have not yet been announced. The series will also focus more on contestants' backstories this season, something AI moved away from in latter seasons, in an effort to get the viewer more enthralled and involved with the fate of the twelve finalists. The show will also throw the spotlight out on former contestants from previous seasons as part of a weekly "Where Are They Now?" segment. We can't wait for the Jessica Sierra edition. We also learned that the theme for tomorrow's episode will be "Songs from the 60's." American Idol also announced that they have worked out a deal with iTunes so that the digital music store will make available mp3s and videos of each contestants' songs the day after the episode airs. Videos will become available starting March 12th, when the group of twenty-four has been pared down to twelve.

Related Stories:
"American Idol" Cuts Top Fifty Down to Twenty-Four Semifinalists
Randy Jackson: "There Would Be No Chris Daughtry if There Wasn't "American Idol'"Chris Daughtry Feels the Heat for Comments on "American Idol" "Decline"

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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