Taylor’s selection of the “safe” group was scripted by American Idol’s producer

On Wednesday’s American Idol 5 elimination episode, Ryan Seacrest told Taylor Hicks to join the group he thought would be safe. Taylor pretended to join one group but then faked them out, joining the correct “safe” group instead.

As it turns out, this whole act was, naturally, just another example of executive producer Nigel Lythgoe’s sadism. Although Lythgoe did not know who was eliminated, he did know which contestants were in the bottom three, so he instructed Taylor to shake hands with Chris and then go to the other group. Basically, the whole thing was scripted.

Access Hollywood’s Laura Saltman has the details:

Don’t think Taylor picking the “safe” group was of his own accord. During the commercial break, Executive Producer, Nigel Lythgoe, filled Taylor in on the fake-out handshake to Chris Daughtry and which group to choose. It turns out Nigel doesn’t know who is going to be eliminated. He is kept in the dark until the very end. The only thing he knows is which three contestants are in the bottom three.

‘Idol’ Chatter [Access Hollywood]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.