Judges may get a veto on American Idol; two will leave

American Idol 8‘s big rule change may involve one-time veto power for the show’s judges that allows them to overrule viewers’ votes and keep an eliminated contestant.

Executive producer Ken Warwick appeared on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show this morning and said the rule change was devised “because of a problem actually that’s been around since season one. We’ve talked about doing something about it–in fact, we tried it in another country, to see if it would work first, we tried it in Frace–and it does work, so we’re going to put that to work tonight,” he said.

The “problem” may reference the way talented singers surprisingly go home early, from Tamyra Gray in season one to Chris Daughtry during season five.

The most recent rule change to France’s Nouvelle Star involved veto power. During the sixth season, judges were able “to exercise a veto power on one eliminated contestant at any given point of the competition and spare them from elimination,” according to its Wikipedia entry. An MJ’s Big Blog commenter said that on the French version, “after the contestant(s) was eliminated, the judges have a meeting and decide if he is worth saving or not. If they decide he deserved it they give him another chance and the following week they start the show with the same contestants.”

If that’s the case, hopefully it will not be called the power of veto and involve a cheap prop like on Big Brother.

Warwick also told Seacrest that “two will go today, which is kind of a change up, but we’ll cope with that, that’s fine.” In a previous post, I speculated that couldn’t happen because of the number of weeks remaining, but that was based on my failure to count correctly. However, if the judges veto a vote, that will leave three contestants during the final week, unless I’m miscounting again, in which case I give up.

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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.