Idol still “planning a national songwriting contest to determine a winning single”

The songwriting contest planned for American Idol 6 will still take place, producers say, although the details have yet to be worked out.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the show is still “planning a national songwriting contest to determine a winning single; the competition, which is not yet finalized, is slated to be open to anyone — signed or unsigned — who submits a tune to a to-be-named website.”

However, producers must first “work out the specifics,” the magazine says. One possibility, according to producer Nigel Lythgoe: “I would love to do two or three shows with past Idol contestants singing the songs, and then have America judge the songs. But that is not confirmed with Fox yet.” Another executive producer, Ken Warwick, suggests a different approach, that “The short list of songs will be [chosen by] the three judges and the producers.”

Regardless of how it plays out, the producers are tired of complaints about the songs, particularly from the judges. Nigel Lythgoe gives a particularly bitchy response about such criticism, saying, “They’re on hand to judge singing. It’s unfair to knock the final song. Randy does it more than anyone else, probably because he only says five words over and over all season. We send him a dictionary every Christmas, but he doesn’t read it.”

Interestingly, Entertainment Weekly reports that season one’s single, “A Moment Like This,” was “the most popular finale song” and it “was the one winning Idol tune that [Simon] Cowell … personally commissioned.” But since then, the braintrust in charge of the show has “booted [Cowell] from the selection committee.”

Then again, Simon doesn’t really have high hopes for the songs America will write. “I guarantee the songs submitted will have the words blessed and proud in them,” he said. “‘I’m blessed to be proud.’ ‘I’m proud to be blessed.’”

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