American Idol 8 “going back to letting the kids be more emotional”

Among the changes coming to American Idol 8, besides a fourth judge and a focus on contestants’ personalities, is a return to the show’s “roots.” Alas, that doesn’t mean Brian Dunkleman isn’t returning.

“The show is more real, it’s back to its roots. It doesn’t have a veneer,” Fox marketing executive Joe Earley told TV Week. These vague, as-yet-undefined changes are coming in part because the show lost nine percent of its younger viewers, those ages 18 to 49, last season.

Fox reality executive Mike Darnell said, “It’s going back to letting the kids be more emotional and seeing more of their reality. We’re going to allow the public to see a little more of their emotional state.” He said there will be “subtle changes and there are bigger-than-subtle changes. But I wouldn’t call anything ‘radical.’”

He doesn’t say what those changes are or how the contestants’ emotion will come out, but hopefully it’s not from the “increased jeopardy” (i.e. more contestant torture).

Meanwhile, Darnell says the contestants are as good as those in season five. “We just got done with Hollywood Week, and the talent and the characters we have are the best since season five,” he said.