The ongoing recession has forced "Idol Gives Back", a charity program conducted regularly by talent show "American Idol", to be canceled this season. The reason is clear, the producers feel that asking people to donate money for the good cause when the economical state is unstable and unemployment rises, is simply not working.
"Idol Gives Back" which had been conducted two years in a row, involved celebrities including singers like Mariah Carey, the show's alumni like Kelly Clarkson, actors like Brad Pitt to prominent figures such as Barack Obama. It had raised over 130 million dollars on the show's sixth and seventh season, with the money going to various charity organizations. No announcement yet on how long the charity program will take a hiatus, but rumor has it, it will return in the ninth season with the program set bi-annually.
Meanwhile, some changes are also introduced in the upcoming season that airs January 13 on FOX. The network is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday, December 15 to address the format changes but the memo has allegedly leaked to a fan site and the details are elaborated below.
Fewer audition episodes and more Hollywood-round episodes will be aired in order to give "fewer bad singers and more 'aspirational' singers." As many as 36 contestants instead of the usual 24 will make the semifinal rounds and "wild card" where an eliminated contestant is brought back to the show, will be re-enforced. Also, as previously announced, the judge panel has swollen with the addition of songwriter Kara DioGuardi to give a new perspective in the selection.