TOP OF THE WORLD
It’s a small “World Idol” after all.
A new global talent show airing on Christmas night on Fox will pit the winners of 11 different versions of “American Idol” against each other in a two-hour contest. The winner will be announced in a separate telecast on New Years Day.
The voting will not be a straight popular vote. The organizers realized that Kelly Clarkson could likely win in a walkover – because the U.S. is so much bigger than other competing countries.
Under a special voting system, the winner will be decided – electoral college-style – by how many countries they carry.
“Each territory’s own performer will automatically win in their territory,” says Ken Warwick, “World Idol” executive producer. “From each country, we will want to know who’s second and third and so on.”
The system evens the playing field so that countries with small populations can compete fairly against countries with large populations.
Competitors include Clarkson, U.K. winner Will Young, Australia’s Guy Sabastian along with top “Idol” winners from Poland, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Norway, South Africa and the winner of the Pan Arabic Idol competition that airs in 22 Middle Eastern countries.
Each singer is allowed to choose a song that they feel best represents their vocal talent.
Clarkson, who favors Aretha Franklin tunes, is slated to sing “Respect.” With the exception of the Jordanian Diana Karazon, most of the singers will sing in English, says Warwick.
“Most universal, commercial songs are in English,” he said.
Viewers vote by phone.
Producers in each country will count viewer’s votes and rank the singers in first place through 11th based on how many votes are cast for each performer.
First place is worth 12 points, second is worth 10 and so on. At the end of the competition, when all the points from each territory are added together, the performer with the most points wins.
The contest will also feature 11 on-air judges – one to represent each territory in the competition. But you won’t hear the comments of each judge either. Because of time constraints, producers will keep the most entertaining or interesting comments.
“Generally speaking, we’ll use the most caustic and the most kind com ments,” said Warwick. Not surprisingly, U.S. judge Simon Cowell is expected to get the most airtime. “He has far and away the most caustic reputation in the world,” Warwick said.
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