Nigel Lythgoe Restricts Instruments On American Idol 2011

If you’ve grown tired of American Idol becoming less of a singing competition and more of a “look at me, I’m playing a guitar!” competition then you’ll be glad to know that things are about to change. Nigel Lythgoe, returning executive producer for American Idol 2011, is putting in place yet another big change for the upcoming season.

Lythgoe took to Twitter to announce that he’ll be restricting instruments:

AI contestants will still be able to play instruments just not every week. “Playing” a guitar is totally different from “hiding” behind it.

I think this will be a great balance. We’ll still get some instrumental performances, but they won’t be able to do it week after week. The purists can have their turn while the guitar/piano/flute (flute?!) lovers can have their cake too.

Which side of the fence do you fall into?





  1. I totally agree with Nigel……This is a singing competition, not an instrumental one. I like the fact that they can play their instruments at certain times but not every week. I've noticed thru the seasons that certain contestants did use it as a crutch and thats not good…..

    I just wish this season would start already!!!!!!

  2. I certainly agree that instruments especially guitar have been used entirely too much!

    Contestants should be able to use their instrument(s) at times, to show how versatile they are, but this is still a singing competition and that should always be the main focus!

  3. I'd rather they get rid of insturments altogether, but, if they must keep them, at least contain it to no more than once or twice. Any time spent learning the instrument part takes away from them learning how to jazz up or emote during the singing part.

  4. I prefer not to have instruments,,,It is suppose to be a singing contest,, not a singer-instrument contest…anyways,,the less i see of instruments,,the better i enjoy watching American Idol…..

  5. Boy, are we in for a surprise even though it

    really is a singing competition. Those contestants better top it up a notch.

  6. i think there should be one or two nights where they can use instruments and the rest can be________JUST_________ SINGING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  7. I guess I'm in the minority but I loved it when they added instruments. Where would a talented girl like Brooke White be today? She had a nice voice, but the piano made her what she was. I'm glad they are at least letting them use them sometimes. Not sure about this move!

  8. I believe if a contestant's style means that they play an instrument when they perform, then I think they should be able to do that. How else are the judges and the voting public going to see what a contestant's style and direction is?

  9. This could be tricky. What if Elvis had been on the show and he wasn't allowed to play his guitar? Or Elton John and his piano? Or Bob Dylan and his harmonica?

    Some singers are inseparable from their instruments.

  10. Personally i prefer the introduction of instruments (as long as they can be played properly of course) makes a very rereshing change from a 'yes i can sing' competition to a 'i'm a proper singer, songwriter, musician, anf credible musical talent' competition. I personally feel that Crystal Bowersox is probably the BEST contestant that American Idol has ever had grace it's stage, she was young, authentic, origina, A true musical talent as well as an amazing singer, being able to play an instrument means that the artist is able to arrange their own 'versions' of the songs they sing so they don't just come across as a karioke style, yes i can sing, but i can't do anything else show. i totally approve o giving credible musical artists like crystal an international platform. If it's not broken don't fix it!!!!! Mel from England

  11. Personally I'd be willing to accept instruments, personal rugs or even unicycles if they would be willing to limit the text voting per phone number. IMHO that is what is really wrong with Idol.

  12. @ 13 Stormy…I agree with you on the voting…that definitely needs to change…one can only hope…looking forward to a new season.

  13. With or without is not the point. All we need is a superstar, a super superstar. (We miss Paula, Simon, even Kara.)

  14. Linda– You must be speaking tongue in cheek when you say you miss Simon, Paula, and even Tara. Simon was the only one who knew anything, Paula was babbling and stoned most of the time, and Tara was just plain bad, as are her song writing abilities.

  15. Its a singing competition and should be limited to the performers just singing

    maybe the last 5 can have a day of performing with an instrument if they choose to do so.

  16. I think allowing them to play an instrument is fine. American Idol winners should be the complete package. Ability to play an instrument, even songwriting skills as well as singing should be considered by the judges and the audience. Many idols of the past Presley, Beatles, Rick Nelson etc; were more than just singers. It's American Idol not American Singing Idol

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