'American Idol' Mulls Tweaks to Voting System After Pia Toscano Elimination
2:33 PM PDT 4/20/2011 by Phil Gallo, Billboard
American Idol producers will discuss changes to the voting process at the end of this season, but will not tweak the process this year.Executive producer Ken Warwick said the producers will consider limiting the number of text votes allowed, incorporating judges' opinions and other ideas for season 11 of Idol. "The texting, the tweeting, the social glue we strive for -- we were aware that voting would be skewed," Warwick said on a conference call Wednesday morning. "Young girls and (mothers) are a driving force (in the voting). So how can we keep it fair? We're not going to start fiddling with the voting now -- but there are many ideas on the table." These conversations are spurred, to some extent, by the early elimination of Pia Toscano, who Warwick said "went at the wrong time." He says he has been supportive of her moving forward in her recording career and making television appearances outside of Idol such as one scheduled for Dancing With the Stars. "In the old days it was a concern," Warwick said about eliminated contestants making a splash prior to the announcement of the winner. "It's unfair to hold someone back and the field is so diverse this year, the winner will go in a different direction than the power ballads that Pia sings. It doesn't matter to us. She's very marketable. I'm not sure what the plans for Pia are but I'd be looking to get her (recordings) out as soon as possible." What does matter to Warwick is how often a singer brings an instrument onstage. The producers have resisted setting a limit on the number of times singer may use an instrument - Warwick wanted the limit to be two - but says it is now up to the producers' discretion. "This year it isn't an issue. Last year it was an issue," he said. "We don't want anyone hiding behind a guitar (or a piano)." Or in Casey Abrams's case, a string bass.