New Rules for American Idol Finalists

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Starting tomorrow night - when the top 12 males perform on American Idol - viewers will be in control of the vote. As MSNBC reports, however, these votes will now be based on a new semifinal format.

In the past, contestants have selected songs after being given a CD with hundreds of tunes that meet that night's theme; they were allowed to pick any song, though, even those not on the pre-selected album.

This year, however, singers such as Luke Menard will be forced to choose from just 50 songs. For example, the theme for the first semifinal round is 1960s music and we're likely to hear many of the same selections.

Garrett Haley

When Garrett Haley takes to the stage tomorrow night, he'll be singing a song from the 1960's.

Last Friday, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told reporters that forcing them to choose a song from a list of 50 is a result of both bad song choices during past seasons and producers' desire to speed up the clearance process.

The producers also want to make the best TV show possible, one that appeals to its wide range of viewers. Hence, the reason why moder artists are asked to date themselves with older songs.

"Asking America to vote on a performer they don't know with the possibility of a song they don't know we felt was not right, and there were some strange songs," Lythgoe said.

How do you feel about this new American Idol format?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.