''American Idol'' bans Springsteen and R. Kelly songs. Simon says no more Mariah, Bruce, or other tired classics

By Liane Bonin
September 05, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
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  • TV Show
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”American Idol” wannabes, it’s time to expand your repertoire. Fox has announced that contestants will not be allowed to perform songs by Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Mariah Carey, or R. Kelly during the audition process.

Also on the no-no list are: Sarah McLachlan’s ”Angel,” Etta James’ ”At Last,” Elton John’s ”Candle in the Wind,” Pink’s ”Get the Party Started,” Whitney Houston’s ”I Will Always Love You,” and Harry Nilsson’s ”Without You.”

Though Fox has no comment on why the tracks are no longer welcome on the show, difficulty in obtaining song rights may have played a part. With ”Idol” being Fox’s second-most watched series ever, the network isn’t likely to get cost breaks on classics, no matter how well (or hideously) they’re performed.

But axing the well-worn tracks may have less to do with price tags and more to do with the tolerance level of judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul. Of Alicia Keys’ ”Fallin”’ being included on the list, Cowell tells People magazine: ”[The judges] have heard it a million times.” They…keep…on…fallin’… in and out… of love… with that song.

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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  • 06/11/02
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  • Simon Fuller
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