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The Telefile
Reality TV Trends That <I>American Idol</I> Should Emulate

Producers keep announcing changes to the format of American Idol, presumably in a desperate attempt to keep us interested in that show now that Simon is gone. The latest news is that they'll be filming the contestants living together in a house, even though they tried in some of the earlier seasons and it was really boring. Presumably, they've got a plan to Big Brother/Real World this up - perhaps with a Vegas trip -- because otherwise this isn't all that exciting. But perhaps there are some other recent reality TV trends that Idol could steal some ideas from instead. Sure these may seem extreme, but at least they would give Seacrest a challenge and would likely keep us from banging out heads against the wall during the padded intro packages.

Plastic Surgery
With Bridalplasty stirring up some controversy, maybe Idol could stir up its own headlines by giving the contestants their dream extreme cosmetic makeovers. A little nose job, some booty implants and some lipo and they can all look like J.Lo clones. On the other hand, there's the danger that they could all end up looking like Steven Tyler.

Stage Moms
Let's see some Toddler and Tiaras in Hollywood, with the Idol singers' crazy moms (or dads) on the side of the stage, acting out the movements, singing along and forcing their kids to put on ridiculous costumes. We only got a little taste of that with David Archuleta's father.

Fat Camp
Since every show seems to add a weight-loss component nowadays, hire Jillian to make the Idol contestants shed some pounds, with people below the yellow line forced to sing for their lives.

Add a Palin Kid
Willow? Piper? Doesn't matter whether or not they can sing. They'll get votes anyway.

Add Some Jersey
We're about overloaded on the Garden State, but those shows keep getting ratings, so instead of sending Idol finalists to Vegas, why not have them visit Atlantic City instead? Bring to a club where DJ Pauly D is spinning tracks and hire Snooki as a guest judge.

Makeover Week
Think actual plastic surgery is too extreme? Then let's add some TLC/Style Channel flover to Idol and have the contestants get some top-to-bottom wardrobe makeovers. Yes, they already happen behind the scenes (remember Crystal Bowersox's transformation?), but now they could be integrated into the show, complete with a big reveal.

Secrets
The only way the whole living-in-a-house-together thing can be interesting is if we find out that one of these contestants is a hoarder (or grew up in a hoarder house), that one of them is surreptitiously pawning off other people's belongings or that one of them is a biker. At the very least, give us a bride-to-be whose nuptials hinge on how well she sings.

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