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'American Idol' exclusive: Executive Producer Ken Warwick on nixing the Swaybots and helping Adam Lambert

Good news for the Idoloonie nation: Over the next few weeks, you may be seeing a lot less of those “synchronized” swaying hands that pop up in the foreground of far too many American Idol performances. When I caught up with executive producer Ken Warwick via phone this afternoon to talk about the April 21 installment of Idol Gives Back – more on that later in the week – I managed to sneak in a brief question about this week’s guest mentor Adam Lambert, and to ask about putting an end to those pesky Swaybots. Warwick’s answers might surprise you. (And unfortunately, I ran out of time for asking follow-ups.) Read on…

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The swaying people in the front rows. I noticed we’ve seen a little less of them in the last week or two. Will they continue to sway in front of the cameras?
KEN WARWICK: I don’t know why we haven’t seen them. I’ll have a word with the director. But they’re swaying away like good’uns every week.

Oh no, it’s good that we see less of them. They drive our readers crazy. They’re distracting and they block the view of the actual performances. Is there any chance that the swaying people will just go away?


No chance that the swaying people will go away. However, I will have a word with the director [about what] your readers said, and get them to raise the cameras higher so [the swaying] doesn’t impede their view.

Brilliant! Okay, so how are you feeling about the show overall? There’s obviously been criticism that season 9 got off to a sleepy start. Do you think having Adam Lambert come in this week is going to shake things up and infuse the show with that added bit of drama that he generally manages to bring to the screen?
I sincerely hope so. Because the guy is an incredible talent, and he had an incredible following. And it kind of upsets me that at the moment he’s not doing quite as well… [Pauses.] I don’t know what possessed him to do what he did at the AMAs, but he’s still struggling to live it down. And everybody says to me every week, ‘When are you gonna bring back Adam?’ They want to see him as he was. And hopefully we’re gonna do that for him this week, and we can start putting him back firmly where he belongs, as a major star. Because the guy is an incredible talent. He genuinely is. And it kind of breaks my heart to see someone with that much talent struggle a bit. So hopefully we can do back for him as he can do for us.

What do you think of Warwick’s promise to get the Swaybots off our screens? How about his comments about the show’s season 8 runner-up? Sound off in the comments below! (And for all my Idol scoop, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.)

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Image Credit: Michael Becker/American Idol/Getty Images

Originally posted April 12 2010 — 11:33 PM EDT

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