Inside ‘American Idol’: Scott Borchetta on If He’ll Return for Season 15, Plus Advice to Finalists
When the press release announcing the end of American Idol was sent on Monday, Scott Borchetta's name was missing. The Season 14 mentor says he could come back, but it depends on how serious the show's producers are about searching for talent.
“I want to make sure the show is still going to be about finding great talent. And if it is, then there’s a very serious discussion to be had," Borchetta tells Taste of Country. "If it’s more about nostalgia and bringing Simon (Cowell) back and bringing Paula (Abdul) back — when I sign up that means I’m signing the winner. So if the mission stays specific then there’s a conversation to be had. If it doesn’t, then I’ve got other things I’ve gotta go do.”
Big Machine only had a one-year deal to sign the winner, the label group CEO says. That said, this has been a great experience for him. He's clearly passionate about working with artists — especially emerging acts like Jax, Clark Beckham and Nick Fradiani, the show's three finalists.
I want to make sure the show is still going to be about finding great talent. And if it is, then there’s a very serious discussion to be had. If it’s more about nostalgia and bringing Simon back and bringing Paula back … then I’ve got other things I’ve gotta go do.
Tonight (8PM ET on FOX) one will be sent home immediately. Two finalists will then "go three rounds, head to head," singing songs to the judges and American Idol voters worldwide. Borchetta's parting words for all three singers are simple.
“Be the person that you are,” he tells them. "The bombs are in the air. Be who you are."
The only thing that's certain is that come Thursday, Borchetta will have a new artist on his roster. The likable Fradiani seems like a good fit — Borchetta has said he'd consider steering him toward country radio should he win. Beckham and Borchetta have sparred during these final weeks, but the 52-year-old admits he likes an artist who stands up for what he believes in. Jax seems likely to follow Taylor Swift into pop radio. As the only female remaining, she could have an advantage.
“I’ve tried to make it as real as possible,” Borchetta says while talking about turning television success into real-world success. His efforts to change the way the public receives an Idol winner post-show began in October. His focus has been on preparing the artist for what's to come, and indication that previous finalists haven't been properly prepared, leading to slumping sales and contention.
“If you don’t win, and even if you do win, you’ve gotta understand that this whole support system goes away and you’re back to the real world," Borchetta says. “And I think that’s the reason you don’t see a lot of contestants get back to this stage. It’s so overwhelming, you’ve really gotta burn for it.”
“American Idol doesn’t anoint you a career, it anoints you an opportunity," he furthers.
This concludes Taste of Country's weekly conversations with Borchetta. The two-night American Idol finale will close on Wednesday, with the crowning of the show's 14th winner. The Top 5 will head on tour later this year.
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