Wednesday, May 2, 2007
7 News Features: Idol's Music Man
Idol contestants come and go but one man brings it week after week. He's Idol's main music man and tonight he's hanging with the insider.
WSVN -- Melinda's got "Idol rhythm", but it's the band that gives her and the other contestants the beat.
And the boss of this powerhouse band: Rickey Minor.
Rickey Minor: "We're having a great time, I mean, I think that the opportunity to play music -- and, I mean, at this level, all the music genres -- to see Carrie and Bo and Chris Daughtry and everyone rise up."
It's his job to hit the right note with each contestant, each week.
Rickey Minor: "I mean, 15 intense weeks of singing, of learning all these songs."
It's the toughest job on Idol: Contestants just have to learn one song per show -- but, in one week, the band had to learn 24 numbers!
Rickey Minor: "We try to find their keys and work that out -- that's Thursday. Friday, all the songs go to the arrangers and Monday we're at Idol, rehearsing songs."
A kicked-off contestant barely has their bags packed when the Idols left standing start working with Minor on the next week's show.
Rickey Minor: "The contestants on Thursday are in working with the associate musical director and vocal coach and going through the songs that they've chosen."
And that means working out contestant creativity like Chris Sligh's Coldplay-inspired version of "Endless Love."
And it's not just about the music -- it's also about presentation.
We all got "McPheever" with Katherine's understated but brilliant performance last season.
Sometimes it's a hit.
Rickey Minor: "Our job is to support their ideas, so we can give our ideas, but the final decision is always theirs."
Other times, not so much.
Simon Cowel: "It was kind of old fashioned..."
But the key to his success? An open door policy.
Rickey Minor: "They, they all have access to me, so if they have an idea they come up to me or email me and say, 'I'm thinking about doing this and this, and what do you think?'"
Minor took over as musical director after season two kicked out the canned music, bringing in real musicians with real talent.
The result has been a better sound and better performances and guests so famous they only need one name: Prince, Gwen, J. Lo, Celine, all making their way to the idol stage.
For Rickey, it's a dream job unlike any other in the biz.
Rickey Minor: "Listen, it ought to be against the law. We're having the biggest fun. We're just out there playing music every day. How bad is that?"