America, we've got a hot one tonight! Or something like that. The dog himself, Randy Jackson, will be lending his voice and likeness to Konami's upcoming Karaoke Revolution entry based on American Idol, as will everyone's favorite love-to-hate-him English sourpuss, Simon Cowell. Negotiations aren't yet finalized with Paula Abdul, so we can't say for sure that she's going to be in the game, but if she doesn't make it into the final version, we're fairly sure she'll be just about the only element absent from what otherwise looks like a spot-on re-creation of the megahit talent show.
All the other modes in the American Idol version of Karaoke Revolution look like what we've come to expect with this series, like the head-to-head and one-off song modes. But it's the artificial intelligence-based career mode that will certainly snag fans of the television show, as it literally takes you from the initial auditions (caterwauling and all)--where you'll get your golden ticket--all the way to the big finale on the stage of the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. You'll play through all 18 elimination rounds in all the authentic venues seen in the show--the series' creators even provided the developers with the blueprints of these venues so they could get them right, down to the smallest detail.
As you play through the AI mode, you'll gain access to new characters, costumes (which can sometimes be important, as fans of the show know), songs, and even videos as you go. For instance, if you do well on "Build Me Up Buttercup," you'll get to watch Clay Aiken's winning performance of the same song. And yes, if you nail "She Bangs," you'll most likely get to watch William Hung's famously awful performance. The game even uses all the intro and commercial-bump animations and sound effects that you'd find in the show, and we heard host Ryan Seacrest doing all the announcing in the results portion of each round of the AI mode.
As mentioned, Randy and Simon are already on board to participate in the game, and we got to see a preliminary version of their critiquing (with placeholder voice-overs) in action. You'll be judged just like in the show, since the game tracks a host of different data on your performance throughout a song. You'll hear the judges chime in with their characteristic styles about different parts of the song, your pitch, and your appearance--all the same stuff you'd hear criticized on TV, in other words. From what we could tell during our short demo, these all sound pretty much identical to what you'd expect to hear on the show, so diehard fans ought to get off on getting razzed by their favorite judges.
Konami just announced the final song list for the game, which, in our opinion, is looking like the most entertaining lineup to date for the series. In fact, just about every aspect of the American Idol version of Karaoke Revolution seems more solid than past entries. The game is due out just in time for the new season of American Idol, which traditionally starts in early January, and we're betting anyone who has enjoyed the series before now will be plenty tickled with this one.