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Ford Motor Company is adding an exciting new element to its sponsorship of the hit television series "American Idol," giving the top 12 Idols a unique opportunity to work with Ford designers and create their own personalized 2011 Ford Fiesta.

Tonight's episode of "American Idol," which airs at 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET live/PT tape-delayed on FOX, will feature this new element in a video segment.

"Ford has been a sponsor of 'American Idol' since the show premiered in 2002, and each season we try to take our relationship with the show to the next level in a fun and meaningful way," said Connie Fontaine, manager, Ford Brand Content and Alliances. "This year, the Idols will get a closer experience with our vehicles as they interact with our designers and customize a Fiesta design that reflects their own personality."

All of the Idols' Fiestas will be on display at www.americanidol.com. From March 17 through May 21, 2010 fans 18 and older can enter the Ford Music Video Challenge weekly for a chance to win one of the vehicles and a trip to the set of a Ford Music Video shoot or the grand prize, which includes a Fiesta with their choice of one of the Top 12 designs and tickets to the finale. Official rules and entry details are available at www.americanidol.com/ford/challenge.

"Ford has great young designers who are bringing fresh thinking to our product lineup," said Fontaine. "We hope the design integration with 'American Idol' will shine a light on the remarkable talent that is working tirelessly to deliver great products to market."

"Idolizing" the Ford Fiesta
Ford began the design process by giving each of the top 12 contestants a palette of nine Fiesta colors to choose from, including vibrant shades like Lime Squeeze, Blue Flame and Bright Magenta. So the design team could get to know each contestant on a more personal level, the Idols also were given a personality survey to fill out with questions like, "What are the three things you are most passionate about?" and "What do you want your car to say about you?"

Four up-and-coming Ford designers - Dillon Blanski, Gustavo Bizyk, Lesli Ann Agcaoili and Dean Carbis - reviewed the questionnaires, traveled to Hollywood to meet with the Idols, and then helped each contestant develop the concept for his or her personalized Fiesta, using color, custom body graphics, wheel treatments and other accessories to transform the vehicle into an expression of each contestant's individuality.

"We explained to the Idols that the graphics they design will actually be a symbol of them and their life experiences," said Carbis, who most recently served as lead exterior designer for the 2010 Ford Taurus. "They were really excited to work with us."

According to Carbis, Tuxedo Black was a popular color choice among the male contestants while the girls seemed to favor more vivid shades like Bright Magenta and Lime Squeeze. Some of the contestants even opted to accessorize their Fiesta with a four-piece 3dCarbon body kit.

"Some of the Idols are familiar with graphic tuning so they wanted to get the body kit and create more of a sports tuner package," he said.

Not surprisingly, music was a common theme among the contestants.

"Many of the Idols are obviously very music-oriented, so we talked about taking an instrument they play or the lyrics to their favorite song and somehow incorporating that into the graphics," said Blanski, 26, the youngest member of the Ford design team.

Both Carbis and Blanski say they are thrilled to participate in the "American Idol" project.

"Typically I'm expressing myself through the vehicles I design. Trying to interpret somebody else's passion and ideas and then help them put that into graphic form is totally different from anything I've done before," said Blanski. "It's a challenge, but it's also fun."
 
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