Ford music videos on ‘American Idol’
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‘American Idol’ Ford Videos shot in Los Angeles

American Idol music videos use an L.A. backdrop

By Joni Gray, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

This week’s Wednesday night program will feature a Ford first – the reveal of a new model via the “American Idol” contestants.

Remember, the Idols have only one short week to learn all their songs, find cool stuff to wear and record and act in these weekly video productions, then perform on the show. This grueling schedule is a good enough reason American Idol Productions decided to shoot these videos right here in the Greater Los Angeles area. See our Google map to spot each location.

Just for fun, we’ve rounded up the American Idol/Ford music videos from this season that lead up to tonight’s Focus launch. (Fox)
Watch the Video: “Election”
Song: “The Distance” (made popular by Cake)
Ford car(s) featured: Edge
L.A. location: Los Angeles City Hall Exterior Park

The first “American Idol”/Ford music video was shot right here in front of Los Angeles City Hall, which happens to be across the street from the L.A. Times building. The premise seemed to be timed with the presidential primaries and had each of the Idols running for office. Several black Ford Edges were lined up along Spring Street, complete with Secret Service agents straight out of central casting. (Photo: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Watch the video: “UFO ”
Song: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” (made popular by the Clash)
Ford car(s) featured: Fusion
L.A. location: Joughin Ranch, Chatsworth

Cast in the genre of a sci-fi B movie, our remaining contestants were relentlessly pursued by retro, wire-hung flying saucers. Of course, it all turned out fine when we discover it’s only a movie set and David Cook is the director.… Hmmm, a bit prophetic? The beautiful Joughlin Ranch in Chatsworth isn’t done much justice, however. The entire video is shot in scratchy black and white. (Fox)
Watch the video: “T-Shirts”
Song: “I Want You to Want Me” (made popular by Cheap Trick)
Ford car(s) featured: Focus
L.A. location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Tons of special effects were used in this video, giving us a glimpse of what the final 10 Idols’ future careers might look like as their images are plastered on T-shirts, CD covers, posters and the like. This year’s contestants have certainly been a good-looking bunch, so the concept works nicely. Their interaction with the Ford Focus is just a few quick shots of David Cook getting in and out of a Ford Focus. No doubt he’ll have a future gracing the valets in much higher-end cars. (Ford)
Watch the video: “Streetball”
Song: “It’s Tricky” (made popular by Run-DMC)
Ford car(s) featured: Edge
L.A. location: Joe’s Parking Lot No. 440, Los Angeles

In this video, nine remaining “Idol” contestants attempt a rap song as they shoot basketball hoops on a parking garage roof on Olive Street in downtown L.A. Although I’m not a music critic, I can see how they may have left themselves wide open for criticism within the rap community. Tricky, indeed. (Ford)
Watch the video: “Performance Art”
Song: “I Just Want to Celebrate” (made popular by Rare Earth)
Ford car(s) featured: Focus
L.A. location: Sepulveda Dam at the 405 Freeway, Burbank

After the exit of Chikezie, the remaining eight “Idol” contestants jumped into a Ford Focus and hit the riverbed at the Sepulveda Dam in Burbank to do some messy drifting. (Ford)
Watch the video: “Office”
Song: “I Want to Break Free” (made popular by Queen)
Ford car(s) featured: Fusion
L.A. location: Los Angeles office building

Of all the videos, this one, as Simon would say, was utterly forgettable. To the tune of a Queen song, the seven “Idol” contestants are dressed as painted puppets, begging to “break free.” It’s all in good fun; however, this might have been the one silver lining in Michael Johns’ untimely exit from the show. (Ford)
Watch the video: “Comic Book”
Song: “Tainted Love” (made popular by Soft Cell)
Ford car(s) featured: Various
L.A. location: Paramount Pictures Studios, Los Angeles

This production used some amazing animation starring the final six Idols in a punked-out, action-packed car chase in various Fords. Carly Smithson had the coolest part, as the operator of a robotic contraption that chases down her “Idol” brethren. David Archuleta is well cast as the comic animator whose characters ultimately confront him in the end. (Fox)
Watch the video: “Reverse”
Song: “Catch the Wind” (made popular by Bob Dylan)
Ford car(s) featured: Escape Hybrid
L.A. location: Paramount Pictures Studios, Los Angeles

Another shoot on the Paramount lot, this time with Idols going green while piling into a Ford Escape Hybrid to clean up the streets with loads of groovy special effects. This appeared to be the first “Idol” video in which all the contestants fit into just one car. For this, the Escape hybrid seemed to accommodate them just fine. (Fox)
Watch the video: “Matadors”
Song: “Ring of Fire” (made popular by Johnny Cash)
Ford car(s) featured: Mustang GT
L.A. location: Copper Hill Drive at Haskell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita

It had to happen sometime – the four remaining “Idol” contestants had to don what could arguably be called “tights” for their dramatic Matador video gig. The Ford Mustang GT played the role of bull, and the rest is one for the “Idol” history books. (Fox)
Debut of the 2009 Ford Focus coupe tonight

The final three “Idol” contestants – David Archuleta, David Cook and Syesha Mercado – starred in a video filmed at a residence in Thousand Oaks. They were instrumental in the national debut of the Ford Focus coupe -- never seen before the airing of the May 14th live show .

Although not hugely changed from last year’s model, this new version adds increased horsepower on five-speed manual without any compromise of the Focus’ 35-miles-per-gallon fuel economy rating. Also new are the front and rear fascias, roof-line spoiler and standard 17-inch aluminum wheels. (Fox)