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Idol Chit-Chat
This is your place to discuss all things "American Idol." The performances, the judges, the past contestants — it’s all right here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Hollyweird"

So “Hollyweird” did live up to its nickname, but the episode also produced one of the show’s all-time sweetest moments…

And yes, I know it was technically L.A., but that didn't sound as cool...

My thoughts…

Did you see how scared Olivia Newton-John was by Martik, the panther? Maybe that was why she was so easy on him…

Was Marianna trying to be Cher or Shakira? She actually had a voice if she knew what to do with it. I wonder what her mom sounded like if she thought Marianna was good? And Simon and Randy checking the mom out? That was wrong…but funny…

I think Olivia wants to go home now…

Was that our friend Ashanti in that “won’t take no for an answer” montage or did she just go to the same drama school as Ashanti?...

I didn’t think Elena (“I’m Feelin’ Good”) had that good of a voice, so I guess Simon saw something else…

Does Phuong really think she looks like Taylor Hicks?...

And does Olivia tell everyone “You did well”? Stop being so nice!...

Where did that gorgeous acoustic version of “Do I Make You Proud” come from?...

What a great song choice by Brandon (“Always On My Mind”)! Simple melody, sweet lyrics—that’s how it’s done…

Sorry, I’m with Paula. Sherman’s song for his wife was one of the sweetest moments I’ve ever seen on “Idol.” And he was a good singer! I think that was probably the only reason the screeners let him through or else they’d open the flood gates for tons of people doing the same thing…

Simon says there are four from L.A. who could make the finals. And that was only after day one. Hmmm…

Did Cavett just say she loved the flavor of Darold’s grill? Okay…

Did Eric Mueller (“Fly”) look familiar to anyone else? And I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone sing (or try to sing, in this case) Hilary Duff…

And why didn’t Eric stick around to find out why Simon wanted to talk to him so bad? THAT was funny…

The final audition show is Tuesday at 8 p.m., followed by a clip show on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Then, it’s the Hollywood rounds. Woo hoo!...

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What Was Up With Paula?

As you've noticed, I've steered clear of the whole "Is Paula doing drugs?" controversy. After all, her loopiness is part of the fun and I've been willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

But last night, which showed the Birmingham auditions, there was definitely something wrong.

Our first indication was when she ran away from the table during the first audition. She had sat through numerous contestants doing the same thing. Why was that one any different? Then, she called Bernard's performance "off-key"--which it was not. And what about her giddy freakout when Chris sang "A Kiss From a Rose." I know Paula probably likes that song since Constantine did it, and it was good, but it did not deserve that strange outpouring of enthusiasm.

I know that Ryan's voiceover said that Paula had a family commitment in Hollywood that made her miss day two, but I have to wonder if maybe something else was going on...

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Sweet Home Alabama"

I had another commitment tonight, so as you can see, I’m late with my post.

I would’ve posted sooner, but since I was watching on tape, I had to rewind to hear what Paula considered “totally off key.” This episode will do nothing to quiet the Paula rumors, that’s for sure…

Here are my other thoughts…

I think Simon needs to stop telling people he loves “Unchained Melody.” And I have a feeling we’ll see that “dirt off my shoulder” thing again…

Katie (“A House Is Not a Home”) wasn’t kidding when she said her singing voice was totally different. She’s just a little bit of a drama queen…

Is the show just being edited like this or are they really moving the auditions along this quickly?...

Diana (“Saving All My Love For You”) had a voice, so what was she doing with it?...

What was Paula listening to when she said Bernard (“Rock With You”) was off-key? I thought he was awesome. Simon would’ve been pretty upset if Randy hadn’t have agreed—and me too…

They let a 50-year-old through?...

Congrats to Paula on her save with Jamie Lynn (“Reflection”). I mean, what do you say to someone after that story? She’s this year’s Kellie Pickler—so I can’t believe Simon would have said no…

If you hadn’t seen it in the previews, you would never have guessed that Chris (“A Kiss From a Rose”) could actually sing. He’s really cool. But I can’t believe that Simon didn’t get the David Hasselhoff joke (I thought he was more media savvy than that.)…

And what is up with Paula?...

Day 2 without Paula? There goes all the fun…

So what would Simon have said to Victoria (“Raise Me Up”) if her mother hadn’t have been there?...

Nichole’s (“Something to Talk About”) mom told her she had no talent? Yeah, okay. I would’ve let her through…

You can guarantee we’ll see Brandy again—regardless of what she says…

Wow! Ryan got to get in the limo on-camera. He’s moving up in the world…

Don’t forget that tomorrow night’s (Wednesday’s) episode airs at 9 p.m…

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Tonight's Idol: "Where America Finds Its Voice"

Tonight, "Idol" will be in Birmingham, Alabama, the home of Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks.

In fact, Birmingham is so proud of its Idols that it proclaims itself the place "where America finds its voice" on this billboard (which you're sure to see on tonight's broadcast). But what will it give us this year?

You can find out tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX. Remember that tonight's show is only an hour (Thank goodness!)...

Bucky's New Single: WOW!

For those of you who may be surprised to see both the words Bucky and WOW! in the title, I strongly encourage you to visit www.cmt.com/artists/az/covington_bucky?artist.jhtml and listen to Bucky’s new single, “A Different World” (It’s a slow load, so be patient. It’s worth the wait.).

It’s pretty unbelievable that the guy who could barely stay on key now sounds like a young George Jones, so I’m sure there’s been some serious work done in the studio. However, it was pretty clear during the “Idol” tour that Bucky had been working on his voice, so maybe it was in there all the time.

“World” is now at #47 on the Hot Country Songs chart. His album will hit stores April 17th.

Be sure to let me know what you think...

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Let the Katharine Media Blitz Begin!

The Katharine McPhee media blitz begins in earnest tonight with a performance on “The Tonight Show.” Tonight’s show should be a pretty good one, as Jay’s also got Bill Cosby and the fabulous Mary Lynn Rajskub (“24”). Wonder if he can get her to reveal as much about “24” as he always gets Kiefer to? But I digress…

This week, Katharine will also visit “Today” (January 31st) and “Live With Regis & Kelly” (February 1st). Then next week, it’s “TRL” (February 5th), “The Early Show” (February 6th), “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (February 7th) and “Larry King Live” (February 8th).

Katharine will also play herself on an upcoming episode of “Ugly Betty.” Everything I’ve read says it’s this Thursday’s (February 1st) episode, but Katharine’s website says it’s February 8th. Of course her website also said she was appearing tonight on the “Jay Leno Show,” so take it for what it’s worth. Either way, Katharine couldn’t be appearing at a better time since “Ugly Betty” is red hot right now. However, since the fabulous Tim Gunn will be appearing in the same episode, she’s going to get upstaged. “Betty” airs Thursday at 8 on ABC…

You can still catch a listen to Katharine’s CD before it hits stores tomorrow at http://music.aol.com/songs/new_releases_full_cds...

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An "Idol" Academy Award Winner...It's Going to Happen!

Congratulations to Jennifer Hudson on winning the Screen Actors Guild Award for Actress in a Supporting Role last night.

But the biggest congratulations are yet to come for Jennifer.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is going to happen. An "Idol" cast-off is going to win an Academy Award.

Now, it is possible that something could still happen to knock her win off-track, but it's very rare for someone to take home the Golden Globe and the SAG and not win the Oscar--especially since many of the same people vote for the SAGs and the Oscars...

And I still haven't seen the movie yet!

The Academy Awards air February 25th at 8 p.m. on ABC...

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Poll: The Best "Idol" Performance and Song Ever?

In a recent interview with VH1, Randy Jackson told his choices for best “Idol” performance ever and the best song recorded by an Idol.

So, I thought I would start the weekend by posing those questions to you. What do you think was the best performance ever on “American Idol” and what is the best song recorded by an Idol so far?

For Randy, the best performance ever was Fantasia doing “Summertime” in season three. His choice for the best Idol song? Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway.”

For me, it’s hard to beat Bo Bice’s a capella masterpiece “In A Dream” from season four, but I think Constantine Maroulis’ “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the same year came pretty close.

As for the best song, as much as I love “Breakaway,” “Since U Been Gone” is just pure genius. And I really wish Carrie Underwood’s people would give “Some Hearts” another shot. Releasing it on the pop chart at the same time as “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was a bad move since “Hearts” is easily a #1 country song that could eventually cross over…

So what are your choices? Just post a comment to get us started…

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"It's Not Over" Cracks the Top 10

This week continued to be a good one for Daughtry as "It's Not Over" cracked the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 moving from #21 to #6--the week's greatest digital gainer.

Although the winner's single (and runner-up's single, in Clay's case) usually always hits #1 in its first week, the Idols have not historically had good luck on the Hot 100 with follow-up singles--other than Kelly Clarkson...

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

CD Review: Katharine McPhee: R&B Princess?


When Katharine McPhee finished second last season, there were a lot of questions about what kind of album she would release.

Unfortunately, her self-titled debut doesn’t do much to answer those questions…

There are some bright spots on Katharine McPhee, but the majority of the CD is cheesy R&B that ranges from risqué to just plain ridiculous…

“Love Story,” one of several songs co-written and produced by Timbaland protégée Danja, gets the CD off to a rocky start with the first of his R&B messes. Her first single, “Over It,” really does grow on you and after listening to the entire CD, there’s no doubt it was the best choice to go with first since it’s actually the best cut. “Open Toes” is another Danja cut (Katharine also gets a co-writing credit.) with a good beat, but her ode to her slingbacks is just a little ridiculous (“I’m lovin’ these slingback shoes. I like the way they stay loose.”). Katharine said she thought the track could be the new “Thong Song” for ladies. Not even close. There is no way I would’ve put this track so early on the CD.

Then we get the first of the bad transitions as the next track, “Home,” is a soaring ballad written by the prolific Kara DioGuardi. “Home” is solid, but the CD quickly goes back downhill with “Not Ur Girl.” Danja sounds like he was going for a Christina sound on this one, but it misses the boat. “Each Other” is a completely unmemorable Danja track, but “Dangerous” is downright cheesy, which leads us into another bad transition with the “Hurt”-like ballad, “Ordinary World.” “World” is another strong track, but it is unfortunately followed by the CD’s worst cut…

“Do What You Do,” co-written and produced by the Underdogs (Beyonce, Pink, “Dreamgirls” soundtrack) is a cheesy Pussycat Dolls knock-off. And unfortunately for Katharine, the risqué lyrics come off as more ridiculous than sexy. Not sure what they were thinking with that one. “Better Off Alone” only makes me wish that its co-writer, Austin Carroll (“The One: The Making of a Superstar”), had recorded it himself. His soulful voice would have handled it much better.

Danja finally gets it together with “Neglected,” which sounds a lot like “Cry Me A River” or “What Goes Around”—and that’s a compliment. The CD closes with “Everywhere I Go,” which was co-written and produced by Babyface. Why in the world you would leave this song until the very end, I have no idea. Maybe they wanted to leave things on a good note. “Everywhere” is not a fantastic song, but it’s classic Babyface, so it’s definitely worth listening to.

There’s no doubt that the ballads are Katharine’s strong suit, but I think that’s more of a reflection on the songs themselves and not Katharine’s singing. If they wanted to make her an R&B star, fine. But they needed to give her good material to do it with.

Personally, I would’ve liked to have heard a more pop CD from Katharine, combining power ballads and radio-friendly upbeat tunes, but maybe RCA was concerned that Katharine would be compared to Kelly Clarkson.

I have to believe, though, that constant comparisons to Kelly would be better than this.

You can listen for yourself at http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/mcphee__katharine/1398994/album.jhtml?popThis=playIt(). Be sure to let me know what you think.

Katharine McPhee hits stores January 30th…

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Start spreading the news..."

When the producers said that Carole Bayer Sager was “subdued,” they weren’t kidding. Please! Stop the guest judge madness!

Here are my other thoughts…

I missed them not doing an into last night. It’s just not the same if you don’t hear Ryan say, “This is ‘American Idol’”…

Why did Paula get shoved to the end? That’s just wrong…

So what reality show will Ian (“Gloria”) try out for next to get on TV? “America’s Got Talent”?...

Had Carol never watched the show? It was clear she didn’t know what she was getting into…

I was worried that Sarah (“Call Me”) wouldn’t be able to sing after secretly flying to New York from Ohio. I wonder how her dad really feels. Getting ambushed by Ryan didn’t give him much time to think. Of course, I’m rooting for her because she’s from Ohio…

Is it just me or does Carol look like Joan Collins?...

Carol wasn’t kidding about Ashanti (“Loving You”) being good for Broadway. I think she just did her monologue. Maybe if she’d rehearsed her singing a little more than her acting. I wonder why they didn’t show us what she looked like before?...

So why did Amanda and Antonella sound so bad together? And I agree with the judges that Antonella was better, but I can’t believe she told Amanda that. Maybe she took Simon’s advice after all. They’ll be a story in Hollywood…

Okay, the thing with William (“Dreamin’”) was pretty mean…

How cute was Jenry (“I’d Give Anything…”)? Yes, Paula, he is “easy on the eyes”…

Okay, new rule. Do not start the auditions without Simon. It’s just not as fun…

I wonder what Simon would have said about Nakia (“Dancing in the Streets”)? If she could’ve stayed anywhere near the tune on that second one, she would’ve made it…

Why in the world is “Dreamin’” so popular this year?...

And suddenly Carol comes alive with Sarah! “I could be the only American Idol that doesn’t sing”? What was that girl smoking? She should be glad Simon wasn’t there…

So did Simon really have a hangover and that’s why he wasn’t there?...

How old was that “New Yor, New Yor” guy?...

The “American Idol” soldier? Well, Simon enjoyed it, until she wanted to hug him. I would’ve thought that he would’ve liked that…

I know that name thing was edited together, but the sudden appearance of Olivia Newton-John was a little weird…

I was wondering when the Simon-Paula lovefest would end. I would’ve liked to have heard Christopher sing another song…

Why did Randy have Rachel sing another song? I liked the Jeff Buckley song. But I have a feeling we have another Mikalah on our hands…

What was that scary Dorothy person?...

Simon thinks Christopher (“A Song For You”) could surprise. I think he sees something…

Nicholas’ story is a perfect example of why I love the Hollywood rounds. I wish they would give them more time. You can see that Paula’s glad he’s back. He will be a HUGE story in Hollywood…

I think they left Isadora until last on purpose. Carole’s reaction was priceless. I think that performance ranks right up there with the “Like A Virgin” guy…

Speaking of which. Tuesday looks very interesting…

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"TV Guide" Tidbits


As we tick off the minutes until tonight’s episode, here are some tidbits from this week’s “TV Guide” cover story:

The Seattle auditions were originally scheduled to be a one-hour show, but after producers saw how many strange auditions they got, they expanded it to two…

173 people went to Hollywood. We’ll see the judges get rid of a lot more people than normal on the first day…

When the finalists get down to the final six, there will be a “big celebrity show” that producers promise will be bigger than last season’s finale…

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Daughtry Hits #1

After nine weeks on the chart, Daughtry, has hit #1 on the Billboard 200. The album's sales were up 30 percent over the previous week, probably due in large part to the release of the "It's Not Over" video (As if on cue, "Over" is playing on my XM right now.).

For those of you keeping track, Daughtry has now sold 1.29 million copies of its CD. Taylor Hicks has sold 587,000 of his...

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Walkin' In Memphis..."

I think tonight’s episode proved that the auditions are better served in one-hour doses. It was a lot less painful…

Here are my thoughts…

Bringing your own marching band and cheerleaders. That’s quite the clever way to get on TV. But they were right. The audition wasn’t good…

If Christopher hadn’t been so weird, he actually had an okay voice…

Did Sundance just look familiar because we’ve seen him on all the promos, or have we seen him somewhere else before? And when Simon said he’d be surprised if he didn’t make the finals, did he mean the final twelve or the final two? I would’ve held my judgment until I saw him weather a theme night…

And it’s clear that Simon is still not the biggest Taylor fan…

“Too desperate”? Maybe Paula is getting meaner…

They tricked us with Travis. When he said the song was very emotional for him, I thought we were going to get a ballad. And was it just me or did “If you ask me to leave” sound like “If you hack me”?...

Okay, maybe Randy’s getting meaner too. He thinks Danielle will be gone in the first minute? Not with those looks and that whispery voice…

I had to laugh at Christopher pausing for the musical interlude of “Footloose.” But Simon’s comments about his wife leaving him were totally cruel. Notice how Simon tried to make up for it with a compliment…

Loved Paula’s cue to Janita to contain herself…

Wow! Sean (the guy with the Castro beard) was awesome! I was totally stunned. When he hit that high note—Yikes! He’s one of my favorites and I really hope he makes it a ways so we can see his makeover…

Why was Randy making that face when Melissa (“For Once In My Life”) was singing if he thought she was brilliant? She’ll be a story in Hollywood with that stage fright…

What in the world was up with the guy in the flower hat pulling handkerchiefs out of his pants?...

And can I just say that I wish these cell phone companies would make up their minds. First, AT&T Wireless became Cingular, and now Cingular is becoming AT&T. Ryan is going to be confused this season…

I have to admit I was stunned when Phillip opened his mouth, because I couldn’t believe he missed his baby’s birth and he couldn’t even sing. But as Randy would say, he worked it out. They’re right that he doesn’t start well…

I can't believe that not one person (that we saw) attempted "Walking In Memphis." I have yet to hear that song done right on the show...

Remember that tomorrow, the show goes back to two hours (the last two hour audition show) beginning at 8 p.m. on FOX…

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“This is Idol Chit-Chat…”

I still remember walking into my local music store five years ago looking for the single from the winner of the reality TV show I had found myself hooked on.

Since a friend of mine worked there, I asked him when it was coming out. He didn’t know what I was talking about. “A lot of people are going to be looking for it,” I told him. "It’s going to be pretty big.” He just shook his head and laughed.

One week after its release, “A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson hit #1 and the “American Idol” phenomenon was born.

I’d like to be able to brag about how right I was, but the truth is that “American Idol” has become bigger than I — or even FOX — could have ever dreamed. So big in fact, we’re giving it its own blog.

So welcome to “Idol Chit-Chat,” your place to discuss everything “Idol.” You can comment on each night’s show, as well as talk about your favorite past contestants. I’ll keep you caught up on all the latest record deals, show themes and more.

If you want to talk “24,” “Lost,” “Heroes” or any other show, you can still visit me at “Stay Tuned”…

And because someone out there should keep the tradition alive, let me close with this…

Henderson, out!