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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.

Friday, April 27, 2007

"Idol Gives Back" Update: $60 Million and Counting...

FOX announced today that "Idol Gives Back" has now raised $60 million. Donations will continue to be accepted by phone and on the Idol website until May 31st...

The One campaign also announced that 70,000 people have joined their cause...

Plus, for those of you who were wondering, the Gwen Stefani and Pink performances that were cut from Wednesday's show for time will air during a future episode. No word on why Borat did not make his announced appearance...

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Rock Week: What if the Idols Had to Sing Bon Jovi?

So now that we’ve gotten “Idol Gives Back” out of the way, let’s concentrate on next week’s theme…

It’s rock week with Bon Jovi (“Entertainment Weekly” reports that Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora will be the coaches.), which means Tuesday’s show should be pretty interesting—especially since two people are going home…

“Entertainment Weekly” has made some interesting suggestions for the Idols, including “Voices Carry” for Jordin and “Wonderwall” for Phil. I think if Squeeze is considered rock that Phil should absolutely do “Tempted” with that Paul Carrack sound-alike voice he’s got…

But I thought I would pose a different question to you. What if the Idols had to sing a Bon Jovi song?

After a lot of thought, here’s what I’ve come up with…

Phil needs to stay with that country vibe, so I’d go with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” Plus, that song ties in with his whole “I miss my family thing”…

You know I’m over Chris, so I don’t really care what he sings, but I think he’d choose something like “Wanted Dead or Alive” and then kill it with runs…

Melinda needs a song she can just belt out, so I’d go with “Blaze of Glory.” I know that’s technically a Jon Bon Jovi song, but I think it counts. If that one wouldn’t work, maybe she could do “Bed of Roses”…

I originally had LaKisha down for “Bed of Roses,” but since she’s into that whole inspirational thing now, I could see her going with “I’ll Be There for You”…

Blake was a tough one for me, but then I heard that voice of his doing a dramatic “Tommy used to work on the docks” and I chose “Livin’ On a Prayer.” And maybe he could do the “ooh-wah” part too. I’ve been missing his fun side lately…

Jordin is the most likely of the six to actually do a Bon Jovi track since she did both a No Doubt song and a Martina McBride song. It’s tricky for Jordin because she doesn’t want to come off silly (like she did with “Hey Baby”), but I’d really like to see her rock out. So, I picked “You Give Love a Bad Name”…

So now it’s your turn. Get out those “Slippery When Wet” CDs and tell me which Bon Jovi songs you’d like to see the Idols attempt. And if you have suggestions for the rock theme, post those as well…

Scoop from Wednesday's show...

So here’s some scoop from Wednesday’s show…

Apparently the biggest star of the night was Sanjaya. He and his sister, Shyamali, were some of the last people to take their assigned seats, so they had to move the seat fillers. And then, it was camera-time city. At one point, Debbie, the stage manager, asked Sanjaya if he was okay with all of the jokes about him and he said it was cool. He was then summoned to the judges’ table by Simon, who shook his hand and announced, “Sanjaya is back in the house!” Randy and Paula gave him hugs, as did Phil Stacey, who picked him up and swung him around in circles. Sanjaya also signed dozens of autographs….

And since the spotlight was on him anyway, the warm-up guy decided to do a Q&A with him during a break. When he asked him what’s next, Sanjaya replied, “I have a bunch of stuff right now, but I can’t really talk about it; you’ll just have to watch TV to find out.” The Internet is buzzing with the suggestion that someone should sign him to do a commercial for a hair product…

As for the Idols still in competition, the night was pretty tough for them. The videos and heartfelt performances were especially hard on Melinda and Chris, who teared up several times. After Josh Groban’s performance of “You Raise Me Up,” Chris left the stage. When he returned, Melinda and the others hugged him. Jordin was also in tears after that performance, which received a two-minute standing ovation from the Disney Concert Hall audience…

As for whether the Idols knew they were safe, Executive Producer Ken Warwick says they did not and he even apologized to Jordin after the show…

I wasn’t the only one that didn’t like the Celine Dion-Elvis duet. The audience in the Idol studio talked through the entire “performance.” There were also a few boos. And I was correct that you could see Sanjaya in the video. So why did they include the Idols at all? Were they so sure that Sanjaya would make it another week that they thought they could risk it?...

While we TV critics are united in our opinions about the Celine-Elvis duet, we are also united in our opinions about Annie Lennox’s fantastic performance. By the way, Lennox is a 19 Entertainment artist—just like the Idols. Which begs the question, why haven’t they involved her on this show earlier? Ken Warwick says a CD of the live performances is not out of the realm of possibility. I say release that song now!...

Interestingly, the show’s closing number, “American Prayer,” was co-written by Lennox’s Eurythmics partner, Dave Stewart (along with Bono). The song was written five years ago as a response to the AIDS crisis in Africa. The lyrics were displayed on the Teleprompter for the Idols since they didn’t have very much time to learn them…

It’s also interesting to me that most critics are commenting on Lisa Simpson’s Paula imitation (which was priceless) more than Simon’s attempt at singing…


Some other tidbits…Ryan’s flub of the opening was edited out of the West Coast feed…Simon still hadn’t taken his seat at the judges’ table when Ryan started (Maybe that’s why Ryan was distracted?). But he looked good when he got there, didn’t he?...Blake laughed hysterically when Ben Stiller mentioned him in his video…Ellen did some of her signature dance moves for the Disney crowd before the show started and got a standing ovation…The front row seats at the Disney Concert Hall cost $1000…The Idol studio audience was asked to not lift their signs or cheer too wildly since this was a “more somber show.” The Disney audience, however, got raucous several times—especially when Paula appeared on the stage with Ryan displaying her assets…The thirty million dollars was just from the East Coast feed. Look for the total to be much higher after the West Coast airing and all of the iTunes downloading (I still have some of that to do myself!)…

But the most interesting tidbit I read yesterday about the show comes from “Entertainment Weekly” writer Shirley Halperin who is now suggesting (after a reader called her attention to it last week) that Chris and Melinda have an “extra-special bond.” According to Halperin. Melinda was the one that consoled Chris when he needed it during the show, keeping her hand on his knee with his hand on hers. Halperin writes, “If it didn’t happen six or seven different time, I’d chalk it up to the hard-hitting images we all had to face, but I suspect there’s more to it.” Hmmm…

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Idol Gives Back": The Recap

As you could probably tell from my posts, I was becoming increasingly cynical about “Idol Gives Back” as the day went on. And by 8 o’clock last night, I was pretty much over the whole thing…

But by 10 o’clock, all of the cynicism was gone as I actually felt like I had seen something really special…

There were some pointless performances and some of the videos were a little too overdramatic, but all in all the show was a good one. And we got at least one showstopper performance from someone whose name most people probably ignored (not me, because I’m a fan)…

Here, then, is a recap of the night’s events…

The show gets off to an auspicious start as Ryan flubs his opening tease and asks the director to let him do it again (which he does). Right from the get-go, Ryan starts with his tease of the “most shocking result in the history of the show.” Over 70 million votes were cast…

Ryan then introduces Ellen at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She asks if the shock is that she’s getting voted off. You can tell by the echo when Ryan tosses it to her that there are some technical difficulties, so the two never talk to each other…

Ellen introduces Earth, Wind and Fire, who does a medley of their hits. I would put this one in the pointless category…

Back to the Idol studio for a video of Randy’s visit to New Orleans. Randy could give Don LaFontaine a run for his money with that dramatic voiceover…

To the audience for the first of many shots of Sanjaya and his sister…

Ryan then introduces a video of Quincy Jones working with the Idols to sing his song “Time to Care.” The finalists are all dressed in white, with Quincy directing them and the band (Ricky Minor, by the way, was at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.). Quincy picked the perfect phrases for each singer—too bad Chris couldn’t step up to the challenge. Once again, Phil comes through beautifully. I have a feeling there will be some producers who will want to work with him. It’s a catchy song with a lot of African rhythms that you can download from iTunes beginning today…

Fade to Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”) asking for your donations…

After the break, David Schwimmer (“Friends”) asking for your donations…

Ryan then introduces a video of Ben Stiller that will become the night’s running joke. He promises to sing “Reminiscing” until they raise $200 billion. The caption on the screen begs us to call and stop him.…

Another sappy video with Ryan comforting a boy who starts crying when he talks about his parents being dead. When they come back from the video, Simon is on the stage with Ryan and he’s completely uncomfortable. He never looks straight into the camera. It’s a strange sight for someone who seems to love attention so much. He was clearly moved by what they saw in Africa…

Fade to Teri Hatcher asking for donations…

After the break, Forrest Whitaker in Uganda (where he filmed “Last King of Scotland”) asking for donations…

At 8:30, Ryan tells Melinda she is safe…

Ryan introduces a video of Paula at the Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles. So Ryan, the busiest man in show business, makes time to go to Africa and Paula just goes down the street?...

Back to the Disney Concert Hall with Ellen, who is forced to segue from kids crying. It’s a little awkward, but she handles it like a pro. She introduces Il Divo, who give a stirring rendition of “Somewhere.” I’ve got to believe that Simon is back in the Idol studio grinning from ear to ear (He put Il Divo together.). However, someone makes the bad choice of cutting to a video during the musical interlude of the song and the crowd ends up cheering when the words “a child dies” appear on the screen. They quickly get quiet…

Fade to Dr. Phil asking for donations…

After the break, Hugh Laurie asks for donations. I’m relieved to see at least one FOX star involved in this. I really think it was a mistake to not have more…

Ryan picks an audience member to come on stage and it’s Jack Black (much to Sanjaya’s delight since he met him on “The Tonight Show”), who does “Kiss From a Rose.” I think that was Kyle, his Tenacious D partner, in the audience holding the rose. Randy and Paula (in a bad acting job) tell him they didn’t like it, but Simon said it was better than Sanjaya (who laughed hysterically). Jack tells him that Seal would have loved it. Seal is, of course, in the audience and tells him it was the best rendition ever. Jack leaves the stage singing “Greatest Love of All”…

Ryan tells Blake he is safe. Blake doesn’t seem all that relieved, so it’s the first indication that maybe the Idols know what’s up…

Ryan introduces a special music video of “I’ll Stand By You” by Carrie Underwood. The video shows Carrie in Africa with some children and you can download it on iTunes…

Back to the Disney Concert Hall for Rascal Flatts doing “My Wish.” I think there must have been some technical problems, because the guys sounded a little rough…

Ryan introduces Tom Anderson, the co-founder of MySpace, and thanks him for his support. Like he had a choice. MySpace is owned by News Corp., which owns FOX…

Ryan introduces a video showing families dealing with illiteracy and poverty in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Paula narrates the video, but none of the judges (or Ryan) actually went there…

Paula joins Ryan onstage to ask for donations. Apparently, she thought that showing off some of her assets would help bring in money…

The Ford ad features the song “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” I would tell you what it was about, but it didn’t really make a lot of sense…

Then it was time for the video that showcased most of the stars Ryan had been mentioning over the last several weeks—the “Stayin’ Alive” lip sync video. Some of the stars included Kevin Bacon, Hugh Laurie, Teri Hatcher, Helena Bonham Carter, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marc Anthony, Eric McCormack, Dr. Phil, Hugh Grant and Keira Knightley. The video was a little pointless, but it was good to see David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow on the screen together again—even if was superimposed. And Rob Lowe looked really good. You can download the video at iTunes…

Ryan tells Phil that he’s safe. At this point, I’m really thinking that there won’t be an elimination since Phil is smiling from ear-to-ear. Ryan even asks him why he’s smiling. “I love you, man” is his reply…

Ryan introduces a “difficult video to watch” of he and Simon in Africa visiting a dying woman. Simon actually leaves the home because he can’t take it. Then, we see Simon helping a man get a woman into a truck so he can take her to a hospital. Simon channeled his inner Jack Bauer and took over the situation. I loved his “well we better get out of the way then” comment. Unfortunately, the woman died two days later…

And unfortunately for Ellen, she had to talk out of that video, but she managed pretty well considering. She announced that she personally donated $100,000…

Ellen introduces Josh Groban who performed “You Raise Me Up” with the African Children’s Choir. It was a pretty special moment, especially when those super-cute kids all huddled around him for a hug…

Next up, a video of different stars talking about how many funerals they had been to in their lives, which led into a video about an African man who had been to 280 funerals because of malaria…

Back to the Disney Concert Hall for Kelly Clarkson. I was absolutely positive that she would not sing “Never Again” and I was right, as she did “Up to the Mountain,” with Jeff Beck on guitar. I felt kind of bad for the audience because I think they really wanted to rock out, or at least be able to yell, but everything was so sedate after that first upbeat performance by Earth, Wind & Fire—which made that one seem even more pointless. I wonder if Ellen entertained them during the breaks…

After the break, we got a “The Simpsons” short with Homer, Marge and Lisa critiquing the singing of a nervous Simon Cowell, who did “Don’t Cha.” It was pretty darn funny. You can see it for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5B94LX9nwQ...

Ryan introduces a video with Randy showing the emotional survival kits our money can buy…

Then, it was time for the Celine Dion and Elvis Presley duet of “I Can Dream.” In all honesty, it was totally cheesy—but not for the reason I would have thought. It was Celine who was just way too stiff and it hurt the song. The special effects were pretty good, though, as they made it seem like Elvis was standing next to her (In case you’re wondering, that was an Elvis impersonator we were seeing in the wide shots.), but it was totally pointless. And it got a little weird when the Idols went over to stand behind them. I’m not really sure what the whole purpose of that was, unless it was just to show off the effects. But I thought I might have counted one too many Idols. Remember this was already taped…

Ryan introduces a message from Madonna in Malawi…

At 9:45, Ryan announces they’ve raised $30 million dollars so far…

Debbie, the stage manager, tells Ryan there’s a problem, so he tries to stall. They fix the problem, and Ryan goes to Ellen…

And Ellen introduces the performance of the night, in my opinion, by the amazing Annie Lennox. I know for a lot of you that “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is Clay Aiken’s song, but the simple beginning with her playing the piano was pretty awesome. I was a little disappointed with the way she ended it, but it was still a showstopper that finally gave the audience a reason to get on their feet. I’m a fan of hers, so I knew the performance would be good, but she really didn’t get a lot of the pre-show hype that others did…

And speaking of which, where were the performances by Pink and Gwen Stefani?...

Fade to video montage of kids saying, “Thank you”

Rob Schneider asks for donations, but says he’s Adam Sandler…

Finally, Ryan gets back to the eliminations with only Chris and Jordin left. They both stand. Ryan tells Chris he’s safe and Chris gives him a little smirk. Jordin gives Ryan a smile too, while the crowd gasps in surprise. At this point, I ‘m so sure the Idols are in on it, that I didn’t even blink when Ryan says, “It’s a shocker because Jordin is safe too.” The finalists then hug as Ryan explains that this week’s votes will be combined with next week’s votes and the bottom two will be sent home. I was pretty impressed with the way they were trying to sell their “relief”…

But then the Idols separated to show Jordin in tears. If they knew everyone was safe, then someone forgot to tell her. Maybe some of the older ones just suspected it…

Finally, at 9:57, Bono made his appearance via a taped segment with the Idols to talk about the organization, One. Then, the Idols took the stage to sing the song Bono co-wrote called “American Prayer.” And wouldn’t you know it that poor Jordin had to start it out. Her echoes of “This is my American prayer” gave the song kind of an eerie feel, but it was good. And once again, Phil rose to the occasion. Say what you want to about his looks, but that guy can sing…

The credits rolled as the finalists finished the song, which, of course, you can download on iTunes…

So, did the show manipulate us into watching? Absolutely. But for such a good cause, I’m willing to forgive them…

If “Idol” had done a separate program just for this, not as many people would have watched and they wouldn’t have raised as much money. And considering that the Idols had one less day to rehearse their performance song AND they had to learn two others written by music superstars, I think it was only fair to not eliminate anyone…

And yes, I am definitely singing a different tune today. What can I say? The warm and fuzzy side of Simon got to me…

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Idols DO receive some charity...

So, how about that. “Entertainment Weekly” and I were right. No one was eliminated tonight.

But Ryan milked all of the drama out of “the most shocking result in Idol history” he could by leaving Jordin to stand alone. The audience was visibly shaken until he announced that Jordin was safe too.

Up until that point, I thought the finalists were acting like they knew they weren’t going home, until Jordin fell apart in relief. So if they knew, they forgot to tell her. Luckily, the Bono video gave her the chance to pull herself together so she could start the group sing of “American Prayer.”

This week’s 70 million votes will be combined with next week’s votes and the bottom two will be sent home—which will make things pretty interesting.

Next week is the week we’ve been waiting for—rock week with Bon Jovi…

As for the "Idol Gives Back" extravaganza, there's so much to say I don't even know where to start. I've got three pages of notes I took while watching the show, so I'll need to take some time to get my thoughts together before I write anything. In the meantime, feel free to make your comments.

"Idol Gives Back": What's It All About?

So we know that “Idol Gives Back” will help children in the United States and Africa, but how did it all come about? And where is the money actually going?

Here’s a closer look…

“Idol Gives Back” is the American counterpart to the UK’s Red Nose Day, a fundraiser to fight poverty started by writer/director Richard Curtis (“Love Actually,” “Notting Hill”). Curtis is serving as the executive producer of “IGB”—which explains the large contingent of British stars participating…

Donations are going to Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF), a U.S. non-profit organization created to distribute the money from “IGB.” Curtis and “Idol” guru Simon Fuller sit on the CPEF board…

Four U.S. charitable organizations and five African charitable organizations will benefit from “IGB.” According to the CPEF website, “the money will be distributed after the event, on submission of proposals from each of these organizations.”

The U.S. organizations are: Save the Children, America’s Second Harvest: The Nation’s Food Bank Network, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and The Children’s Health Fund. The African organizations are: U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Save the Children, The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Malaria No More and Nothing But Nets (which also fights malaria)…

Because I have absolutely no idea what’s going on tonight, I will not be doing my as-it-happens blog. Instead, I’ll do two posts—one about the elimination (if there is one) and one with my thoughts about the “IGB” extravaganza…

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Bucky Hits #1

Congratulations to Bucky Covington who hit #1 on the Country Album Chart with his self-titled debut CD.

Bucky's 61,000 in sales was good enough for #4 on the Billboard 200. It's the biggest start by a new male country artist since Billy Ray Cyrus' "Some Gave All" in 1992.

If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy yet, you can listen to it at http://www.clearchannelmusic.com/cc-common/mfeatures/buckycovingtonOD/...

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Will "Idol" Show the Finalists Some Charity?

After last night's show, I couldn't stop thinking about how the elimination would be totally out of place with the whole "Idol Gives Back" theme. I mean, two hours of how charity can change the world and then--BOOM!--someone's dreams are shattered. I started thinking that maybe "Idol" should show the finalists some charity and not eliminate anyone this week.

Apparently, I'm not the only one with that thinking...

"Entertainment Weekly" is speculating that a non-elimination round may be what Ryan was referring to when he said we were going to get a big shock tonight.

Normally, I would say that's unfair and that they shouldn't change the rules halfway through, but since we're in the middle of all this hoopla and the Idols had one less day to rehearse (The show was actually taped on Monday.) and the elimination would get zero attention anyway, I think not eliminating anyone tonight is a good idea...

Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? I honestly have no idea. My first instinct is to say LaKisha, but I have some concerns for Blake as well. However, his fans may rally after last week.

If they do, that might leave Chris in trouble. And poor Phil is always in trouble, although he doesn’t deserve to be after that performance…

Again, I honestly have no idea…

Your thoughts?...

Jordin Wows the Judges--Again

I know we were supposed to be focusing on the message, but did anyone else notice that black spot on Simon’s white t-shirt?...

Jordin Sparks, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”: 17
What was Randy listening to? The best vocal in the history of “Idol.” I don’t even think it was the best of the night. Maybe it was just because I couldn’t get the image of Jerry Lewis out of my head, but I just didn’t feel it. I think the band really stole some of the drama too…

Phil Nails It...

Phil Stacey, “The Change”: 20
Though I agree with Simon that Phil has a great country tone, I loved the James Ingram/Michael Bolton tone he had tonight. It was a great choice of song that he totally connected with…

"I Believe" that LaKisha made a bad choice...

LaKisha Jones, “I Believe”: 13
It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but that song was never good, so I had to give her a 2 in song choice. Not to mention that it was incredibly pitchy…

Blake "Imagine"s...

Blake Lewis, “Imagine”: 17
When I read that this was Blake’s choice, I was a little worried about whether he could pull it off. He did, but for some reason I just didn’t feel it. Maybe it was the song, maybe it was because he couldn’t show off his trademark moves—I don’t know. He looked great, though, but did he have the words written on his shoes? He looked down an awful lot…

Melinda does it again...

I just wanted to point out that the teacher reading to her class in the video was reading my favorite childhood book “The Monster At the End of This Book” starring Grover from “Sesame Street”…

Melinda Doolittle, “There Will Come a Day”: 19
It was another perfect vocal, but the arrangement was lousy so I thought it hurt her performance. I would’ve liked to have heard a more acoustic version.

And how did Brandon Rogers score a front row seat?

Chris "Change"s Simon's Opinion...But Not Mine

Notice the “Live” banner did not appear on the screen at the beginning of the show and Ryan is not saying anything about being live either.

By the way, Simon didn’t really want to go to Africa because he was nervous about what he would see. But the show talked him into going…

Now, let’s do some singing…

Chris Richardson, “Change the World”: 15
I have to admit that he was a lot less nasal tonight but there were one too many runs and I think it was a bad choice for his voice. But obviously I’m alone in that assessment.

So if the competition is finally starting tonight why does it seem almost secondary to all this other stuff? Just a thought…

Has tonight's "Idol" already been recorded?

After reading Jim’s comment on the last post, I did some investigating and yes, Vote for the Worst has a list of tonight’s performances and some of the judges' comments courtesy of the Idol Forums (Thanks for the tip, Jim.).

But is the show really pre-recorded tonight? Is that so they can devote more of their attention to the “Idol Gives Back” show?

I appreciate what “Idol” is trying to do, really I do. But when it interferes with the actual show? That’s going too far…

As for what the Idols are going to sing tonight, you know I don’t like to spoil anything, so I’m not going to tell you, but I will give you some hints:

Shockingly, no one sings Whitney or Mariah, but Faith Hill does make the cut…

Phil stays country, while Blake gets a little daring with a great choice if he pulls it off…

LaKisha makes another bad song choice that could end up costing her, depending on the other performances…

Of course, if you want to see the list for yourself, you can at www.votefortheworst.com.

Remember that this information is not confirmed, but it’s probably accurate…

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Life Anthem Week: What Will They Sing?

Since I'm not completely sure what qualifies as a life anthem, I can't possibly predict what the finalists will sing--although I'm pretty sure LaKisha will go with Whitney or Mariah--but "Entertainment Weekly" had an interesting suggestion for Phil I had to pass along to you...
They suggested that Phil sing "Eye of the Tiger."

I love it! And since Phil has proven that he sings better in a group, maybe he could become the new lead singer of Survivor. Because if you saw them on "Dancing With the Stars," you know they need one...

And if you were watching "24" last night and saw the "Idol" promo, you know they said that Bono was coaching the Idols. But as I told you yesterday, FOX's official press release said he is talking to them about the One organization and how they can help. So using the word "coaches" is probably a little bit of a stretch unless there's something else going on we don't know about...

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Has Sanjaya Already Won?

Here’s a quote I know Jim will love from realitytvmagazine.com…

“If all the money that Sanjaya stands to make from CD sales, endorsement deals and TV sitcom appearances is added up, then Sanjaya likely has already won ‘American Idol.’”

Some reports have Sanjaya already receiving $15 million in offers.

As for Sanjaya himself, he says he’s “just riding the wave.”

Saturday, that wave took him to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and to the after-party (where he escorted supermodel Petra Nemcova). Monday, he appeared on “Live With Regis and Kelly” and read the Top 10 list (rather stiffly) on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

But “already won”? What do you think? Will he prove to be the most popular contestant in the end?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

More "Idol Gives Back" News: Bono!

FOX announced today that Bono will appear on Wednesday's "Idol Gives Back" special...

According to FOX, he will meet with the six finalists "to talk about the work of One: The Campaign to Make Poverty History and how the Idol audience can help."

Plus, the Idols will perform "American Prayer," a song written by Bono and Dave Stewart "about the AIDS emergency in Africa."

I smell a charity single...

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"Idol Gives Back" News: Move Over Ryan...

Ellen DeGeneres will host Wednesday's "Idol Gives Back" special live from the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

What will that leave Ryan to do since the word used for Ellen is "host," not "co-host"? My guess is that the "Idol Gives Back" part will wrap up around 9:30 p.m., leaving Ryan to do the eliminations--but that's just a guess.

Stay Tuned...

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Idol Gives Back" Scoop: The Big Duet

If you don’t want to know who’s doing the “duet you have to see to believe” on Wednesday’s “Idol Gives Back” results show, then stop reading now. Otherwise, keep on going…

According to bloggers on Celine Dion’s website, Celine pre-taped a duet with Elvis for the show. The bloggers say the song was something about dreams, so I’m guessing it’s “If I Can Dream,” which Elliott sang during Elvis week last season. Celine sings along to a track of Elvis, while Elvis appears on the screen. However, on the night she taped the performance, they were unable to generate Elvis on the screen, so they had an Elvis impersonator lip-synch the Elvis verses.

Why would the show do this? Remember that CKX, the company that owns everything “American Idol” also owns everything Elvis as well…

The bigger disappointment is that it appears most of “Idol Gives Back” is going to be pre-taped. Again, I say if you can’t do it live, then don’t do it at all…

It’s important to remember that this has not been confirmed by FOX, but it’s interesting that they’ve dropped the “big duet” from the show promos…

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Scoop from Wednesday's show...

Here’s some behind-the-scenes scoop from Wednesday’s results show for you…

Would you have known that Fergie’s performance was on tape if I hadn’t told you? The producers worked so hard to make it seamless that the audience didn’t even know she wasn’t going to be there until she showed up on the giant screen in the studio, causing an “Awww!” of disappointment…

The way the contestants were eliminated this week was the brainchild of Nigel Lythgoe. And Melinda Doolittle let him have it for putting her in the position to choose which group was safe. During the commercial break, she ran off the stage to confront him in the audience…

Speaking of Nigel, he gasped in surprise when Sanjaya was eliminated…

Sanjaya, however, was not surprised as he began crying during the commercial break after the bottom three were named. Melinda, and then Chris, gave him a hug before they came back from commercial. When it was announced that Sanjaya was going home, the stage manager had to physically separate Sanjaya from LaKisha, so they could get the shot of him with Ryan during the goodbye video…

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Sanjaya Speaks...

So what did the most controversial “Idol” contestant ever have to say about his elimination?

What happened to him this week? “Honestly, I’m not a country singer. I think that really took a toll on me, and I didn’t have enough really strong performances to have people forgive me for that.”

What about Simon? “From the beginning, I think that Simon saw potential in me, and when I didn’t fill that potential, he was kind of disappointed…He’s very opinionated, but I learned more from him than from anyone else while I was on the show.”

Sanjaya said it still hasn’t hit him how much of an impact the show has. He said he’s considering getting a bodyguard.

About Ashley, aka crying girl, he said he thought it seemed “unnatural” that he could have that effect on someone. On “The Tonight Show,” he joked that he thought she was going to dehydrate from all the crying.

Sanjaya received his GED after his sophomore year, so he viewed “Idol” as his junior and senior year of high school. He hopes to get into Berklee School of Music.

And for the record, Sanjaya means “spiritual psychic”…

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Kimberley Locke joins the "Fit Club"

Kimberley Locke (Season 2) is among the competitors on the newest edition of "Celebrity Fit Club" which for the first time will be a contest of men vs. women...

Some of the other contestants include Tiffany, Maureen McCormick ("The Brady Bunch"), Dustin Diamond (aka Screech) and Ross the Intern from "The Tonight Show."


"Celebrity Fit Club: Men Vs. Women" premieres Sunday, April 22nd at 9 p.m. on VH1, but you can catch a sneak preview of the premiere at www.vh1.com.


By the way, Kimberley's new CD, "Based on a True Story" drops May 1st...

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Sanjaya at the White House?!

It's bad enough that Sanjaya got more attention than any other "Idol" contestant AND he got to actually sit on the couch and talk to Jay Leno for an entire segment. Now he's going to the White House...

"The Washington Post" is reporting that Sanjaya has been added to the "People" magazine guest list for the White House Correspondents Association Dinner this weekend...

I'll have much more on Sanjaya later on including his parting words to the media and the details of his "Tonight Show" appearance...

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chart News: Carrie stays at #1...

Carrie Underwood's "Wasted" stays at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart this week. It's her third number one song from her debut album, "Some Hearts." She needs just one more #1 from the album to tie the record of most #1s from a debut album, set by Brooks & Dunn in 1991-92.

Just think, if not for the bad choice of "Don't Forget to Remember Me" as a follow-up to "Jesus, Take the Wheel," she might be going for #5. Let me again suggest releasing "That's Where It Is." I still say that's the money song of the entire CD.

By the way, "Wasted" is the 119th number one for "American Idol"...

Carrie's second country #1, "Before He Cheats," is actually making a move on the Hot 100 chart, as it sits at #15 this week. It's 33 weeks on the chart make it the slowest climber to the top 15 in chart history...

"Cheats" sits just below Daughtry's "It's Not Over" at #14. "Home" climbs to #31...

Bucky Covington's "A Different World" climbs one notch to #24 on the country chart...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Final Thoughts...

So FINALLY, America does the right thing, but in the process both LaKisha and Blake get wake up calls. And clearly, being in the bottom two hit LaKisha pretty hard as evidenced by her tears and Blake holding her hand while they waited on the votes.

So why did Blake end up in the bottom two? It’s possible that his fan base thought he was safe and didn’t vote enough—or in my case, voted for other people. Or, maybe the show wanted to give him a little jolt after his comments to “Entertainment Weekly.” With this show, anything’s possible.

Which leads me to ask this question: Did Sanjaya actually get the lowest number of votes? Based on all of the feedback I’ve read on the Internet today, yes I believe he did. The novelty had worn off and it was time for him to go. The audience’s reaction when Ryan gave him the news was evidence of that…

I told all of you who were getting frustrated with the show to just hang on, that things would work themselves out. Now that they have, we can get down to business.

Remember that next week’s theme will be “life anthems,” which I think is just code for a Whitney/Mariah snoozefest, but we’ll see…

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The Results...

9:53 We’re back…LaKisha and Blake are holding hands…Ryan gets ready to send on of them to safety…The audience wants Blake…Blake is safe. THANK GOD!!!...

9:54 Simon is smiling…Now it’s interesting…Sanjaya and LaKisha have their arms around each other…Here it is…Biggest top 7 vote in Idol history, over 38 million…Sanjaya…is going home. WOO HOO! The audience lets out a big cheer…

9:55 Sanjaya “Home” goodbye video featuring all of the stars raving about him. Sanjaya is now a mess as Ryan smiles while trying to keep him together…

9:56 Melinda holds LaKisha as she bawls. Sanjaya speaks, but we can’t understand him through his tears…Ryan tells Sanjaya we’ll never forget him and we are glad he was a part of this season…

9:58 Sanjaya does “Something to Talk About”…He changes the words to “something to talk about other than hair”…Simon is clearly pleased…The Idols join Sanjaya on stage…

9:59 And we’re out as he gets cut off…

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I'm getting nervous...

9:41 We’re back…Ryan sits with the bottom three…Blake takes LaKisha’s hand…

9:41 Taped Package: The Idols get a DreamWorks tour from CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and a sneak preview of “Shrek the Third”…Blake I am so sorry that I didn’t vote for you more than five times and I also voted for Phil five times. I should’ve given all 10 votes to you…Antonio Banderas comes to visit with them. He likes Blake’s impersonation…

9:44 Antonio Banderas is in the audience with Melanie Griffith, their kids and Jeffrey Katzenberg…

9:46 Jeffrey Katzenberg introduces Martina McBride…I’m so nervous I can barely type…She’s singing “Anyway” from her new CD…Blake looks a little nervous…Is it a coincidence that Blake is in the bottom three for the first time the same week he admits he has broken “Idol” rules? I don’t think so…

9:49 Martina’s daughter, Emma, joins her on the stage with Ryan…Ryan asks Martina about the bottom three but Emma interrupts. Ryan asks again…Martina just plugs the break…

Please, Please, Please, Please, let it be Sanjaya. PLEASE!!!

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Is a shocker on the way?

9:31 Ryan is splitting them into two groups. He’s getting so predictable…

9:31 Sanjaya to right side…Phil to opposite side…Jordin joins Phil…LaKisha joins Sanjaya. The crowd goes quiet…Blake joins Sanjaya and LaKisha…Chris with Phil and Jordin…???...Melinda remains…

9:33 Sanjaya, LaKisha, Blake in one group…Chris, Jordin and Phil in the other…Melinda is studying them with Ryan’s help…Melinda is safe…

9:33 Now Ryan wants her to choose. She’s shaking her head. What a cruel thing for her. You know she loves everyone…She sits in the middle of the stage and refuses to play along. She gets an ovation…

9:35 Ryan asks her to slide to her left…AAAHHHH! Blake’s in the bottom three! WHAT????!!!!!!

9:35 The bottom three is Sanjaya, LaKisha and Blake. Is there a big shocker coming? Randy says it’s crazy that Blake is there…Paula says she understands why two of them are up there…Simon is happy and says he’s beginning to sense something…

9:36 After the break…

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The Top 7 Results: The First Half-Hour

In case you missed it, here’s what happened in the first half-hour…

Ryan gave Simon a chance to explain his eye roll and I swear I heard Simon’s voice quiver. He was clearly upset about the whole thing. AND they played the actual tape of Simon’s conversation with Paula to prove he was telling the truth…

Ryan did another man-on-the-street piece to ask people what they thought about the show…

We got a group sing of “I’m Alright.” LaKisha horribly over-enunciated again and Phil proved once again that country is good for him. Jordin showed some serious harmony chops and Melinda and Blake made sweet music together…

We met the American Idol Challenge winner, who is from Ohio!...

A taped piece where the Idols told what they’re listening to now. Chris says he’s listening to Peter Noone’s greatest hits, because “he saved [his] life”…

A taped performance by Fergie of her new single, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” that they tried very hard to pass off as live. Blake even gave her a standing ovation when Ryan introduced her. It was a good performance but there was a strange moment when a little girl came awkwardly up to her to hold her hand. It was clearly planned, but someone should have told the little girl to smile or something…

The Ford ad to “I Ran.” The Idols play spies trying to steal a suitcase from each other. Sanjaya was in a “Matrix” outfit. It was actually kind of cool…

The “Idol Gives Back” plug which named the artists we already knew AND a duet we’ll “have to see to believe” as two of music’s biggest stars come together. There’s also now a MySpace page for the event…

Now on with the show…

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Simon's Eye Roll: Controversy Confirmed

Apparently Simon's comments at the end of the show were not enough as "Idol" was forced to go into damage control mode today...

On Ryan Seacrest's radio show this morning, Simon said he was talking to Paula, asking her what Chris meant by singing nasally on purpose, so he didn't even hear what Chris had said about the tragedy. His eyes rolled "given what [he] was saying to Paula." Simon was clearly angry about the controversy, telling Ryan, "I did want to clear this one up because, you know, this is a very very sensitive subject. The irony is that we did want to try and set the right tone on the show. And then something like this happens, and it just starts fanning the flames," Cowell said. "And people need to understand, there are families involved. It's not right."

Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe also came to Simon's defense, saying "it is disheartening that a quick camera cutaway could have been misinterpreted."

FOX said it had received "few complaints" about Simon and the Blacksburg, VA (where Virginia Tech is located) affiliate had received no complaints...

By the way, the show's opening was Ryan's idea since he felt they needed to say something given how many people watch the show.

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Did Chris Exploit a Tragedy?

Since Chris is from Virginia and he seemed incredibly sincere, I didn’t give it any thought when he extended his thoughts and prayers to Virginia Tech. But there are some this morning who are questioning the timing of his comments…

This from Michael Slezak at “Entertainment Weekly”: "Even more troubling, though, was Chris' abrupt change of subject from mouthing off to Simon to extending his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings. Mind you, I'm not saying the Virginia resident's remarks weren't sincere, but the timing felt way off. By sniping at Simon first, realizing he was in a losing battle, then turning the subject to an unspeakable national tragedy, Chris created the season’s most uncomfortable moment.”

Many of the posters to the “EW” site are jumping on Slezak's bandwagon and questioning if Chris used the comments to make up for his lame “nasally’s a form of singing” argument with Simon. I have to agree that if Chris wanted to send out sincere wishes to his home state—and I believe he did—then he should have kept his mouth shut about the nasally singing…

Because now we have two sides—the people who thought Chris was exploiting a national tragedy and didn’t vote for him because of it and the people who thought Chris’ performance may have been affected by the week’s events and voted for him because of it. It could make an interesting evening for Chris…

For me, it was actually Simon’s comments in the middle of his critique of Blake that I thought were badly timed, but “EW” offers up an explanation for that as well. Apparently the cameras caught Simon rolling his eyes at Chris and Slezak theorizes that Simon may have made his comments so he did not appear to be unsympathetic—since he is (I didn’t say his comments were insincere, I just said they were strangely timed.). If Simon did roll his eyes, it was clearly because he was exasperated with Chris thinking that nasally singing was a good thing…

By the way, the Top 7 results show is usually when Ryan unveils his two groups of three trick, where he creates two groups of three and a seventh contestant, who is safe, has to pick which group is the top group. A LaKisha-Chris-Sanjaya bottom three would be interesting…

I’m sticking with my LaKisha prediction, but it’s looking more and more like this could be the night we say goodbye to Sanjaya—especially now that even Jim is losing faith in him…

Since the first half-hour is nothing but filler, I’ll be blogging tonight beginning at 9:30, so I hope you’ll join me then…

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? Please allow me to make my first bold prediction of the season. LaKisha is going home. She committed a major Idol sin—messing up a current song. And by a popular Idol no less. I think it will cost her.

However, that does bring up an interesting question. If I’m right and LaKisha does get the lowest number of votes, will the show actually let her go home before Sanjaya?

Thoughts?

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Have I mentioned that I love Blake?

Blake Lewis, “When the Stars Go Blue”: 19
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that Blake was doing the Bono-The Corrs version more than he was doing Tim McGraw, but it still worked. I know it wasn’t perfect. But you know I love him.

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Welcome back, Melinda!

Melinda Doolittle, “Trouble Is a Woman”: 20
Welcome back, Melinda! I’ve never heard this song, but I could tell that Melinda added her special touch to it, unlike LaKisha who tried to sing her song straight and failed miserably.

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LaKisha bombs and Chris is Chris...

LaKisha Jones, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”: 14
I would have never guessed this one for LaKisha, and her performance showed why. She was over-enunciating and then she was oversinging. In other words, it was just a mess.

Chris Richardson, “Mayberry”: 15
Okay, so I got the Rascal Flatts right. This wasn’t a bad choice, but I am just so over him! But I think it was actually better than LaKisha—and I can’t believe I just typed that. The Rascal Flatts fans will have to let me know if he screwed up any of the words.

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Sanjaya gives us "Something to Talk About"

Sanjaya Malakar, “Something to Talk About”: 12
It was nice to hear a coach finally agree with me about Sanjaya not projecting, but he didn’t listen. It must be hard for the backup singers to be that quiet. Plus, I don’t consider this a genuine country song—no matter how appropriate he thought it was. And why, oh why, did Ryan feel it was necessary to jump in and defend Sanjaya? Are they trying to keep him in or was Ryan concerned that Simon’s vicious comments would make even more people vote for him? Ryan, I love you, but stay out of it!

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Jordin makes a believer out of Simon...

Jordin Sparks, “Broken Wing”: 18
I originally had this one scored as a 17, but then I got some goosebumps, so I bumped it up a notch. This is an “Idol” standard, but this was the best I’ve ever heard it done on the show. However, I thought Jordin went a little too far with just standing there. I would’ve liked to have seen a little more expression.

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Phil scores with the judges...

First of all, kudos to the show for taking a moment to recognize the tragedy at Virginia Tech. It made for a bit of a somber opening, but it was highly appropriate.

On with the show…

Phil Stacey, “Where the Blacktop Ends”: 18
Yes, the vocal was very good and it was an excellent choice of song, but why didn’t I get as excited about it as the judges did? I don’t know. I still felt a little bit of an emotional disconnect. But I do agree that he could have a future in country. Interesting that he finally took Paula’s advice from Martina.

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Tonight's Show...

“USA Today” had a great article today about the success of Idol alumni in country music.

In fact, it looks like Kellie Pickler will soon become the second most successful Idol from last season (after Chris Daughtry)…

So will country be successful for tonight’s contestants? We’ll find out soon…

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Congrats to Carrie!

I don't think it comes as a great shock to anyone that Carrie Underwood was the big winner at last night's CMT Music Awards, which are voted on by the fans.

Carrie's "Before He Cheats" video won Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Video Director of the Year for Roman White.

In accepting her Video of the Year award, Carrie said, "It was at the CMT Awards last year that I gave my very first acceptance speech ever. Let me tell you, it’s great to be up here again. Thank you, fans. I’ve had such an amazing, blessed two years. I started out on a fan-based show, and you guys have continued to support me throughout everything."

Taylor Swift won Breakthrough Video of the Year, beating Kellie Pickler...

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Country Week: What Will They Sing?

I know I’ve jampacked this blog today, but since this week’s theme is pretty well-defined, I had to ask all of you what you thought the finalists should/will sing Tuesday.

Now since I’m not a country fan, this one’s a little tough for me, but…

Even though it may be a bit of a risk, I’d like to see Jordin do something by Carrie Underwood like “Before He Cheats” or “Jesus, Take the Wheel”…

For some reason, I’m feeling Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most” as Chris’ choice. No doubt he’ll butcher it and mess up the words and the judges will gush anyway…

As for Melinda and LaKisha, remember that it was country week that tripped up Mandisa, so this will be tricky for them. I’d look for one of them to do “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” if Jordin doesn’t…

With Phil, I’m getting a Garth Brooks vibe. Maybe “The Dance” or “Thunder Rolls”…

For Blake, I really can’t think of anything. Johnny Cash, maybe? This will be a tricky choice for him as well…

And finally, Sanjaya. Maybe he’ll be inspired by his run-in with Billy Ray Cyrus and do “Achy Breaky Heart” with a mullet?...

Notice I did not include any songs from Martina McBride (this week’s coach) or Faith Hill. They’ve both been overdone…

Now, it’s your turn. What do you think the top seven will/should sing?

"Entertainment Weekly": The "Strangest Season Ever"

This week’s “Entertainment Weekly” features a cover story about “the strangest season ever” of “American Idol”…

There are a few interesting highlights from the piece, including some great quotes from Simon and some interesting revelations about Blake…

No doubt Ryan will have questions about Simon’s statement that this group is “not the best bunch of kids we’ve ever had.” Simon also had something to say about all the finalists who say they’re just excited to make the tour:

“I think that we suffer from Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry-it is, which is people who didn’t win getting great careers and now a lot of the contestants believing it absolutely doesn’t matter. Sometimes there’s part of me thinking, ‘You genuinely couldn’t care less what we’ve got to say; everything’s going to go your own way now.’”

As for a final prediction, Simon says it’s “as close as it’s been in any season,” telling “EW” it’s a five-way race between Blake, Chris, LaKisha, Jordin and Melinda (By the way, this statement was made when there were still eight.).

Now to the interesting scoop on Blake. It seems that Mr. Lewis is a bit of a rebel. He admits to breaking the 10 p.m. curfew and staying out until 1:30 a.m. Blake’s response? “What are they going to do? ‘You can’t sing anymore?’” He said he was reprimanded by having to sing last “which is probably the best thing that can happen.”

You know this only makes me love him more…

Blake also provided some candor that previous contestants haven’t about the living arrangements. “I have to share an apartment with three other dudes, which is terrible. [Producers] are like, ‘View this as your job.’ I’m like, ‘Well, you get to go home after your job.’”

Blake also pointed out something we already had—the contradictory statements of the judges. About his rendition of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (my current ringtone, by the way), Blake said the judges tell the finalists “you’ve got to make it yours and keep it fresh. Then they gave me criticism about that”…

As for interesting points about the other finalists, Simon said that if Chris would “start taking himself and his vocals a bit more seriously” he could challenge Blake as the most contemporary recording artist of the group. He must really be taking those vocals lightly…LaKisha admits she’s “chosen to sequester herself somewhat from the other singers.” That would explain all the reports of her being cold to the other contestants during the results shows…

And then there’s Sanjaya. Simon’s response to Sanjaya-gate: “There’s always going to be that teen vote for the underdog. There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. As long as they don’t win”…

The most telling quote of the whole piece, though, comes from “Idol” Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. When asked what would happen if Melinda, LaKisha or Jordin went home before Sanjaya, she responded: “It’s not gonna happen. Trust me. Eventually America gets it right. We’re not worried. We love Sanjaya, but he’s not going to win.”

After a statement like that, there’s no way Sanjaya will win now, whether it’s America or the show that decides it, so don’t give up hope yet…

The “Idol” issue of “Entertainment Weekly” is on newsstands now…
Photos courtesy of "Entertainment Weekly"

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Tonight's CMT Awards

Carrie Underwood is performing tonight (Monday) on the 2007 CMT Music Awards Show.

Kellie Pickler will be a presenter. Kellie also served as host of the 2007 CMT Music Awards Video of the Year Special, which will re-air today at 3 p.m. on CMT…

Carrie is nominated for Video of the Year for “Before He Cheats.” The final four nominees for the award will be announced at the beginning of the show, but I can’t believe “Cheats” won’t be one of them. “Cheats” is also nominated for Female Video of the Year and Video Director of the Year.

Kellie Pickler’s “Red High Heels” is nominated for Breakthrough Video of the Year.

The 2007 CMT Music Awards air tonight at 8 on CMT…

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Kelly's New Single

When Derek passed along the link to Kelly Clarkson’s new single, he said it reminded him of Alanis Morissette from a few years ago.

I was confused by that until I heard the opening words of “Never Again”:

“I hope the ring you gave to her turns her finger green. I hope when you’re in bed with her, you think of me.”

If you thought Kelly was angry before (“Since U Been Gone,” “Because of You”), you ain’t heard nothin’ yet—especially since she uses the word “sucks” in the chorus.

And I can’t believe that this song will fit in with the whole “Idol Gives Back” vibe. Surely she’ll sing something else.

You can hear it for yourself at www.myspace.com/kellyclarkson. Be sure to let me know what you think…

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bucky Brings the Goods

I’ve never been a big fan of Bucky Covington. And I’m not a country music fan.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself tapping my foot to “American Friday Night,” the opening number on Bucky’s self-titled debut. “Night” is a catchy tune about football and all of our other Friday night traditions.

But I figured that was just the first song. The CD would surely get worse, so I kept listening…

The next track is “A Different World,” Bucky’s first single, which I still have a difficult time believing is him. It’s a pretty standard country song, but the lyrics about the way life used to be are pretty catchy.

“World” leads into another male country standard, the tearjerker. “I’ll Walk” is the story of a girl who becomes paralyzed in an accident after she has a fight with her boyfriend on prom night. Though the ending is not as dramatic as it could be, it’s hard not to feel the tug on your heartstrings.

Next is “Back When We Were Gods,” which tells the story of a guy reminiscing about his high school glory days. “Ain’t No Thing” features the return of the raspy Bucky voice we’re familiar with. “I’m Good” is Bucky’s plea to God to help him win the heart of the deacon’s daughter. “Empty Handed” has a rock edge, while “Hometown” goes gospel. “It’s Good to Be Us” is an upbeat track like “American Friday Night.” “Carolina Blue” has a pop sound and “The Bible and the Belt” goes hard-core country by telling the story of a bad kid turned good thanks to his mother’s bible and his father’s belt.

When “Belt” came to an end, I kept waiting to hear the dud song. But “Belt” was the last song on the CD, and there had not been a dud in the bunch.

That’s right. “Bucky Covington” is outstanding.

I could tell on the “Idol” tour that Bucky had been working on his voice, but I never expected this. The closest thing to a bad song is “Ain’t No Thing,” but even it is so catchy you can forgive Bucky’s slightly overboard vocals.

Mark Miller (of Sawyer Brown), who gave Bucky his break, and Dale Oliver do an excellent job producing the disc. And Bucky has been given some great material by some excellent songwriters. The standout track is “Carolina Blue,” which was co-written by Bucky himself.

And kudos to Lyric Street Records for once again recognizing the country talents of an “Idol” finalist (Josh Gracin is also a Lyric Street artist.).

Now, before you tell me that computers and good production can make anything sound good, I suggest you check out Bucky’s performance on “Live With Regis and Kelly” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGzcxOB_4vk.

Don’t look now, kids, but this guy can sing—and he’s got a great album to prove it.

“Bucky Covington” hits stores Tuesday, April 17th. Bucky will be in the “Idol” audience April 18th and will appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” April 19th.

By the way, “A Different World” now sits at #25 on the Billboard country chart...

Photo courtesy of Lyric Street Records

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Scoop from Wednesday's show...

Here’s some scoop from Wednesday’s show…

With only five minutes to airtime, none of the judges were anywhere to be found. The stage manager asked Sharon Osbourne, who was in the audience, if she would fill in, but with just minutes to spare, they showed up…

Chris Sligh was in the audience and Leah Remini (“The King of Queens”) asked him to pose for pictures with her…

Jennifer Lopez’s performance was so hot, the stage manager ordered all the doors in the studio opened to release the smoke afterward, and the judges’ makeup had to be touched up during the break…

Pink taped a performance for “Idol Gives Back” after the show. I find it interesting that she’s willing to perform, but she’s not willing to clear her songs…

Nigel Lythgoe announced more stars for the “Idol Gives Back” lineup, including Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, who was in the audience Tuesday night…

Jennifer Lopez said that Simon told her that she gave “the best performance ever on ‘American Idol.’” She told “Entertainment Weekly,” “Isn’t that amazing? Coming from him? I’ll take it”…

J-Lo’s husband, Marc Anthony, lip-synched a rendition of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” after the show. It was recorded as part of an “Idol Gives Back” charity project in which multiple stars sing along to the song. It will be available to download at a later date…

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Haley Speaks...

When reporters talked to Haley Scarnato after her elimination, the first topic on their mind was, of course, her legs.

So why the short shorts? Haley said that Simon was saying that she was very cabaret for a while, so she thought she’d go more “trendy and young.” She told “People,” “I never really changed my look since Hollywood week. I showed my midriff and stuff. I want to stay true to who I am.”

Haley told “Entertainment Weekly,” “I really hope that wasn’t the vibe that I was giving everybody, that I was always wearing short outfits. That’s not how I want to be remembered.”

Sorry, Haley, but there’s no way that’s not going to happen…

Haley shared with “Entertainment Weekly” that she used makeup on her legs that covered her cellulite. Also, she confirmed to reporters that she wore Katharine McPhee’s hair extensions from last season, but don’t worry, they washed them.

Haley now goes back to planning her wedding which she moved to January from its original November date because of the tour.

She planned to sing “When God Fearing Women Get the Blues” on next week’s show and she joked she would have made a different clothing choice. “If I was going to be here next week. I was going to wear a choir robe! I was going to be fully clothed.”

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Coming Attractions...

I'm a little swamped today, but I hope to get caught up on my posts over the weekend, so be sure to keep checking back.

Among the things I will have for you is scoop on this week's shows you haven't yet heard, Haley's parting words, a concert announcement, AND something you definitely won't want to miss--my SHOCKING review of Bucky's CD...

Plus, don't forget that you can share your "American Idol" stories and pictures by e-mailing me at hdstaytuned@hotmail.com. For more info, be sure to check out my post about it here http://media.herald-dispatch.com/blog/idol/2007/04/your-idol-stories.html...

Carmen Rolls Into Town...

Yesterday, Carmen Rasmusen brought her bus through Huntington and made a stop at the WSAZ studios to do an interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.

For those of you who don’t remember Carmen, she was, quite frankly, Season 2’s Sanjaya—the contestant who made it further than anyone thought she should (the top six). Like Sanjaya, she was only 17.

Now 22, Carmen is traveling the country to promote her music and working on a country CD, after she released an EP, "Carmen," in 2005. Her new single, “Nothin’ Like Summer,” will debut on iTunes later this month. And I know this because I read it on Tony Cavalier’s weather blog over at http://www.wsaz.com/. Sorry, Tony, but I can’t help but chuckle a little at that one…

This picture of Carmen and her husband, Brad Herbert, is from the new “People” book, “American Idol: Where Are They Now?”

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Could Sanjaya soon have "the best of both worlds"?

I'm not sure whether I should scream or cry at this next one...

If Billy Ray Cyrus has his way, Sanjaya could soon be making "Hannah Montana" swoon.

Remember I told you that "Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" share studio space? Well, Billy Ray ran into Sanjaya this week and they talked about "Hannah."

Here's Billy Ray's take on the conversation, courtesy of "Access Hollywood":

"Yeah we were talking last night. I was practicing a little camp work out there in the back and getting ready for my thing and Sanjaya came out of the studio. I said hey man. I said how you doing? Congratulations on all your success and he came over and shook my hand and said hey you're Billy Ray Cyrus man. My family loves you man. We love Hannah Montana and I said well you need to come up and be a guest on Hannah Montana. He said I'd love to man, I'd love to. He said where you filming at? I said just up the street you know and he said tell them to write me in, I'll be there. I'm gonna go tell them Mr. Sanjaya said he would be glad to come on the show and I think it would be really cool for him and Miley to hook up. I just want him to sport that porcupine deal man."

Again, I'll remind everyone that Sanjaya can make no appearances without the permission of 19 Entertainment, but I can't believe they'd turn this one down. And it would have to be a win for Disney. Sanjaya, the hearthrob of tween girls everywhere on the most popular show among tween girls? Can't you just hear the girls scream?

But I'm thinking that Billy Ray should check with Miley first. After all, she is the star...

If you're not familiar with "Hannah Montana," be sure to check my Stay Tuned blog at http://media.herald-dispatch.com/blog/tuned/2007/03/my-friday-night-obsession-hannah.html...




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More Forgotten Words?

So Ryan pointed out that Blake wrote some of the words of his song into his tattoos last night--Thanks Ryan--but did anyone catch that Chris flubbed the lyrics to "Smooth"?

This from "Entertainment Weekly"...

"Indeed, Chris's tinny, off-key 'Smooth' was more like a mug of stagnant pond water — so viciously wrong that I failed to notice he flubbed his lyrics for the fourth time in the last five weeks. Thanks to those of you who caught him singing, 'It's the same insane emotion that I get from you,' when he should've been singing, 'That's the same as the emotion that I get from you.'"

Can we dump this guy already?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Final Thoughts...

So apparently my five votes for Phil were enough as he survives—again. I know I predicted Phil would go home, but this was the right call, so congratulations, America. Now, if we can just ditch Chris…

Now, to the show itself. Did they really need an hour? No and I’m sure the ratings will reflect that, but we’re stuck with it. And I hate it…

And this whole milking Sanjaya’s fate is going to get old really quickly. It needs to stop…

Your thoughts?

The result...

9:54 We’re back…Phil and Haley stand in the midst of the remaining smoke…Lights down…After the highest vote of the season…Phil is SAFE!!!...He’s shocked…Ryan did it so casually, Haley barely had time to react…The Idols all give Phil a hug…Haley’s “Home” video. Why isn’t that song climbing the charts yet?...Lots of leg in the video…Haley is wiping away tears…

9:56 Ryan says “We’ll miss you” and announces country music for next week…It is still pretty smoky. I think the producers should cancel pyrotechnics from now on…Haley does “Turn the Beat Around”…She goes into the audience and sings right in front of Phil’s wife…Now she’s on the mini-stage…They are not showing any of the other Idols. I don’t think any of them are crying…Haley walks over to them and Blake and Chris dance with her. That performance was so much better than last night’s. They all come over and hug her, but there are no tears…

9:59 And we’re out…

J-Lo gets fired up--literally

9:42 We’re back…Leah Remini is in the house…Ryan is going to send one back…It’s not Phil, who just smiles. He knew it…Chris goes back…BOO HISS!!!

9:43 Phil says again he’s just blessed to be here…A video of J-Lo with the Idols with more stuff than what we saw last night…

9:45 Ryan introduces J-Lo from the audience so she can make her diva entrance through the smoke…I’m impressed. She’s actually singing…The song is “Que Hiciste” in case you’re wondering…I don’t really get the point of the dancers…Maybe if I understood the words I would…Now she’s got the whole wind machine thing working…I looked down to type and missed how her dancers disappeared off the stage…That was definitely better than that Michael Buble mess last week and he was singing in English—I think…Simon liked it…Ryan gives her a big hug and then asks her about working with the contestants…J-Lo says she comes from the Paula school of judging, but we still need Simon…After the break…

And here’s the deal with the “Idol Hit List” straight from the website…

“As the judges always say, it's all about the song choice. Now the choice is yours! We're introducing the "Idol Hit List," and we need the help of your inner music critic. Select your 5 favorite songs from the top 50, listed below. Over the next week, we'll tally the votes and announce them on the show next week. Here's the best part: One of the top 50 songs will be performed by the original artist during the show! Start voting!”

Could this be the show’s way to justify the taped performances? Don’t be surprised if the song that gets performed is “Lost Without U” by Robin Thicke since they’ve already recorded that one…

I FINALLY predict the bottom three...

9:29 We’re back…Ryan says hi to Eva Longoria…Recap…

9:32 Ryan asks Melinda if Simon was too harsh on her. She says she loves his criticism and respects it…Ryan asks Haley if she was offended. She says it hurts a little bit and that she would never wear anything inappropriate…Blake gets a lot of screams. I’m controlling myself…Blake admits he had some key words to the song written on his wrist. Isn’t that cheating? I forgive him…

9:34 Ryan’s looking for the bottom three…Phil stands…Phil is in the bottom three. No shock there….LaKisha stands…Ryan fakes her out, but she’s safe…

9:35 Jordin stands…She’s safe.

9:35 Sanjaya stands and Ryan tells him to sit and that he’ll get back to him. Oh brother!...Melinda stands…She’s safe…

9:36 Haley stands…She’s in the bottom three. No surprise there either…Sanjaya stands again, Ryan has him sit down. GET A GRIP, PEOPLE!...

9:37 Blake stands and gets tons of screams…He’s safe, of course…

9:37 Chris and Sanjaya stand…Chris gets a lot of screams…Come on, America…We win either way…
9:38 Sanjaya is safe. YES!!! (I can’t believe I just typed that.)…Come on, America, do the right thing here!

9:38 The bottom three are Phil, Haley and Chris. The audience is upset about Chris, who is laughing. Phil looks ready to go home—again…After the break…

FOX, what are you doing to us?

9:20 We’re back. Ford Commercial: “Happy Together”…The Idols morph into each other as the cars morph into different ones…Not sure what to say about that one…Idol Gives Back plug…Ryan actually asks if we’ve heard of it…News Corp. (which owns FOX) has pledged $5 million…Ryan says the “Idol Gives Back” show will show us Simon’s heart…A video showing Simon showing off the classroom in a box that our money can buy for the kids in Africa…He pretends to be rude to the little African girl who drew a picture of him with a chest…

9:23 Simon says they were sweet kids…Ryan asks Simon if he would get on the stage and sing if they raised $20 million. He says no…

9:24 Ryan says the editors have been playing with audition footage…We see a tape of the judges trashing Tony Bennett…Is this really necessary?!

9:25 Ryan begs corporate America again…After the break…

Akon Sums Up the Show

9:08 We’re back…Ryan introduces the winner of last week’s American Idol Challenge. Ryan tells Simon that the prize money is nothing to him. Simon sticks his tongue out at him and then all three judges snicker some more…Ryan asks the Challenge question…

9:10 Ryan says they’ve already received 5000 entries to the songwriting competition…35 million votes this week…Ryan goes to the Farmers Market and gets people’s opinions on the show in a taped piece…

9:13 Ryan says to go the website and vote for your favorite songs that will then be performed on the show. I’ll get back to you on that one…Ryan introduces Akon singing “Don’t Matter.” Remember this was recorded after the Gwen Stefani results show. Interesting that Ryan didn’t hype it in his show rundown. Maybe because they promised all of the hype to J-Lo?...Notice how hard they’re trying to not show the judges since it’s not really them...After the break…

Man, do I hate hour-long results shows…

The Results Show: Let's Get This Started...

So the Internet buzz is that Haley is going home. You know I would love to see Phil spared…

Let’s get this started…

8:59 Intro. Ryan asks who’s going home and gives Sanjaya a funny look. Could we stop milking this please…

9:00 Eva Longoria and Sharon Osbourne in the house…Ryan asks for the audience to scream their favorites…

9:01 Introduction of the judges…Simon winks at Paula…Ryan asks Randy to sum up the night. Randy says it was “a tall order”…Ryan asks Paula if she saw a new side to the contestants. Simon and Paula start snickering…Ryan asks how Simon is feeling about the compliment he gave Sanjaya last night. Simon says he slept fine…

9:02 Group sing: “Bailamos”…Chris gets a bunch of screams. Why?...Melinda sounds awesome. She really should have done that one…Haley and Sanjaya barely get through their part. Sanjaya actually outsings her…Maybe Phil should have done it…Blake and Lakisha sound good together…So why no Jennifer Lopez songs at all over the two nights?...They’re giving each Idol a lot of camera time…There goes Blake singing to me again…They let Sanjaya do the Spanish part…That right there is why I love Phil. He sounded fantastic!...After the break…

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? I know I made this prediction last week, but I really think it’s Phil. Now since he’s got a whole hour to work with, it’s really hard to tell how Ryan will do the eliminations. But if he does a bottom three, I’m going with Phil, Haley and Chris. Obviously, I’m rooting for Chris to go.

There is absolutely no way Sanjaya is going home tomorrow night. Although I think it would be terribly ironic for him to go after a decent performance, it’s just not going to happen. Sorry…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go vote for Blake—a lot. And I’m also going to throw in some votes for Phil since I’d really like to see him sing country next week…

Your thoughts?

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Sanjaya makes the young girls swoon...

Sanjaya Malakar, “Besa Me Mucho”: 16
The young girls out there loved that one, didn’t they? And quite frankly, it wasn’t that bad. He has a beautiful voice if he would just use it. Again, if he had just powered through, it would have been pretty good. But what is up with that goatee? It looked like someone drew it in with marker.

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The Rhythm Gets Jordin and Blake Gets Me

Jordin Sparks, “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”: 19
The only reason I marked off any points was because she seemed a little uncomfortable about what to do onstage. Her voice was spot on, though, and she made an “Idol” staple her own.

Blake Lewis, “I Need To Know”: 20
I think Blake looked right into my soul at the end of that one. Holy Cow! Boy, am I glad Phil didn’t go with this one. I LOVE this guy!!!

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Haley shakes her groove thing and Phil cracks...

Haley Scarnato, “Turn the Beat Around”: 14
I gave her a five in song choice, because it was actually quite shrewd (Simon agrees with me.). There was limited singing and plenty of opportunity to shake her groove thing.

Phil Stacey, “Maria, Maria”: 18
You know I love Phil and I wanted to give him a good score, but I agree it seemed a little lifeless. And there was that crack at the end, but it was a great choice. Plus, is it me or does Phil sound like a guy trying to enjoy himself as much as possible since it could be his last moments on the show?

And I just realized that Sanjaya is getting the final spot tonight. Can you say milking it?

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Chris' Copout...

Chris Richardson, “Smooth”: 13
I realize this was not nearly as bad as my score. I’m just so over him! And the vocals were off. Plus, I think a song with a Rob Thomas vocal is a copout on Latin night.

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LaKisha Shakes Her Body...

Lakisha Jones, “Conga”: 17
I’m a little torn on this one. I appreciate the effort, but I’m not sure it worked. And if she was planning on doing that much dancing, she really should’ve worn a different dress. Could that be why the director cut away to the piano so early in the song? Nigel sure loved it, though, didn’t he?

And Chris is doing “Smooth”? Can you say copout?...

By the way, if you want to know more about the cartoon cab driver you just saw during the commercial break (and will no doubt see several more times tonight), go to my Stay Tuned blog…

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Did Melinda finally stumble?

Melinda Doolittle, “Sway”: 18
She looked gorgeous and her moves were solid; but she seemed a little uncomfortable and she didn't really nail the vocals. She’s still awesome, though. It’s clear that Simon is really trying to push her to take more risks. My compliments to the band who were perfect with their accompaniment.

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Opening Notes...

Do we really need the cast of “Drive” in the audience to hype the show? Hasn’t that been done enough?!

And Mickey Dolenz is in the house? Interesting…

Come on, J-Lo. Tell us who your favorites are…

Let’s get it started…

Tonight's Show...

Once upon a time, I would be able to tell you what everyone is singing by about now, but thanks to Anna Nicole mania, there’s just not as much information out there…

So that just leaves us to speculate…

Jennifer Lopez’s manager said that Sanjaya sang “beautifully,” so I’m guessing he’s not doing “She Bangs.” I’m also guessing he’s not doing anything by Marc Anthony…

Speaking of which, I would really like to see Phil do “I Need to Know” or Ricky Martin’s “She’s All I Ever Need”…

Chris will probably do something schmaltzy like “Music of My Heart”…

And unfortunately we’ll probably have to sit through “Dreaming of You.” BLAH!...

It will be interesting to see what advice Jennifer Lopez can give since she’s not really known as a strong singer…

I’ll be back in 20…

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Carrie In "Cosmo"


Carrie Underwood graces the cover of "Cosmopolitan" magazine this month as she talks about her weight, dating, and other "Cosmo" topics.

I'm not posting a picture of the cover so as not to embarrass anyone with the cover headlines...

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Your "Idol" Stories

In my opinion, there’s never been a show on television that brings people together like “Idol.”

After all, it’s one of the few shows that the whole family can watch and enjoy together. If you were at the “Idol” concert in Huntington last year, you saw that firsthand.

And I know that I have made friends with people I may otherwise have not even spoken to because of conversations about “Idol.”

So now we want to hear from you. What are your “Idol” stories? Do you and your family do something special on “Idol” nights? Does your office have an “Idol” pool? Maybe you found a new friend thanks to “Idol.”

Send us your “Idol” stories (in 200 words or less) and pictures by sending an e-mail to hdstaytuned@hotmail.com. Be sure to include your name and address so we can properly identify you. The deadline is April 30th.

I can't wait to see what you come up with...

KFC "Sweetens the Deal" for Sanjaya

Last Monday, I posted an item about KFC offering Sanjaya a lifetime supply of Famous Bowls, if he wore a bowl haircut on the show.

Well now, KFC is “sweetening the deal.”

Here is the actual letter for your enjoyment…

Congratulations on surviving yet another tough elimination.

Last week, Kentucky Fried Chicken® offered you a free lifetime supply of KFC Famous Bowls® if you donned a bowl hairdo. You chose instead to wow the judges with a slicked-back do, a white tuxedo and your trademark showmanship.

The judges and critics may think you're a long shot for a recording contract, but at KFC, we think you're a real "original." And as the experts in Original Recipe® Chicken, we know an original when we see one! In fact, today, I would like to sweeten our tasty offer by serving you up your very first recording deal.

If you sport a bowlcut hairdo in a nationally televised performance, KFC will grant you a free lifetime supply of KFC Famous Bowls and a charitable donation in your name – plus $5,000 in cash and your own starring role in our next KFC Famous Bowls advertisement.

Now, that’s an offer almost as juicy as our KFC world famous chicken and a deal that could help provide young people with much needed college scholarships via our Colonel’s Scholars charity.

Win or lose, we're confident that KFC's deal will help turn millions of viewers around the globe into "fanjayas."

Your Fan,
Gregg Dedrick
President of KFC

When I posted last week’s letter, I said that I wondered if this was a joke. Well I can now tell you without a doubt that it is not as this letter comes straight from the PR firm that’s handling this deal.

They were also nice enough to send me this picture of their special version of the haircut.

So why would KFC do something like this? The fact that you just read this answers that question…

I would, however, like to remind you—and the fine folks at KFC—that Sanjaya cannot make any deals without approval from 19 Entertainment, who controls his contract, and I seriously doubt they’re going to give permission for this. I don’t think it would make the fine folks at Coca-Cola very happy…

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Kelly will unleash "December" during the summer...

Here’s the scoop on Kelly Clarkson’s new album…

It’s called “My December” and it will be out this summer. Kelly tells her fan club it’s “the story of [her] life” and it’s her favorite album so far. “It has some killer rock songs and some fun soul tracks, and a few slower, intimate songs, and it’s all me!”

The first single, “Never Again,” will hit radio this week. She’s also expected to perform it during her appearance on “Idol Gives Back.” It is not the same song she performed at the Daytona 500.

Kelly will be touring this summer in support of the album.

Also coming up for Kelly is an appearance on “CMT Crossroads” with Reba McEntire. “Crossroads” is the show that combines a country artist with an artist of another genre and has them sing each other’s songs. The Kelly-Reba episode was taped in Nashville February 22nd and will air later this year to coincide with Reba’s duets CD, which features a song with Kelly. You may recall that during the first season of “Idol,” Kelly said that Reba was her Idol…

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The Hour-long Stallfest Gets Worse...

So now that the producers have gotten their way with the return of the hour-long results show, they need something to fill the time with.

So what will we get? Taped performances from various artists! Isn’t that exciting?

Remember I told you the show taped a performance by Robin Thicke? Reports say that one will air this Wednesday. A performance by Fergie, which was taped after last week’s results show will reportedly air April 18th.

Are you kidding me with this stuff? If you don’t have enough live material to fill an hour then why put us through the torture? A half-hour is plenty…

Please note, however, that none of this has been confirmed by FOX, so stay tuned…

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Friday, April 6, 2007

Gina Speaks...

Before I share with you Gina Glocksen’s final thoughts, let me just say that after watching her elimination again on YouTube yesterday, it was truly one of the most emotional I have ever seen on the show.

Yes, Alaina Alexander shed a lot of tears, but we didn’t really care about her. Gina didn’t deserve to go just yet…

About her exit song, “Smile,” Gina told reporters, “That song is definitely going to be a very special song for me for the rest of my life now.” Gina told “Entertainment Weekly” she “knew the minute they said it was Tony Bennett week that I would sing ‘Smile’ because it’s from ‘My Girl 2’ and I loved that movie.”

Gina said that when it came down to her and Haley, she “had no idea” what was going to happen, but there was no question in her mind which group was the bottom three. “Right before Ryan went to commercial break, Haley, Phil and I looked at each other and started laughing. Like, do we really need to wait until after commercial to know which group is bottom three? We just knew.”

Gina also detailed the “Idol” week for reporters: “We pick our song on Thursday, rehearse them for three days, meet with our mentor on Saturday, do the Ford shoot on Sunday, rehearse on Monday, show on Tuesday, show on Wednesday, pick songs on Thursday, and it’s just a continuous circle.”

Maybe Gina’s most shocking comment to reporters is that she sees Simon Cowell as a
“parental type” on the show. “He’ll say that I had a bad performance just to make me stronger because he did like me and he does see something special in me. He just wanted to push me to that next level.”

Next week, Gina planned to sing Gloria Estefan’s “Everlasting Love” (All together now: UGH!). The theme week she was most looking forward to was Bon Jovi/rock week, because she wanted to sing “Livin’ On a Prayer.”

And her dream to sing her favorite song, Pink’s “Who Knew,” was dashed by Pink who doesn’t clear her songs.

Interestingly, I didn’t read one comment in any of the Gina stories about Sanjaya. I’ve got to believe that someone asked her, so maybe she refused to comment. There are rumors going on that the other finalists are pretty frustrated over the whole thing…

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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Songwriting Competition Update and More on Next Week...

Just wanted to let you know that the website for the Songwriting Competition is http://songwriter.americanidol.com. My apologies for getting that wrong (I've corrected it on the post now).

I was going to do a post this morning to suggest that Sanjaya should sing "She Bangs," but Derek beat me to the punch in his comments. If Sanjaya does do it, then it clearly shows he's not taking this thing seriously anymore...

As for what others will sing, I think Phil might try a Marc Anthony song, but maybe he's the one who should try and rock Ricky Martin...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Final Thoughts...

So did America make the right decision? Of course, not, but Gina did pick the wrong song and she paid for it. I think she thought after her strong performance of a ballad the week before that she should do another one but there’s a big difference between the Pretenders and Charlie Chaplin…

But she definitely gave us one of the most emotional goodbyes I've ever seen...

And I would really like to see Phil just do something crazy next week…

Actually, I think they’ll all end up doing something crazy since it’s Latin week with Jennifer Lopez…

Maybe Sanjaya is actually an excellent singer in another language…

And Ryan usually always does the three groups of three at this stage, but I can’t help but wonder if he especially wanted to do it tonight to show that Sanjaya is not getting as many votes as everyone thinks…

Thoughts?

"Smile, though your heart is breaking..."

9:23 We’re back…Haley, Gina and Phil join Ryan onstage…They’re holding hands…Phil is still smiling…To safety goes…Phil. YES!!!...He’s stunned…He salutes the camera as he walks back…Haley and Gina are the bottom two…Gina is now crying…I think she’s very worried now that Phil is gone…

9:25 Haley is now crying…Just under 33 million votes, the highest total so far this season…Haley is staying…She starts crying…Gina is devastated…Jordin is stunned…Gina tells Haley, “Good job”…

9:26 “Home” goodbye video…Ryan is trying to comfort her as she bawls…

9:27 Melinda is now crying as Jordin continues her tears…Ryan tells her they’re going to miss her and Pickle (her good luck charm). She tosses Pickle into the audience (clearly frustrated with it)…Haley is still crying…Gina thanks her fans and says she’ll see them on tour…

9:28 Gina ironically is forced to sing, “Smile though your heart is breaking”…She changes the lyrics to “I’ll get by”…

9:29 Jordin is going to be crying a while…Gina forgets the words…The Idols join her…She lets Jordin and Melinda finish part of it for her…She thanks the audience again as she falls into Chris’ arms…I think I heard someone say, “I love you”…

9:30 And we’re out…

Call him "Irresponsible"...

9:14 We’re back. Phil is all smiles. I think he knows he’s going home. I wonder if he made a bet with anyone to get his $50 back…“American Idol Challenge”…

9:15 Allstate has joined the corporate contributors…More begging…

9:16 Ryan says Tony has come down with the flu…Ryan plugs Tony’s CD…And it is Michael Buble…Ryan calls him “my friend, Michael Buble”…Talk about unprepared…Is he forgetting the words or am I hearing things?…Michael goes to dance with the band…I’m not a fan of his, so maybe someone who is can tell me if he always sounds weird like that…Michael plugs his CD…Michael asks Ryan if he’s wasting his votes still voting for Antonella. Ryan says he does the same thing. The joke falls flat…

9:20 After the break…

Three groups of three...

9:06 We're back...Ford commercial: “One Love”…Gina’s Ford goes through a rainforest car wash…Wow, Phil’s voice sounds great…Kermit the Frog is in the driver’s seat…

9:07 Songwriting competition announcement…That was a little short…And he didn’t even give the website…

9:07 Three groups of three…Group One—Blake, Chris and Sanjaya…Hold that thought…Group Two—Haley, Gina and Phil…Gotta be the bottom…Hold that thought…Group Three—Jordin, Melinda and LaKisha…However, this format always produces surprises…Ryan fakes out the break…Group Three is, of course, safe…

9:09 Group One—Safe as well…That leaves Haley, Gina and Phil in the bottom three…

9:10 After the break…

I got two out of three, but I really thought Haley could stay out of the bottom...

And the three divas were the top vote-getters. Hmmm...

Opening Notes...

8:59 Intro

9:00 Note to the audience: Always check to make sure your signs are right-side-up…

9:00 Judges intro…Recap…

9:02 After the break…

A little preview...

So tonight, we're going to get a surprise musical guest and the announcement of the songwriting competition.

And no doubt there'll be more corporate begging as well...

Man, am I going to miss these half-hour results shows...

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Breaking News: Tony Bennett Calls In Sick

Here's some breaking news for you, courtesy of "Access Hollywood"...

Tony Bennett will not perform on tonight's results show. He apparently has a cold.


Producers are scrambling to find a replacement and "Access" reports that the leading candidate is Michael Buble.

I guess we'll find out tonight...

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The Scoop on the Songwriting Competition

So, here’s the scoop on the songwriting competition, courtesy of “USA Today.” I’m guessing it will be announced during tonight’s show…

Amateur songwriters, 18 and up that have no exclusive publishing deals, can write and record songs and upload them at http://songwriter.americanidol.com/ until April 17th.

A team, headed by “Idol” guru Simon Fuller, will pick 20 songs from those submitted and let fans listen to them on the website. Then, starting May 2nd, they will have a week to vote for their favorite, but there will be only one online vote per fan.

Once a winner is picked, a producer will arrange and produce the song, which will be performed by the two finalists and become the “Idol” winner’s first single. The writer will receive a one-song standard deal with 19 Entertainment.

The original plan was to have a special with former Idols returning to sing the top 20 choices, but Iain Pirie of 19, says he’s 95 percent sure that won’t happen because of “Idol Gives Back”…

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

So who's going home?

Before we talk about who’s going home, let me remind you something about the performance show. If you thought that LaKisha’s last note in the recap sounded better than it did in the performance, you’re right. Due to the time crunch, we see the rehearsal version of the final singer in the recap. But she really should have taken Tony’s advice.

So who’s going home? I really don’t think there’s any question this week: It’s Phil. His performance was gloomy with a rough beginning and he’s been in the bottom three twice already. Plus, the editors didn’t do him any favors by giving him a bad clip in the recap. And it doesn’t help his cause that Sanjaya was actually okay (and Tony loved him) and Haley strutted her stuff.

Who will join him in the bottom three (if they do three)? I would definitely say Gina, but I’m not sure at all about that third one.

The results air tomorrow at 9 p.m. on FOX—the final half-hour edition for a while.

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LaKisha ignores advice again...

LaKisha Jones, “Stormy Weather”: 17
Maybe I’m over her too. The beginning was rough and once again she didn’t listen to the advice of a coach. Is this a sign of what she would be like in the studio? Tony was right by the way.

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Haley Misbehaves...

Haley Scarnato, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”: 17
It wasn’t a great vocal, but it was a good performance. She definitely picked a song to show off what she’s got. And the guys in the front row liked it.

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Gina Smiles, while Sanjaya Dances...

Gina Glocksen, “Smile”: 15
I’m torn on this one too. I just didn’t think this was the right song for her. And the band seemed to be on a different tempo. And what was up with her hair?

Sanjaya Malakar, “Cheek to Cheek”: 15
I can’t believe I rated Sanjaya above Phil, but I had to give him a five in song choice. Plus, you have to admit that dance with Paula was pretty good. If he had just put some power behind the vocals, this would have really worked.

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Chris and Jordin...

Chris Richardson, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”: 13
I’m sorry. I am just so over him. I thought the whole song sounded off.

Jordin Sparks, “On a Clear Day”: 17
Her voice sounded great, but I just didn’t feel she connected to the song.

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Let's Go Back a Second...

So let me go back a second to Ryan’s announcement about “Idol Gives Back.” It’s nice that Forrest Whitaker, Kiera Knightley and all of those other stars are participating. It’s nice that it’s become such a big event they have to split the venue between the studio and Disney Concert Hall. But the big news is that Kelly Clarkson will be a part of it. Considering all she has done to separate herself from “Idol,” that’s pretty big. I guess it really is a good cause…

Phil gets gloomy, while Melinda gets rhythm...

Phil Stacey, “Night and Day”: 14
I’m torn on this one. You know I like Phil, but what is up with him and the beginning of songs? It just didn’t work for me. Nice to hear Tony Bennett say he has a good voice, though.

Melinda Doolittle, “I Got Rhythm”: 20
This is getting old, isn’t it? I hated her dress, though. Simon said he didn’t think they’d ever be able to criticize her and that was a problem. I loved his answer when Ryan asked why it was a problem: “Because we like being mean to people occasionally.”

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Blake shows his smooth moves...

Blake Lewis, “Mack the Knife”: 19
Okay, you already know I’m prejudiced, but I had to give him a five in song choice and a five in stage presence for those great moves. Simon complimented the band, but I thought they were too loud—as usual…

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Opening Notes...

One of them is history? That was kind of rude from Ryan, don’t you think?

Did you notice they were hiding Sanjaya in the back so we couldn’t see his hair?

Let's get it started with my love, Blake!

The storm clouds are gathering...

The storm clouds are starting to gather at my house, so if you lose me, you know that's what happened...

Tonight's Show: Swingin' the Classics

Sanjaya told "People" that he was thrilled when he heard that Tony Bennett was going to be a guest, and why wouldn't he? Tonight's classics theme is right up his alley.

But wouldn't it be funny if he got voted off the very week he actually knew what he was doing?
"Entertainment Weekly" has a great song suggestion for him: "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"...

And their suggestion for "Legs" Scarnato? "Makin' Whoopee." If she thought of it, I'm sure she'll do it...

"American Idol" airs tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX. Be sure to join me for my comments on the performances as they happen--or at least as close to that as my fingers and tonight's predicted thunderstorms will allow...

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Monday, April 2, 2007

KFC Reaches Out to Sanjaya...

In the category of things I wish were a joke, I would put the following item…

KFC is reaching out to Sanjaya to promote its Famous Bowls. Here’s the open letter from the KFC press release, courtesy of “USA Today”:

An open letter to Sanjaya Malakar:

Congratulations on catching America’s ears…and eyes.

Over the past month, you’ve wowed the world with your original performances. And, your ever-changing hairdos have made you almost as famous as KFC® Original Recipe® Chicken and Colonel Sanders himself.

On behalf of Kentucky Fried Chicken®, I want to serve up to you a tasty offer. If you don a bowl hairdo during one of your next nationally televised performances, KFC will grant you a free lifetime supply of KFC Famous Bowls®. We’re sure America will be as ‘bowled-over’ by your take on this classic look as they are by our KFC Famous Bowls.

From wavy to Mohawk to now the classic bowl – who knows, your bowl cut could start a trend as big as KFC Famous Bowls, which consumers ranked as THE most memorable new product of 2006.

In addition to free KFC Famous Bowls for life – if you sport a bowl cut, KFC will cut a check in your name to Colonel’s Scholars, a charity providing young people with much needed college scholarships. We’re confident that helping students afford college is something that even the toughest of judges would stand and applaud.

Your Fan,

Gregg Dedrick
President of KFC

Now, this information was posted on the “USA Today” website today, April 2nd, but since I’ve been unable to confirm it anywhere else, I’m really hoping it’s a really bad late April Fool’s joke.

However, in the case that it’s not, don’t look for anything to happen with it since KFC is so tied to Pepsi and “Idol” is sponsored by Coke.

And if it is true, I’m not sure I can look at a Variety Big Box Meal the same way again…

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Chris' Shout-Out...

Here’s one last thought about Chris Sligh…

During the March 20th show, he gave a shout-out, saying “Hi Dave!”

Dave is the person behind Votefortheworst.com.

Let the conspiracy wheels turn on that one…

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