The Herald-Dispatch |


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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Claymates, Where Are You?

My hero Denise keeps asking me what the Claymates are saying about the report that Clay is going to be a father.

And I keep telling her the same thing—They’re not saying anything.

The Clay bashers, however, are saying plenty, including jokes about his sexuality and comparing him to Michael Jackson.

Which is my problem with this whole thing to start with. If this is true—which “People” says it has confirmed—why tell anyone? Maybe Clay doesn’t care what people say about him, but what about the child? What kind of ridicule will he or she have to endure?

It’s just sad that at a time when people should be talking about Clay’s fantastic CD, all anyone can talk about is this.

So since we have to talk about it, tell me what you think.

Is this totally sick or is it just a wonderful gesture of friendship?

And Claymates, where are you? Speak up!

Elliott Feels the Love From Disney

Elliott Yamin has apparently made a Disney connection…

Elliott recorded a version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” for “Disneymania 6,” which is available now.

The “Disneymania” series features Disney-related stars singing covers of Disney songs. “Disneymania 6” also features Billy Ray Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and Jordan Pruitt.

Elliott’s “Wait For You” was featured on “Radio Disney Jams, Vol. 10.”

You can hear Elliott’s excellent version of “Love” here.

The Davids Sing the Phonebook

Several times during the competition, Randy Jackson trotted out the phrase “You could sing the phonebook.”

So, MTV’s “TRL” decided to put that to the test when the Davids came on the show. You can see it here.



I’m still amazed how gamely Cook plays along with everything…

Cook Imitates Nigel

David Cook appeared on “The Early Show” Friday morning (The appearance was taped Thursday after his “Today” appearance.).

When answering the question about who he thought was going to win for the millionth time, David broke out an impersonation of “Idol” EP Nigel Lythgoe. And it’s pretty good.

You can see it and his performance of “The Time of My Life”—complete with a totally awkward moment with a female fan—here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Is Another Idol Coming to the Paramount?

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Kellie Pickler is coming to Ashland, I’m hearing rumors that another Idol may be taking the Paramount stage.

And this one was a winner…

I should know more in the next few weeks…

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Davids on "Today"

The Davids appeared on “Today” this morning…

Here’s Matt and Meredith interviewing the two of them, who both defend Jeff…



Here’s Matt’s interview with Archie followed by his performance of “Think of Me”…



And here’s Meredith asking Cook about “Cougars for Cook” and his performance of “The Time of My Life”…

Cook on "The Early Show"

David Cook will continue his post-“Idol” promotional tour tomorrow (Friday) morning on “The Early Show.”

David Archuleta appeared on “Early” this morning.

“The Early Show” airs from 7-9 a.m. on CBS…

Will Josiah Have the Last Laugh?

Remember Josiah Leming, the contestant who did not make the top 24 after he dismissed the band for his frightening rendition of “Stand By Me”?

He has now been signed to Warner Bros. Records…

Josiah is currently working on his album which he hopes to have completed by the end of the year because his mother has terminal cancer.

According to USAToday.com, Josiah has also signed a publishing deal with Warner Bros. which means other artists could record his songs as well.

During a recent visit to MTV, Josiah performed a song that’s so new it didn’t make it to the CD tracklist. You can hear it here.

I’m really not sure what to say about this one, so I’ll leave the commentary up to you…

Has Lyric Street's Luck Run Out?

I was afraid of this one…

An article on CMT.com reports that Phil Stacey has sold just over 25,000 copies of his album in its first month.

Josh Gracin has sold only 45,000 in two months.

And Bucky Covington, who started out like gangbusters, has only sold 345,000.

You know that I think all three albums are solid, but I was concerned that Phil might be received as more of the same. Plus, I have to wonder if Phil’s image just doesn’t work. That somewhat ghoulish album cover doesn’t really help that much…

And clearly the problem with Josh Gracin is that there was just too much of a break between CDs. He had lots of momentum after “Nothing to Lose” hit #1, but the break gave people time to forget about him…

As for Bucky, I think he could just be a victim of more of the same as well. Plus, I don’t think he’s really had the best single selection.

Now all of this could be turned around—especially if they would release Josh’s “Found,” but I fear that Lyric Street has signed its last male “Idol” contestant…

Photo provided by Lyric Street Records

Melinda Gives Back

Melinda Doolittle will be part of a high-profile delegation to the Leon H. Sullivan Summit VIII June 2nd-6th.

The summit, which is meant to “focus attention and resources on Africa’s economic and social development,” will take place in Arusha, Tanzania.

Melinda was chosen for the honor by President Bush.

A week later, Melinda will be the MC for the 4th annual “Ellie’s Run for Africans” in Nashville.

The run is a family day that raises money for education and health-related assistance in Kenya and South Africa…

Info courtesy of MJ’s Big Blog and the Sullivan Foundation...

Nigel Talks About Kellie's "Growth"

“Idol” EP Nigel Lythgoe got himself into a little trouble last week when he spoke about Kellie Pickler’s “growth”…

He told reporters, “She’s acquired two accoutrements that photographers and men love. I’m not sure what it cost her, but obviously it was well worth it.”

The comment was in response to a question about the attention Kellie attracted at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Kellie has never confirmed having any work done, but last week she did hint a little to FOX News. “It’s been two years since my first record came out…but I’ve been growing a lot—in many more ways than one,” she said while motioning to her chest. “Let’s just say I feel much more mature now.”

You can judge for yourself when Kellie comes to the Paramount Arts Center July 11th at 8 p.m…

Get Ready to Cook This Fall

It’s official. David Cook has been signed to 19 Recordings/RCA Records and will record his debut album while on the road with the Idols tour.

“Variety” reports the CD will be released in the fall. October had been the traditional month for “Idol” winners to release an album, but Taylor and Jordin released theirs in November and December (and we know how that worked out). A return to fall makes more sense because it will come on the heels of the tour.

By the way, you may recall that Jordin had an all-time low for an “Idol” winner when her CD sold only 119,000 in its first week. But her total now is 778,000 copies, passing Taylor Hicks’ sales total…

Sanjaya's Commercial: A First Look

Thanks to the fine folks at Nationwide, here's our first look at Sanjaya's commercial...







Here's another shot of Sanjaya on the set...




UPDATE: A Nationwide rep tells me the commercial will debut in mid-Summer.

Photos provided by Nationwide

Is Clay Going to Be a Father?

This is one of the craziest stories I have ever heard related to “Idol” and BOY do I hope it’s not true…

TMZ is reporting that Clay Aiken is going to be a father.

The website says that “multiple sources” tell them the mother is Jaymes Foster, who they say is Clay’s best friend who he lives with when he’s in L.A. But according to TMZ, Foster, who is David Foster’s sister, was artificially inseminated. However, their sources tell them that Clay “will have an active role in raising the child.”

Foster, by the way, is 50 and Clay is 29. She is divorced and has no children.

None of this has been confirmed by Clay’s people.

So this probably wouldn’t be the first time that a single woman reached out to a friend to give her a child, but there’s just something so creepy about the whole thing. And you know this is only going to fuel those stories about Clay’s sexuality.

I was really hoping that this new album would get Clay’s career back on track, but now…

What's Blake's Problem?

If you read Jim’s comments on my post about Sanjaya’s Nationwide ad, then you know he’s pretty angry at Blake Lewis for dissing Sanjaya and Taylor Hicks.

So, I decided to go in search of the interview that Jim alludes to, and I found it.

You can hear this snippet of Blake’s interview with Mark Kaye back in March here.



Now, let me start by saying I completely understand why Jim would be upset. I would be too if someone had just dissed my favorite contestants. However, I think we should also look at the big picture…

What I hear in this interview is a frustrated young man who’s just trying to promote his CD—since his record company won’t—and all any of these DJs want to talk about is Sanjaya. Does that excuse what he said? No. But the frustration is understandable—especially if what Blake says about Nigel putting Sanjaya on the show after he was eliminated is true.

And how do we know that Blake’s not just saying this stuff to get attention?...

In an interview with another radio station (that was not identified on the blog with the interview), Blake said that Sanjaya was “a nice kid” but he did get into it with him once during the tour because he was trying to sleep and Sanjaya kept waking him up. Blake told the DJ that Sanjaya had trouble respecting peoples’ boundaries and that he was a “disrespectful kid.”

However, at the end of the tour, Sanjaya thanked Blake for the way he treated him. Blake said Sanjaya had never had a father figure and so he just needed someone to set him straight.

As for Taylor Hicks, Mark Kaye says on his website that Blake said about Taylor, “America voted …for a d-bag!”

That one I can’t really defend, except for the fact that since there is no audio, we have no idea what the context of the conversation was. And we know that Taylor was considered difficult by his label, so maybe that’s where that comes from.

Either way, I just wish that someone would keep Blake from digging these big holes for himself. He’s an extremely talented guy who should be above this stuff.

And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe he has always felt like he is above “American Idol.”

Now I don’t feel so guilty for moving him aside for David Cook on my top five Idols list…

Cook Sets Chart Records and Hits #1

David Cook sets a record for debut entries on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart with 11 songs.

Cook has 14 songs on the Hot Digital Songs chart, including the #1 track, “The Time of My Life,” which sold a whopping 236,000 downloads.

‘Time” debuts at a strong #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The previous record for most debut entries on the Hot 100 was six set by Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana. He also breaks Miley’s record of eight on the Digital Songs Chart.

It’s also the most tracks on the Hot 100 chart since the Beatles had 14 songs in one week.

David Archuleta has three songs on both charts, including “Imagine,” which sold 71,000 downloads.

This is the first week that “Idol” downloads have counted toward the charts since the producers and iTunes agreed not to share the numbers over concern it would affect the voting.

“Billboard” reports that Cook’s album will be on 19/RCA…

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sanjaya Goes Nationwide

Jim, this one’s for you…

Nationwide announced yesterday that Sanjaya Malakar will be the newest star of its “Life Comes At You Fast” ad campaign.

According to Nationwide’s press release, in the spot, Sanjaya visits a monastery in India to seek advice and he is told that he needs a retirement plan, and some work on his hair.

The Sanjaya ad is one of six new spots that will specifically target the South Asian market, according to the release.

Sanjaya was quoted in the release, saying, “I’m thrilled to star in one of Nationwide’s ‘Life Comes at You Fast’ ads, because I really love the campaign. My experience on ‘American Idol’ is a great example of how life really does come at you fast. The ad is a funny take on the serious subject of planning for retirement.”

You may remember that Kevin Federline was the most recent star of the campaign in a great ad that didn’t really receive the kudos it deserved until people learned that K-Fed was actually a good guy…

You can see it here as a reminder…

A "Today" Reminder...

Don’t forget that the two Davids are scheduled to appear on “Today” tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

“Today” airs 7-9 a.m. on NBC. Be sure to check your local listings for when the fourth hour airs in your area (It airs at 2 p.m. on WSAZ.)…

Cook on Ellen

David Cook also appeared on “Ellen” yesterday and there was thankfully no mention of Kimberly Caldwell, who was the subject of most of the “Idol” Internet buzz yesterday…

And by the way, most people agree with me on that whole subject. I really hope that David didn’t just torpedo his career by alienating his female fan base. I still love him. I’m just kind of sad…

You can see Ellen’s interview with David and his performance of “The World I Know” here…

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cook and Caldwell?!

What could possibly make me lose a little love for David Cook?

Finding out he’s dating Kimberly Caldwell…

You guys know that I can’t even watch the listings on TV Guide Channel half the time because she annoys me SO much, so to find out David went out with her makes me want to cry a little.

Now granted, they’ve only gone out once (last week), but David told Regis and Kelly that they’ll “probably hang out again.” They, of course, met through the show (Kimberly is the co-host of “Idol Tonight.”)

I guess the big question is why David admitted that on national TV. Doesn’t he know how much buzz that’s going to get? And doesn’t he know that will upset some fans that want him to be eternally single—especially the cougars?

Wait, I think I just answered my own question…

You can see David’s entire interview on “Live with Regis and Kelly,” as well as his performance of “The Time of My Life” here…

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to take what I consider a much-deserved break…

But I will leave you with another look at the crowning of our new American Idol, and his winning performance, which is now available as a single on iTunes...



Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

David's Journey Through My Eyes...

Yesterday, sites all over the Internet were tracing Cook’s “Idol” journey…

I thought it would be fun to trace his journey through my eyes, by looking at how I judged him each week.

And after looking back, I’m a little surprised at how hard I was on him in the beginning…

January 29th…

I thought Omaha seemed like a possibly boring choice, but I didn’t want
to pre-judge.But after watching, I think I was right.There were some interesting
moments, and some strange moments, but nothing terribly entertaining…Anyone else
sensing a pattern here?Here are my thoughts…

I thought David (“Livin’ On a Prayer”) said he was a rocker. That was
really pretty and that sweater looked more like Blake than Chris
Daughtry…


February 19th…

Are we ready?

Scoring sheet…check!

Red clipboard…check!

Blank tape in the VCR…check!

Computer on…check!

Hot guy I’m hoping can actually sing…okay, I’m still working on that
one.

But other than that, we’re good to go!


I think I found my hot guy…

David Cook, “So Happy Together”: 17
I like David, but for me this was a bit of a bad Constantine Maroulis
impersonation. And what was up with that weird ending?


February 26th…

David Cook, “Alright Now”: 18
It’s clear that David uses his guitar as a little bit of a crutch because
he really has no charisma. But the vocal was solid, even if the guitar was a
little loud. But his swipe at Simon was completely uncalled for
.

No charisma? Now, I feel like I should apologize to David…

March 4th…

David Cook, “Hello”: 19
I really liked that arrangement (Could someone tell me whether he really
came up with that or if he was just copying someone else?). I took one point off
for that little bit of a scream that didn’t quite work. And apparently Simon has
no hard feelings about David’s attitude last week.


19? See what I mean about being harsh? In my defense, this was the first night we really got to see the real David…

But I wasn’t done being mean…

March 5th…

David Cook is getting a lot of praise this morning for his cover of Lionel
Richie's "Hello," but as I suspected, it was not an original
arrangement...Thanks to Wikipedia and YouTube, I have discovered that David was
actually doing the Incubus version of the song.That's not to say the performance
wasn't good or that he shouldn't make the top 12. He just shouldn't get credit
for being completely original...

March 11th…

David Cook, “Eleanor Rigby”: 18
I liked the arrangement, but his vocals weren’t completely on throughout.
And I hate his screaming. I liked how Simon said if the show remained a “talent”
contest and not a “popularity” one that David could win. Is Simon losing faith
in David Archuleta because of the slight backlash he’s been getting?…

UPDATE: A quick check of YouTube shows that David's arrangement comes from
Panic! at the Disco. That doesn't mean I like it any less, I just want to be
factual.

I've become such a skeptic, haven't I? I never checked YouTube for Blake's
arrangements last year...


March 18th…

David Cook, “Daytripper”: 19
First of all, let me thank David for telling me whose version he was doing
so I didn’t have to search it out (Whitesnake, if you missed it.). The only
thing I didn’t like about the song was the backup singers. I would’ve nixed
them. And notice that he didn’t take issue with Simon. He’s learned his lesson
there. And believe it or not, I liked the vocoder...


Now we’re getting somewhere…

March 25th…

David Cook, “Billie Jean”: 20+
I told you that David would rock out some obscure cover for us and boy, did
he ever (Chris Cornell, by the way. Thanks, Ryan, for telling me so I didn’t
have to look it up.). That was awesome. Since I already gave Michael a 20, I had
to add the plus since this performance was worlds better. However, I have to
disagree with Randy saying that David is the most original contestant ever. That
would still be Blake. Remember he came up with his own arrangements. David is
copying others—which is brave and creative, but not original.


You can see my opinion turning this particular week, when I defended Cook against Doxology who were upset that David didn’t credit their version of “Eleanor Rigby”…

April 1st…

As I said last week, David is not the most original “Idol” contestant of
all time, but David never claimed to be. That was Randy’s doing and if Randy
isn’t smart enough to figure out that David is not coming up with the
arrangements himself—even with Ryan telling him—that’s his problem, not David’s.

As for the argument that David should have credited Chris Cornell again
after Randy’s little speech, what was he supposed to do? Interrupt Randy and
tell him he was wrong? The kid’s trying to win this thing!

Which also explains why he didn’t credit Doxology after his performance.
Admitting it then, in front of the judges, would have been a disaster (A quick
listen on YouTube will tell you that David was definitely doing their version
and not Panic! At the Disco’s as I originally thought.).

Remember that David was chastised in the beginning for his go-around with
Simon so he knows that keeping his mouth shut is the best move. And in his
defense, with all of that screaming going on, he probably only hears half of
what the judges are saying anyway.

In all honesty, it shouldn’t be David’s responsibility to set up the songs.
That should be the responsibility of the show. And yes, the show should have
done so for Doxology either through David’s video package or through Ryan’s
introduction.

I am not bothered that David is doing other people’s arrangements and I
actually applaud his knack for finding the right ones. Though he may not be
original, he is still brave for attempting little known versions of well-known
songs. What I am bothered by is that Randy and his big mouth could end up
hurting David’s chances of being the next “American Idol.” To combat Randy, the
show needs to continue on its current path and give credit where credit is
due—even if it means doing it after the fact.

I believe that Ryan needs to forgo the umpteenth “Idol Gives Back” promo
(even though Kiefer is participating) and give David time to defend himself
tonight.


Wow! Was that an about face or what?...

April 1st…

Yea! Yea! Yea! David Cook got to defend himself (I’d like to think I had
something to do with that.) and mention Doxology. Kudos to the show for that and
I hope Doxology is now happy…

David Cook, “Little Sparrow”: 19
How gorgeous is that guy’s voice? And kudos for doing his own arrangement
this time. It was gorgeous—but I would’ve ditched the backup singers a little.
And I’m with Paula. His hair looked great.


Remember this?

April 2nd…

Before we get into tonight’s show, let’s talk about the drama that happened
behind the scenes last night…

David Cook was rushed to the hospital following his performance last night,
after experiencing heart palpitations. Paramedics were called to check his blood
pressure during the commercial break prior to his performance, but David would
only get proper treatment after his song.At the hospital, a doctor gave him
medication to bring his blood pressure down and discharged him. He is expected
to be on tonight’s show.

The palpitations were most likely created by the stress of the show. But
David has also been dealing with family issues as his brother is battling
cancer.

Speaking of the stress of the show, Doxology told EW.com today that they
feel totally vindicated by David’s shout-out last night. They admitted that it
had been in the works with the producers for a few weeks (Interestingly, they
also said they could not confirm the rumor that David did mention them in his
taped interview before his performance but the producers cut it out.).


April 8th

David Cook, “Innocent”: 19
The song had a weird beginning, but once David hit the chorus it was
awesome. I thought it was gutsy for him to move right in front of the judges and
I loved his move with “give back” written on his hand. That was genius and it
looked great on camera.


Finally, the night I fell in love…

April 15th…

David Cook, “Always Be My Baby”: 20+++MAN, DO I LOVE THIS GUY!!! That was
so
awesome I can’t even say. I almost jumped off the couch. And tomorrow, I
will be downloading that bad boy from iTunes. And the tears in David’s eyes as
the director cut to his brother in the audience just spoke volumes, didn’t it?
I’m actually glad they didn’t have time to tell us what was going on.


I’m still mad that the studio track on iTunes doesn’t include the string arrangement…

April 22nd…

David Cook, “Music of the Night” (from "Phantom of the Opera"): 20
Just when I thought David couldn’t surprise me any more, he does by singing
this song straight without any rearrangement. Yes, there were some lower
register problems in that first verse, but it was so beautiful overall, I’m
willing to look over it (as usual). Here is what I just texted my hero Denise:
“I am so in love with him.” I said I thought he could nail this one, and boy,
did he ever.


April 29th…

David Cook: “I’m Alive”: 18
Again, it was good; but there was just something missing.

David Cook, “All I Really Need Is You”: 20
Now there’s the man I love! He could release that now. And that, Brooke, is
how you use a guitar.


May 6th…

David Cook, “Hungry Like the Wolf”: 18
So what exactly are the rules of this thing? Duran Duran is not in the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame! I thought it was a good performance, but it just lacked
something for me. Maybe it was because I was too busy trying to figure out how
he could pick this one.

David Cook, “Baba O’Riley”: 20
That was more like it. However, I think that David psyched himself out a
little this week since everyone was saying this should be his big week.

May 13th…

David Cook, “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”: 15+
I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!! Could we just send the confetti down now? That,
Randy, is how to pick a song. Did you see Simon clap in the middle of
it?

David Cook, “Dare You to Move”: 18
So this isn’t the song that all the sites were reporting he had chosen, but
when I heard he was doing this, I got excited--until I heard it. Was it just me
or did it seem really short? He should’ve got off the verse quicker because his
lower register was wavering all over the place. I think he might’ve killed his
voice with the first one.

David Cook, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”: 15
How is it that David always makes me love songs I’ve always hated? When
Ryan said what the song was, I actually said, “Oh, come on!” But as usual he
made it work. I don’t know what Randy was listening to because that was awesome.
How was that predictable? He totally changed the song around! And Diane Warren
(who wrote the song) loved it, so who cares what Randy thinks anyway?


May 20th…

David Cook, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”: 15
Let’s see Archuleta march through the audience and take that mini-stage
like that. I LOVE HIM! I just hope he can hold it together for the entire
show.

David Cook, “Dream Big”: 18
David did manage to change this one from a country song to a rock song, but
still, it just didn’t quite work and man, do I hope they don’t release this as a
single. Plus, the band was so loud that we couldn’t hear the words.


I was SO wrong about that one…

David Cook, “The World I Know”: 19
And he just barely made it. I almost gave that point back after his
breakdown, but if I’m being honest I have to take away a point for song choice,
because as beautiful as it was, it just wasn’t the dramatic ending he needed.
I’m with Simon. I really wanted to hear “Billie Jean” or “Hello”--which I told
you last night.


I was wrong about that one too. I think it was better that David did a new song. And if Archie had been able to clear what he wanted to do, this point would have been moot anyway…

And there you have it. Cook’s “Idol” journey through my eyes. Cook told reporters that his “Idol” experience was a progression.

It looks like mine was too. I guess we progressed together...

Cougars for Cook?

So, how did the favorite end up getting upset? Speculation is that cougars my have swayed the vote…

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, cougar refers to (according to Wiktionary) “a woman of middle age who actively seeks the casual companionship of younger (typically under 30 years old) males.”

Tuesday in the “Idol” audience, a woman held up a sign reading, “Cougars for Cook.” And today, the Associated Press ran a story detailing how middle-aged women may have swayed the vote.

Linda Sharp, a 42-year-old mom, told the AP, “The biggest thing: He’s legal, and that goes a long way. He’s 25. That’s old enough that we can openly ogle him, and we can drool over him, and it doesn’t make us feel like we could be his mother.”

Alrighty then…

Sharp writes “Idol” recaps on her blog “Don’t Get Me Started,” which is popular with soccer moms. When she posted Cook’s “Guitar Hero” commercial, commenters said, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Need I say more?” and “Have I died? Is this heaven? I’ll take it!”

Even I don’t love him that much…

So, what evidence do we have that these women affected the vote? The ratings. According to the AP, the biggest drop in “Idol” viewers was among women ages 18-34 and teenagers 12-17--Archie’s demos. Also, “Idol” viewership has risen among people ages 50 and over and the median age of “Idol” viewers is now 42--apparently Cook’s demos…

As Sharp told the AP, “I’m exposed to the Jonas Brothers and the ‘High School Musical’ crowd and all of that, but as cute as I might think they are, they do make me feel maternal — not hot,” Sharp said. “So watching David Cook, I think that’s been a huge appeal for thirty/forty/fiftysomethings that ’We’re not dead.’ We might drive the soccer minivan, (but) we’re just picky about what perks us up.”

Okay, I’m going to stop creeping you out now…

Simon: "I was almost horrified..."

Was Simon really just wrong Tuesday night and not using reverse psychology on us Cook fans?
That’s sure what it sounded like on Ryan’s radio show Thursday…

“Reality TV World” reports Simon told Ryan, “I was almost horrified when I went back home and watched [Tuesday night’s performance show]. It was literally like watching and listening to a whole new show. What you thought was good wasn’t very good and what you thought was bad actually was a lot better.”

Simon told Ryan he was only thinking of “one word” when Cook won--“justice.”

“I thought it was the right thing. You always think in a situation like this where someone who’s cute like David Archuleta, that it’s going to be carried by young girls or grandmothers or [whoever] vote for people like David Archuleta. But actually the person who I thought did the best performances over the 11 or 12 weeks actually deserved to win and he did win. It was good.”

I’m sorry, Simon. I will never believe you weren’t trying to manipulate me. I just refuse to believe you could be so dead wrong…

Cook Gets Some Heavy Hitters for His Album

It looks like Cook is going to work with some heavy hitters…

Jesse McCartney told “Rolling Stone” at his album release party that he and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic are planning to write some songs with Cook for his album.

Why is that a big deal? Because those two co-wrote a certain song you may have heard of--the #1 smash, “Bleeding Love”…

That's great news, except for the fact that probably means Clive is involved somehow...

“Hits Daily Double” is reporting that J/RCA is already involved in promoting Cook’s single, “Time of My Life” to radio. Archie will reportedly join Jive and won’t release a single until closer to his album release date…

Some Other Cook Tidbits...

Here are a few other tidbits from Cook’s satellite interview…

Cook said he “put up a wall, kind of a protective barrier between me and the audience. It was a little bit of a defense mechanism to try to protect myself.” Cook said that in the third or fourth week, Ken Leverne, one of the vocal coaches, “had to force [him] to break that down”…

About those controversial teleprompters, Cook said, “Yes, some of [the songs] were on the teleprompter for us. But at the end of the day, you can get the words, but it’s about the performance”…

Cook is still in disbelief about the 12 million vote margin. “I think that number is actually really misleading. Obviously, within the bubble of ‘Idol,’ it’s hard to get a vibe on what’s going on. I thought Archie was probably a little bit ahead of me, if I’m being honest. … I attribute the finale vote discrepancy to my fans just being awesome. I don’t really know how else to explain it”…

Yes, David, we are awesome. And so are you…

Cook on "Analog Heart": "I was kind of a pawn in that whole game"

During a satellite interview with reporters today, Cook revealed the truth behind the Amazon release of “Analog Heart,” his independent solo CD (as reported on MJ’s Big Blog)…

“'Analog Heart' got released independently in May 2006. I spent a good year
playing and promoting that record as much as I could. A lot of people, thank
God, bought the record. About midway through the season, I had to have the
record pulled, obviously, for fairness issues on the show. And I got it pulled
offline. But somebody, I have no idea who, reposted it on Amazon, so while that
was going on, I was kind of at a loss. I talked to Amazon about getting it
pulled, and there was a bunch of mass confusion about it. I’m extremely
appreciative at how well it did. But
I was kind of a pawn in that whole game.”


I think that FOX News reporter owes Cook an apology…

As I’ve mentioned in the comments, I did manage to get my hands on a copy of “Heart” (Thanks Ryan and Jean!) and I will review it in a future post…

Tidbits from "Larry King Live"

The Top 10 Idols appeared on “Larry King Live” tonight and in between Larry’s stupid questions and his mispronunciations of their names, we got a few interesting tidbits…

Cook’s brother, Adam, has had his brain tumor for 10 years. Cook said, “He’s my American Idol”…

Archie told Larry that he sometimes went against his dad’s advice…

Archie said there has been some talk of him signing with Jive Records--the label that signed Jordin…

When Larry asked Carly what happened to her since she was an early favorite, Carly said the media releasing the information about her MCA deal hurt her. Cook then jumped in to defend her saying, “I’m gonna get on this platform…You got a bum rap. Just because you had a record…it shouldn’t disqualify you in the public’s eye.” Carly said the dollar figure the “Wall Street Journal” reported that the label spent on her was not true.

And she would know that how? Cook, I love you, but…

Larry asked them what song each of them will definitely do on the tour this year:

Cook: “The Time of My Life
Archie: “Angels”
Syesha: “If I Ain’t Got You”
Jason: He said he will definitely break out the ukulele, so I’m thinking “Over the Rainbow”
Carly: “Bring Me to Life”
Kristy Lee: “God Bless the USA”
Brooke: “Let It Be”
Ramiele: Something by the Jackson 5 that I didn’t catch the title of
Chikezie: “I Believe to My Soul”

Cook gave a shout out to Luke Menard, who was just diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma…

At the end of the show, Larry asked the Idols to sing something and after some hesitation, Cook finally started “Freedom” by George Michael. The others joined in, and it sounded good. Interestingly, Archie never found his way in, prompting Larry to say, “Archie, jump in there”…

Of course, that was consistent with Archie’s entire appearance on the show tonight as he struggled to put words together. I’m sure that someone will work with him over the next several months to get him more comfortable…

Don’t forget that the top 10 will be on “Larry King Live” again on Monday at 9 p.m. on CNN…

Cook Changes His Shirt for Leno

Last night, Cook appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

And yes, it appears that he changed his shirt, but I think the jacket was still the same…

You can see the appearance here.

And don’t be too hard on Jay for not knowing that Archie also did a “Guitar Hero” commercial. That was a recurring theme on the Internet today. It’s like Archie’s commercial never existed.

Maybe because it’s hard to get excited over a 17-year-old dancing in his underwear…

Pickler Picks Paramount

I interrupt my deluge of post-finale news to pass along this piece of news...

Kellie Pickler is coming to the Paramount Arts Center in July.

"WTCR Presents Kellie Pickler" is scheduled for July 11th.

I'll pass along more details when I get them...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Did "Idol" Cheat Tuesday Night?

Were any of you Archuleta fans out there concerned that Archie would forget the words to one of his songs Tuesday night?

You needn’t have worried…

USAToday.com reported today that the show used teleprompters.

GASP!

Some people are saying the move turned “Idol” into “a glitzy round of karaoke” and that remembering lyrics is all a part of the performance. But considering all of the stuff they ask the final two to go through in that last week--Guitar Hero commercials, Disneyworld commercials and song recordings, movie watching, interviews, rehearsals for two shows--I’m not really opposed.

Of course, you know at this point I could really care less…

What do you guys think? Are teleprompters cheating?

The Idol Numbers: A Political Perspective

Some political pundits are having fun with the “Idol” voting today.

Why? Because more people voted for our next American Idol than for our next Presidential candidate…

According to “USA Today,” 35,216,531 votes have been cast in all of the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries thus far.

Compare that to the 97.5 million votes Ryan reported that “Idol” received.

Maybe Hilary and Barack should learn to sing…

Cook: "It's pretty absurd..."

Yesterday, I made a comment about whether or not Cook wanted to win. So did he?
He told EW.com’s Shirley Halperin that yes, he did…

“I think to be in this competition and not want to win is just a slap in the face to everybody that auditioned. Did I fall into it? Yes, but I never went into this thinking, I wanna take fifth or tenth place. I think that’s very disrespectful.”

Cook told Halperin that if you look at his song choices and put them in order “it’s like a set list.”

So did David ever vote himself? He said he voted three times during the season and each vote was for…Archuleta.

But the most interesting thing that David told Halperin was this comment about television:

“Television is a weird thing. One of the things that was really tough for me to grasp was how people can really invest themselves in you as a person, based off what they see in an hour or two. Why do they cry when somebody gets sent home? Because these are relationships that were created long ago. It’s interesting…”

Cook also shared that last night was “a trip. I got to play with ZZ Top and introduce Bryan Adams and George Michael. And to have it all topped off by me winning ‘American Idol’? It’s pretty absurd”…

David told USAToday.com, "You kind of hold that air in for four months, throughout the whole process. To be able to exhale was kind of the ultimate release. Ten-plus years of work I put into wanting to play music has been vindicated all of a sudden."

Archuleta: "How can you be disappointed?"

So, what did David Archuleta have to say after he finished second last night?

Adam Vary of EW.com talked to Archie, who was extremely upbeat…

“How can you be disappointed? I mean, making it to the top two, and then, just, I feel so good about my performances yesterday. How can you be upset about it?”

Archie said Cook had been like his “big brother” through the whole show, but as for his real family, Archie told Vary that a lot of the stuff going around about his dad “didn’t make sense."Archie said he wouldn’t be who he is without his family and that they’ve kept him “grounded”…

Several of the reports I read on the Internet mentioned that Archuleta seemed almost relieved. Maybe after seeing all the stuff Cook had to go through today he decided he didn’t want any part of it…

The Davids on "Today"

Here’s another date to mark on your calendar…

The two Davids will both perform on “Today” Thursday, May 29th.

“Today” airs from 7-9 a.m. on NBC. Check your local listings for when the fourth hour airs in your area…

The "Guitar Hero"s

During his appearance on “Access Hollywood,” Nancy O’Dell asked Cook about his Guitar Hero commercial in which he channeled Tom Cruise in “Risky Business”…

When Nancy complimented his legs, Cook told her, “It’s amazing what a spray-on tan will do.”

Cook said the commercial shoot was a “welcome break” from all the rehearsals. “That was a couple hours of fun short of having to jump off a coffee table on my knees forty times.”

David also told Nancy that the choreography was “actually really tough to learn, so my hats off to [Tom Cruise]!”

If you missed it, here’s David’s commercial, followed by Archie’s…



Notice that Archie didn’t try as hard to stick to the original moves…

David Cook: All "Access"

“Access Hollywood” followed Cook around today to witness his first day as our new American Idol--a blur of interviews and appearances.

He even stopped by their studio to perform a gorgeous rendition of “The World I Know,” which you can see here.

And if you think it looks like he’s wearing the same clothes he was when he won, that’s because he is…

I really hope someone gets him some new clothes before his “Tonight Show” appearance…

And I hope Cook gets some well-deserved sleep very soon…

Cook Dominates iTunes

No surprise, David Cook is dominating the iTunes charts…

“The Time of My Life” is currently #1. David also comes in at spots #2-#4 with his performances of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “The World I Know” and “Dream Big.”

“Time” is also the #1 ringtone.

Cook is also at spots #2-#4 on the videos chart with “Dream,” “Found” and “World.” Cook would be at #1 if not for the “Midnight Train to Georgia” charity video…

Cook and Archuleta on Kimmel

Both of the Davids appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last night in a taped bit with Guillermo.

You can see it here.

Archuleta is SO cute, so he gets most of the camera time here…

"The Time of My Life"

Is it just my unabiding love for all things David Cook, or is this song actually not that bad?

You can hear the produced version of “The Time of My Life” here.

I agree that it’s a tad overproduced, but I can hear it playing over a TV montage, can’t you?

The single has already been released to radio, and it should be available on iTunes soon, if it isn’t already…

Cook Speaks!

While we wait for his appearance on "The Tonight Show" and while you wait for me to compile all of his comments from various interviews, you can see Cook talking to Jodi Applegate of the FOX affiliate in New York here.

After watching this, I'm starting to realize why I love him (besides for his singing). His modesty and kindness to the media reminds me SO much of Kiefer Sutherland it's not even funny.

I really hope David never loses those qualities...

Cook Goes to Disneyworld

So, yes, ladies and gentleman. Disney, which owns ABC, is getting into business with a FOX show. What has this world come to?

Honestly, I don’t care if it means we got to see this—Cook going to Disneyworld (I mistakenly said Disneyland last night.).

I’ll have much more on this later, but for now, just enjoy this awesome commercial. And how great is his rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star”? Can I download that somewhere please?

You can see it here. If for some reason it doesn’t pop up automatically, go to Media Gallery and click on it.

Cook on Leno

Don’t forget that our new American Idol David Cook (Man, do I love the sound of that.) will be on “The Tonight Show” tonight (Thursday).

“Tonight” airs at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.

Since Laura and Jenna Bush are also guests, don’t be surprised if Cook gets a little shorted on time. He won’t be singing, as Tristan Prettyman is Jay’s musical guest.

We’ll get to hear more from David Friday night when he, Archie and the rest of the top 10 guest on “Larry King Live,” which airs at 9 p.m. on CNN…

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Few Thank Yous

So, as we wrap up another “Idol” journey, I just wanted to take a few minutes and thank some people…

My editor, Andrea, for making this thing possible…

My hero, Denise, who saved the day when technical glitches threatened…

Tom Becnel in Sarasota for making me feel really smart and for making me root for a contestant I never would have without him…

And finally, to all of you. I have no idea who most of you are, but I thank you for allowing me onto your computer screens these past five months. “Idol” and this blog have been a great distraction during an otherwise difficult time, so I truly appreciate all of you being here…

But don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere. There are still TV appearances and release dates and all kinds of stuff I still have to tell you about. And I’ll be here for all of it.

I hope you will be too. And please, keep leaving your comments about the finale in the meantime.

Until tomorrow…

Henderson, out!

Proud to Be an "Idol" Fan

Okay, let me just catch my breath for a minute…

My neighbors aren’t knocking on my door yet, so I must have not scared them too badly…

I have to say that this is the happiest I have ever been after a finale. For the first time, my
favorite contestant actually won this thing. I want to scream and cry all at the same time.

Who would’ve thought that Cook would beat Archuleta by 12 million votes? So what did the favorite in? His dad, or did Simon’s comments rally the Cook troops? After seeing that Cheshire cat grin on Simon’s face, I’m more convinced than ever that he said those things on purpose…

After all of the anger I unleashed at the show after the “Hit Me Up” debacle of last week, I couldn’t be prouder of the show than I am at this moment. And I couldn’t be prouder of America for getting it right…

I know the Archuleta fans will cry foul because their guy had a better show, but Cook proved again tonight that he is the better performer. He’s more marketable, and more sellable--or at least, I hope.

And the winning song? I have a feeling we’ll see it at the top of the iTunes chart as soon as it comes out. I’m going to look for it right now…

So what do you guys think? Are you happy with the outcome? Are you surprised by Cook’s margin of victory? And how do you think Jeff will react?

I’ll be back with some final thank yous…

And our new American Idol is...

Back to the “Guitar Hero” ads for a second. Denise just pointed out to me that Archie was wearing shorts instead of underwear. As she said, he is only 17. Cook’s was better…
Now I’m REALLY nervous…

9:56 We’re back…I can barely type I’m so nervous…The Davids are on stage with Ryan…You know that Ryan is going to do a dramatic pause after he says David…Randy says they “brought it down to the wire” and “they’re both winners”…Paula says she’s honored to be there and it’s the beginning of their careers…Simon says he wants to congratulate them both because it was a terrific show and he admitted it wasn’t as clear cut as he said. Simon apologizes for being “disrespectful” to Cook. YEAH! I actually applauded that…Simon says for the first time he doesn’t care who wins because they’re both great…

9:58 Vote certifier brings out the envelope…LET’S DO THIS…

9:59 And the winner by 12 million votes is David…COOK! YES! YES! YES! YES! I think I just scared my neighbors…Jeff stands for Cook…Archie leaves the stage but Cook asks the audience to clap for him…Cook is stunned and he breaks down…Now, I’m breaking down…Camryn Manheim loves it…He says thank you…Simon has a BIG smile on his face. I still say he planned this thing…Cook says he’s at a loss for words. His mother joins him on stage for a big hug. His younger brother is there too…How is he going to sing?…David says it’s all his brother’s fault…The rest of the Idols come back on the corner of the stage…I think it was a little unfair that Archie didn’t even get a goodbye…

10:02 David sings “Time of My Life,” the winning song…I told you this one would be good for him…Cook’s younger brother is crying…Where’s Adam?…Cook hugs Archie, who has a big smile on his face…Yea! He goes to the mini-stage. I love it when he does that…What are those back-up singers singing?…He motions the Idols to join him and he hugs Archie again…The confetti falls…NICE!!! I love it when he hits those big notes…David shakes his head and cries again…Andrew tells the camera, “That’s my brother”…

10:05 And we’re out…

"Praying for Time"

9:41 You’re probably wondering why I didn’t comment on the Cook Guitar Hero commercial earlier? I didn’t see it because I was on a bathroom break, but Denise texted me about it and I was just getting ready to watch it when Archie’s came on. Nice…

9:42 You just know that “Fringe” is going to be a whacked show since it’s coming from J.J. Abrams…

9:42 We’re back…The top 12 return to the stage…Kristy Lee starts out “Faith”…So it is George Michael who’s here…Carly takes over…Ramiele…Am I the only one who thinks this is a little inappropriate…Amanda. Wonder what George is thinking backstage. Do you think he‘s wondering what she just sang?…The guys emerge from behind the girls to sing “Father Figure”…Michael…David H. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that he sang “naked”?…Chikezie…Jason…All of them together…David Cook. Lots of screams…“Freedom”…Where is he?…Archie…David H. and Chikezie…Cook…Jason and Michael…Hernandez. Should’ve voted more for him…Now they’re coming too fast for me to type. But trust me that each of them got their own phrase…Ryan is dancing again…Cook FINALLY intros him…George Michael comes down the stairs to the Idols still singing “Freedom”…Ooh, he gets a dramatic lights down solo…Can he see with those sunglasses on?…I think that’s “Praying for Time.” Isn’t that the song Carrie did on “IGB”?…Talk about a drama queen…If Carrie already did that one on the show, then why wouldn’t he do something else…Paula is crying. Paula, I’m crying because the rumors about your performance are apparently not true…Okay, I’m sorry. He is not a big enough star to deserve this long of a performance. You know there are tons of people watching right now saying, “Hey, isn’t that Carrie’s song?”…The judges give him a standing ovation. I think he and Simon are good friends…Tour plug…What did George just say to Ryan?…After the break…

"We're leavin' on that midnight train..."

I’m starting to get really nervous now and I don’t know why…

9:30 We’re back…Video of Gladys Knight’s Pips auditions…It’s Jack Black, Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr…Jack Black is totally into it, but Stiller’s lost and Downey Jr.’s being all slick…Why would we let Stiller back into this show after that whole bleeping debacle?…This, of course, is a promo for their new movie, “Tropic Thunder.” Could we stop pimping movies on this show?…You have to admit this is a nice video trick…Downey Jr. disappears…Black goes to find him, leaving Stiller alone…Black comes back out with his pants down…Now Downey Jr. returns….Huh?…You can download that video with the proceeds going to charity, “at their request,” Ryan says…He didn’t plug the movie at all. NICE!…

9:34 Carrie sings “Last Name”…What is the deal with that weird thing she’s got tied to her wrists? Was she looking for some kind of wings? And how short is that dress? It’s a good thing she doesn’t move around a lot when she sings--which again makes those weird wings pointless…Paula’s still in the audience. Did she chicken out on us or are we still going to get a taped performance?…Ashley Tisdale in the house…I really like that song, but did it seem a little shrill to anyone else?…Break…

"One Step at a Time"

9:17 We’re back…One Republic with “Apologize.” Why are we squeezing all of the album pimping into the same part of the show. Are we preparing something big backstage? I hope. Like maybe, I don’t know, a performance by Paula Abdul?…WAIT! Here’s David Archuleta…He sounds good on it, but Ryan Tedder is lousy at harmony…Archie could have nailed this one as a performance…Tedder just stepped all over Archie’s dramatic ending…Jeff Archuleta in the house…

9:21 Hometown check-in with Matt in Salt Lake City…Matt is talking with Archie’s grandfather (Jeff’s dad). Matt has to cut him off…Matt is now talking to Archie’s other grandfather who only speaks Spanish. Matt has a little trouble with the whole translation thing and Ryan and Archie look uncomfortable…

9:23 Jordin comes out to sing her new single, “One Step At a Time.” I was wondering if she’d be able to sing tonight. I like this one a lot…Notice Jordin is wearing one of David Cook’s orange bracelets. That bracelet is actually for a young girl in Tampa Bay who is struggling with leukemia. Her dad, a TV reporter, told Cook about her during an interview and he showed David the bracelets her family had made for her. David asked for one and has worn it ever since…Jordin sounds like she’s okay…Blake is singing along with her. Could we get him on stage already?…

"I am your brother..."

9:06 We’re back…Ryan’s in the mosh pit…He asks the girls to introduce the next act but you can’t understand them. Must be the Jonas Brothers…Yep. They’re doing “SOS”…I know people love them, but I’ve been over them since they wouldn’t admit to “Entertainment Weekly” that “Hannah Montana” helped make their career…By the way, could someone explain this song to me? What are they sending out an SOS about? Their relationship? But I thought they broke up by IM…Justin Guarini in the house…

9:09 Ryan has an older woman on the stage with him named Pat. She has no clue who the Jonas Brothers are…Ryan plays the video of the worst performances. Bring on the “We Are Brothers” guy. We want to sing along!…Crazy chick who wanted to do “actressing”…“Let My People Go” guy…There he is, but we wanted him live…Now they show Randy and Ryan joining with Paula dancing…YEA!!! HERE HE IS!!! WOO-HOO!!! Why hasn’t anyone signed him yet? I really thought he would be the next William Hung…Now he’s joined by the USC Marching Band. NICE!…Renaldo started out rough, but he’s getting into it now. I think they should put this on iTunes…Does he even know the band is there with him?…Paula and Randy come up on stage to dance…The band quits, but he’s still singing…A break cuts him off. Do you think they’ll be able to get him off the stage?…

I think the USC band should play that at all of their games…

Every Girl's Crazy About a Sharp-Dressed Man

8:54 We’re back…Jordin introduces the “American Idol Experience” coming to Disneyland in January. WHAT?! ABC and FOX working together? Go figure…

8:55 David Cook doing “Sharp Dressed Man” with ZZ Top…Paula is loving it and he hasn’t sung a note yet…Is it embarrassing for a group when someone else outsings them on their own song?…Is David going to spin his guitar, or do they still do that?…David shows a little dance move…Okay, too much guitar stuff and not enough David singing…Blake in the house, with something written on his knuckles…My hero, Denise, just texted me that Cook is loving this and you can tell that he is…

8:58 Uh-oh. Hometown check-in with Mikalah in Kansas City. She’s talking with Cook’s music teacher…Could that dress BE any tighter…

8:59 Graham Nash and Brooke doing “Teach Your Children.” No restarts here, Brooke…And of course they’re showing “Idol Gives Back” images on the screens behind them…Brooke’s a little off. How will she control those nerves on the tour?…She almost forgot the lyric change to “parents”…Break

"Those were the best days of my life..."

8:39 We’re back…Ryan is in the audience with Peter Noone. The Noonatics rejoice!…Carly and Michael do “The Letter”…They sound pretty good together. So tell me again why they’re cutting out the duets and group numbers on the tour?--which is selling like hotcakes, by the way (at least in Cincinnati and Columbus)…

9:42 Jeri Ryan in the house…Ryan introduces Jimmy Kimmel to recap the season…Jimmy cracks a joke that Sanjaya is doing the valet parking outside…Sanjaya in the house…He’s starting to bomb…Jimmy says without the makeup, Ryan would look like Chris Sligh…Jimmy cracks a joke about Paula-gate…Jimmy jokes Simon is the son of Satan. This is not going well…Jimmy runs a video of some of Simon’s slams set to silly music…Oh, that was LAME…Ryan says that was something like we’d see on a cruise ship or in a theme park…

8:45 Top six guys group sing now…Michael starts out “Summer of ‘69”…Now David Hernandez…Jason…Chikezie…Does that mean Bryan Adams is there to plug his new CD?…The Davids come down the stairs to do “Heaven.” I wanted to hear Cook do “Summer”…Now all the guys sing…Who’s got the melody here? All we can hear is Cook doing the low melody, and struggling a little…Here’s Bryan, who runs to the mike at the front of the stage. Man, look how skinny he is…Wow, he makes me feel old…Yes, this is his new song, “I Thought I’d Seen Everything”…The guys join him…They sound good together…Have I mentioned that I wish David H. had made the tour…Bryan now switches to “I Need Somebody”…Bryan’s still got the voice, though…Cook’s mom is enjoying it…Bo Bice in the house, but what’s up with the suit?…Break…

Hot Stuff

8:25 We’re back…Jason Castro comes out to sing “Hallelujah.” Nice!…The music is a little too loud and Jason doesn’t seem to be putting as much into it this time…Okay, this is completely falling apart. He’s totally ahead of the music…Now, he gets it back, but he blows the last note. Oh well, he tried…Teri Hatcher in the house…

8:27 Ford ad: “Let the Good Times Roll”…Outtakes from all of the previous commercials…

8:28 Ryan back on stage with the two Davids. I smell a car presentation…Yes, it’s an Escape hybrid. Cook is stunned. Has he never watched this show?…Archie tells Ryan he does have his license…

8:29 The top six girls do “She Works Hard for the Money”…Amanda looks lost and makes sure to check each step as she comes down the stairs…Was that supposed to be dancing, Brooke? I’ve got no rhythm and I could have done better than that…Amanda starts out “Hot Stuff.” Can anyone understand anything she’s singing?…Carly takes over on the chorus…Now, Ramiele. She’s too young to be singing and moving like that…Dancers are back…And of course, Donna Summer is there. She’s doing “Stamp Your Feet,” her new single. Two guys led her down the stairs, but I couldn’t tell who it was. It looked like Cook and someone else…The girls are backing Donna up. She sounds pretty good…Seacrest is rocking out over on the stairs with his jacket off…Ryan comes out and attempts to dance with the dancers and then goes over to the stairs exhausted…Speaking of exhausted, Donna is looking tired as she starts “Last Dance.” The girls join her…Now it’s just Syesha grooving with her…Her microphone doesn’t work, so Donna gives her hers. Nice. Syesha sings and hands it back…Marissa Janet Winkour in the house…Syesha is getting a lot of microphone time tonight. Payback, perhaps?…Okay, the lights were still out, but seeing that bright red hair, I’ve got to believe Fantasia is in the house. Oh, PLEASE, Ryan, ask her about Simon’s reaction to her performance…

"I am so high, I can see heaven..."

8:09 We’re back…NICE. David Cook comes out doing “Hero” and then David A. joins him…There was some confusion coming back from the break. Not sure what happened…This is AWESOME, but Cook is singing Archie under the table…NICE falsetto on the harmony. I think even Archie knows he’s getting outsung…This is a beautiful illustration of who will be the more marketable and sellable. That’s why I have to believe Simon was using reverse psychology. He has to know that…

8:12 Ryan asks David Cook about his spiritual adviser, Pitka. Who? Oh, it’s a lame promo for “The Love Guru” starring Mike Myers…To the video..The Davids see the movie and then go to meet him. Archuleta is a little unsure but Cook is gamely playing along…His advice to Cook is to shave his facial hair. That’s not funny…He cracks a slightly dirty joke to Archie and Archie’s a little perplexed while Cook laughs…He attempts to shave Cook, which gets a big laugh from Cook…Now, he comes out on stage. I presume this is a FOX movie…Man, this is LAME…Pitka tells Randy he is his dawg, he tells Paula he loves her, but he loves Simon even more…He predicts the winner’s name will be David. Oh yeah, that’s original…That was SO unnecessary it hurts…

8:17 Ryan sits on the moving pillow Pitka came in on and almost tumbles down the stage stairs. That was actually funny…

8:17 Syesha comes out to sing “Waiting For You”…She brings out her special guest, Seal…He is wearing some seriously tight pants, but Syesha’s dress is beautiful…The song, however, does not suit her voice. It’s way too low…But in her defense, Seal is not completely on key himself…Paula is up dancing, but this is not that good…

8:20 Was that Joel McHale in the house?…Break…

"Get Ready"

7:59 David and David face each other in all white as Ryan does his dramatic intro…Cook is really intense…Ryan, what was up with your animated “season finale”? Where was “THIS…is American Idol”? I can’t believe we didn’t get that at all during the last week…

8:01 Holly Robinson-Peete in the house…97 ½ million votes came in last night. HOLY COW! It breaks the “Idol” record by 23 million votes…One David got 56% and one David got 44%. That’s not very close at all. Wonder why they decided to reveal that…

8:02 Uh-oh. Hometown check-ins. Mikalah Gordon in Kansas City…Matt Rogers in Salt Lake City. They actually brought him back after he embarrassed himself a couple of years ago. Nice…

8:03 The top 12 with the “So You Think You Can Dance” dancers doing “Get Ready”…What are those short shorts Syesha is wearing? Yipes!…This actually sounds good…I didn’t realize how much I had missed Michael Johns’ hokey choreography…Shouldn’t the “SYTYCD” dancers be dancing?…Okay, now I see why they’re not. Those lifts were awful…Man, I wish David Hernandez had made the top 10...Looks like the pyrotechnics are working…Janice Dickinson in the house, screaming “I love you” to somebody. I hope it’s not Archuleta. Yikes!…Break…

Are You Ready?

I’m running a little late because I wanted to be completely ready before I started. That included downloading some David Cook videos from iTunes and then declaring my love for him a million times…

But I’m here now, ready to get this thing started. I’ve been jumping up and down since this afternoon.

Are you ready? THIS is the American Idol finale…

Tonight's Show...

So before I preview tonight’s finale, let me address an opinion that’s been making the rounds today…

There are a lot of people who believe that David Cook “threw the fight” last night, possibly because he didn’t want to be saddled with the “Idol” title.

But I didn’t see that last night. I saw a guy who was giving all he could to songs he wanted to sing—the same thing he did all season. The difference was that Archuleta sang songs that were more appropriate to the moment, and quite frankly, a little safe.

Now, whether Cook wants to win is a different story entirely. But I don’t think he gave up last night. Would a guy who’s trying to give up break down on stage in front of 7100 people and 30 million watching at home? I don’t think so…

On to tonight’s show…

I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a finale since Ruben vs. Clay. I honestly have no idea how it’s going to go. Yes, I know that DialIdol.com and practically every message board I’ve seen says Cook is going to win, but I said weeks ago that no one could beat Archuleta and I can’t really jump off that statement right now.

Plus, although I disagree that it was a “knockout,” I do agree that Archuleta came out on top last night and I just can’t ignore that. But as many on the Internet have said today, the fans have made up their minds long before the final performances and nothing will persuade them to change their votes.

But perhaps Simon’s comments persuaded some Cook fans to vote more times. I know at least one person who falls into that category…

I know, you’re saying, “It doesn’t matter. Look at Daughtry. Cook doesn’t need to win.” But part of Daughtry’s success was that Sony BMG/19 were looking for another “Idol” artist to market in place of Taylor Hicks. I’m not saying Daughtry didn’t make a good CD, I’m just saying that he got a lot of support a lot of other non-winners don’t. I’m concerned that without the title, Cook won’t get the support he deserves a la Blake and Bo…

As for the two-hour show tonight, there are so many rumors about who’s going to be there that I’m not even going to try to sort them out for you. We can just all find out together whether George Michael or Michael Jackson is making an appearance.

Remember, however, that last year’s show ran long (angering even Jay Leno), so if you’re taping, be sure to allow extra time.

I’ll be back around 7:45 to guide you through the two plus hours, so I hope you’ll join me then.

We’re almost at the finish, gang. Just two more hours to go…

DialIdol “Definitively” Predicts a Winner

So, while the rest of us try to decide who we think is going to win this thing, DialIdol has “definitively” predicted a winner…

You may remember that DialIdol.com is the site that offers speed dialing software to “Idol” fans, but it also measures busy signals to determine who will be eliminated each week and finally, who will win. Their theory is that the more busy signals, the more votes a contestant is getting.

This week’s DialIdol ratings show a large margin of victory for one of the Davids (40.93 to 29.37).

Here’s their prediction straight from their website:

“Let's be clear - DialIdol is definitively predicting that David _____ will win ‘American Idol.’ No ifs, ands or buts about it. No crazy margin of error claims or anything. The DialIdol scores are significantly different enough to wash all that out the window.”

So which David are they predicting? I’ll tell you…after the break.

Just kidding. We’ll get a lot of that tonight so I wanted to get you ready.

DialIdol is definitively predicting that David Cook will be our next “American Idol.”

Which leads me to a theory…

Was Simon trying to rally the Cook fans last night with his comments?

I have to admit that Simon left me a little confused. If he wanted Cook to win—as he told Jay Leno—then why would he be so unabashedly pulling for Archuleta? There’s no way Archie won round one last night.

But if my theory is right, then it would make a little more sense. Although I’m not sure that anything this show does makes sense any more…

And the winning song is...

This morning when I was rehashing last night’s episode in my head, one of the questions I was asking was what the winner will actually sing tonight.

And then I remembered something that Paula said. When Simon said he didn’t see “Dream Big” as the “winner’s single,” Paula told him that it wasn’t the winner. I just blew it off as Paula being Paula.

Well, guess what kids. Paula actually knew what she was talking about…

Tonight, the winning David will sing the winner of the Songwriting Competition, “The Time of My Life,” written by Regie Hamm (according to an article today in USAToday.com).

So why did the producers break tradition and hold the “coronation song” until the finale? I have no idea. But am I the only one that feels a little duped?

If you recall, in my critique of “Dream Big,” I said that David Cook should have picked a song more appropriate for the occasion, which Simon said as well. But since it’s not the actual coronation song, that gives me a whole different perspective.

Could it have given others watching a different perspective too? Hmmm…

Before I dissolve into another round of conspiracy theories, let me share with you what I wrote about the song on May 1st…

“The Time of My Life”: 9This one could work for David C. and it does have some inspirational lyrics like “take every moment.” Plus, it has a catchy chorus.

Man, now I’m regretting only voting for Cook 12 times…

By the way, Claymates are already familiar with Hamm. He co-wrote “Something About Us,” a beautiful new ballad on Clay’s new CD…

The Davids Speak!

After last night’s performances, EW.com had a chance to speak with the Davids about the night and their song choices…

For the songwriting competition choice, David only listened to the first 30 seconds of each song and “Dream Big” was the one that grabbed [him] the quickest.”

In retrospect, I think I was actually a little harsh on that one. The recap made it sound really catchy. I think it may have just been a victim of the band…

“The World I Know” was a song that David had wanted to do for a while and almost did last week. He told EW.com, “It's just an amazing song, so to be able to do it on the show, win, lose, or draw, it was more fun than I could possibly put into words.”

So why did David A. choose “Imagine”? Because it was his best performance of the season? Nope. He had to…

He told EW.com, “Yeah, there were a bunch of songs that I wanted to but didn't work out. You know, just [rights] clearing issues with the songs. So they said, ‘You're going to have to do a song that's already been cleared.’ And so, you know, hey, ‘Imagine’ — I guess it was meant to be.”

So imagine if one of those other songs had cleared. Would Simon have been singing a different tune last night?

Speaking of Simon, even Archie was a little perplexed by the judge last night, telling EW.com, “I don't know what Simon's problem was…[Cook] was awesome”…

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Are You Having a Finale Party?

Based on what I've been hearing on the Internet, it looks like the finale is going to be much better than last year's. So it should be quite the festive evening.

Which leads me to a question...

Are any of you out there having an "Idol" finale party?

If you are, I want to hear about it. Send stories and pictures to hdstaytuned@hotmail.com. Be sure to include your name and hometown and to only send pictures you're willing to allow me to post.

I'll share pictures from my "Idol" party as well.

But don't worry, I already had my party. I will be here live, as always, tomorrow for the finale. I hope you'll all join me then...

Some Troubling Idol News

Here’s a shocker I found in my inbox after the final performance show…

Luke Menard, the young Kenny Loggins look-a-like who was eliminated after mangling “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” has been diagnosed with cancer.

A spokesperson for Luke’s a capella ensemble, Chapter 6, confirmed to CBS News that Luke has stage II Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The spokesperson said that Luke and his wife have been told the cancer is “treatable and manageable.”

Luke has made several appearances in the “Idol” audience this season, including last week…

So who's the next American Idol?

So, who won tonight’s “prize fight”?

Honestly, I think David Cook lost the second that coin landed Archuleta side up…

As good as David was, and he was good tonight, I just don’t think there’s any way he can compete with the emotional impact of “Imagine” as a closing number.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. It doesn’t matter because David Cook will get a record deal anyway, and that’s true. But the recent track record of runners-up makes me want David to win just so they’ll actually promote him…

So what do you think? Did Archuleta score a knockout as Simon said or is David Cook still in this thing?

Please jump in with your comments while I do what I can to help Cook win…

Round Three Continued...

David Archuleta, “Imagine”: 20
I’m not sure it was quite as good as the first time, but then maybe that’s because it wasn’t surprising. And is it just me or is David singing a little angry tonight? I’m thinking he’s taking this boxing metaphor to heart.

Round three to David Archuleta…

And of course, the show has to conclude with the goodbye song, “Celebrate Me Home” by David Archuleta. Let’s get a better one of those next year, can we please?…

Notice the lack of crowd response to the song...

Round Three: Contestants' Choice

Round three is the contestant’s choice…

David Cook, “The World I Know”: 19
And he just barely made it. I almost gave that point back after his breakdown, but if I’m being honest I have to take away a point for song choice, because as beautiful as it was, it just wasn’t the dramatic ending he needed. I’m with Simon. I really wanted to hear “Billie Jean” or “Hello”--which I told you last night.

And didn’t you love David making sure everyone knew he wasn’t arguing with Simon? Man, he is still smarting from that, isn’t he?…

But I have to wonder. Why didn't they specifically make it a rerun song like they always do? Hmmm...

Round Two Continued...

David Archuleta, “In This Moment”: 20
I think David must have changed this considerably since I said in my Songwriting post that this one sounded like a Simple Plan ballad. I can’t see confetti falling to this one, but it was still the better choice.

Round two goes to David Archuleta…

Round Two: The Songwriting Competition Choices

The second round is the contestants’ choices from the top 10 of the Songwriting Competition…
And no, they didn’t pick the good ones…

David Cook, “Dream Big”: 18
David did manage to change this one from a country song to a rock song, but still, it just didn’t quite work and man, do I hope they don’t release this as a single. Plus, the band was so loud that we couldn’t hear the words.

However, I did give it an 8, so I probably helped put it on the list…

Round One: Clive's Choice

The first round is Clive’s choice. “Man with the Golden Ear,” my foot…

David Cook, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”: 15
Let’s see Archuleta march through the audience and take that mini-stage like that. I LOVE HIM! I just hope he can hold it together for the entire show.

David Archuleta, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”: 13
Sorry, Archie, you’re no Clay Aiken. But I feel for you that you got saddled with such an “Idol” standard. That’s Clive for you.

Round One goes to David Cook--regardless of what the judges say. I think they’ve made their choice already…

"Let's Get Ready to Rumble..."

As we begin tonight’s show, let me pass along this bit of news from TVGuide.com…

“Extra” is reporting that David Cook’s brother, Adam, will be in the audience tonight and tomorrow night.

A campaign was launched last month to raise the money to get Adam back to the finale, but “Extra” was unsure if that campaign is how this latest trip was paid for.

Man, I’m going to cry again tonight, aren’t I?…

Let’s find out…

First the dramatic intro stuff…Michael Buffer and boxing outfits? Come on…But man, is David Cook taking this seriously. I’d watch out Archie…

WAIT A MINUTE!!! We don’t get to hear Ryan say, “This…is American Idol” for the final performance show? What the crap?!…

Luke Perry and the top 12 in the house…

Jim Lampley? I think we’re taking this boxing metaphor a little too far, aren’t we?…

David Cook is getting more screams…

Why is Andrew Lloyd Webber back? Did he pick something?…

David Cook is being so modest…

Why are we stalling? We have to fit in three songs!

David says the competition is already over and they’re just having fun. I hope that doesn’t mean he’s not going to give it everything he’s got…

We’ll get this thing started…after the break…

It's Not Long Now...

So, we’re now only fifteen minutes away from what will probably be the closest finale since Ruben and Clay.

Normally by this time I have the song list for you, but all of the websites are disagreeing with each other, so we’ll all just have to wait and see. If the guys have chosen the “coronation” songs that one site says they are, they could actually be good…

Shocker, I know…

In case I have some people joining me for the first time tonight, let me go over my ratings system. I use the official scorecard from “American Idol” magazine (which is no longer in publication). The scorecard uses four categories: Vocal Ability, Song Choice, Personality and Stage Presence (The official scorecard also has Appearance, but I eliminated that one after some controversial scores in season four.). Each category has a maximum score of five. Those scores are added together to get the contestant’s total, with a maximum score of 20.

Tonight, two of the songs will only be scored out of 15 since the Davids won’t be making the choice.

I’ll be back in fifteen to begin the big showdown…

Is Paula Going to Perform on the Finale?

Warning: If you do not want to know anything about Wednesday’s finale, stop reading now…

Is Paula going to perform on the finale?

According to reports, yes she is…

WOO-HOO!

Yahoo reports that Paula will debut a song from her upcoming album and the top 12 will perform with her for a group number (Does that mean David A. will play MC Scat Cat?). I feel quite certain these performances will be taped, but it doesn’t matter. It’s great that “Idol” is showing Paula some love…

So who else can we expect on the finale?

Carrie Underwood will perform “Last Name,” according to her MySpace page. In fact, two Idols from each of the previous six seasons will come back for a group number, according to Yahoo. Which two from which seasons? I can’t tell you because only Bo Bice is confirmed. I think this would be a good time to bring in Clay, don’t you? Actually, I think Clay should get to sing his own song, but I digress…

Dancers from “So You Think You Can Dance” will return. Big shocker there since the show premieres the next night…

Nigel told Ryan on his radio show that there will be another performance by Elvis with several people this time. Yes, we know that “Idol” and Elvis are owned by the same company, but come on…

Robert Downey Jr. will make an appearance, as will the “biggest star in the world,” according to Nigel. I have no idea who he’s talking about here. Anyone else like to see Michael Jackson duet with David C. on “Billie Jean”?...

Nigel also told Ryan that the top five will sing duets with “somebody.” FOX News reported that “each of the Idols” will be singing with the celebrity mentors from the season. But since there were only four, who’s the fifth? MJ’s Big Blog is speculating the fifth is the “biggest star” Nigel was talking about and that “Idol” has finally landed Paul McCartney. Or maybe FOX News and Nigel are talking about two totally different things…

The Jonas Brothers (Is anyone else totally over them?) will be performing, according to FOX News and the “Daily Press” is reporting that One Republic canceled a gig to be available for the finale. Remember when the finale was actually about the Idols?...

Speaking of One Republic, Digital Spy is reporting that David and David will duet with “Apologize,” but would they really do that with One Republic there? And if they do, does that mean we’ll hear two One Republic songs? Is that some kind of payback for lead singer Ryan Tedder co-writing “Bleeding Love”?

I’ll have more as the details come in…

David vs. David: Clive is Back and a Big Twist

Warning: If you don’t want to know anything about tonight’s show, stop reading now…

You guys know how I feel about Clive Davis, so I was thrilled (read that with TONS of sarcasm) to find out that “Idol” has gone back to its old ways and allowed Clive to pick one of the contestants’ three songs tonight. I know he and Simon are best buds now that Leona Lewis is a big success, but look at all the Idol careers he’s crushed. Shouldn’t that stand for something?

And to prove my point, the buzz on the Internet (via Digital Spy and IdolLive is that Clive has chosen “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” for David A. How stale can you get, Clive? Sheesh! Didn’t you already pick that for Clay (after he picked it for himself in the wild card round) AND Bo? However, that pick is unconfirmed, so maybe he’ll surprise me, but I doubt it…

The big news is that apparently the Davids got to choose their own “coronation” song from the 10 most popular songs from the Songwriters’ Competition. Although ETOnline.com reported that the Davids would both sing the songwriting winner, MJ’s Big Blog, Digital Spy and IdolLive are all reporting that Nigel announced them having a choice on a radio show (Remember that Simon promised us a twist.). You may recall that when I critiqued the ten finalists, I said there were good songs for both Davids that were not necessarily winner’s single material. Apparently, the producers recognized that as well—if indeed this is true…

So then the point of the whole Songwriting Competition is what? Why not let the Idols write their own songs?...

The third song is their choice and is usually a rerun of something they’ve already done during the season. Therefore, David A. is doing “Imagine,” according to Nigel, who revealed the choice on Ryan’s radio show. But David C., according to FOX News, is doing U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which he did not do during the competition, unless he did it during Hollywood and we didn’t see it. MJ’s Big Blog reports that David C. is the first Idol to get a U2 song cleared for the show.

“Imagine” is a great choice for David A., as I said last night, but I’m not sure about “Still” for David C. It’s a great song, but if he wanted to do a U2 song, I would’ve gone with “Without You.” Maybe he’s got some cool way to change it up…

Interestingly, David A. told USAToday.com that he couldn’t get a song cleared for tonight. “Hopefully, the song I ended up with will work. I’ll do the best with it.” Rumors are flying on the Internet that David A. wanted to do “Crazy,” which he reportedly brought the house down with in Hollywood. You’ll remember it went unseen because both members of Gnarls Barkley would not approve it. I really wish they would’ve changed their minds because I would’ve liked to have seen how he did that one…

Back later with more updates…

Nigel Defends “Hit Me Up”

Today on USAToday.com, Michael Slezak of “Entertainment Weekly” takes a few more shots against the show he loves and Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe steps in to defend it and himself…

Slezak told USAToday.com that part of the show’s ratings problems is that it is displaying an “arrogance I’ve never seen before. The show consistently damaged its own credibility.”
Slezak called last week’s choice of “Hit Me Up” for Syesha “a vicious case of sabotage. They didn’t need to make it that obvious. The viewers are smarter than the show gives them credit for.”

Nigel, of course, denied that the producers were manipulating the outcome by saying Syesha “made a poor choice herself with ‘Fever.’ Until that point, (the judges) had been very strong in Syesha’s favor. ‘Fever’ tipped the balance.”

Maybe, but didn’t “Hit” send her over the edge? Whatever helps you sleep at night, Nigel…

Simon Speaks Out on the Big Battle, Paula and Fantasia

Simon Cowell appeared on “The Tonight Show” last night and not surprisingly, he had some interesting things to say…

After Jay completely embarrassed him with a bunch of personal questions about his childhood, they got down to the nitty gritty.

Simon said he didn’t care who won, but if he had to pick which one he’d like to see win, it would be David Cook. Because he came from being a bartender, Simon believes David C. “deserves to win more” as opposed to David A. who “hasn’t quite had to work so hard”…

When Jay mentioned Fantasia being on the show last week, Simon practically spit out his water and said, “Oh God,” and then asked Jay if he had the clip of his reaction—which he did, of course. After the clip, Simon said the look on his face said, “What the bloody h—l was that?...It was like something that I have never seen in my life…It was like one of those first round auditions.”

Simon reiterated that he loves Fantasia, but that this “wasn’t her at her best”…

As for Paula’s gaffe, Simon told Jay that when the producers said the judges weren’t going to critique after the first song, he actually fought with the producers and the network. Simon then told Jay he was partly to blame for Paula’s confusion because he was asking her questions that were confusing her because he was confused. And then he turned to the audience with a big smile and asked, “Is this believable?”

Hmmm…

By the way, the new American Idol will be on “The Tonight Show” Thursday…

Monday, May 19, 2008

David vs. David: What Should They Sing?

So, now that I’ve caught you up on the latest news, let’s get back to the battle at hand…

What should David and David sing?

As you probably remember, each of them will sing three songs. But what those three will be varies from year to year.

One thing that has always been the same is that the top two do one song that they’ve already performed on the show.

So which rerun song should the Davids do?

For David Archuleta, I think he has to go with “Imagine.” After all, that was the song that made him the frontrunner.

David Cook, however, is a tougher choice. “Always Be My Baby” is my favorite of his, but I’m not sure that song would have the same impact the second time around. And it does expose his lower register weaknesses. If I was David, I would go with “Billie Jean” or the song that first put him on the road to the finale, “Hello”…

What do you think?

As for the other two songs, we usually find out what they are before the show begins, so I’ll pass them on to you just as soon as I get them…

Jennifer Hudson is in the "Spotlight"

Next weekend, you can catch Jennifer Hudson on the big screen in “Sex and the City.” Then, next month, you can hear her on the radio…

J-Hud’s first single, “Spotlight,” will hit radio stations June 9th and iTunes June 10th. Her CD will hit stores in September. Contributing to the album are Timbaland, Robin Thicke, The Underdogs and Diane Warren.

You can hear “Spotlight” here. Be sure to tell me what you think.

I think it has a catchy chorus, but there’s something about it that makes me wonder if her album won’t be the same old Clive Davis drivel…

A Best Buy Bargain

This week at Best Buy, you can get your favorite Idols at the great price of $7.99...

Pick up “Daughtry,” “Jordin Sparks,” Kelly’s “Breakaway,” Carrie’s “Carnival Ride,” Blake’s “Audio Day Dream” and Clay’s “On My Way Here.”

At that price, might I recommend picking up Clay and Blake? They would make a nice gift for someone…

The Idol Song Showdown

You can take a fun quiz at EW.com that lets you choose between “Idol” performances of the same song.

One of the questions is Jordin vs. Clay on “To Love Somebody.” I think you know how I voted on that one considering that’s the song that made me fall in love with Clay in the first place…

You can take the quiz here.

Ryan Seacrest: The Show Is Getting a Little Stale

On “Larry King Live” last week, Ryan Seacrest told Larry that he thought “Idol” was getting a little “stale.”

Ryan said, “I mean, sometimes I even feel like I’m going to the same place, sort of doing the same thing and it’s just part of the mechanics of the show. So maybe we need to adjust some of those mechanics.”

Larry floated an idea circulating that Ryan will get a female co-host next season, which Ryan said he hadn’t heard. Man do I hope that’s not true…
Larry and Ryan also took the opportunity to deny the rumor that Ryan will be taking over “Larry King Live”…

Speaking of “LKL,” the Davids and the rest of the top 10 will be on the show Friday, May 23rd and again on Monday, May 26th. “LKL” airs at 9 p.m. on CNN…

Taylor Hits Broadway

Taylor Hicks is adding his name to the list of Idols making a splash on Broadway…

Beginning June 6th, Taylor will join the cast of “Grease.”

So, is he playing Danny or Kenickie? Nope. he’ll be Teen Angel, which means he’ll belt out “Beauty School Dropout.”

Taylor told the Associated Press that he will finish up his second album this summer. He said because he had “creative freedom” it gave him the time to “write some of the best music that [he’s] ever written.”

Taylor also said that there has been some “great interest” from record labels since he was dropped by J/19...

David Cook: "I thought my ticket was punched"...

Unbelievably, David Cook thought he was the one going home last week…

David C. told “USA Today,” “I thought my ticket was punched. I honestly did. Syesha is an amazing performer and she really hit her stride in the last two, three, four weeks”…

I guess that explains his lack of emotion after the announcement. I was a little concerned…

Clay vs. Neil: The Final Numbers

So, what were the final numbers for Clay’s first sales week?

Clay debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 with slightly less than 94,000 in sales.

Neil Diamond’s “Home Before Dark” sold 146,000 to debut at #1 ahead of Toby Keith’s “35 Biggest Hits,” which sold 103,000.

Not bad for Clay, right? Well, yeah, except for the fact that “A Thousand Different Ways,” his last CD, sold 211,000 in its first week.

But, in Clay’s defense, overall CD sales were higher in 2006...

This Week...

Thanks to this being the final week of sweeps and the lead-up to the “Idol” finale, I am a VERY busy girl…

But, I wanted to take just a minute to drop in and remind you that I will be blogging both Tuesday’s final performance show and Wednesday’s finale show live. You are all welcome to join me by posting your comments. I will post them as quickly as I can…

I’ll be back later tonight with more news, including Jennifer Hudson’s new single…

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Syesha's New Single

So, here’s something interesting. It seems Syesha has already released a single…

Syesha has teamed up with jazz legend Boney James for “Gonna Get It,” which was released exclusively through iTunes this week--before she was eliminated from “Idol.”

So how did this work? I have no idea. However, it’s interesting to note that James’ record label is Concord--the same label as Randy Jackson.

Hmmmm…

You can hear it for yourself here.

WKEE Goes Inside the Finale

Those of you in the Tri-State area will get a special inside look--or more precisely, listen--into the “Idol” finale…

WKEE’s (100.5 FM) morning show team, Sheila and Jim, will broadcast live from Los Angeles beginning Monday.

“On Air with Sheila and Jim” will broadcast live from 6-10 a.m. Monday through Wednesday from the Nokia Lounge inside the Nokia Theater, where the finale will take place. During the shows, they’ll conduct interviews with “Idol” participants both past and present.

Monday, Sheila and Jim will attend a party that will feature a special performance by Ace Young (Yea! Someone’s actually promoting his album!) and is scheduled to be attended by Bo Bice, Melinda Doolittle, Justin Guarini and more former Idols. Sheila and Jim will also attend the performance show on Tuesday and the finale on Wednesday.

Information provided by press release

Syesha Speaks

Thursday, Syesha had her chance to speak to the media about her future and that rotten song choice. And what we heard was a woman with a lot of confidence. Or is that cockiness?

Either way, I’m feeling a little better about the hand she was dealt…

When EW.com asked her if she knew it was going to be a David-David finale, she responded, “I didn’t get that memo.” In fact, she said she had heard rumors that it was going to be a David Cook-Syesha finale.

And what about that producers’ choice? She told TVGuide.com, “It’s not like I could change it. It really wasn’t a [singer’s song]. I wasn’t able to have back up dancers, most of the song was back-up singing, the whole studio-tech stuff. So, it was weird. Most of the song I wasn’t even supposed to be singing.”

In other words, I know they messed me over, but I can’t say that…

Does she regret choosing “Fever”? Syesha told EW.com that she doesn’t but she did have two other songs she wanted to do, but couldn’t. What were they? “I’ve been told not to say.”

Hmmm…

As for Syesha’s future, she told EW.com that she wants to do “everything. I want to make an album, do Broadway, act in films, open restaurants, homeless shelters, Lupus foundations. I want to do so many things. I’m really goal-oriented, and if you’re driven and focused it will happen for you.”

Syesha also told EW.com, “There are going to be ample opportunities to see more of me.”
I guess we’ll see…

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jeff Disses Syesha

I wasn't going to say anything since I've picked on this guy a lot lately. But after two different websites share it, I feel it is my duty to tell you...

According to MTV.com and EW.com, Jeff Archuleta did not join the audience in standing during Syesha's farewell song. His wife did, but he did not.

Can you say rude? Man, my sympathy for David just gets stronger and stronger as time goes by...

David vs. David: Who Won the Coin Toss?

Warning: If you do not want to know any details about next week’s singing order, stop reading now…

All “Idol” fans know that it’s better to go last on finale night, so the coin toss to determine order is extremely important (which makes Blake’s decision to defer to Jordin last year all the more painful, but I digress).

And, no surprise, Jeff Archuleta understands that too…

According to MTV News, Ryan’s David-David coin landed Archuleta side up, prompting Jeff to yell “Second! Second!” from the audience.

He couldn’t have given him those instructions before? They always do the coin toss after the top three results show. Do a little research, Jeff. Sheesh!

The article on MTV.com doesn’t actually say that David A. chose to go second, but considering the circumstances, I feel quite certain that he did.

“Idol” has been won by a contestant who did not go last (Ruben Studdard), but it is a lot trickier since the person who goes last gets the chance to go out on a big number, which will probably be the winner’s single.

But I wouldn’t look for any moves from the producers to make David C. look bad (as they did with Blake last year). I’m starting to think they want David C. to win this thing…

UPDATE: EW.com confirms that David Archuleta will go second. Apparently, the audience did a lot of prompting too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tom, It's Been Fun...

Many times this season--including today--I have mentioned my new friend Tom in Sarasota. Tom is a reporter for the “Sarasota Herald Tribune,” who was tasked with covering the journey of hometown girl Syesha Mercado. The only problem is that Tom had never watched “Idol” before.

Enter me.

It’s been a lot of fun talking with Tom each week as he started to discover all of the little idiosyncrasies of the show that we already know. And he always asked questions that made me think about the show in ways I never have before.

And quite frankly, it’s always nice to feel smart.

Here’s what Tom wrote about me on March 25th:

“Somebody in the newsroom just complimented my "American Idol" knowledge,
which is alarming, because that makes me a fraud who hasn't been properly
documenting his sources.
Well, source.

Several times a week I call Angela Henderson, who writes the "Idol
Chit-Chat" blog for the “Herald-Dispatch” newspaper in Huntington, W.Va.
Henderson is a college administrator who's been devoted to "American Idol" since
the first season. She's been kind enough to share her knowledge with me, and I
haven't been kind enough to properly credit her each time I write
something.

My excuse is that I'm trying to write quick, tight copy, and attribution
slows things down, but that's not much of an excuse.

So let me be clear: Henderson knows just about everything about "American
Idol," while I know almost nothing. She's been my expert guide this season.
Several times this year she's even guessed the songs that Syesha would sing.
Pretty impressive.”


See what I mean about feeling smart?

And yes, I’m aware that he’s wrong about me knowing everything, but it’s still cool that he would say it.

So, with the departure of the scrappy and classy Syesha tonight, I thought I would take this opportunity to say goodbye. Tom, if you’re reading this, I have truly enjoyed talking with you this season. If anyone from Sarasota makes the cut next year, feel free to give me a call…

And if anyone else out there would like to take Tom’s place in making me feel smart, you are more than welcome…

We're Finally Here! Woo-Hoo!

So, ladies and gentlemen, we are finally here. Finale Week! Woo-hoo! And as irritated with the show as I was earlier--and still am to a certain extent--I have to agree with Simon. This is going to be a humdinger. I predict that it will be the closest finale since Ruben and Clay.

For those of you who have been on this road with me before, you know the next several days will be a giant blur of coin tosses, song choices, interviews and much, much more. And I will do my best to stay on top of all of it.

And for the record, I have not changed my mind. I still feel betrayed by “Idol” and I won’t be as quick to defend it in the future. But I have devoted seven years of my life to this show. I couldn’t turn my back on it if I tried…

Strap in, folks. This is going to be fun…

And the Top Two Are...

9:56 Here we go…I’m REALLY nervous now…The two people are…David Archuleta…He’s stunned…I’m nervous again…David Cook. He shows no emotion as he gives Syesha a hug. I think he’s really sorry to see her go…The Davids sit on the couch as David A. continues his “I can’t believe this” shtick. Syesha says thank you to everyone and gets lots of screams…Wait, those screams are probably for the Davids…

9:58 She sings “If I Ain’t Got You” as images of her play on the video screen…That segue was a little awkward…Her dad sings along in the audience…Ryan motions the Davids to join Syesha on the stage…Syesha finishes and Ryan plugs the “big battle” as David A. continues to shake his head in disbelief…

9:59 And we’re out…

Darn you, "Idol"...

9:42 We’re back…This is actually moving along pretty good--minus that Fantasia whatever that was…David A. and Syesha are on the couch waiting…Now it’s David C.’s turn…I think he may have gotten a few more screams than David A. Definitely more people telling him they love him…Ryan points out it wasn’t David’s idea to audition and that he was there for his younger brother who stands up and waves. It was actually someone from the show interviewing him that talked him into auditioning. Thank you to whoever that was…Ryan brings his brother up on stage…Homecoming video…“Livin’ on a Prayer,” which you may remember was David’s audition song…David tells the weather on the FOX station…WOW! That’s a crowd. David’s stunned…He does a beautiful version of “Prayer.” Maybe he should do that for the song he’s never done next week since he only did it in the auditions. Don’t know if that counts or not…David surprises his music teacher…Those little girls are a mess. You’d think they’d be David A. fans…By the way, the song changed to “Dream On”…David says he doesn’t know how big the parade will be. I’d say pretty big…One girl holds up a sign that she drove 10 hours from Wisconsin…And finally, David cries. You know the cameras were waiting…And now his brother is crying…David throws out the first pitch at the Royals game. And it’s pretty good…

9:47 We’re back to the stage…Ryan recaps his performances…Ryan calls out Randy for being contradictory. Good for him!…David’s journey video to “What About Now?” Nice…Okay, I’m getting a little misty. Darn you, “Idol.“ I definitely care again. David C. has to make it to the finals. He just has to…

9:50 The three stand on the stage with Ryan…After the break…

Syesha's "Coming Out"

9:31 We’re back…David is on the sofa waiting…Syesha comes out…She gets some screams, but that one girl sounds like she’ll scream at anything…Syesha’s homecoming video to “I’m Coming Out”…A woman just hands her baby to Syesha without hesitation and Syesha freaks out a little. Can’t blame her there…Syesha breaks down after the mayor of Bradenton declares it her day…Song change to something moody about home…She had big crowds, but they didn’t look like they came anywhere close to David A.’s crowds…Syesha in the FOX affiliate helicopter. That’s a nice chopper…Okay, THAT’S a big crowd…She breaks down again when they chant her name…And she totally loses it in the limo…She holds a snow globe of Sarasota…

9:36 Back to the studio…Ryan recaps her performances…Ryan asks if she thinks Paula was too hard on her and she says no. Simon says she was…Syesha’s “Idol” journey to “I Believe.” So what’s the deal? Last night they screw her over and now they’re rolling out a dramatic goodbye? I guess they owe her…So does this mean we won’t hear “Celebrate Me Home” tonight? Aw, that’s a shame…Break…

David A.'s Homecoming

9:19 We‘re back…Tour plug. I’m wavering again on whether to go or not…The three are standing backstage…They’re going to start the results now?…David A. out first…I think they’re conning us and are actually just introducing the Homecoming videos…David’s video…He’s impressed that his high school cheerleaders are there. Remember, he is still in high school…David continues his modesty by saying he doesn’t think very many people will be at the mall to see him. Yeah, right…And David breaks down. That’s actually kind of sweet…David asks where all the people parked…Is that David’s mom? Why don’t we see more of her and less of Jeff?…Speaking of which, there he is with a big close-up…David sings “Imagine.” I think that should be his repeat song in next week’s finale…

9:24 We’re back to David A. and Ryan…David’s embarrassed that they showed him crying so much…Ryan recaps his performances…The girls scream at “With You.” Probably because that was the only song he did last night that they knew…Ryan reminds us it’s a close race and tells us this could be David’s last night…A recap of David’s time on “Idol.” I don’t think they usually do this. Man, we’re stalling…It’s the song they should have stuck with for the goodbye song, “Best Days”…Break…See, I told you they weren’t going to start the results yet. That was a terrible segue, Ryan. I’m disappointed in you…

Fantasia, um...

9:07 We’re back…Ford ad: “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys…The Idols go to a fortune teller and see a glimpse of living large, with Fords, of course. That was probably the best one of those all season…

9:08 Recap…They repeat Randy calling Syesha “number three”…That recap even showed David A. struggling. How could the judges not acknowledge that just a little? It wouldn’t make a difference in the end…So did David C. switch his song at the last minute. “The World I Know” would have worked better…So who told Paula to tell Syesha she wouldn’t make the finals? I have never heard Paula say anything that pointed to a contestant…

9:11 Time for Fantasia to perform…Her song is “Bore Me”…What’s up with those dancing backup singers?…And what is up with that bright orange hair?…Sorry, I’ve never been a fan. I voted for Diana…I can’t really understand all the lyrics, but I think she’s singing about her boyfriend hooking up with another girl. I’m not sure this is all that appropriate…Did you catch the girls in the front laughing at her?…The camera catches Simon staring at the stage with his mouth wide open and then he sees the camera is on him…The judges clap for the end, but Simon clearly rolls his eyes…I’m with Simon. That was scary…Break…

Top Three Results Show: "Ain't No Stopping Us Now"

So before we actually get this started, let me take just a minute and defend myself…

Someone told me earlier that I was being mean to David A. and that I should remember he is just a kid. For the record, I have nothing against David A. I actually like him a lot. I’m being mean to his dad, Jeff, who I think could end up being David’s downfall.

Speaking of his dad, TMZ reports that he gave dirty looks to Nigel all night long and tried to schmooze with all of the celebrities in the audience. According to the report, Randy and Paula showed him some love, but there was no interaction with Simon. TMZ also said that Jeff tried to get the attention of Diane Warren, but she ignored him.

And suddenly I’m ready to forgive her for some of those sappy ballads she’s written…

Let’s get this thing started…

8:59 Intro…56 million votes…Syesha is playing with something on her back. She must be having trouble with her microphone pack…

9:00 The crowd is really excited tonight…Kristy Lee, Michael and Andrew Lloyd Webber in the house tonight…

9:01 Ryan says that history shows that getting this close and having to go home is “devastating.” Who is he talking about?…Ryan cautions Paula for her lowcut dress and it is pretty low…

9:02 Group sing, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”…David C. gets more screams than David A…Syesha gets no screams…Wonder what the Davids will sing together next week?…Yeah, I admit it, I’m starting to care again a little…They’re letting Syesha sing a lot tonight. So now they give her something to sing?…Michael Buffer in the house…And all of the top 12...Break…

Tonight's Show: I Could Care Less

So, last night I wrote that I thought the fix was in, and the producers were purposely trying to sink Syesha. Then I started watching “Women’s Murder Club” and didn’t really give it much more thought.

But then I decided to check out my friend Tom’s blog from the “Sarasota Herald Tribune” to see what he had to say and saw that Tom shared the thoughts from my blog on his blog. Now, I had read my own blog, but for some reason, seeing my words on someone else’s site--a site that Syesha’s own hometown would be reading--just got to me and I snapped.

When I talked to Tom via e-mail this morning, he told me I was taking this way more seriously than he was. I told him that when you devote five months of your life to the show and then they pull a stunt like this, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been slapped in the face.

Tell me I’m taking it too seriously, or call me a drama queen if you want, but that’s how I feel.

For seven seasons, I have defended “Idol” against conspiracy theorists who have accused the show of being rigged. No more. The curtain has been pulled back and I have seen the wizard. And I do not like what I see…

The producers purposely sabotaged the contestant they wanted out last night. I’m not saying she deserved a spot in the finals, but she did deserve a fair chance to try. And she didn’t get it.

So now, believe it or not, I could care less about what happens tonight.

I do regret that I didn’t vote a couple hundred times for Syesha last night. But honestly, would it have really mattered? I think at this point, the show is willing to do whatever it takes to get the finale it wants.

And then people wonder why the ratings are down…

DVD Review: "Season 6 Finale Performance Show--The Top 2"


So when I first heard about the release of a DVD of last year’s “Idol” final performance show, I was a little skeptical.

After all, I just didn’t think there were enough good moments to warrant a DVD.

But I’m happy to say that after watching “American Idol: Season 6 Finale Performance Show--The Top 2,” I was wrong.

There are several moments worth reliving--most of them coming from a swollen-nosed Paula. You may recall that Paula said she tripped over her dog and bruised her nose. Whatever happened, the loopiness was in full force. At one point, when Daughtry is taking the stage to sing “Home,” Paula yells, “Chris, I love you” right over Ryan’s intro like she doesn’t even know they’re on the air--a definite DVD moment.

There’s also Blake’s performance of “You Give Love a Bad Name,” which is always worth watching, and Jordin’s flawless “Broken Wing.”

But it was painful to see Blake struggle through “This Is My Now” again, although I still contend his verse was gorgeous. And it makes me wonder all over again why Blake was forced to sing the song back-to-back with Jordin (In light of recent events, I’m starting to think the producers were setting Blake up for a fall. His record company certainly has.).

The DVD also allows us to relive Jordin’s winning moment and her post-Idol crowning performance. And I shocked myself by actually tearing up during that dreadful song.

But in my defense, it wasn’t so bad in that moment. It’s when they try and translate it to anything else that it fails.

If you’re a Jordin fan, you’ll definitely want to have this one in your collection to relive her shining moment again and again.

But for the rest of us “Idol” fans, there’s the bonus disc. The featurette on Jordin doesn’t really deliver anything new, but the one on Blake shows some great stuff with Blake and Ryan at the Seattle auditions. You can tell that Ryan thought Blake was going to be a joke.

There are bloopers as well from last season’s contestants trying to tape their song intros and a few from Ryan. They’re nothing major, but some of them do give a little insight into the “Idol” process.

The real gem of this release is the “How to Audition for American Idol Guide.” I wouldn’t call it an actual how-to as much as it is just a great look at a lot of good stuff from last season that we didn’t get to see that illustrate certain qualities every “Idol” contestant must have. I love hearing Sanjaya tell us that stage presence is most important. It is what worked most for him after all.

But the best part is hearing Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe’s speech to the contestants. I thought I took this show seriously…

The one bad thing about the bonus disc is that all of the featurettes made me realize how much I missed group night this season (Bring it back!).

“The Top 2” is a DVD I would recommend to all “Idol” fans because it’s a chance to own a part of the show’s history.

I just hope this DVD isn’t the end. I would like to see DVDs of all the “Idol” finale performance shows both past and future. Think about it. Wouldn’t you like to relive Ruben vs. Clay? And how many of you out there even saw Kelly vs. Justin?

Trust me. She mopped the floor with him…

“American Idol: Season 6 Finale Performance Show--The Top 2,” from KOCH Vision, is available in stores now, just in time to get you geared up for another finale…
Photo provided by KOCH Vision

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So who's going home?

So who’s going home? Do I even have to ask?

Let me say, however, that if Syesha does go home tomorrow night, and I believe that she will, that it will not be because of anything she did or didn’t do. She gave it her all tonight. She just didn’t get much help from Randy or the producers.

And let’s be honest. Maybe that was their plan…

What do you guys think? Will we get the David vs. David finale the producers have wanted all along or can Syesha play spoiler?

And am I the only one that would kind of like to see the producers’ party spoiled--as long as it’s David A. who goes home?

David Wins the Night

David Cook, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”: 15
How is it that David always makes me love songs I’ve always hated? When Ryan said what the song was, I actually said, “Oh, come on!” But as usual he made it work. I don’t know what Randy was listening to because that was awesome. How was that predictable? He totally changed the song around! And Diane Warren (who wrote the song) loved it, so who cares what Randy thinks anyway?

And why can’t she write the winner’s single? You know she’s dying to write something for either of the Davids…

The Fix Is In

Syesha Mercado, “Hit Me Up”: 14
Ladies and gentlemen, the fix is in. Why would the producers give a contestant trying to get in the finals a song with very little actual singing in it (and all the singing that is in it done by the backup singers)? Could it be because they don’t want that contestant to succeed? I think she did everything she could with the song, but you could tell she wasn’t really happy with the choice.

And haven’t they used that song in “So You Think You Can Dance” promos? Come on, Nigel. You can do better than that…

David Dares Us to Move, While David A. Puts Me to Sleep

David Cook, “Dare You to Move”: 18
So this isn’t the song that all the sites were reporting he had chosen, but when I heard he was doing this, I got excited--until I heard it. Was it just me or did it seem really short? He should’ve got off the verse quicker because his lower register was wavering all over the place. I think he might’ve killed his voice with the first one.

And finally, the producers’ choices…

David Archuleta, “Longer”: 14
As Paula said, it was “very lovely,” but did anyone else nod off? What were the producers thinking?

David Chokes a Bit and Syesha Gets the "Fever"

And now the contestants' choices...

David Archuleta, “With You”: 17
That sound you heard at the beginning was David choking. I also applaud Jeff’s--I mean David’s--choice of a newer song, but I agree with Randy that the lyrics were awkward. And there were so many of them that he couldn’t keep up and I think he forgot a few. If not for those glory notes at the end it would have been a disaster.

Syesha Mercado, “Fever”: 19
That was one of the sexiest performances I have ever seen on the show. And that dress is even better! Plus, she wisely had her best partner on the stage--Rickey Minor (Anyone else notice him trying to stare straight ahead?). And though I agree that it was a little cabaret, I respect that she at least tried something different--unlike David A.

And is anyone else getting tired of the judges trashing everyone else and giving David A. a free pass? Yes, Simon said the song was awkward, but he should have told him the beginning was a train wreck and he didn’t.

Syesha Does Alicia and David Brings Down the House...Again

Syesha Mercado, “If I Ain’t Got You”: 13
This was much better than her version on “The One,” but I wish she would’ve sat on the piano this time too. And I’m going to have to do some research on where that dress came from. Wow! But I appreciate that Simon agrees with me about Randy’s choice. It didn’t let Syesha show any originality.

But did anyone else notice when Randy said Syesha was “standing there number three.” He didn’t say top three…

David Cook, “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”: 15+
I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!! Could we just send the confetti down now? That, Randy, is how to pick a song. Did you see Simon clap in the middle of it?

"And So It Goes" With the Judges Choices

Here we are. The final three. And with each hour I waver more and more away from my original dream of a David vs. David finale.

Will tonight change that any?

Let’s get to it…

First, the judges’ choices:

David Archuleta, “And So It Goes”: 14 (out of 15 since there is no song choice category)
Nice work, Paula. This was a beautiful pure vocal. It was nice to hear David not do so many runs (Hmmm).

But the best part of that performance was when Simon slammed the mosh pit. They’ve had it coming for weeks…

Nigel Speaks Out About Jeff

Today, “Idol” Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe FINALLY spoke out about Jeff Archuleta…

In the interview with EW.com, Nigel said that Jeff “has been asked not to participate in the choice of music with David or be in the room when David is working out his routines that he wants to sing…We just want David to be free like everybody else to get on and do what they want to do.” Later in the interview, Nigel said they were trying to “take some pressure away.”

When EW.com asked if the move was in response to the lyric change during “Stand By Me,” Nigel cryptically answered, “There was a lyric change that was a total misunderstanding. Just another, um, step along the way of us saying, ‘Okay, this is what we want to happen from now on.'”

In other words, Jeff, we’re in control, so back off…

Be back in a few…

Is Randy's Choice for Syesha a Ringer?

So how’s this for interesting…

Warning: If you don't want to know anything about the song choices for tonight's show, stop reading now...

I told you yesterday that Randy had chosen “If I Ain’t Got You” for Syesha (as reported on TV Fan) and then I blasted Randy for making such a terrible pick.

Well guess what? Syesha has already done that song on another reality show—ABC’s failed “Idol” clone, “The One.”

So, here’s the big question. Did Randy already know that and was trying to throw her a bone? There was no video on YouTube until Friday—after Randy made his choice known—but there were people involved with “One” that Randy probably works with occasionally, like songwriter Kara DioGuardi. So…

However, I think if Randy was trying to throw her a bone, he threw her a rotten one. I hope for her sake that she gives it a better attempt tonight…

Spoiler Alert: David A.'s Reported Song Choice

Warning: Stop reading right now if you don't want to know any of the songs that will be performed on tonight's show...

TV Fan, a site on EW.com is now reporting that David Archuleta has chosen Chris Brown’s “With You” for tonight’s show.

You have to hand it to Jeff—I mean, David—for coming up with a contemporary choice that will still play to his strengths…

Monday, May 12, 2008

"TV Guide" Follows the Top Three


As has become an “Idol” tradition, the top three will be featured in this week’s “TV Guide” cover story with interviews conducted during top four week…

And the magazine couldn’t have come at a more ironic time for David Archuleta.

The article details David A. in the studio recording “Sweet Caroline” for iTunes and his dad telling him what to do every step of the way. At one point, Jeff asks the engineer for a 30-second break to go over something with David, when the engineer had already told David he was doing great. After the discussion goes several minutes, the engineer declares, “Your 30 seconds are up.”

Interesting…

David, however, defends his dad in the article, saying, “[H]e’s been great. He’s given me a lot of good advice and helped me from making any dumb decisions. He understands more than anyone what I want in music, and I’ve felt really blessed to have someone like that.”

Ah, a boy’s unconditional love for his father…

So what other tidbits does the article share?

Syesha Mercado will be busy planning a wedding after her “Idol” experience is over. Syesha recently became engaged. Syesha said her “ultimate” goal was to make the top three, “[b]ut if I make the Top 3, I might decide, ‘You know what? I want to win this thing!’”…

For the first time, David Cook talks about his brother, Adam. “The sympathy vote idea leaves a real sour taste in my mouth. I swore to Adam and I swore to myself when I got on the show that if I was gonna do well or poorly, it was gonna be on my own merit.”

As for whether David wants to win, he told “TV Guide” that yes, he does want to be the American Idol. “I think it’d be a huge slap in the face to everybody else who auditioned if I didn’t want to win.”

Have I mentioned lately that I love him? I mean, check out that cover. It looks like he’s reaching right for you, doesn’t it?

The “Idol” issue of “TV Guide” hits stands Thursday…

Spoiler Alert: What Will the Top Three Sing?

Warning: If you don’t want to know any of the songs the top three are going to do tomorrow night, stop reading now.

Still with me?

“Idol” sites all over the Internet are reporting the song choices of the top three as they’ve started to leak out.

The judges’ choices always leak since they’re usually announced at one of the homecoming stops. Paula chose for David A. and she’s chosen “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel. Simon got David C. and he chose Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which you know Simon is using as a major test. That means Syesha was stuck with Randy who saddled her with a terrible choice--Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Isn’t Randy always the one telling contestants not to take on the big vocalists? So why would he make Syesha take on one of them?

Does anyone smell some sabotage going on here?

The producers’ choices and the contestants’ choices have not completely come into focus. Here’s what we do know. According to several sites, David A. will sing Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer.“ Whether that’s the producers’ choice or Jeff’s--I mean, David’s--is not clear. David C. revealed in one of his homecoming interviews that he has chosen Collective Soul’s “The World I Know,” which will be fantastic, I just hope it doesn’t come off as safe.

What do you think about these choices?

Homecoming Videos

As you know, the top three had their homecomings Friday. And a simple Google search will lead you to plenty of pictures, stories and videos. YouTube alone is full of them…

Here’s a video of Syesha singing the National Anthem at a Tampa Bay Devil Rays game. It’s a pretty good performance, but it would’ve been better if she would have picked up the pace a little…



David Archuleta sang the National Anthem at the Utah Jazz game. It’s good if you can handle the constant screaming…


David Cook didn’t sing the National Anthem. Instead, he sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at the Kansas City Royals game. Since that’s not a very flattering song, here’s a video from the local FOX affiliate’s live coverage of David’s concert. It’s guaranteed to make you fall in love with him all over again or for the first time…

SPOILER ALERT: Simon’s song choice for David is revealed during the video.

How Will David A. React?

I’ve always said that there is only one person who can keep David Archuleta from winning “American Idol.”

No, not David Cook. I’m talking about David A.’s father, Jeff.

And I’m wondering if maybe that scenario isn’t starting to play out this week…

The Internet is all abuzz with speculation today about how David Archuleta will do now that his “vocal coach” dad, Jeff, won’t be there to help him. I feel quite certain that Jeff will still coach him by phone, but how will David react to all of this? Will he feel torn between the show’s vocal coaches and his dad? Will the pressure of the situation cause him to once again forget his lyrics?

Does any of it really matter?

Although most people expressed sympathy for David’s situation, one writer took a stronger stance. Ken Barnes of “USA Today” wrote a scathing post about why he’s not rooting for David A. to win. You can read it here.

What do you think? Do you think the ban will have any effect on David A.? Do you think it hurts his chances to win? Does it change your opinion of him at all?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Big News: David A.'s Dad Banned!

So it looks like all that talk about David A.’s showbiz dad was true.

TMZ is reporting that David’s dad, Jeff, has been officially banned from being backstage at the show and from rooms where David is learning or rehearsing songs.

The report says that Jeff “has badgered producers, the band, vocal coaches and even other contestants.”

So what was the final straw that caused the ban?

Remember how I complimented David on his use of some lyrics from “Beautiful Girls” during “Stand By Me”? Apparently the producers didn’t share my enthusiasm.

According to TMZ, Jeff insisted on adding a verse from “Girls,” but producers sent him an e-mail telling him the lyrics couldn’t be changed. Apparently the change would create problems with the song’s publisher and cost “Idol” “a lot of money.”

Obviously, Jeff went against the producers, ticking them off and causing the ban. He will, however, be allowed to sit in the audience.

If this story is true--and we have no reason to believe that it isn’t--it confirms Simon’s earlier comments that David is not choosing his own songs or arrangements. It will be interesting to see what he does this week without his dad on the two songs that are not his choice.

I would also like to say that this story makes me sad, because David is a very talented kid and he deserves better than an overeager stage dad. How will Jeff act on the tour? Or even worse, when they try to record a CD?

"Brooke White Stops and Starts the Classics"

For those of you who don’t know, I am a big fan of VH1’s “Best Week Ever.”

This week, they did a great CD commercial parody featuring Brooke White.

Check out “Brooke White Stops and Starts the Classics” here.

Jason Sets the Record Straight

Remember last week when I told you about Jason Castro’s comment to “Entertainment Weekly” about being ready to go home? Well, apparently that comment riled up a lot of his fans.

But they weren’t riled up at him. They got riled up at “Entertainment Weekly,” sending e-mails to the magazine, calling the article’s author, Jessica Shaw, a liar.

So when Shaw talked to Castro on Thursday, she gave him a chance to set the record straight about that and a lot of other things…

Jason said that he was in a bad mood the day he spoke with Shaw and he “couldn’t focus” when they were talking, but he admitted he did say it.

So was Jason trying to sabotage himself? He said no, he did not want to go home. Many people thought Jason was mouthing “Don’t vote” when Ryan read off his phone numbers, but Jason told EW.com that he was saying vote “twice to emphasize it” and it looked like “Don’t vote.”

And as for the constant yawning, Jason told TVGuide.com that he is “a chronic yawner. Every week before my song, I’m yawning and I don’t know where it comes from, or why.” However, Jason did admit to EW.com, that he was “reaching the point where [he] couldn’t do it anymore.”

But Jason added that he “was as happy getting voted off as [he] was to make it to the top 24” because he was “freaking out” about doing three songs next week.

By the way, when Jason sang his goodbye song, “I Shot the Sheriff,” he forgot the lyrics and didn’t even finish the song. We didn’t see it because the credits had already rolled…

Will Ryan Be the Next Larry King This Year?

MSNBC “The Scoop” columnist Courtney Hazlett reported last week that Ryan Seacrest will be taking over for Larry King by the end of the year.

She posted that a source from CNN says Ryan is in “serious negotiations” to take over “Larry King Live.” In April 2007, King told “The New York Times” that Ryan would be his first choice to take over for him. However, King just signed a contract that would keep him on the show until 2011.

Ryan’s rep said they had no comment and another source from CNN said “there is no truth to this story.”

So what is going on here? First Hazlett reports that Ryan’s days at “Idol” might be numbered and then she reports this? Is someone feeding her information to further some agenda, a la Jay Leno’s manager trying to get him “The Tonight Show”?

And you know I love Ryan, but I just can’t see him discussing serious news . I mean, could you see him talking to Barack Obama about his energy policy?

Stay tuned on this one…

Friday, May 9, 2008

Syesha Mania Hits Sarasota

For a guy who never watched “Idol” before this season, my new friend Tom in Sarasota is definitely getting an education today.

Tom and his fellow reporters from the “Sarasota Herald Tribune” are all over the Syesha beat today as she returns to her hometown. Not only did I talk to Tom yesterday (twice), I also talked to the paper’s business reporter who was examining the possible impact of the show on tourism in the city. I’m actually quoted in her story (Which makes me really hope that Syesha’s homecoming does actually get all of the attention from other media outlets that I told her it would or I’m going to look really stupid).

Syesha’s schedule today began at 7 a.m. with a radio appearance and ends at 7 p.m. tonight with a performance of the National Anthem at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays game.

Yikes!

We’ll see video of Syesha’s homecoming—as well as the homecomings of the Davids—on next week’s shows.

And hopefully on “Entertainment Tonight” and YouTube…

Clay Aiken vs. Neil Diamond: Looks Like I'm the Loser

It was a nice thought, but it looks like my fiancé has this one all sewn up…

“Billboard” reported yesterday that Neil Diamond’s new CD is on track to debut at #1—his first #1 album of his career. The magazine reports that Clay will debut in the top ten, but it looks like his sales will be a ways away from Diamond’s. We’ll get the final numbers on Wednesday.

Now, in Clay’s defense, Diamond did get a head start, appearing on all of the major shows the week before his album came out, while Clay is doing most of his major appearances afterward.

And I think we all know that Diamond owes the “American Idol” producers a huge thank you.

The week’s not over, so you can still do your part to help Clay. And right now at Amazon.com, his CD is only $7.99.

By the way, Clay ranks #3 at Amazon behind Madonna and, yes, Neil Diamond.

And while I’m on the subject of Clay’s CD, let me clarify something that some Claymates called me on earlier this week. I did not mean to say that the CD would only appeal to Clay’s fans. The CD will appeal to anyone who loves amazing vocals and beautiful pop melodies.

To illustrate that point, I leave you with my favorite song from the CD and my current music obsession. I’m probably going to have to download it from iTunes just to tide me over until my QVC shipment gets here.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a Claymate, it is absolutely worth the listen. Be sure to let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Did America Get It Right?

So for the gazillionth time this season, I got it wrong. I really thought Jason’s fans would rally in spite of him, but I’m so glad they didn’t.

And once again I am proud to be an American…

Next week, it’s trips home and three songs as we head to the finale.

Can Syesha stop us--and the producers--from getting the all David finale that we--and the producers--want? As much as I like Syesha, I really hope not…

What do you guys think? Did America make the right choice or were you looking forward to seeing how many lyrics Jason could remember in three songs?…

And the person going home tonight is...

9:53 We’re back…Jason and Syesha on stage…Lots of boos for Simon’s comments toward Jason. I really think he’ll survive this one…Jason says someone told him, “I shot the Tambourine Man” and he tells Ryan he did pack his bags…Syesha gets some pretty decent screams…Jason says his inexperience is coming in and it’s getting really tough for him…Syesha gets more screams as she talks about her emotion. This had to have been close…Syesha gets political for a second…Syesha…is safe. YES!…She’s stunned and gives Jason a hug…

9:56 Goodbye video…Jason singing “Since U Been Gone” with Renaldo (“We Are All Brothers”). Could we hear more of that instead of Ruben?…

9:58 Ryan says Jason seems relieved. He says a little because there are three songs next week and he doesn’t know how he would have done. Jason does “I Shot the Sheriff” and he’s clearly being totally tongue in cheek about it and not even trying to play the guitar. I think EW.com is right. He was trying to get eliminated…And we’re out…

"I need a witness..."

9:43 We’re back…And Bo gets to sing live. Woo-hoo!…And Ryan, I seriously doubt he “came so close” to winning in season four. He was up against Carrie Underwood…He’s doing “Witness,” which has a really cool video…But why didn’t he get to bring his own band and has to instead settle for the “Idol” band and back-up singers?…By the way, if you want his CD, you have to download it from iTunes or go to Wal-Mart, the exclusive seller of the CD. It’s pretty good if you like southern rock…The crowd seems totally not behind it…Bo does some vocoder work. That was pretty cool. I just presumed that was an actual guitar. But it gets no reaction from the crowd. What is wrong with them? I thought they screamed at anything…Ryan looks totally uncomfortable standing with the Idols…I thought that was good, but he gets a rather lukewarm ovation. Do they not know who he is or something?…Howie Mandel in the house…

9:47 Bo said he thought it was cool that the Idols got to play instruments this year. He said that some of them “played behind their instruments a little too much”…You can tell he’s a David Cook fan…He says he’s happy to be home because Idol has been great for him…Let’s face it. Health problems crushed his career chances…And Clive Davis didn’t really help…Break…

Falling Into That "Burning Ring of Fire"

9:29 We’re back…Ford ad…”Ring of Fire”…They’re matadors…That was SO bad…Now it’s time for the taped portion of the evening…Idol Give Back stamp plug…

9:29 Phone call segment. If they want to improve the ratings they need to eliminate this…A woman asks out David Cook. He asks what she likes to do. She says she’ll show him the town. David says, “We’ll see” and is totally embarrassed. Ryan says he’ll keep her on hold so they can hook it up…Someone wants to know why Simon hasn’t been knighted by the queen. He says he asks himself that on a daily basis and says he’s available…Did Syesha just curse? Why did her voice go suddenly silent and then everyone start laughing? Surely not…A woman from Cleveland says she thinks Simon could be the next James Bond. He says he’s available…

9:34 Time for Maroon 5 doing “If I Never See Your Face Again”…Have they ditched “I Won’t Go Home Without You” already?…Why are they good friends of the show? Because they actually clear their music? Even though we haven’t heard any of it this year…Is it just me or does that one guitar player look like Bo Bice?…I love them, but I’m not sure about this one…

9:38 Lots of squealing from the mosh pit…Ryan says it’s the new single and Rihanna is on it…Adam Levine shushes the girls. I love him…Adam tells the Idols to get ready to work and “then you’ll get jaded and you’ll say God I hate this, but you really love it.” That made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. How about you?…Break…

"All You Need Is Love"

9:18 We’re back…The crowd screams for David A. on the couch…Video of Idols flying to Las Vegas to see Cirque de Soleil’s “Love”…Girls are trying to tear David A.’s shirt off and a crowd of women attacks Jason…Then they go to a waterpark and hang with the dolphins…Now it’s makeovers before going to the show…They go backstage to meet the cast, but the Idols sign autographs for them…

9:21 David Cook…Jason and Syesha put their arms around each other…LOTS of screaming…Ryan asks Randy what David should hone in on if he makes the final. Hold your horses would ya, Ryan…David says he felt off last night and his head was in the wrong place. I hope his brother’s not any worse…He’s safe…

9:23 Syesha and Jason come out…Syesha joins Jason in his weird humming…Ryan tries to tease them into believing that he’s telling them now, but Jason’s not falling for it. Come on, Ryan, the lights weren’t even dimmed…Break

So the show wants a David vs. David finale so bad that they didn’t even try to make us think there could be a shocker. They had better watch it. There’s still one week to go…

"Hello in the booth..."

9:08 We’re back…Tour plug…Recap…So could someone tell me what kind of album David A. will release? Is he going to be the next Josh Groban or what?…Syesha is getting a lot of time tonight…David A. needs to learn how to sustain his breath. Hopefully someone will work with him…

9:12 Ryan points out the sofa, but no urinal stools. Hmmm…David A…He says he’s always nervous. Why? Is that a stage theatric his father taught him?…Safe, of course…So since there’s no stools, I’m guessing that means the last two standing will be the bottom two…The wrong video rolls twice. Ryan’s response, “Hello in the booth.” He’s going to pay for that one…Break…

Top Four Results Show: "Reeling In the Years"

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The top four are about to become the top three.

Tom in Sarasota reports that plans are already being made for Syesha’s homecoming if she makes the top three. Will she?

Let’s get it started…

8:59 Intro…“One of our most dramatic shows yet”…Come on, Ryan, don’t you think you’ve played that card enough?…

9:00 Nearly 51 million votes--the highest this season…The top three were each within one million votes of each other. Why do I think that means the Jason Castro fans were dialing like mad last night?…

9:01 Ryan asks Randy about being hard on Syesha. Is Ryan championing her because she’s going home?…Simon says he wasn’t angry last night, he was just surprised at some of the song choices…

9:03 Group Sing…David kicks off “Reeling In the Years” with his eyes darting around like he’s looking for the words somewhere…Okay, this is ridiculous. Jason isn’t even trying with that goofy smile on his face. What will he be like after a few months of touring. Will he be over that too? It is so time for him to go home…I’m not sure any of them really know the words to this one…The guy with the guitar that Simon always makes fun of comes through the stage doors to no applause…Now the Idols are up on top with the band. How’d they do that so fast?…Judge Judy in the house…And Carly Smithson is sitting with Kimberly Caldwell…Break…

More of the Wisdom of Simon

I bet NBC loved hearing all the “Idol” questions during its own press event. But that’s what you get when you trot out Simon Cowell.

Here’s what Simon had to say about “Idol” when he was supposed to be talking about “America’s Got Talent” (as reported on TVGuide.com)…

On David vs. David: “It’s what I genuinely believe will happen. I think you’re going to have a real scrap on the night. Without either of them being a red-hot favorite, [the winner] will be [determined by] what happens on the night, and that’s what the show is all about…I think David Cook has got the best voice and David Archuleta’s got the teen and the gran[dma] appeal. [They’re] very equal.”

On Andrew Lloyd Webber Week: “I didn’t really see the point because I use it as a criticism on the show that you are going to end up on Broadway. We aren’t looking for a Broadway singer. I want like a Leona Lewis, a contemporary recording artist who’s going to sell a lot of records. I’m not looking for someone to be in ‘The Wiz.’”

On plans to possibly revamp the show: “You have to wait and see. It’s a surprise.”

Simon also commented on how safe the contestants are playing it this year, especially when it comes to talking to him, saying, “I like people who go a bit crazy sometimes. I’m dying for someone to scream at me one week and say, ‘I hate your guts.’ I know they are thinking it”…

Another Idol Goes "Country"

Following in the footsteps of Diana DeGarmo, another former Idol is going to take part in CMT’s reality show, “Gone Country.” But you might want to sit down for this one…

It’s Mikalah Gordon. She’ll be joined by Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Chris Kirkpatrick (N*SYNC), Jermaine Jackson, Irene Cara and Sean Young.

And John Rich (the show’s host and judge) had the audacity to criticize “Idol”?

“Gone Country” will return in August.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mystery Solved

Okay, so I've finally figured out why "Hungry Like the Wolf" made the cut tonight...

The Idol song choices came from the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock," a list composed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, music writers and critics. The list--as we saw in the taped intro--is on display to see and hear at the Hall.

"Wolf" is on that list.

Mystery Solved.

Get Ready Bo Fans!

I forgot to tell you earlier tonight that "USA Today" is reporting that Bo Bice will perform his single "Witness" on tomorrow's results show.

I had told you earlier that Fantasia was going to perform on the show, since that was what "TV Guide" was reporting, so I have no idea if that's still going to happen or not.

So who's going home?

So before we break this down, let me remind you of what happened this same week two years ago…

Chris Daughtry gave a decent performance of “A Little Less Conversation” and a good performance of “Suspicious Minds.” The next night, he was gone.

Fast forward to tonight. David C. gives a decent performance of “Hungry Like the Wolf” and a good performance of “Baba O’Riley.”

Will the same thing happen again? I--and the producers--certainly hope not…

There’s no doubt that Jason should go home. The question is whether or not he will. Syesha completely outperformed him and deserves to make the top three. Not to mention that Jason is completely starting to disrespect the show with his lack of concentration and his constant yawning. It’s time for him to go…

And so, I am not going to even make a prediction tonight. I’m just going to hope that America does the right thing once again.

What do you guys think? Will Jason’s fans keep him in or will he get his wish and get sent home?…

And by the way, Rascal Flatts were in the “Idol” studio getting ready for their performance on “Dancing With the Stars,” which, of course, tapes next door…

David Goes "Tender"

David Archuleta, “Love Me Tender”: 18
All you Archie fans out there are free to yell at me, but I had to give him a 3 in song choice. It was beautiful, but come on! Sing something with some edge, would ya?

Wait a minute. I picked “Unchained Melody” and “My Girl” for him, didn’t I? Never mind then…

Syesha Brings a "Change" and Jason Has a Meltdown

Rascal Flatts are Ryan’s “boys”? Okay…

Syesha Mercado, “A Change Is Gonna Come” 19
A killer vocal (Sorry, Randy), a gorgeous dress and a pretty speech complete with tears. Is she bringing it tonight or what?

Jason Castro, “Mr. Tambourine Man”: 16
That is what we call an “Idol” meltdown.

David C. Visits the "Teenage Wasteland"

David Cook, “Baba O’Riley”: 20
That was more like it. However, I think that David psyched himself out a little this week since everyone was saying this should be his big week.

Jason Bombs and David Soars

Jason Castro, “I Shot the Sheriff”: 18
Okay, am I the only one who liked that? I thought it was cute and I thought--for a change--he was actually trying.

But unfortunately for Jason, his efforts were met with one of the most scathing critiques I have ever heard in the finals. Can’t wait to hear what he does next…

David Archuleta, “Stand By Me”: 20
I was about to trash him for being predictable until he dropped that “Beautiful Girls” riff in there. It was a good performance, but I’d really like to see him shake it up a little.

Syesha Turns Up the Heat

Syesha Mercado, “Proud Mary”: 19
If Syesha is going out tonight, she’s going out swinging. That was not the best vocal performance, but it was definitely hot.

And why don’t they let Rickey Minor come out and dance more often?…

David Gets "Hungry"

So, we’re down to the final four. It seems like it’s been forever, doesn’t it?

During his intro, Ryan said that three of the four have already been #1 in votes. Gee, I wonder who hasn’t been?…

And when was Jason #1? When he did “Hallelujah”? Does that give us an indication of just how big his fan base is? Are we in store for a Daughtry-style shocker?

Let’s get this thing started…

David Cook, “Hungry Like the Wolf”: 18
So what exactly are the rules of this thing? Duran Duran is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! I thought it was a good performance, but it just lacked something for me. Maybe it was because I was too busy trying to figure out how he could pick this one.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ace and Brandon Dig Up Dem "Bones"

Monday, May 12th, Ace Young and Brandon Rogers will guest star on “Bones” and they will both sing (although from the previews it looks like Brandon gets gipped).

You can see previews, including Ace belting out Nickelback’s “Far Away,” here.

But brace yourself, Ace fans. I’m pretty sure that Ace is going to end up dead…

“Bones” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX…

John Rich (?) Goes After "Idol"

After watching him in “Gone Country” I became a fan of John Rich. But now? I’m not so sure…
Rich used the NBC “All-American Summer” press day (He’ll be a judge on “Nashville Star.”) to trash “American Idol.”

Referring to Paula’s mistake on last week’s show, Rich told reporters (as detailed in “The Hollywood Reporter”):

“‘American Idol’ infuriates me as an artist. They’re being fake about it. When you can’t make a cognizant comment about someone’s performance and you’re commenting on something that happened the day before, why don’t you just walk up onstage and slap them right across the face while you’re at it? As an artist, I would just flip them the bird and walk off the stage…She wasn’t even paying attention to what was going on.”

But Rich didn’t stop there. He said the “Idol” ratings were declining because the show was not real. “We have to respect the fans’ ears and eyes and give them something that’s for real. Don’t try to con them. And I think that’s why ‘American Idol,’ in my opinion, is just dive-bombing. I can’t stand watching it, I wouldn’t want to be on that show now if you gave me a $100 bill.”

But what if they gave him $200, huh? Why do I think Rich has some ax to grind here? Or is he just starting his own PR campaign for “Nashville Star” by attacking the show that helped give birth to it?

And do you think that Rich knew Simon Cowell was at the same event?

Interestingly, Rich didn’t have a problem with “Idol” last April when he attended a taping, told the producers, judges and performers that he enjoyed the show and did an interview with “American Idol Extra,” where he voiced nothing but compliments. FOX issued a statement to share that information and to call his comments “opportunistic” and “disturbing”…

By the way, Simon defended Paula at the press day saying, “she made a mistake” and disagreeing that she owed Jason Castro an apology. Simon added, “The year [“Idol”] becomes normal is the year I leave. I genuinely like it when it’s a bit loopy”…

I bet a Big and Rich week could make it even more loopy. I say we try that next year…

A "Slight Change" to the Dreaded Winners' Single?

There may be a change to the dreaded winner’s single this season…

Simon Cowell told reporters during an NBC press day (He was promoting “America’s Got Talent.”) in response to a question about whether the final two could rearrange the single, “there’s a slight change to last year which is going to be an improvement.”

NOW, they let them do their own arrangements. Wouldn’t you all have liked to have heard a beat boxing rendition of “This Is My Now”?

Okay, maybe not…

Simon joked with the reporters about the songwriting competition (as reported in EW.com) saying, “You can guarantee either the word ‘proud’ or ‘moment’ will be in the song. How about ‘I’m Proud to Be in This Moment Now”?”…

Clay Aiken CD Review: Back and Better Than Ever


Please Note: This review was written based on an Internet stream of the CD, and not the actual CD itself.

Normally, I listen to a CD at least twice before I post a review of it, but I am so excited about this one I couldn’t wait.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Clay Aiken is back and better than ever…

For any of you out there who were thinking we’d get the same old same old from Clay on his new CD, “On My Way Here,” I am happy to tell you that you are VERY wrong. Clay’s got a whole bunch of new tricks on this one including rocking basslines, vocoders and risqué lyrics—or at least as risqué as Clay gets.

But as excited as I am about this—and I am VERY excited—I’m a little sad because I can’t help but think that we could’ve already had this CD if Clive Davis had just stayed out of it…

And where in the world is “Coming Back for More”? I love you, Clay, but you really shouldn’t sing a song on “Good Morning America” and on your concert tour and then not release it anywhere. It’s just wrong…

The CD starts out with the title track, and even though I will never shake its similarity to “I Survived You,” it really is a good ballad and hopefully will score Clay some good AC airtime…

When I heard the chorus to “Ashes,” I just couldn’t help but smile. It has a great rocking guitar and it will make a great concert number with Claymates screaming all over the place—including me…

Clay gets funky and a little sexy with “Everything I Don’t Need.” If you listen closely, you can hear the backup singers singing “Get out of my bed.” Now before you start laughing at my calling those lyrics risqué, let me remind you that this is a guy who refuses to sing one of the best songs off his debut CD (“Touch”) because of its lyrical content (“the love that we make” and other suggestive things). So these lyrics are a big change. Granted, he doesn’t sing them himself, but you get my point…

“Something About Us” is a beautiful big sweeping love song…

“Falling” has a classic 80s feel to it with yet another rocking bassline and a moody melody. And the vocoder—which I’m normally opposed to—is kind of cool…

“Where I Draw the Line” is a great medium tempo song that I could hear playing on “Gossip Girl”—that is, if “GG” wanted to lose all of its street cred…

“The Real Me” is a gorgeous soul-searching ballad…

“Weight of the World” has a bit of a quirky bassline, but Clay’s voice totally makes it work…

Clay puts his theater skills to good use with “As Long As We’re Here,” which is a touch theatrical, but by that last chorus, you’re totally on board…

“Sacrificial Love” is also a little dramatic, but it has fantastic lyrics and really makes you wonder if Clay has been in the kind of relationship the song talks about, where someone just stayed with him until they found someone they thought was better…

Then Clay goes a little socially conscious on us with “Grace of God.” It’s an okay song, but with all of the different things Clay throws at us on this CD, the song doesn’t quite fit…

Clay finishes out the CD with “Lover All Alone,” which was available as an iTunes bonus track on “A Thousand Different Ways.” It’s a light, moody ballad that would have been great on another CD, but is just good here. However, I do understand why Clay included it on this “personal journey” since he co-wrote it…

I know that Clay lost some career momentum after “A Thousand Different Ways,” but in all honesty, that CD wasn’t that bad (I still listen to it all the time.). It was just disappointing that there wasn’t more new material and unfortunately, it came off a little cheesy. So I hope anyone that jumped off the Clay Aiken bandwagon is ready to jump back on because this is the CD we Claymates have been waiting for. I’m just sorry it took so long to get it (Thanks a lot, Clive.).

So, Claymates, I urge you to book it to your favorite store tomorrow and pick up a copy or two (Remember that Moms love Clay.). You will not be disappointed…

Now, get rested up, Clay, because we want a tour for this one! I’m saving up my money as we speak…

You can hear the CD for yourself here...
Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What Should They Sing?

So, this week’s theme is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since I presume that means songs by artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I checked out the list of inductees and came up with some choices for each contestant.

But before we do that, let me tell you that I am totally opposed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and everything it stands for until Daryl Hall and John Oates receive their rightful place in it.

With that commentary out of the way, let me get to my choices…

I think that once the word leaks out that Jason Castro is ready to go home, he could be in some trouble this week. But if he decides to rally, this could be a strong week for him since he might have a lot of great choices--if the show doesn’t just go by a set list. My picks for Jason would be “Pink Houses” or “Jack and Diane” from John Mellencamp and for his second song, I would do a stripped down version of REM’s “Losing My Religion.”

I’m not sure it really matters what David Archuleta sings but I think he could pull out the cute card and get all the girls screaming--even more than usual--with The Temptations’ “My Girl.” For his second number, I think he should go for broke and rip out Simon’s favorite song, The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody,” although I don’t think he could hit that big note so he’d need to tweak it a little.

EW.com has subbed Syesha “the Rodney Dangerfield” of the competition so I say she should take that literally and do Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” (She ripped out “Chain of Fools” in Hollywood.). Then, she should go funky with Prince’s “Kiss.”

I’m not sure it really matters what David Cook does either since I will love it no matter what, but I would really like to hear him do some Prince (If Prince will change his recent ways and clear something besides “Kiss.”) like “When Doves Cry.” For his second song, I would go with either Bruce Springsteen‘s “Dancing In the Dark,” which I know he could totally revamp, or The Rolling Stones‘ “Paint It Black.”

What would you like to hear the final four do?…

Clay vs. Neil

As I pointed out last week, Clay’s CD is dropping the same day as Neil Diamond’s new album.

Personally, I think this was a bad error in judgment on someone’s part since I have to believe that Clay and Neil share some of the same fans. But I have no doubt that the Claymates will help Clay triumph.

In fact, my fiancé and I actually have a bet going on as to who will sell the most since he thinks Neil will definitely sell more.

Granted, I think the “Idol” appearance will help Neil, but I’ve got to think that since this is Clay’s first CD of original material since 2003 that the Claymates will rally.

In case you’re trying to figure out where to buy it, Wal-Mart will have an exclusive cover and an exclusive bonus track. You can get a poster of the CD cover by purchasing the CD at Kmart and if you pre-order the CD on iTunes, you can get an exclusive bonus track (Yes, it’s different than the one at Wal-Mart.)…

Clay Hits the Promotional Road

So since Clay Aiken’s CD is coming out Tuesday and his run in “Spamalot” ended Sunday, that means…promotional tour!

Here are the dates so far, according to Clay’s website. Remember, that all of these are subject to change…

Wednesday, May 7th--“Good Morning America”
Thursday, May 8th--“The View”
Friday, May 9th--“Today”
Monday, May 12th--“The Tonight Show”
Friday, May 16th--“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
Tuesday, May 20th--“The Late Late Show”

Notice that Clay is not doing “Live with Regis and Kelly.” Gee, I wonder why...

Show Notes: What Was Up With Natasha and Simon's Crush

So for those of you who are still wondering what was up with Natasha Bedingfield fawning all over David Archuleta, let me clear that up…

According to reports from EW.com and AccessHollywood.com, when Ryan introduced Bedingfield’s song he mentioned that David had a crush on her. But we didn’t see that because Natasha actually did her song two and a half times and when Ryan introduced her the final time, he didn’t mention it. But Natasha still took the opportunity to react to the information.

So why did Natasha have to do her song more than once? The first time, she forgot the words. According to the reports, she covered it pretty well, but a producer or director noticed and they made her stop and start over. Debbie the stage manager reportedly said, “See, Brooke, it’s not just you.”

Low blow…

After she sang the song all the way through, Ryan came over and kissed her on the lips, to which Natasha responded, “Do you always kiss everyone on the lips?” So, they did it one more time to take out that exchange…

By the way, if you want to get a look at Simon’s first crush now, you can see her here. “Access Hollywood” blogger Laura Saltman violated “Idol” taping rules and sneaked her Blackberry into the studio. When the phone call happened, she messaged the information to the show and they tracked the woman down…

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Stop the Insanity: The Songwriting Competition

So, if this thing does come down to a David vs. David deal as it appears to be headed toward--barring a Chris Daughtry-type shocker--the winner could come down to one thing--that dreaded “Idol” single.


You would think after the critical drubbing and lack of airplay and sales that “This Is My Now” got that the producers would have learned their lesson. But no, the Songwriting Competition is back for another year.


And if you’re hoping that this year’s winner will be a better song, you may need to just keep hoping, because I‘ve got a bad feeling we‘ll get saddled with another dud…


Here is my scoring of the 20 finalists in this year’s Songwriting Competition…


“You Believe In Me”: 7 (out of 10)
Some of the lyrics are “no star too high, no river too wide”


“You Can Do Anything”: 2
Some of the lyrics are “anchor of truth,” “destiny’s call,” and “go for the gold.” It actually reminds me of the Olympics. Of course, my low score probably guarantees it will be the winner’s single.


“Align”: 10
This is a good catchy, slow rocker that I can hear David Cook singing, but since it isn’t about pots of gold and all that fuzzy stuff, it’s got no chance of winning.


“Stronger”: 8
It has a decent country sound but it’s not warm and fuzzy enough to win.


“We’re Gonna Make It”: 5
A dull love song


“Believe”: 10
If we have to have an inspirational song, this one has potential. It’s an R&B song custom-made for David A.


“Dream Big” 8
Another country song


“No Turning Back”: 9
This would make a good single with its Maroon 5 sound, but it’s not what the show is looking for.


“Faith”: 6
This one’s too slow.


“Here I Am”: 10
Here’s another one custom-made for David A., it’s just missing a catchy chorus. Some of the lyrics are “arms open wide, nothing left to hide.”


“Fly Me Away”: 2
This one’s a complete mess.


“Something Like Heaven”: 7
This one has a good beat, but it’s got a rough chorus.


“When You Come From Nothing”: 7
A totally country song


“The Time of My Life”: 9
This one could work for David C. and it does have some inspirational lyrics like “take every moment.” Plus, it has a catchy chorus.


“Only Love”: 5
This one’s got a bit of a John Mayer sound.


“Overcome”: 6
This one sounds a little like Collective Soul.


“All You Will Need”: 4
It strives for the Pretenders, but fails.


“In This Moment”: 6
This sounds like a Simple Plan ballad.


“Thank You Whatever Comes”: 4
A cheesy love song.


“You Believed In Me”: 5
Another--not as successful--Simple Plan sounding ballad.


As you can see, there are some possibilities here, but since I tend to wonder just how much the voting actually plays into the song selection, I’m afraid the inspirational duds will win out.


Which leads me to an important question. Why does the winner’s song have to be about dreams and love and inspiration? Why can’t it just be a good strong song?


Are you telling me that Ryan Tedder couldn’t whip up something for the winner?
And what about you guys? Did any of you out there vote?


Or are you like me and believe that if the producers have their heart set on rainbows and destinies there’s not a darn thing we can do about it?…

Is Jason Ready To Go Home?

So I’ve been saying all week that Jason seems over the whole thing. Now, EW.com is confirming that thought…

In an article about how the top five selected their songs this week, Jason said, “What happens happens. I'll sing and if people like it, they like it. And if they don't, they don't. I'm kind of ready to go home.”

When EW.com followed up on Jason’s comment, he said, “It's been overwhelming. I got 150 balloons yesterday delivered to the studio because people heard I was sick last week. That's cool, but that's just weird”…

It will be interesting to see if these comments affects Jason’s chances next week…

The article also produced one other tidbit about this week’s show. Brooke actually won the opportunity to sing “I’m a Believer,” when she pulled it out of a hat. Who else wanted it? David Archuleta…

Next Week's Theme

If you've read Derek's comment on the last post then you know that next week's theme is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which I presume means songs by artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I say Syesha should just go full out and bring on the Madonna...

And wouldn't you like to see David Cook rip out some Prince?...

We'll talk more about this later...