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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Final Details on David Cook Concert

Here are the final details on the David Cook Concert...

David will be at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on the campus of Shawnee State University Friday, February 27th at 8 p.m.

Tickets go on sale to the public Wednesday, February 4th at 10 a.m. at the McKinley Box Office and through Ticketmaster. The tickets are $13.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My NYC/San Juan Wrap-Up

Well, the audition episodes didn’t really go out on a high note, as again there were not really any notable people…

My favorite was actually Patricia, who the judges almost didn’t let through. I also liked Jorge since I’m interested in how he’ll handle English songs, and Kenny if he sings something besides Jason Mraz.

Next week, it’s my favorite part of the show as we start to see who gets spit up and chewed out. And remember we’re actually getting an extra episode of Hollywood Week this year, which makes it even better…

This is where the fun starts, ladies and gentlemen, so strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride…

My Random Thoughts From NYC and San Juan...

Tonight we get two cities packed into one hour and then the auditions are over.

WOO-HOO!!!

So here now are my random thoughts from New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as I was watching…

So Ryan rang the closing bell at Wall Street. Wow, maybe that’s where the trouble started…

The show fooled us with Adeola (“And I Am Telling You”) because they had been kicking off the episodes with a good singer. It was very sweet of Simon to call her boss, but I wonder if he would have done that if she wasn’t so cute…

Simon liked Jorge (“My Way” and “What a Wonderful World”) because he had a real Il Divo vibe. It will be interesting to see if he can do English songs in Hollywood.

It was nice to see Simon admit they’re looking for someone with an accent. But can someone who has trouble with English survive Hollywood? It will be interesting to see…

Jessika (“I Surrender”) wasn’t that bad, she was just a little too overboard. A little control would go a long way. It’s that powerful voice that helped her win all of those contests…

Simon didn’t think Melinda (“Feeling Good”) would be able to sing, and I honestly wasn’t sure myself…

And come on, Ryan, don’t tell us you’ve never danced naked…

What was up with Jackie’s (“I’m Yours” and “I’ll Do It All”) goofy dancing? Of course, I don’t like Jason Mraz, so I wasn’t going to like her anyway…

Joel (“Be With You”) is everything I hate about the audition episodes—someone just looking to get on TV. And Simon agrees with me…

Norman (“And I Am Telling You” and “Amazing Grace”) did have a voice, but he did not deserve to go to Hollywood. Loved the shocked look on Ryan’s face when he saw his golden ticket…

Kenny (“I’m Yours”) demonstrated the real way to sing Jason Mraz. I would’ve liked him if he’d sung a different song…

Simon can be such a softie, can’t he? I think Hollywood will chew Monique (“You Can’t Hurry Love”) up and spit her out—especially without her little brother…

Look! Ryan’s actually wearing a decent shirt in San Juan…

Alexis (“Like a Prayer”) looked great and I actually laughed at her song, but she just wasn’t as funny without her thoughts on actressing…

I thought Patricia (“Wanna Dance With Somebody”) was really good. Maybe the judges are just really sick of that song. And Paul said no?! She said yes to Norman and passed on her?!...

They went all the way to Puerto Rico for nine people. Wow, no wonder Simon said it was the worst city…

I am SO psyched for Hollywood Week! Man, I hope this next storm doesn’t knock out my electricity and make me miss it. And also, it would stink to be without heat…

I’ll have my recap in a few…

Photos Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

David Cook Concert Update

I’ll have my thoughts on the final audition episode in just a few minutes, but I wanted to give you an update on the David Cook concert ticket sales…

Due to the weather, things have been delayed a little bit, so it looks like tickets won’t be on sale to the public until Wednesday.

I’ll keep you updated…

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Salt Lake City Wrap-Up

Regardless of what the judges told us, I didn’t really see that many standouts tonight.

Of course, my favorite was David Osmond and I also liked Megan and Taylor.

Tomorrow night is the last audition episode before Hollywood Week—WOO-HOO!

You may have noticed we’ll get two cities, but the episode will still only be an hour. How can they do that? Well, Simon has mentioned several times that San Juan, Puerto Rico was the worst city…

Weather and electricity permitting, I’ll see you guys tomorrow night…

My Random Thoughts From Salt Lake City...

If you are reading this right now, that most likely means you are home safe and sound and you are one of the lucky ones to have electricity. Stay in and bundle up, gang, it’s only going to get worse tonight…

Here are my random thoughts from Salt Lake City as I was watching…

Move over ringer Brent Keith. I now have a new favorite—David Osmond (“Something Within Me”). Did the judges seriously hesitate that much or was it just edited that way? That was a very lucid comment from Paula about his song choice, but I don’t care. The guy was awesome. And he’s an Osmond! They’re invading reality TV (If you haven’t heard, Donny is doing “Dancing With the Stars.)…

A note to all future auditioners: If you have a decent voice, don’t resort to a gimmick like a big pink bunny. Chris (“Roll to Me” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) reminded me of Chris Richardson—although I’m not sure that’s a compliment…

The producers actually had Ryan tell the contestants to fight back? Interesting…

Frankie (“You Know I’m No Good”) had the attitude of someone who can’t sing, so I was a little surprised. And “Frankie Goes to Hollywood”? Wow, Ryan. How long have you waited to use that one…

I can’t help but wonder how Megan (“Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man of Mine”) will do with contemporary songs…

Boy, that preview of the Kelly Clarkson video was short, wasn’t it? I LOVE that song so much…

David Cook’s “A Daily AntheM” for the montage. Nice! Maybe they should consider that for the goodbye song this year...

I agree with the judges that Train is never a good choice for an audition song, but I’m glad they let Austin (“When I Look to the Sky” and “It Takes a Village”) through anyway…

Notice that Taylor (“Joyful, Joyful”) never stood next to Ryan. That’s what I wanted to see…

Rose (“I Feel the Earth Move”) was not nearly as good as I thought she’d be after all the hype. I think she’ll struggle with contemporary songs…

My recap is coming up…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Kelly Hits #1

Does this news really shock anyone?

Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” hits #1 this week on the Billboard Hot 100.

The track breaks the mark for biggest leap in the chart’s history by jumping from #97 to #1 after selling 280,000 downloads.

During tonight’s “Idol,” we’ll get a sneak preview of the “Life” video, which will no doubt help the song stay at or near the top.

Congratulations, Kelly and welcome back…

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Jacksonville Wrap-Up

So really the only thing notable about the Jacksonville auditions was Paula’s strange behavior.

As far as a favorite, I guess I would go with T.K. I liked Ann Marie too, but I still don’t really get what they were trying to do with her. I guess Simon just wanted her to look sexier…

Tomorrow night it’s Salt Lake City and the promise of an Osmond! And don’t forget that “Idol” is on both Wednesday and Thursday this week…

And just a note, if I’m not here for tomorrow night’s show, you’ll know that my power and/or Internet got wiped out by the ice storm. Hopefully, we’ll all be together tomorrow…


Photo Credit: Michael Becker

My Random Thoughts From the "City That Bears Randy's Name"...

We are now in the final week of auditions and Hollywood Week is just around the corner. Woo-hoo!

But first, it’s off to Jacksonville…

Here are my random thoughts as I was watching…

The city that bears Randy Jackson’s name? Oh boy, that’s a stretch…

Notice the seating arrangement of the judges. I don’t like it…

They’re being extremely generous with the golden tickets. Sharon (“Superstar”) had a nice voice, but it was just too much…

And what is up with the weirdness going on with the judges? This was the next to last audition city, so maybe they just got a little slap happy…

I really thought Kaneswa (“Rapture”) was going to be able to sing. I got the feeling being the “American Idol” was her mom’s dream and not hers…

Julissa (“I Have Nothing”) was not what I was expecting, but I’m not sure how good she was…

And what is up with Paula tonight?...

Even Naomi’s (“Lovin’ You”) friend knew her audition was bad, but notice she didn’t tell her…

And did Simon call Mariah Carey a loon?

It’s nice to see that Kara brought “a couple of friends” to day two…Glad the seating arrangement is back to normal…

George’s wildest dream is to have a marble floor? Wow…And it took me a while to realize he was singing “Walkin’ On Sunshine”…

They told Ann Marie to come back as her? Huh? I thought she looked and sounded fine…

T.K. (“Imagine”) was too over the top? I actually liked it. And Simon said no to him, but yes to those girls in the beginning? What?!...

Why couldn’t Michael (“Jumper”) take in his guitar? And what did he say that upset Simon so much that we missed?...Good for Ryan sticking up for Michael’s mom…

Could Simon have looked Ann Marie (“Bubbly”) up and down any more? I liked her better the first time so I don’t understand what they were doing…

I’ll have my recap in a few minutes…
Photos Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Monday, January 26, 2009

Book Review: Sanjaya Malakar's "Dancing to the Music In My Head"

The description of Sanjaya Malakar’s new book, “Dancing to the Music In My Head: Memoirs of the People’s Idol,” promised us the most in-depth look at “American Idol” ever.

And although that’s true, there’s still so much Sanjaya could have told us, but didn’t. In other words, it was a lot like his time on the show—potential that was never realized.

And quite frankly, it’s a little lame…

But that’s not entirely Sanjaya’s fault. In fact, I would blame the majority of the book’s problems on what seems to be the complete absence of an editor.

I understand wanting the book to have Sanjaya’s voice, but most of the time the writing comes off as juvenile. The biggest example of that would be his incessant use of the word “chill,” as in “the energy was really chill.” Sometimes it morphs into the variant “chillability.” An editor—or possibly his co-author Alan Goldsher—should’ve really cut a few of those out.

The book was also not helped by several glaring factual errors—some that any “Idol” fan would have easily caught. Sanjaya says that as he’s writing this, “Idol” is coming up on season eight, but he named the season seven mentors. I’m guessing that the season number was changed to reflect the publication date, but an editor should have caught the inconsistency.

But the most egregious errors come in the short chapter about Simon Cowell. Now since the book is about Sanjaya, I have no idea why a chapter on someone else is necessary—especially since he has his own book. But since they did feel it was necessary, the least they could’ve done was get all the facts straight. For example, Sanjaya credits Simon with creating “Grease: You’re the One That I Want!” which he had nothing to do with.

The book also has an inconsistency in time. Twice, Sanjaya refers to something that happened two months later when it was actually only a few weeks. An editor could have cleared that up with just a calendar.

We do get some interesting tidbits along the way about the “Idol” process, but too many times it felt like Sanjaya was pulling his punches. I’m not saying he should have trashed people, but a few more details would’ve helped.

However you can do some reading between the lines since Jordin Sparks, Melinda Doolittle and Phil Stacey are the only fellow Idols who provide quotes for the book. But whatever Blake Lewis was referring to that made him say Sanjaya should write a book never surfaces—at least as far as I can tell.

Sadly, the book gives us no idea bout Sanjaya’s life now. We get some small hints about his post-Idol career, but unfortunately the book ends right after he filmed the Nationwide commercial.

Sanjaya fans will like reading about their Idol, but I think after a while, even they will be disappointed.

“Dancing to the Music In My Head: Memoirs of the People’s Idol” is available now…

Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster

It's Official! Cook is coming to...

I've just received the press release from the fine folks at 19 Entertainment and I can now officially tell you that David Cook is coming to the Tri-State.

I told you earlier that Cook would mostly be performing at college campuses. So which area campus was the lucky winner? That would be Shawnee State University in Portsmouth...

Cook will be at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts Friday, February 27th at 7 p.m. I'll keep you posted on when tickets will go on sale, but it will most likely be Monday.

This is Cook's only stop in Ohio. In West Virginia, he is performing at WVU and Davis and Elkins. He is not performing anywhere in Kentucky.

I'll have MUCH more on this as it happens...

Breaking News: Cook is Coming to the Tri-State!

The offical announcements have not yet been made, but my sources tell me that David Cook will hit the Tri-State area next month on his Declaration tour.

Now, I cannot divulge the information just yet, but I will let you know just as soon as I can...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Falling A Little Out of Love...

So you guys know that I have declared my love for Brent Keith from Blanchester, Ohio.

But new information has come to light that is seriously making me question my devotion…

I knew that name—and that face—looked terribly familiar so I had every intention of Googling him after the show, but I got busy and forgot. Fortunately, I have people out there to gather information for me.

One of my longtime readers (Thanks, DC) informed me that Keith was a finalist on “Nashville Star” (He finished sixth.) and that he has performed as part of the Highway 23 Jamboree at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland. He also appeared in those “Simply Irresistible” Big Sandy Superstore commercials.

Feeling a punch to the gut—or maybe the heart—I Googled him and finally figured out why the name was so familiar to me—I wrote it in MY OWN BLOG!!!

I did a post back in August 2007 on my “Stay Tuned” blog about Keith performing the title track to the CMT film, “Dale.” You can see that post here.

Can you believe it? My favorite hottie is a ringer…

So, should someone like Keith get a second chance through “Idol”? I’m not sure. But I definitely know I’ve fallen a little out of love with him…

He’s still a hottie, though…

What do you guys think about this latest “ringer”? And sadly, I know there are more, I’m just still trying to avoid the spoilers…

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Louisville Wrap-Up

It was nice to see the show get back on track after a blah one last night. Hopefully the San Francisco episode was an anomaly that FOX purposely scheduled on Inauguration night (It didn’t matter. “Idol” still won in the ratings.)…

And kudos to Louisville, which looked fantastic—even if it didn’t always sound fantastic…

Before I tell you my favorites, which you already know if you read my random thoughts, let me get something out of the way because I know it will be a BIG topic all over the Internet tomorrow…

Joanna Pacitti, who Kara pointed out was signed to A&M Records, is the “ringer” I alluded to in my post about spoilers. She recorded my favorite song on the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies of all-time—“Shine” from “Legally Blonde.” If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize it as the song that plays during the montage where Elle gets her act together (right after she says, “I’ll show you how valuable Elle Woods can be.”). Joanna was also involved in a controversy that caught Barbara Walter’s “20/20” eye when she was fired from the role of Annie in the Broadway revival of “Annie.” It was rumored that she was difficult to work with, so when she got sick they took the opportunity to replace her—not with her understudy, but with another member of the cast. She also had a song on the “Bratz” movie soundtrack.

I’m sure there are more ringers out there, but Joanna is the only one I definitely know about because I’ve been deliberately avoiding all the spoilers. And since I listen to her song quite often, well, that kind of bothers me. But for some reason, I’m not feeling the disgust toward her like I did with Carly at this stage. Maybe I’m impressed the show actually mentioned the record deal.

Now on to the good stuff…

I think you guys have already figured out that my favorite was Brent. As soon as he walked in, I said out loud, “What a hottie.” But fortunately he had the voice to match the looks. And you longtime readers know that I have to get behind a hottie every year. I also liked Alexis and Matt…

So what did you guys think? Did you think Louisville was an improvement over San Francisco? Are you offended by Joanna making it to Hollywood? Were you as unimpressed with Ryan’s shirt as I was?

Please leave your thoughts by posting a comment below…

Random Thoughts From the Bluegrass State...

Tonight we’re in Louisville, which means Ryan will have LOTS of horse racing metaphors…

Here are my random thoughts from the Bluegrass State…

It’s funny that they decided to do a little segment on how to pronounce Louisville, because I was just thinking that they needed to come to some kind of agreement on a pronunciation…

Tiffany (“Hero”) just had to be from Ohio, didn’t she? How tone deaf is her mom? And was it just me or when she “sang” “Because of You,” she sang “I learned to pee on the sidewalk”?...

Wow! “Idol” actually tries some truth telling with Joanna Pacitti (“We Belong”). And before you say Kara gave them no choice, they could have edited that out. However, I think Joanna was a little more successful than they gave her credit for. I’ll have more on that in my recap later tonight…

Ladies and gentlemen, I have just found my hottie for this year and his name is Brent (“Can’t Get Enough of Your Love”). WOW he’s cute! And he’s a Buckeye! Woo-hoo!...

I think Kara’s taking Simon a little too personally. I’m afraid that might get a little old…

Where do I get one of those “American Idol” bats? Those are cool!...

I was just getting ready to write that Matt (“I Don’t Wanna Be”) reminded me of Elliott Yamin when Simon said it. He could be pretty good…

Poor Paula. How cute was it when she freaked out over Ross (“Cara Mia”) drinking through her straw. But can you blame her?...

Sorry I was distracted. Did he say only 10 contestants made it through? Oh wait, that was only day one. In that case, Louisville is doing pretty well…

Alexis (“Dr. Feelgood”) has a great voice and a great story (single mom). She could have a real shot. But did anyone else notice she came out with a guitar? Was there some kind of edit there?...

What was up with Randy and Kara singing “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad”?...

What was up with Simon dissing Tyra Banks before Aaron (“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”) auditioned?

Funniest moment of the season so far. When Ryan, hearing all the shouting during Aaron’s audition said, “What the h—l?” and went into the audition room…

I’ve decided that Kara is just too in love with the sound of her own voice. Why else would she get so excited she’d break her ring…

Ryan, you’re a good-looking guy. Could you try to wear a decent-looking shirt?...

Why is Rebecca (“Before He Cheats”) the first person we’ve ever seen with a cheat sheet? Now everyone will be trying that. And did anyone else laugh when Kara made Rebecca cry? I did—not because Rebecca was crying but because Kara thought she was so smart and got it so wrong…

I would’ve liked to have seen more of Ryan from Cincinnati who sang “I was born by the river…” (Sorry, the title is not coming to me.)…

Leneshe had the best original song I’ve ever heard on the show. And “Breakaway” as she greeted her family? Nice! Man, those editors are on this year…

19 make it through to Hollywood from Louisville. Next up, Jacksonville…

I’ll be back with my recap in a minute…
Photos Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My San Francisco Wrap-Up

In all honesty, there’s not really all that much you can say about San Francisco, as evidenced by only 12 people getting though—and that’s counting the annoying Tatiana…

Plus, I need to wrap this up quickly so I can start reading Sanjaya’s book…

My favorite would have to be Kai, not just for his story, but also for his gorgeous voice. I also liked the “theatrical” Adam and John—even though we only got a small glimpse of him…

So what did you guys think? Are you looking forward to seeing “Idol” in Louisville?...

Random Thoughts From San Francisco...

We’re down to an hour tonight, thank goodness, because these two-hour marathon episodes get to be way too much for me…

So here are my random thoughts from the city by the bay…

Sadly, San Fran did not get off to the best start. They spent 7 MINUTES with Tatiana (“Never Loved A Man”)?! And how annoying was that laugh? Who could blame Ryan for running away? Frankly, I didn’t figure she could carry a tune, let alone go to Hollywood, but she surprised me—although I don’t think they should have let her through. I’m thinking that she might become a story on Group Day in Hollywood if she gets that far…

“We Built This City” as an audition song? Seriously?...

How cute was it when Simon hugged Jesus’ (“Unchained Melody”) son, Gabriel? And neither of those cuties every let go of their signs…

The show is doing a great job of using music this year and “You Found Me” was a great choice to complete Jesus’ story…

How crazy was Dalton (“Ooh, Baby Baby”) with that Rubik’s Cube? Too bad he couldn’t sing…

It’s clear that San Francisco didn’t produce that many contestants that will have an impact on the show, seeing as how we’re half-an-hour in and we’ve only seen six or seven people…

I know they’re just playing it up to generate drama, but I think Simon and Kara could really make things interesting down the road…

So why did Paula leave after Akilah (“Makes Me Love”) sang? Was she angry that Akeelah said she only had one hit song…in the early 80s…when she was a kid? Yeah, that was kind of harsh…

I would’ve liked to have seen more of John (“Overjoyed”)…

Is it just me or did Raquel (“Son of a Preacher Man”) look like Antonella Barba? Uh-oh…

Yes, Adam (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) was theatrical, but he was good. And did you notice Kara’s use of strategy? She wanted to hear what Simon was voting before she voted in case he didn’t like him…

If Kai (“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”) couldn’t sing, I would’ve cried. But fortunately he had a GORGEOUS tone and a beautiful story. I hope he goes far.

“I Can Only Imagine”? NICE!...

Wow, there are so many people to root for this year…

12 people made it through? Wow, San Fran was uneventful, wasn’t it?

“We’re out”? Come on, Ryan, do it for us just once. Please…

I’ll have my San Fran recap in a sec…
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Kelly Now On iTunes!

Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” is now available on iTunes…

Woo-hoo!

And yes, I’ve already downloaded it. I strongly suggest you do the same...


Photo Credit: RCA

Monday, January 19, 2009

"There's a big surprise coming..."

In an exclusive interview with “TV Week,” Mike Darnell, FOX’s president of alternative programming (you know, the guy I call the evil genius) revealed that there will be some changes when “Idol” hits the top 12.

However, he did not reveal what those changes are…

Here’s an excerpt:
TVWeek: Can we expect surprises as the season goes along?

Mr. Darnell: Yeah. There’s a big surprise coming when we get to the top 12, but I can’t reveal it right now.

TVWeek: Will it change the way we think of “American Idol?”

Mr. Darnell: Well, it’s not going to change what you think of “American Idol” and we don’t want to do that. This show is, you know, a phenomenon. It’s American, it’s apple pie. We’re not changing the core of the show, but it is something that will be talked about and is something I think that has some element of controversy surrounding it.

TVWeek: Do the contestants know?

Mr. Darnell: No. No one knows.

TVWeek: Is that part of it? You want to keep the contestants guessing?

Mr. Darnell: Part of it. But I also think it’s more that it’s a long season and you want to keep as many surprises for the audience, for the press, for everybody, as you go along. Some controversies will pop out. But this is something that we sort of felt like, here’s one set of things we’re doing, we’re going to wait and give you the other set when we get to the final 12.

Hmmm…Now you know why this guy worries me…

Darnell also revealed that we might be seeing Kelly Clarkson in the next couple of weeks and that artists will have to be “ridiculously big” for them to be mentors this season…
Photo Credit: FOX

Friday, January 16, 2009

News on Elliott's New Album

Elliott Yamin is working on his sophomore album for Hickory Records.

Elliott told USAToday.com that he has around 35 recorded songs to choose from for the album, which is scheduled for release May 5th.

He’s worked with some heavy-hitting producers on the tracks including Jermaine Dupri and Stargate…

Thursday, January 15, 2009

FOX's Reality Guru on Last Night's Show

Last night I theorized that we were only seeing the singers that we’ll actually follow in the Hollywood Rounds.

FOX reality guru Mike Darnell lent some credence to my claim today in a comment to “The Hollywood Reporter”:

“Darnell adds that last night's outing was also creatively strong, saying Wednesday night showcased ‘the most great talent we’ve had in one singular [audition] episode of Idol,’ and predicted that at least four of last night's singers will make it into the Top 36, if not Top 12.”

Hmmm…

Now clearly Darnell doesn’t know who’s making the top 12 because we decide that. But as the head of reality programming at FOX he could know the top 36 at this point, and if he doesn’t, he surely knows the top 50…

Hmmm, indeed…

Does America like the kinder, gentler "Idol"?

So does America like the kinder, gentler “Idol”?

If the ratings are any indication, then yes, they do…

For the first time in five seasons, “Idol” ratings went up for the second episode.

According to “The Hollywood Reporter,” Wednesday’s ratings were up 1% in the coveted 18-49 demo. Now that may not sound like a lot, but during the past four seasons, the second episode has declined an average of 11% in the demo.

FOX’s reality guru Mike Darnell told “Reporter,” “The little changes we’re making are having a big impact.”

Will that continue? We’ll see next week…

Cook on Kimmel Video

If you’ve been following the comments on my post about David Cook on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” you know that the Cook fans are taking me to task for my use of the word “cougar.”

So let me just say that no, I don’t think all older fans of Cook are cougars. But I don’t think you can deny that some of them are. And I don’t think you can deny that some of the “Cougars for Cook” were in the “Jimmy Kimmel” audience.

And besides, I didn’t come up with that term. That was a term those women gave themselves. Check out my blog post about it from last season to refresh your memory…

In the meantime, here’s that promised “Kimmel” video for you, including the skit that parodied those girls in that YouTube video. And the moment when the fans sing back to David—no matter who they are or what you call them—is awesome…

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Kansas City Wrap-Up

Last night we got the kinder, gentler “Idol."

Did that continue tonight? Well, yes and no…

The show continued focusing on the heartwarming stories more than the trainwrecks. But Simon’s acid-tongued barbs were back with a vengeance—much to Kara’s chagrin.

However, I thought the show once again struck a nice balance between the painful and the pleasant.

And there was plenty of pleasant as we heard some REALLY good talent tonight.

My favorite was Danny (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”), thanks to his heartwrenching story, followed very closely by Matt (“Ain’t No Sunshine”). I also really liked Jamar (“California Dreamin’”) and Jessica (“Crybaby”).

And I’m actually starting to think that because of the way the show is working so far that we might actually be seeing people that are going to make it somewhere in the competition as opposed to having the show randomly show us good performances from people that we never get to see again.

And wouldn’t that be awesome?

I told you guys this was going to be a good season, and so far nothing has happened to prove me wrong…

I’ll wait a little longer to decide for sure, but I’m honestly starting to think that maybe Nigel (Lythgoe, the former executive producer) was the problem. I point you to the trainwreck known as “Superstars of Dance” for further evidence…

So what did you think of tonight’s show? The season so far? The show’s increased use of music and montages?

Ryan’s flannel shirt?

Be sure to leave a comment below…

Random Thoughts From Kansas City

Kansas City, the home of David Cook…

Here are my random thoughts that I wrote down as I was watching…

“A cat jumping off the Empire State Building” (Chelsea, “Can’t Live Without You”). Now that’s the Simon we know and love! And of course, Kara doesn’t like it. It’ll get worse, Kara…
Could Ryan have dressed up just a little? I mean, a flannel shirt? That’s so 90s…

Simon co-wrote that sappy Leona Lewis song? Are you serious? And what was with that split-screen? Is this “24” now?...
Casey (“A Thousand Miles”) had a really interesting voice and that was a perfect song choice. But I can’t see her going far…

Why does Simon keep asking people that don’t make it through if they’re disappointed? Duh!...

Cook’s mom and stepdad. Nice!...And accompanying it with his version of “Billie Jean”? Even nicer…


I actually liked James’ arrangement of “When You Say Nothing At All.” It sounded like a Cascada cover…


Jiminy Christmas! What a voice Von (“Over the Rainbow”) has. But he’s a bit of a drama queen. I’m glad they let him through…

So Michael Castro (“I’m in Love With a Girl”) has a better voice than his brother, Jason, but he’s got that same “whatever” attitude. Do we really need another one of those?...

I loved Matt (“Ain’t No Sunshine”)! What was Randy listening to?...

And Simon, don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer…

I really liked Jessica (“Crybaby”) too. Her look was cool…

I also liked Jamar (“California Dreamin’”). Uh, Paula, when did he fall off pitch?...

Woah. Danny (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”) was a little tough to take, wasn’t it? I’m really glad he was good and I can’t wait to see what happens to him…

Awoop (“Thank You”) was good too…

I just really don’t know what to say about Andrew (“My Girl”). Usually when contestants resort to gimmicks, they can’t sing; but Andrew could. So why the cheerleaders? I thought his audition was good, but the judges were already turned off by the theatrics. And why did Randy change his mind after “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” I thought it was okay…

I actually laughed at Michael Nicewater (the original songs for his mom and grandmother). And Simon’s Hallmark career advice? Classic…
However, I actually winced at Dennis (“With You”). Randy and the girls let him through strictly for entertainment value. Hey, Simon got Bikini Girl…

That girl singing Jessica Simpson that Simon didn’t like actually sounded just like Jessica…

“God’s gonna get you?” (Mia, “Lovin’ You”) Alrighty then…

And of course they’d play Fantasia after Lil Rounds’ (that Stevie Wonder song) audition…

27 people from Kansas City went to Hollywood. That’s much better…

By the way, this is the only kind of thing that song (“I Believe”) works for…

Did I just see the “actressing” chick in next week’s previews?...

Oh yeah. Hollywood week is coming…But first we have more auditions…

My recap is coming, but it will be a little slow because it is “Top Chef” night…
Photos Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

The Cougars Come Out for Cook

If you caught David Cook on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” this morning, you know the cougars were out in full force…

In fact, they even took over the bridge of “Light On” quite well, causing David to break out in a big smile.

In addition to “Light On,” David did “Declaration,” as well as “Kiss On the Neck” and a cover of
Fleetwood Mac’s “Little Lies” after the show went off the air.

Kimmel announced that the David Cook Declaration Tour will kick off February 13th. David told “Billboard” that he’ll be hitting a lot of college campuses. The tour schedule should be announced next week…

I’ll have that tour schedule for you—as well as Kimmel video—as soon as I get it…

The Ratings Are In...

So the ratings are in. How did “Idol” do?

It was its lowest premiere ever. But since that’s 30.1 million viewers, that’s still pretty good.

And those numbers are only down about 10% from last year’s. Considering the erosion of TV audiences, that’s really good news for FOX.

Now for my question. How did “NCIS” do against it? The little show that could still managed to garner 18.5 million viewers. So you know CBS is smiling pretty big this morning too…

NBC and ABC, not so much…

J-Hud Goes Super

The NFL has confirmed that Jennifer Hudson will sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl February 1st.
It will be her first public appearance since the murders of her mother and brother.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on NBC…
Photo Credit: RCA

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Phoenix Wrap-Up

So “Idol” is finally here and we got at least two of our questions answered…

The first question was how Kara would be and I think we saw very early on that she’s tough but fair. But when the claws need to come out, she’s not afraid to let them and I like that. But she might want to dial down the confidence a little. She’s got a great voice, but she doesn’t need to throw it in everyone’s faces…

The second question was whether the show was really going to be kinder and gentler. And I think that awesome opening montage answered that right away. It might have just been my imagination, but I didn’t think the bad auditions were nearly as awkward as they usually are. I think I only winced once.

And it was nice to see the show end on a high note as opposed to someone cursing up a blue streak at the cameras.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty well-paced, well-edited two hours…

The problem with the audition episodes has always been that we get all excited about someone and then we never see them again. But hopefully with an additional Hollywood Week that won’t happen.

So with that being said, I’ll say that my favorite audition was Emily, although I really liked Cody. But I would definitely look for Scott to be a major story…

The ride has begun, kids. Next stop Kansas City…

In the meantime, let me know what you thought of the episode, the auditions, Kara, whatever by leaving a comment below…

I’ll be back tomorrow for the second episode, plus I’ll let you know how “Idol” did in the ratings tonight. I’m actually less interested in how “Idol” did than I am in how “NCIS” did against it…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Random Thoughts From Arizona...

So here are some random thoughts from the auditions…

Tuan (“The Way You Make Me Feel”) was a great start to the season. And did anyone else see that look on Kara’s face like “What did I get myself into?”…

I’m glad to hear that Emily Hughes’ (“Barracuda”) band plight will be revisited in Hollywood. She could be a very interesting story…

I thought Aundrae (X-Ray) (“Cacti”) was cool in a terribly odd way…

Arianna (“Put Your Records On”) was way too effortless in her audition. And she’s got that charity thing going too. I wonder if Group Day will break her…

Only 10 people made it to Hollywood on Day One?! Yipes!!!...

Anyone who says they’re a cross between Hilary Duff and Madonna is bound to be scary. But Lea Marie (Kara’s #1 fan) wasn’t all that bad. A little work on the nasalness and she’d be okay…Along with a little dial down on the annoyingness…

Kara called Stevie Wright (“At Last”) “my girl so far.” Hmmm…And it’s interesting that Paula mentioned Kelly Clarkson, because I thought her voice sounded a little like Kelly…

Michael Sarver (“Thank You”) is the kind of story “Idol” loves, but I think he’ll get chewed up and spit out in Hollywood. He’s the kind of guy who always forgets his lyrics…

By the way, I may have gotten that name wrong. I think Ryan just called him Jeremy…

I really thought they’d hold Bikini Girl until the end, but they threw us a bone at the 75 minute mark. Kara’s got nerve and confidence, there’s no doubt about that. Did she actually call Katrina a [witch]? And I don’t think Ryan thought she’d actually kiss him. He was a little freaked…

Surprisingly, Eric Thomas, aka “Sexual Chocolate” (“Ribbons in the Sky”), had an actual voice, if he had actually used it…

When was the last time we heard “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” as an audition song? Nice choice! And it got Brianna through when Simon turned into a big ol’ softie. She won’t last long, though…

Is Deanna (“Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay”) the next Kellie Pickler? With a cooler voice?...

Is it just me or did Cody Shelton (“Wonderful World”) look like a cross between Sanjaya and Pete Wentz?...

Yea! Alex (“Baby, Come to Me”) could actually sing! Kudos to Kara for putting him through. But why did he want Randy to sing with him?...

After that montage, yeah, Kara’s right. Katrina (Bikini Girl) is terrible…

A touching story to close the show as opposed to a trainwreck. That’s something new…

Scott MacIntyre (“And So It Goes”) is a DOOZY of a story. I hope Hollywood doesn’t chew him up and spit him out too badly…

And sometimes Ryan really is a bit stupid, isn’t he? Did he not realize Scott wouldn’t be able to see his high-five?...

I’ll have a wrap-up in a few…


Photos Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Opening Thoughts…

WOW! What a great way to start off the season. That montage was awesome!

But did anyone else notice how few season one shots made the cut?

And how about all that love for Clay? Let’s bring him back as a mentor this year…

There’s been a lot of talk about how “Idol” is going to focus on the uplifting stories as opposed to the trainwrecks this season. Maybe that montage was the introduction to that.

I mean, who didn’t get choked up seeing Elliott’s mother crying?

I guess we’ll find out…after the break…

The Circus Is About to Begin...

As I type this, I’m hearing Britney Spears’ “Circus.”

Appropriate, isn’t it, since the circus known as “American Idol” is about to begin…

I will not be blogging live tonight (These two-hour audition episodes are just too tough for me to do that.), but I will be dropping in from time-to-time during the two hours with my thoughts and I’ll have a wrap-up when the episode is over.

Feel free to join me at any time with your thoughts…

I all starts in less than an hour…

Is an "Idol" Coupling Over?

The coupling that “Idol” fans despised is now over…

“In Touch” is reporting that David Cook and Kimberly Caldwell split up before the holidays.

Kimberly’s rep told the magazine, “The couple remain good friends and, being very private people, appreciate their privacy at this time."

Because I don't want to look like I'm getting joy out of someone else's sorrow, I'm going to stop writing now...

Breaking News: Kelly’s New Single Debuts

Kelly Clarkson’s new single, “My Life Would Suck Without You” debuted this morning on The Elvis Duran and the Z100 Morning Show in NYC.

You can hear it here...



I think it’s catchy, but as someone in my office said, it gets a little repetitive with the sucking…

What do you guys think?

UPDATE: Okay, it's official. I love this song...

Monday, January 12, 2009

My "American Idol" Party

So I was thinking that maybe some of you out there are celebrating the return of “Idol” with a party, which reminded me that I never told you guys about my “American Idol” party that I threw last year…


Since I can’t have a party during an actual episode (I am working after all), this party was on a Saturday a few weeks before the finale. I am not going to tell you who was there because I feel I should protect their identities…

There was “Idol” music, “Idol” decorations, “Idol” party favors and an “Idol” cake served on “Idol” plates with “Idol” napkins.


And of course, I had “Idol” invitations and “Idol” thank you cards to thank everyone for coming…


Yes, I’m cheesy and I can’t help it. See now why I want to protect the identity of my guests?

Sadly, the place that made this cake has gone out of business or else I would be telling all of you where to get it since I think it is completely awesome. It tasted pretty good too…


And yes, you are correct, my t-shirt does say Jack Bauer for President 2008…


The plates, napkins, party favors and decorations are all available on the Internet. You can check out one of the sites here.


There’s already talk amongst my friends about trying to get me to have another party. They might change their minds though when they find out that I want to make them sit through “From Justin to Kelly”…
I’m sorry but I will defend that movie ‘til the bitter end…

Cook Goes "Live!"

Be sure to set your DVRs/VCRs for late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning when David Cook will perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

And as an added bonus—at least for me anyway—Jimmy’s lead guest is none other than Kiefer Sutherland.


The episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” will air nationally Wednesday, January 14th at 12:05 a.m. on ABC. In the Huntington/Charleston area, “Kimmel” airs at 1:05 a.m. on WCHS…
Photo Credit: Ron Cadiz/RCA

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sanjaya is "Dancing to the Music In [His] Head"

Remember a few months back when Blake Lewis said that Sanjaya Malakar should write a book because of his crazy story?

Well now Blake has gotten his wish…

“Dancing to the Music in My Head: Memoirs of the People’s Idol” will hit bookstores January 20th. The publisher, Pocket Books, promises that it will give us “an intimate behind-the-scenes look” at “Idol,” as well as tell us about Sanjaya’s past and future.









That same day, Sanjaya will release a digital EP, “Dancing to the Music in My Head” exclusively on Amazon.com. You can hear previews of the five tracks here. Just be prepared to be scared a little…

You know that I’ll have more on his book later…
Photo Credits: Simon and Schuster and Amazon.com

More From Kara DioGuardi...

So yesterday I had a choice to make. I could participate in a conference call with Kara DioGuardi or I could watch the four-hour premiere of “24”…

Do I really have to tell you guys which way that one went?


But thanks to the magic of replay, I was able to hear the conference call later and I am now more convinced than ever that Kara is going to be a strong addition to the show…

One of the interesting things that we’ll see from her in the audition rounds is strategy. Because Simon had the tie-breaker vote, Kara said there were “a bunch” of times when she had to make the call on whether a contestant really deserved a second chance because she knew Simon would vote no.

She admitted there’s “a little girl power goin’ on” and she cited the girl in the bikini that’s been all over the promos as an example. But as far as who she agrees with the most, Kara said it’s a case-by-case basis. “I definitely can sometimes see where Simon’s coming from, but I may not have said it quite the way he said it. But I also do believe in second chances early on. I know that if I hadn’t had a second chance a lot of times I wouldn’t be where I am today…Sometimes you see potential in people and you have to think past some of the mistakes maybe they made because they were nervous or whatever. So I do believe in second chances, but third chances? That’s another story.”

And as for the reports that Kara and Paula are ganging up on Simon: “When he deserves it, we give it to him. And believe me, he deserves it sometimes.”

So how does she describe the other judges? “I would say that Paula has a lot of heart, I would say that Simon pretty much tells it like it is. Sometimes he can be, you know, pretty harsh, but he’s usually right. And Randy’s just, he’s the diplomat.”

Kara actually reserved some of her nicest words for Ryan. “He’s just been a doll and very supportive and very encouraging. I have nothing but great things to say about everybody. They’ve just been great to me in terms of behind the scenes…”

So how does Kara describe herself? “I think I have a combination of all of [the judges]. I do like to say it like I see it. I don’t really mince words but I do feel I have a heart. And when you’re dealing with creative people that have some talent, you want to make sure you encourage them. But also if they don’t have any talent, you want to discourage them because you don’t want them to waste their time. So I may say things that are negative but I always try to do it with some heart and some understanding of what it’s like to be on the other side of the table.”

Kara said in the beginning the biggest mistake she made was talking over people because she didn’t know when she was supposed to talk. “In the beginning, it was a little unnerving. I didn’t know where I was going to sit, I didn’t know when I was going to speak. So that kind of, you know these kind of shifts in something that’s been so just the way it’s been for so many years has really added a new dynamic, I think.”

So what are we going to get with Kara? “I think [you’re] going to see somebody who’s pretty feisty and opinionated. But it’s also coming from a good place as somebody who’s trying to help these contestants and impart my own experience to them so at the end of the day whether they win or lose, they learn something.”

Kara said she’s working on a signature line, but right now, it’s “Be you.”

One reporter asked Kara what she thought this would mean for her career. “I never in a million years imagined I would be a judge on ‘American Idol’, so when I got that call it was really an honor and in some ways I felt like I had hit the lottery. And I didn’t even really think about what’s this going to mean, I just said yeah, I’ll do this. I mean I’ve been involved in so many of these kids’ careers and this is what I do every day. I look out for talent, I help them in the studio, I produce them. You know, that’s my life. I live for that and it just felt like a natural extension. That it’s on television, the biggest TV show, and you know, so many viewers, you know, wow, I don’t know what to say about that. It was an honor to be called and I’m looking forward to making this year as great as it can be, and finding the best talent out there and giving

my stand on why I think they’re great or why they’re not.”

Try as they might, none of the reporters could get Kara to talk specifics about the contestants, but she did admit that the men were the stronger group this year. She said there were about 5-10 men that were “great.”

As for past “Idol” contestants, she has worked with a ton of them. But the one she would most like to work with but hasn’t is Chris Daughtry. “If he’s out there and he wants to do a co-write, please call me.”

Some people in the music industry have been down on “Idol” and think it is the wrong way to find new talent; but Kara isn’t one of those. “In the beginning when I heard about it I really didn’t understand what it was. It sounded kind of like ‘Star Search’ and I didn’t quite understand it. But once I saw the show I thought it was incredible. I think if you have to slug it out or you get lucky it doesn’t matter. If you’ve got talent and you’re gonna be somebody who’s going to make their mark and have great music out there kudos to you no matter how you break in. So I don’t begrudge anyone because they didn’t have to go through seven or eight years of slugging it out. And this show gives kids that would never have an opportunity to be in front of professionals that opportunity and I think for that it’s incredible. It’s about dreams and helping people achieve those.”

Kara also admits that it took her a little while to find her place at the table. She said at one point during the first city, “Paula turned to me and said, ‘Uh, are you gonna be you?’…I got the message and went back to my old ways…It’s something that took a minute to again be yourself and also find a place within the show where you weren’t at all detracting from the show or the people around you or inhibiting them in any way. It’s something that I’m still working on but I think I’m there. I hope you guys think so too.”

I’m looking forward to finding out, aren’t you?...
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Where Are the Spoilers?

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been posting any stories about potential “ringers” in the “Idol” mix this year. That’s because I have purposely been avoiding all spoilers because I think all of those stories about Carly Smithson, Michael Johns and Brooke White ruined things for me a little last year.

And I am trying to hold fast to my belief that this year is going to be so much better…

So, I won’t reveal anything about the contestants until we actually know who they are. If you just can’t wait, you can check out a number of Internet sites, including VotefortheWorst.com.

But I have to warn you, if the spoiler I accidentally read yesterday is true, then we could have a controversy that puts Carly Smithson to shame…

Want a hint? [If you don’t, stop reading now.] The spoiler says that one of the contestants who made it to Hollywood recorded my favorite song off the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies of all-time. The song is PROMINENTLY featured in the movie, which stars an Academy Award-winning actress.

See what I mean?

I’ll have more on this as the season develops…

Kelly's New CD Cover

Here’s your first look at the cover of Kelly Clarkson’s upcoming CD, “All I Ever Wanted.”

Am I the only one who thinks that title is a little ironic?

Photo Credit: RCA

Carrie Is the People's Choice

Carrie Underwood was a big winner at Wednesday’s People’s Choice Awards...

Carrie took home Favorite Female Singer, Favorite Country Song for “Last Name” and Favorite Star Under 35.

Jordin Sparks also took home an award for Favorite Combined Forces for “No Air” with Chris Brown…

“American Idol” lost the award for Favorite Reality Show to “Dancing With the Stars”…Carrie also performed “I Know You Won’t.” It was kind of a showstopper…

If you missed it, you can see it here
Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming

Monday, January 5, 2009

What Will Kara Be Like?

While looking for bargains at an outlet mall on New Year’s Day, I ran across the “American Idol” edition of Monopoly that came out a few years back.

When I went to pay for it, the cashier asked me if I was a fan and then proceeded to tell me how disappointed she was with last season. I told her that this season would be much better thanks to all the changes the show is making.

But the next thing out of her mouth was the question everyone’s been asking during the “Idol” off-season…

“Who’s the new judge? What will she be like?”

I assured the cashier that Kara DioGuardi will be good. But the truth is I have no idea.

However, what I’ve been reading about her tells me that I’m right. Because if you’re expecting another Paula Abdul, you’re going to be disappointed…

So let’s answer that first question. Who is Kara DioGuardi? She’s most known as a songwriter and she’s written/co-written some of my favorite songs, including Hilary Duff’s “Fly” and “Come Clean.” You can currently hear her work in the new Pink single, “Sober.”

DioGuardi is the co-owner of ArtHouse Entertainment, a music production and publishing house. And she is also a VP of A&R at Warner Brothers Records, which means she regularly evaluates new talent.

So to say she’s qualified to be a judge would be a major understatement. But how about that second question. What will she be like?

Kara has gone the reality route before as a judge/mentor on ABC’s short-lived “Idol” knockoff, “The One: The Making of a Superstar.” But since that show was so bad, it’s really not fair to judge her by that.

A new interview in this week’s “Entertainment Weekly” gives us some better hints…

Here’s what she had to say about the audition:

“A lot of times people will sing a big song that they don’t have the voice for instead of bringing out the uniqueness in their tone. Another thing is, don’t cheese me out. It’s not a wedding band. And emote. Make me feel like you mean it. Don’t just sing the way the song was written. That was Mariah’s interpretation. Now what are you gonna do?”

See what I mean?

Another thing that will make Kara interesting is that she can sing very well. And during the auditions when contestants challenge the judges to do better, Kara actually does.

Kara reveals that the show tried seating her between Paula and Simon Cowell, but “they kept trying to communicate and I didn’t want to be in the middle of that.”

As for all of that talk about Kara and Paula not getting along, Kara says that they have “a good vibe.” Paula says that she feels more confident with Kara there because she has “an ally” now.

In fact, Kara might owe Paula her career. In 1998, when she was still working as the assistant to the editor of “Billboard,” she gave a songwriting demo to Paula. After listening to it, Paula flew her out to LA to live with her for a six-week collaboration. The result was “Spinning Around,” which became Kylie Minogue’s comeback single. Paula told “EW” that they “were the best roommates.”

At the end of the “EW” interview, Kara shows some concern that America will think she’s being too rough. “They may think my intensity and my boldness are [witchy].”

I’m getting more excited by the day…

You can read the entire article here

Photo Credit: FOX

Carrie on the People's Choice

Carrie Underwood will perform at the People’s Choice Awards Wednesday.

Carrie is nominated for Favorite Female Singer and Favorite Country Song for “Last Name.” And since the winners are told beforehand so they’ll show up, my guess is that she’ll take home at least one of them.

“American Idol” is nominated for Favorite Competition/Reality Show and Jordin Sparks is nominated along with Chris Brown for Favorite Combined Forces for “No Air.”

The People’s Choice Awards airs Wednesday, January 7th at 9 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles/Sony BMG Nashville

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Cover to Kelly's New Single

Here's your first look at the cover for Kelly Clarkson's new single, "My Life Would Suck Without You"...


The single is scheduled to be released to radio January 19th...
Photo Credit: RCA