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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How Did Things Get So Ugly?

Last week, I said that I wasn’t updating my blog as much because I’ve gotten lazy. And laziness definitely has something to do with it. But honestly, I think there is something else at work here.

Usually in the weeks following the finale, all of the news is about show appearances, the tour, and record deals. But last week’s news was all about accusations of vote tampering by corporate sponsors, speculation about sexuality and theories about Christians forming voting blocks.

It’s all gotten so ugly, and quite frankly, I just wasn’t very eager to wade into it.
But, you guys read this blog to get my opinion on all things “Idol” and so that’s what I’m going to do—give my opinions. And you all know that I never discuss religion or sexuality in my blog, but in this one I’m actually going to do both. So if you don’t want to get involved in such a discussion, I suggest you stop reading now…

First, let me address the AT&T controversy. What started out as a simple story in an Arkansas newspaper turned into a huge brew-ha-ha when the “New York Times” got a hold of it. A couple of AT&T employees showed up at Kris Allen parties in Arkansas and brought demo phones with them. They showed the fans how to send multiple texts at once.

So, of course, the Adam Lambert fans cried foul, especially after Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” reported that his sources told him the margin of votes between Kris and Adam was not close at all. The story dominated both Kris and Adam’s interviews and FOX was forced to release a statement that Kris is “without a doubt” our American Idol.

I have to say that I don’t believe there is anything sinister going on here. These were local employees, not AT&T corporate hotshots. Of course they’re going to support their local boy. And this information that they relayed at these parties is available all over the Internet, so I’m sure that some Adam Lambert fans used it as well.

Let me also once again remind everyone that we have no idea who was in the lead before the final week. For all we know, it could have been Kris. It was the media that declared Adam the front-runner, not the vote total…

A much more likely theory being floated around by Lambert fans—and Danny Gokey himself—is what people are calling the Gokey factor. If I am being completely honest, I have to say that yes, I think the Danny Gokey fans made a difference. I warned you that they could in my “H-D” column. What bothers me is why they made that difference.

Because I think we all know it wasn’t because they wanted Kris to win. It was because they didn’t want Adam to win. And the reality is that religion probably did play a role here. I do believe that “Idol” is, as the Gospel Music Channel documentary called it, the most Christian-friendly show in primetime. How would that be affected if someone like Adam won the title?

Which leads me to the final topic of this post…

Last week, the Internet lit up with Clay Aiken’s comments about Adam. Clay said that when he heard Adam sing “Ring of Fire” he thought his “ears would bleed.” He later apologized for his comments.

And he apologized, why? How was Clay offering his opinion on his blog—as many former Idols do on their blogs—any different than what I do on this one? You may recall I also didn’t like that performance when I first heard it. Clay went on to say—which the Internet didn’t pick up—that Kris won because the audience was sending a message to the show. Isn’t that exactly what I said?

The difference here I believe is that Clay is gay. And he was badmouthing a performer that is most likely gay. So that made it a story. And that my friends, is just completely messed up…

So let me do what I swore I would not do, and address Adam Lambert’s sexuality in this blog with two words…

WHO CARES!

I don’t care what Adam’s sexuality is. I don’t care that he’s probably going to come out on the cover of “Rolling Stone.” I DON’T CARE!!!

Adam has never denied who he is. It’s the media that have been completely obsessed about it. And I believe that the out-of-control speculation helped cost Adam the “Idol” title…

I think everyone should take a lesson from Kris Allen. This quiet former missionary has become very good friends with a guy that is very different from him. If he can embrace Adam and his differences, why can’t everyone else?

My biggest question is how did a singing competition become about religion and sexuality? How did such a fun little show like “American Idol” get so ugly?

And now that I’ve gotten all of that off of my chest, I will now return you to my normal blog…

LaKisha Jones CD Review: Fans Will Like It, But...

As I’ve already told you, LaKisha Jones’ first CD, “So Glad I’m Me,” hit stores May 19th. But you’ve probably been wondering why I haven’t done a review of the CD. After all, I’ve had it since before it hit stores.

But every time I sat down to write it, LaKisha’s smiling face on the CD cover stopped me in my tracks.

You see, I didn’t like it. And LaKisha is such a sweetheart, I just couldn’t bring myself to say it. But I believe you guys take the time out of your day to read this blog to get my honest opinions, not for me to mince words to be nice to someone who was nice to me.

And in all honesty, the CD starts out fine and continues that momentum through the entire first half. But the second half sounds a little too much like the first and things turn a tad bit boring…

And then there’s the fact that the CD is all over the place. It feels like LaKisha is just trying to stuff in as many genres as she can as she switches from contemporary Christian to R&B and back. When LaKisha told me that the CD was “little chapters” in the story of her life, that helped it make a little more sense to me. But I think LaKisha would be much better served sticking to one genre.

Personally, I would make that genre contemporary Christian since those songs are the best on the CD…

LaKisha does sound great, though, so if you’re a fan you’ll still enjoy it. But I think even fans will feel like more could have been done to showcase LaKisha’s talent.

“So Glad I’m Me” is available now…

Jordin Gets Set to Do Battle In The Stores

Jordin Sparks’ new CD, “Battlefield,” will hit stores July 21st…

The heavy hitters helping her out on her sophomore CD include Ryan Tedder (who co-wrote the title track), T-Pain, Dr. Luke, and Stargate.

Jordin will head out on the road with the Jonas Brothers later this month…

Photo Credit: Randee St. Nicholas/Jive Records

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Apologies...

So I just want to take a moment and apologize to all of you for not updating my blog more this week.

After the rush of everything “Idol,” May sweeps and the Upfronts, I tend to get a little lazy.

Don’t worry, I’ll snap out of it soon and get you caught up on all of the latest news…

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Column You Did Not See in Today's H-D

As I mentioned to you guys last week, I started to have a change of heart about the “Idol” outcome and I promised you’d read about in my “Herald-Dispatch” column. So late Friday night/early Saturday morning, I poured my heart out onto my laptop.

But something about it bothered me. It was just too different from what I had written throughout the year. So I got out of bed and wrote an entirely new column. That new column is what appeared in today’s paper and online.

Just like a deleted scene on a DVD, this is the column you did not see in today’s H-D:

Every April, I start counting down the weeks until “American Idol” is over and I can get my life back. But then, at the end, I find myself sitting in front of the TV wiping away tears as we watch the confetti and pyrotechnics shower our newest American Idol.

But for some reason that didn’t happen this year and I don’t know why.

I should have been thrilled that Kris Allen won. After all, I predicted it in my blog, so it made me look smart. And he had been my favorite contestant for much of the season, so I should have been jumping up and down all over the place. I mean, I did vote for him a dozen times Tuesday night. But I just sat there, finished my blog, and then turned the channel over to something else. I decided to blame my apathy on that horrible winner’s single and Kris’ state of shock, which kept him from showing any real emotion.

But Thursday morning, just for the fun of it, I decided to download both Kris’ and Adam’s versions of the winner’s song, “No Boundaries.” Kris’ was okay and a big improvement over what we heard on the show. But then I listened to Adam’s. It was like a punch in the gut. I could actually close my eyes and see the confetti and pyrotechnics flying. But this was not the winner’s version.

And that’s when it hit me. The reason I wasn’t happy that Kris won was because I knew in my gut that America had made a total mistake. In the three and a half minutes it took me to listen to that song, I had a complete change of heart. I was now siding with the Adam fans that were posting angry comments on my blog. I believed that Adam was robbed. And with each listen to the song, the doubts got worse and worse.

All of my thoughts about how this vote was America standing against the “Idol” machine and refusing to accept the choice shoved at them went right out the window. I wanted to rewind the night and see Adam on that mini-stage screaming his heart out about mountains and hurricanes.

I still believed what I wrote last week. That Adam would be fine win or lose, but Kris needed to win. I just felt like a major disservice was done by the best singer not winning. So I spent the better part of Thursday just trying to figure out what I was going to say to all of you on this page.

I told you I take this show pretty seriously.

Finally, it was the voice of Adam Lambert himself coming through my telephone that convinced me my initial instincts were right after all and that America did get it right. In a conference call with the media, Adam was downright jovial talking about his experience. “I really feel like I won by getting to the final,” he told us. “It’s not about the title, it’s the experience. I was able to use ‘American Idol’ as a platform. Now I have a career.”

So did the best singer win? No. But did the right singer win? Absolutely. Adam is going to be just fine, and without the “Idol” title, he may have a little more freedom to do what he wants. Kris needed that title to make a name for himself. Without the win, he would’ve become just another “Idol” finalist. Now we can look forward to hearing what comes next from both him and Adam.

However, I must admit there’s a part of me who would really liked to have seen Adam get that winner’s moment Wednesday. Those pyrotechnics would have worked great with that scream of his.

Thanks to all of you for going on this journey with me this season. It’s been a pleasure. And thanks to all of the people behind the scenes that made me look so good every week.

And because it’s a tradition that someone should continue, let me end this column the proper way…

Henderson, out!

My Final H-D Column

If you haven’t already, you can read my final column of the year here.

Withdrawal?

Is anyone have "Idol" withdrawal yet?

We could start a support group on this blog!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kris Visits "Ellen"

Our new American Idol Kris Allen will continue his publicity tour by making a stop on “Ellen” Tuesday, May 26th. He will also perform.

You can see when “Ellen” is on in your area here. It airs in the Huntington area at 3 p.m. on WSAZ…

The Idols Speak On "Larry King Live"

I know that he’s a legend and everything, but I’ve never been all that impressed with Larry King as an interviewer—especially when it comes to interviewing current stars of pop culture.

So thankfully, Larry was out promoting his new book when it came time for the two episodes of his show featuring the Idols and we got Ryan Seacrest instead.

And I have to say that Ryan showed why it is Larry has so much faith in him as he didn’t shy away from the tough questions—questions I hadn’t heard asked yet…

If you missed it, here’s a sample of what we got from the two episodes. Friday’s featured Kris and Adam, with the rest of the top 10 joining in intervals. Monday’s show was the top 10 answering viewer questions…

Kris on why he won: “I don’t know. I hope it was about the music”…

Kris on whether being a Christian played a part in his win: “I really hope that it didn’t. The show is not about religion”…

When talking about his performance of “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” in the audience, Kris referred to it as “that dang pit” and “the pit of death”…

Adam revealed that one of his boots (I’m not sure which one) was flown in from Antwerp, Belgium…

There were some awkward laughs when Paula Abdul, who joined Kris and Adam for a couple of segments said that they had “a bromance going on.” Leave it to Paula to say that. However, I do have to agree that Adam and Kris are really funny together. There were times where you thought they were almost communicating telepathically…

When Ryan addressed Adam’s sexuality, Adam said, “My lifestyle, I’m just different”…

Ryan said he didn’t know what the margin of votes was because he “forgot to ask.” Hmmmm…

When Ryan brought up Kara’s moment with Bikini Girl in the finale, he said that Kara was the first judge to perform on the show, but then caught himself to tell Paula “of course since your performance.” He’s a pro, kids…

Allison said that Cyndi Lauper told her not to worry about the words…

On Monday night, Randy Jackson joined the show by phone and said “the whole top 10 has a shot to be huge.” He told Ryan that he thought all the tweaks to the show were “really, really good” and he said Kara “worked out tremendously well” after things “started a little bumpy”…

There was a funny moment when Adam cringed at his slightly off note at the end of his first performance of “Mad World.” He said he started singing the harmony line instead of what he was supposed to be singing…

Randy told Ryan that he thinks all the judges will be back next season. As for the next season, which could possibly go without Simon, Randy admitted that the whole reason he signed on to the show to begin with was Simon. He added, “I think the show could go on, but I don’t know if it would be as successful.”

The discussion of “No Boundaries” got a lot of giggling from the entire group. Kris said it was “hard to sing.” Adam said it had “a lot of words.” Kris said, “I think I forgot the words” on Tuesday night—which he did and Adam said he got “really flustered” during dress rehearsal when he forgot the words. After some snickering about the mountains and hurricanes, Kris said the song had “a good message”…

Michael Sarver confirmed what I had heard once before that if two contestants choose the same song, the contestants have to draw out of a box. The one who gets the song title on a slip of paper gets the song. Michael said he won the draw three times…

Ryan got Adam to admit that Queen did have a conversation with him and they told him they would love for him to come out and perform with them, but Adam said they did not offer him the role as lead singer. Adam was pretty cagey about it because, obviously, he is still tied to 19, but he did admit, “I said I would love to.”

Adam said he felt Kara was “unfairly judged,” adding “I don’t understand why everyone was so hard on her”…

Ryan asked what songs should be banned from the “Idol” stage, and the group agreed
“T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” which they said was very difficult to sing…

At the end of the show, Ryan asked them to name class superlatives:
Class Clown—Matt Giraud
Class Flirt—Matt Giraud
Most Stylish—Adam Lambert
Class Brain—Anoop Desai
Class Rebel—Megan Joy
Most Likely to Run for Political Office—Anoop Desai
Prom Queen and King—Lil Rounds and Kris Allen…

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kris and Adam: A Study in Contrasts

The conference call with Adam Lambert and Kris Allen—not surprisingly—was a complete study in contrasts.

Kris was completely low key, while Adam at times sounded almost jubilant. In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that Adam was the winner.

And Adam himself would tell you that he feels like a winner, because he can now have the career he’s always wanted.

And after hearing them both talk to us, I feel much better about the overcome. I had started to feel like America had made a terrible mistake, but now—even though I think the best singer didn’t win—I do think the right person did.

Scroll down to see both Kris and Adam’s comments…

Kris Allen: "I have a feeling it was close"

From the moment Kris Allen spoke his first words on today’s media conference call, it was obvious he was exhausted. In fact, it was a complete contrast to the downright bouncy sound in Adam Lambert’s voice.

But considering the schedule Kris has been working under, I think it’s completely forgivable…

And maybe that’s why the reporters on the line seemed to give Kris such an easy time today…

Here’s a sample of what he had to say…

On the performance with Queen: “We had met Queen the night before. It was really, really great. We went through it twice I think. It was the best moment of the year for me. It was just an exhale of everything. It felt great.”

On how he and his wife will handle his new fame: “It’s definitely a topic of conversation all the time. We’ve been getting ourselves ready for everything. We’re really strong, so everything’s going to be fine.”

On why he said Adam deserved it Wednesday night: “I still feel that way. Adam deserved it just as much as I did. He was the most consistent all year. He’s one of the most gifted performers I’ve ever met. I think it could have gone either way. America could not have gotten it wrong.”

On what he learned from his “Idol” experience: “The harder you work for the thing that you love the most, the more likely it is to come true.”

On the vote margin between him and Adam: “I haven’t heard anything. I have a feeling it was close. Adam was a huge frontrunner most of the season.”

On what kind of music he’d like to have for his album: “I felt like I did exactly what I would want to do on the show. ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ stuff that kind of has that feel…We’ll see.” When a reporter asked about collaborating with Kara, Kris responded, “It was really fun working with her on the single.”

His message to his fans: “The fans are the reason that we’re here. Thank you, I would not be here without you. I’m stoked and I hope that I don’t let you down with the CD. I know it’s going to be great.”

On how his style has changed: “I’ve always done music the same way. This has been a growing experience. My music is gonna be better than it ever was before. This show gets you ready.”

On “No Boundaries”: “The song is hard to sing. I don’t think me or Adam were happy with our performances. The judges were trying not to judge us on that and judge us on the whole season…I sang it that morning and it was fine. Both of us just got tired. There were some sound issues where we couldn’t hear ourselves…It was a rough night there at the end…The track actually sounds really good. The song is good. There are some stipulations on what they have to do with these songs…To have your first single be something you weren’t involved in is a little weird.”

Kris added that when he performs the song live, he’ll probably do it acoustic with the guitar or just a piano.”

On the future for his wife: “I don’t want her to just follow me around. She has things that she’s passionate about.” Kris said later that she was “passionate about acting. I know she wants to start some foundations and stuff like that.”

When a reporter asked if she will sing with him he responded, “She will tell you she is the worst singer in the world.”

On whether his wife was mad when Simon said Kris brought her out too early: “No, not at all. She had been saying that kind of thing before.”

Kris said that right now he and his wife are “trying to spend any kind of alone time together we can do.”

On what songs he’ll do on the tour: “I’m gonna keep that a surprise. It’s really going to be a blast.”

On his laid back nature on the show: It’s kind of the way I live my life. I’m laid back and low key and every now and then I stick my head out.”

On whether he’d add country to his album after his duet with Keith Urban: “I was actually afraid of that [performance]. It’s not the feeling I’d want in my album. But I think he’s great.”

On his first audition: “My very first audition was really scary. I could not talk, and we were waiting for like 14 hours. I was really impressed that they put me through on that performance.”

On his ultimate goal: “I want to be respected in the music industry and my music be respected.”

On writing music: “I’ve been writing for about six years or so. I love writing music. It’s the way I express how I feel. I’m not a man of many words.”

On whether he can handle what’s in store for him: “I’ve been getting ready for this all my life. I think everything’s going to be great and I’m really excited.”

On having 15-20,000 people in Conway for his homecoming: “It was overwhelming. I didn’t know how to feel. I was completely shocked. Arkansas gets behind something they believe in and they believed in me.”

His final thoughts to the reporters on the call: “Thank you for asking questions and wanting to know more about me. I appreciate you guys as much as anybody else.”

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

As I’ve told you before, media conference calls can be a very interesting situation. You have no idea what the reporters are going to ask, and quite frankly, it can be a little frustrating…

Such was the case with the Adam Lambert call this afternoon. It was at least 14 questions in before someone asked him about not winning. It’s a good thing that those phone lines are listen only because I was going nuts.

So when the question finally came, what did he say?

“I really feel like I won by getting to the final. It’s not about the title, it’s the experience. I was able to use ‘American Idol’ as a platform, now I have a career. I’m totally okay with it. I couldn’t be happier for Kris.”

And yes, someone did find a way to ask Adam that other plaguing question, and he completely sidestepped it like the pro that he is. When a reporter asked him, “Do you think the constant questions about your sexuality cost you votes?” Adam simply answered, “Um, probably.”

Here’s a sample of the other things Adam had to say today…

On returning to Broadway: “My direction right now is to try to become a recording artist. But I’m not turning my back on it… Of course I could see myself coming there eventually. That’s my family. I in no way will ever forget my roots.”

On being theatrical: “It’s all in the name of good entertainment. I have a flashy, more dynamic way. I’m not saying it’s a better way. It’s just my way.” Adam praised the show for its support since “this was something a little bit new for them.”

On Katy Perry wearing the cape with his name on it: “I was shocked and completely honored. I wasn’t prepared for it.” Adam said Perry gave him a good piece of advice: “Just make sure you keep your friends from before and keep them close to you.”

On whether he’ll front a band or go solo: “Probably solo, but there are options there. I’m not sure yet. It could go either way.”

On his effortless performing: “I don’t think, I do. The thinking comes into play when I’m figuring out what I’m singing. When it comes time to perform, I just go.”

On auditioning in front of Paula Abdul, the first pop star he ever saw in concert: “It was a weird full circle moment for me. There was a lot of symbolism.”

On the post-finale party: “It was crazy. The whole evening was overwhelming. It was so exciting. It was really nice being able to be off the record and interact.”

On his favorite performance: “I really had a lot of fun doing ‘Whole Lotta Love.’ We were really excited it cleared. I felt very empowered.”

On why he hadn’t been discovered before this: “I might not have gone through the proper channels. You have to put yourself out there. Things happened when they were supposed to happen.”

On whether he’ll tone things down for the album: “I never really listen to what people say. In the recordings, things don’t translate as over the top. It’s different. The live performance takes it to a different level…It’s gonna be a really cool album.”

Adam added, not in response to a question, “What an opportunity. I’m so lucky.”

On why he auditioned now: “I just wasn’t satisfied artistically. I said, ‘Is this it? Is this my life? I want more. There’s more I’m supposed to be doing.’ Everything just lined up.”

On the mentors and special guests: “I was starstruck every time. Every single celebrity was coming up to me and they knew who I was. That was weird for me.”

In response to a question about his clothing style, Adam told us about Skingraft, a company owned by some friends of his in LA that designed a lot of his jackets, including the ones for “Ring of Fire,” “We Are the Champions” and “Whole Lotta Love.”

On whether he would change anything: “I don’t have any regrets. I don’t think I would have changed anything.”

On how he’ll “bring it” for the tour: “I’m just gonna do my thing. That will take care of itself on the tour.”

On which mentor he’d like to work with: “I’d really love to work with Slash. I felt so at home with him on stage. I thought, ‘This guy is so rad.’ I was so honored to be on stage with Brian May.”

On his album: “We’re at the drawing board right now. Music, it’s a little too specific lately. They try to draw one box around every artist…Because everyone knows who I am, we don’t have to go about it that way. It can be a collection of different styles with me at the center of it…I don’t want to do one specific genre. I’m more about fusion.”

Later Adam addressed dealing with the Idol machine while working on his album: “I think there’s a bit of a misconception. I think it’s a case-by-case basis. I’ve expressed my desire to have a lot of involvement. I’m about collaboration. I don’t like to be told what to do, but I don’t like to have the reins myself. They’ve been totally supportive of that.”

On his future: “We’ll see what happens. We had ‘What if’ type meetings. I knew that there was interest. I’m just thrilled that now I get to move forward. That’s why I feel like I’ve won, I don’t think the title really matters at this point.”

On whether he would have changed anything about his performances for Tuesday’s show: “No, I had a blast. The ‘Mad World’ thing was really fun. I don’t really like repeating things, so I wanted to take it to a different place. ‘No Boundaries’ is a great song, but it’s hard to sing live. I would’ve liked a little more rehearsal with that song.”

On his Idol experience: “The really cool thing about the show is that they’ve been 100 percent supportive of everything I’ve done. It’s been very positive and creative. Never once for a second did I feel stifled in any way.”

His closing comments: “I’m so fortunate to have had this opportunity. I’m blown away by the support that I got.”

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Am I Having a Change of Heart?

I am now on listen number six of Adam's version of "No Boundaries" and, well, I think I'm having a change of heart...

I'm starting to think that America got it very wrong...

Tuesday's H-D column should be very interesting to say the least...

Adam Lambert Makes A Case For "No Boundaries"

Sometimes the studio version of the atrocious “Idol” song actually improves it enough to make us understand why it was chosen to begin with.

And when I downloaded Kris’ version this morning, that was almost the case. It was WAY better but I’m not sure if it was enough.

And then just for kicks I downloaded Adam’s version and listened to it. And something amazing happened. I actually heard it. I heard the magic of the song. I saw the confetti coming down. But then I had to remind myself that this was not the winner’s version…

Adam’s version absolutely saves the song with its moody chords and rock guitar riffs. If we had heard this version Tuesday night, well, I won’t say the outcome would have been different, but I might have thrown a few of my votes Adam’s way.

You can listen to both versions here. I think you’ll agree that the difference is stunning. Both versions are now available on iTunes…



Kris and Adam Join "Larry King"

Both Kris and Adam will appear on “Larry King Live” Friday, May 22nd. Traditionally, the rest of the top 10 join the conversation, but I don’t know if that’s the case this year.

The top 10 will appear on the show Monday, in what has become a Memorial Day tradition for Larry.

“Larry King Live” airs at 9 p.m. on CNN…

Kris Does "Tonight"

Our new American Idol, Kris Allen, will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” tonight (Thursday).

“The Tonight Show” airs at 11:35 p.m. on NBC…

The Morning After

After logging on to my Facebook page last night, I was a little surprised at how shocked everyone was over Kris winning.

Apparently, not as many of my friends read my blog as I thought…

I told you Tuesday night that my gut told me Kris was going to win, but I didn’t know why. So last night, I wasn’t surprised, and I still don’t know why…

The theories from the Adam fans have been plentiful on my blog (I encourage you to read all of them at your leisure.) and I’m not going to go into each one, but I will say a few things…

Yes, Kris did say, “Adam deserved this,” when Ryan interrupted him to try and get him excited. As for that showing a lack of confidence, I totally disagree. I call that modesty. And what would you expect from a guy that when on a missionary trip, gave his guitar to a kid he thought needed it more than he did. He showed no lack of confidence when he sang next to Keith Urban…

There was a mention that Simon didn’t stand up for Kris. He did earlier, but when the camera finally gave us a shot of all four judges, he had sat down. I would’ve loved to have seen Simon’s immediate reaction to the news. But I’m guessing he wasn’t all that shocked either, which is why he started saying so many nice things about Kris. He could see the writing on the wall…

Someone said that Adam had way more YouTube viewings than Kris. But was that because his fans were watching, or non-viewers were just going to the Internet to see what all the fuss was about? I think it was probably more of the latter…

And yes, I do think that Kris got some support from the Danny Gokey fans. But as far as saying that not all of Kris’ votes were for him, I don’t totally agree with that.

I do find it interesting, though, that Ryan said nothing about the margin of victory. We had all expected it to be close, but maybe it wasn’t.

And again, I remind everyone that we have no way of knowing whether Adam really was the front-runner the whole season. We just know that was what the press was saying. It is extremely possible that Kris may have been the top vote-getter last week and many other weeks, as well. That’s the trick with “Idol.” They never tell us…

Honestly, I think it can all be summed up in one thought, a lot of people bought into the hype. Because people had been hearing Adam was the front-runner all season, people believed that he was. And when they weren’t watching, Kris snuck up and took the title. You can spin your conspiracy theories all you want (and I encourage you to keep posting them), but I believe it was as simple as that.

And Adam will be just fine. He only needed “Idol” as a platform to launch his career. Kris needed it to have a career…

I just re-watched the final moments of the finale this morning and I was shocked at what little emotion I still showed. Usually, I’m fighting back tears, no matter how bad the song is. But that wasn’t the case this year. Maybe it’s because the song didn’t really lend itself to that kind of moment. Maybe it was because Kris was in such shock he didn’t really show any emotion. Maybe I’ve developed a stone cold heart when it comes to “Idol”…

Okay, you know that isn’t it…

I’ll just blame the song...

Since this post puts my final stamp on season eight, let me do my usual thank yous that I didn’t do last night…

Thanks to my editors Andrea and Robyn, to Jeramey and the guys in IT, and to all the publicists I’ve worked with this season to bring you the best “Idol” coverage I could.

And thanks to all of you for joining me for the ride. I couldn’t do this without you, so I thank you for your participation and I encourage you to keep doing so…

Because you know I’m not going anywhere as there is PLENTY of news to keep reporting. And I’ll do my best to keep bringing it to you…

Henderson, out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

So for the final time this season, let me ask this question—Did America get it right?

Honestly, I have to agree with David Cook on this one. I don’t think America could have gotten it wrong with these two.

Now, I know the Adam Lambert fans will disagree. They’ll tell me that this result makes a mockery out of “Idol” since the most talented singer didn’t win. And no, the most talented singer didn’t win. But the most popular one did…

I know what you’re thinking. What do you mean Kris was the most popular? Adam was the favorite all season long. But of who? The show? The media? While everyone was talking about Adam, Adam, Adam, Kris was slowly gathering an army of supporters.

There are sure to be tons of theories about what happened to Adam tonight—backlash over his personal life, backlash over all of the coverage about him, backlash over the way the show pushed him—but I think the only thing that happened was that Kris proved to be more popular. You saw the bigger crowd in his homecoming video. You saw the bigger crowd tonight. Kris had more fans and they mobilized to make him our American Idol.

And honestly, Kris deserves it. He wasn’t the best vocalist, but he brought a fresh energy to each song he did. And you have to admit he’s a pretty talented musician with the guitar and the piano. I look forward to seeing him on tour.

And don’t worry, Adam fans. He will be just fine. You know that 19 is working on the contract for him right now. And people will be talking just as much about him for losing as they would have if he had won.

I’m sure I’ll have much more to say tomorrow and Tuesday in my final H-D column of the season.

Until then, let me turn it over to you guys. Are you happy with your new American Idol? Or do you think Adam was robbed?

Feel free to start the debate by posting your comments. And thanks to all of you for joining me tonight for what I think was a pretty good show…

Henderson, out!

And Your New American Idol Is...

9:59 We’re back…Ryan, Kris and Adam on the stage…Simon says they were both brilliant and unusually incredibly nice people and they both should be very proud and “the future’s all yours”…Ryan brings out Edward Boddington with the results…Adam moves Kris down to make room for him…Edward says it was a new world record with over 100 million votes…Lights down…Adam looks sick, while Kris looks cool…

10:01 And it’s KRIS!!!...He’s totally shocked, but Adam doesn’t look surprised…The Idols try to run out but I think someone stopped them…Ryan tells him, “You’re a superstar”…He says he doesn’t know what to feel right now. He trys to say something about Adam but Ryan cuts him off…He gets a trophy as well…Kris can’t even talk…Adam comes over to give him a hug. He doesn’t seem all that upset…Paula and Kara seem upset…Ryan introduces Kris to do “No Boundaries” as he and Adam laugh, probably about the song…

10:04 Kris does the song…His family is ecstatic…Allison has her arms around Adam, who seems very happy…I think they might have lowered this for him a little, because he’s handling it better…All of the Idols seem really happy. He’s clearly popular…Kris goes to the mini-stage with the Idols with him…Pyrotechnics start…I think he was supposed to stay on the stage…Justin is totally shocked…Lil is super excited…Jorge got right next to him so he’d get a lot of camera time…Kris’ wife comes on the mini-stage to join him and have a good cry with him. That was sweet…And we’re out…

Final thoughts in a moment...

Let Me Take a Moment...

Okay, let me take a moment here and say I really am okay with either one of them winning. I just think Kris needs it more so he doesn’t turn into another Blake or Bo. But Adam is so talented, it almost seems like it would be a total travesty if he doesn’t win…

And do we have to hear “No Boundaries” again? Couldn’t we hear them sing something else? Last year’s song, maybe?

Adam and Kris "Are the Champions"

9:52 We’re back…Adam and Kris on mini-stage doing “We Are the Champions”…Kris starts it…I think Adam has more fans here tonight…By the way, Queen is looking for a new lead singer…And there they are just as I type this, backing Kris and Adam up…Can’t even hear Kris singing really…Can’t see him either for all of that smoke…The Idols are standing behind the band swaying…I bet the Queen guys will throw themselves at Adam after this…Kris and Adam are having fun…Who are those people at lower stage right swaying back and forth?...Now the Idols are on stage…Paula and Kara are swaying as well…That was pretty cool…Brian May gives both guys a hug…Oh yeah, he’s going to have a chat with 19 about this, you know it…Break…

The Return of Tatiana to the Idol Stage

9:38 We’re back…The Idol guys come out on stage to do “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”…This choreography is getting complicated…Adam introduces Rod Stewart, who comes out of the floor…He’s doing “Maggie May”…Carrie Underwood is totally into it…Do any of the young girls know this song?...Adam’s mom does and she’s totally rocking out…Rod is alone on the stage as the Idols have left…Bo Bice in the house…It’s a little unfair that he gets to sing his whole song when no one else did, isn’t it? I mean, I know he’s Rod Stewart, but still…He does a little bit of a hoedown (?)…Christina Applegate in the house…Nicole Richie in the house…Where is NPH?!...Ryan plugs Rod’s tour…

9:44 Golden Idols…Outstanding Female…Chelsea Marquette doing “Without You”…Gee, wonder who’s getting this one…Irene Anguelova doing “Over the Rainbow”…Dana Moreno doing ?...Tatiana Nicole Del Toro…And the winner is…Tatiana…She pretends to be shocked…Ryan tells her they’ll give it to her later because they’re running late, she runs past security to the stage, steals Ryan’s mic and does “Saving All My Love For You” after saying, “Simon, you know you want to hear this song for a fourth time”…Security grabs her to get her off, but it doesn’t work…Ruben looks totally shocked like he thinks this is all for real…The Idol bump music plays her out…And yes, I’m pretty sure that was all planned, but it was still funny…Break…

By the way, did anyone else think Rod Stewart was acting a little strange?...

Megan Almost Finds Something She Can Sing

9:25 We’re back…Wow, they cleaned that up fast. Good thing stage manager Debbie is back on the job tonight…Ryan introduces Carlos Santana…He’s just playing the guitar now…Now Matt Giraud is singing “Black Magic Woman”…Transition to “Smooth” and all of the Idols come out, including Adam and Kris…Adam starts it…Jorge…Kris…Big squeals…Danny…They’re all dressed in red…I didn’t see it, could someone PLEASE tell me that Scott didn’t come down those stairs because they practically ran down them…Heather Locklear in the house…Camryn Manheim back in the house…

9:29 Ford Music Video…“I Will Remember You”…Montage of past commercials with Kris and Adam singing in front of them…They sound good together…Best Ford video of the season…

9:30 Video with David Cook meeting up with Kris and Adam. He says there’s a big surprise…It’s, of course, new cars…Adam is totally freaked out…Has he never seen the finale before? They always get cars…

9:31 Ryan introduces Megan Joy, Michael Sarver and Steve Martin?!...Steve is playing the banjo…Don’t know the song…It’s some kind of old bluegrass song…Wow, did we actually find a genre that Megan can sing?...I’m guessing Steve wanted to plug his new album, because he actually looks a little uncomfortable…Megan is completely messing up now, I think. I think she forgot some words or something…Ryan plugs the album and tells us the song is called “Pretty Flowers” and that he wrote it…He tells Ryan he’s hoping he won…Break…

Adam Teams Up With...

9:13 Just an hour more to go, because you know we’ll go until at least 10:15…

9:14 We’re back…The judges just now get back to their seats…Tour plug…Ryan plugs a Winter pass for iTunes downloads that will allow you to be the first to download the debut albums, or something like that. More details at iTunes…Video of Adam Lambert’s journey…Of course they show Randy Travis saying, “I’m speechless”…His video seemed to be a little more dramatic than Kris’…

9:16 Adam’s on the mini-stage in a mega dramatic outfit that I can’t describe with some weird wings on the shoulders…Don’t recognize the song yet…Adam introduces KISS…See aren’t you glad I didn’t spoil it for you?...MAJOR pyrotechnics. I’m a little concerned for the mosh pit…That explains the weird wings on his shoulder…This is “Detroit Rock City”…Now they’re going to do “I Want to Rock and Roll All Night”…Adam is TOTALLY outsinging them…Triple split-screen? WHAT?!...Do Adam’s fans know who KISS is? Just curious….Adam, watch the pyrotechnics, honey. They could seriously scorch your hair…He seems so at home with them…The judges love it…WOW, this is going to take a long time to clean up…Break…

Adam Lambert fronting a rock band? I think that could work…

Danny Gokey Goes "Jammin' in the Street" WIth Lionel Richie

9:00 We’re back…Ryan introduces Allison and Cyndi Lauper doing “Time After Time”…Allison starts it out while Cyndi plays the dulcimer, is it?...Now Cyndi. It’s obviously a stripped down version…They harmonize on the chorus and Allison takes the low harmony and does a great job with it…Cyndi is just as wonderfully quirky now as she was in the 80s as she goes a little crazy with the “hey yeahs”…That was GOOD!...I like them together…

9:03 Ryan checks in with Kris’ parents…Kris’ mom says they’re having so much fun she’s almost forgotten what they’re doing…His dad says it’s a good day no matter what happens and says good things about Adam…Kris’ mom is looking hubba-bubba in that red dress…Ryan goes to Adam’s parents…His mom says she’s nervous…Ryan introduces Danny Gokey…Sounds like “Hello” and it is…I know Lionel Richie is here, but that’s David Cook’s song when it comes to “Idol,” they couldn’t have done another Lionel Richie song?...Danny introduces Lionel Richie…He comes down the stairs...They seem to really enjoy singing together…They’re doing his new one, “Just Go”…I’m not sure that Lionel was at rehearsal, because he didn’t seem to know what Danny was going to do…Now “All Night Long”…Paula’s up dancing…Wow, Danny’s getting a lot of camera time…Lionel is having WAY too much fun…And how effortless does Lionel sound? He looks like he’s barely trying…They both go to the mini-stage…Ruben in the house…I think that’s the best I’ve ever heard Danny sing…Big embrace between the two of them…Break…

Don’t look now, kids, but this is a pretty good show…

Kara Actually Does Something Awesome

8:44 We’re back…The girls are on the mini-stage doing “Glamourous”…Wow, Megan sounds SO bad. Tell me again how she got so far and how we’re now stuck with her on the tour?...And her shorts are so short…Allison introduces Fergie and the crowd goes crazy…Randy stands up…She’s doing “Big Girls Don’t Cry”…I really don’t like her dark hair…The girls are backing her up…Oh no, Fergie just encouraged the people in the mosh pit to sway. What are you doing?...Allison introduces The Black Eyed Peas…They’re doing that new song of theirs that I totally don’t get…What’s it called “Boom Boom Pow”?...We just left them to show a silent shot of the “Idol” logo for several seconds. Is there massive cursing in that song? I don’t know I always turn it off when it comes on the radio? That could have been a directing mistake, but it was a bad one if it was…They have dancers behind them dressed in zebra striped bodysuits…The girl Idols are behind the judges going crazy…Okay those zebra dancers are freaking me out…The girls are dancing with Paula…They do know how to put on a show…Ryan says that’s why they’re number one…Randy gives them a standing ovation…

8:50 Back to the Golden Idols…Best Attitude…Katrina Darrell, aka Bikini Girl…Alexis Cohen. You know, the actressing girl?...Tiffany Shedd, who sang “pee on the safe side” while doing “Because of You”…And it goes to…Katrina Darrell, who’s in a bikini and she has CLEARLY had some work done. Simon and Randy are a little surprised…She kisses Ryan on the lips…Ryan says, I was going to ask you what’s new, but I think I can see” and the audience loved it. NICE ONE, Ryan…Katrina does “Vision of Love” and it’s terrible and then we hear another voice join her…and it’s Kara, who comes down the stairs…Katrina gives up and just stands there…She tries to rejoin her…Kudos to Kara for managing to stay on key during Katrina's wailing...And then Kara rips open her dress and she’s WEARING A BIKINI…Ryan says they’re donating a bunch of money to Kara’s favorite charity for that…THAT was the best thing Kara’s done all season…Break…

Kris Rocks It Out With Keith Urban

Don’t forget that you can jump in here with me by posting a comment at any time. I’ll get it up just as soon as I can…

8:33 We’re back…It’s Anoop doing “I’m Yours”…Alexis joins him…She introduces Jason Mraz who comes down the stairs…Alexis and Anoop do back-up for him…Now they’re all singing together…Now the rest of the Idols come out and join them…Everyone but Kris and Adam…That was a bit of a rip-off for Anoop since we barely heard him…Alexis sounded good with Jason…

8:35 Ryan asks to hear from the Kris Allen fans…Big cheer, but it doesn’t come across as that loud on TV…Video showing Kris’ journey…He auditioned in Louisville…Wonder if the people at 19 will let Kris work with Jamie Foxx?...He’s SO cute…

8:37 Kris and Keith Urban doing “Kiss a Girl”…They’re both playing the guitar…Kris starts out…He and Keith sound good together…Hey, I think Kris did his verse better...Wow, Kris is handling this well and Keith is being very generous in sharing the spotlight…That was AWESOME and I don’t even like country music…Even Simon stood up, but I think that was to give him a head start to his smoke break…Break…

By the way, rumors have been flying on the Internet that Adam will be dueting with a rock band. I won’t tell you who is rumored because I don’t want to ruin your surprise…

Our First Tissue Moment and "Cue the Rain"

8:14 We’re back…Ryan introduces David Cook singing “Permanent.” Wow, the tissue moment so early in the show? And I just realized my box is empty!...I hope Ryan is planning on talking to him after this to tell people that they can download this to benefit David’s brain cancer charity…That rock riff is a new addition to the song. I like it…That was gorgeous and I know not easy for him to do…Ryan comes over to him now and gives him a hug…David admits it’s a tough song but it’s an honor to his brother and everybody else going through things like that…David tells that the proceeds will benefit ABC Squared…David says he doesn’t know if America can get this wrong between Kris and Adam…Justin Guarini in the house…

8:19 Ryan begins the “awards portion”…The Golden Idol Awards for the auditioners…Shot of Kris and Adam spinning the trophy around for the shot. That was funny…Outstanding Male…Will Kunick doing “Mad World.” That’s ironic now…Michael Gurr doing ???...Elijah Scarlett doing “My Everything” in a deep bass voice…Dean-Anthony Bradford doing ? with that wild plaid jacket and big crazy voice…Nick Mitchell, aka Norman Gentle, who gets a big scream from the crowd. Gee, wonder who’s winning this one?...And the winner is Nick Mitchell. Big shock…He comes from the crowd dressed normal…He says he didn’t know he was going to win something so he didn’t dress appropriately, but then he takes off his hooded sweatshirt to perform. I have to admit he’s a good actor…He’s doing “And I Am Telling You”…He goes to the mini-stage behind the judges…And now he’s on the floor inn the middle of the crowd…Back to Ryan who’s wearing his glasses and headband. “God, these are greasy,” he says…

8:25 First duet…Lil Rounds and Queen Latifah doing “Cue the Rain”…They’ve got dancers behind them…Wow, Queen Latifah looks good…They sound pretty good together, but I’m not sure about the song…Latifah’s letting Lil have the spotlight…Now Latifah gets the spotlight and she does it better…Too much backup singers as usual…Break…

Who wants to bet that Tatiana wins the Outstanding Female Award?

The Final Results Show Begins: "So What?"

7:58 So before we start this thing, let me apologize in advance for any names or other facts I might get wrong. Remember, I’m doing this as it happens. It isn’t always easy…

Let’s do this…

8:00 Dramatic Intro…Look at Adam and Kris trying to stay serious while they taped it…And, of course, tonight they’re both in white…Can’t believe that’s the last time we’ll hear Ryan say “THIS is American Idol” until next year!...

8:01 Joely Fisher…Kimberley Locke…Janice Dickinson in the house…Just under 100 million votes last night. Ryan said some couldn’t get through…Total votes for the season 624 million votes…

8:03 Ryan intros judges…Video mocking Randy continually saying “for me.” That’s funny…I hope they take a swipe at Kara too…Randy is wearing a bowtie?!...Ryan introduces Kara as the woman who can sweeten bad news…The video shows her calling everyone sweetie and honey in the auditions. We couldn’t have shown all of her mistakes throughout the year? That would have been funnier…Paula…The biggest vocabulary in show business…Video of all the words Paula has used this year. Funny!...Simon…Video of Simon asking what people were saying, which he does do a lot…Carrie Underwood in HOT pink in the house…

8:05 Kris and Adam emerge down the stairs…Simon looks bored already…Someone forgot to turn on Kris and Adam’s microphones…Uh-oh, hometown check-ins. Mikalah Gordon is in Conway, Arkansas…Mikalah’s out of control as always…Carly Smithson is in San Diego…Is it me or is Kris’ crowd bigger?…

8:08 Top 13 doing “So What?”…This is going to be a long night, because the audio sounds terrible…Jorge looks more lost than Scott…Wow, Jasmine sounds bad…Was that supposed to be good? Sorry, it wasn’t…Kara looks unhappy. Maybe because of all the criticism her song took last night and today?...Break…

Won't Be Long Now...

We are less than a half hour away from the "Idol" season finale.

And I still have no idea who's going to take this thing.

But as much as I'm looking forward to finding out the winner, I am not looking forward to hearing that song again. I think it could be the worst ever...

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the gang in IT for cleaning up the mess I made of my blog last night. Everything is back to normal now...

Be back in a few to take you minute-by-minute through the finale...

DialIdol Predicts the Winner Will Be…

You may remember that last year, DialIdol.com correctly predicted that David Cook would be the winner, when everyone was sure it would be David Archuleta.

So who are they predicting this year?

No one, because it’s too close for them to call.

DialIdol.com makes predictions based on measuring the busy signal for each contestant’s lines. They say that only 1.1% separates Kris over Adam. However, they do say that Kris held that lead pretty much all night instead of alternating it with Adam.

This is going to be interesting, kids…

How Many Votes Were Cast?

So I just now—at 11:42 a.m.—got my text telling me that my votes were received last night.

Usually, the longer it takes me to get the text, the more votes are being cast. So I’m guessing this means there were TONS of votes last night…

Did you vote? And if you did, who did you vote for?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Who's Going to Win?

So if I was scoring the rounds, I would have called the first two for Adam and the third for Kris.

But in all honesty, do the performances even matter at this point? Kris and Adam already have their built-in fan bases and they’re going to vote for their favorites regardless of what happened tonight. The Adam fans will forgive him for his mediocre performance of the winner’s single and the Kris fans will forgive him for almost screaming the same song. The fans will vote their hearts and not their ears.

Notice that Simon completely pulled his punches tonight. Last year he called it a knockout for David Archuleta and ended up with egg on his face when David Cook took the title. So this year he just congratulated both of them for what they’ve done this season. His praise was a little more for Adam than Kris, but not much.

Of course, it didn’t help that he had just heard both of them botch a mediocre winner’s single that even its co-writer, Kara, didn’t seem all that excited about. Up until that point, I believe we were seeing one of the best “Idol” finales we’ve ever seen. Maybe the best since Ruben and Clay in season two.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that this one will be the closest since that one.

So, now you probably want to know who I think is going to win. And I too am going to ignore my ear and go with my gut. And it says…Kris.

And no, I can’t tell you why. It’s just a feeling I have.

As I said in my H-D column today, I believe Kris needs to win. Adam is going to be fine either way. And I think Kris’ fans know that and will power vote their little fingers off. I also believe that there’s a contingent of fans who planned to vote for Danny that will give their support to Kris.

Now, if I’m wrong, and Adam does win, I’m cool with that. I’m just going with my gut here…

So now I turn it over to you guys. What do you think? Is this a foregone conclusion or can the Kris fans really cause an upset? And what about that winner’s single? Were you as bummed as I was that those were the last notes we heard from either of them? And do you agree with me that Kara blew her last chance at redeeming herself by giving us that song?

Post away…

Carrie Takes Us "Home"

And now, we get a video of clips from the season while Carrie sings “Home Sweet Home”…

But we don't get to hear her do the whole thing because we're running long and we need to get to "Glee," which you should all watch. You won't miss a thing from "Dancing With the Stars"...

Final thoughts in a moment...

Now It's Kris' Turn

Kris Allen, “No Boundaries”: 14
The band was WAY too loud, and yes, I agree he should’ve dropped the key a little. But I think he deserves MAJOR kudos for ditching the backup singers. They would have crushed him. I could almost see confetti falling when he was singing. I never saw it with Adam.

Adam Goes First With the Winner's Single

Adam Lambert, “No Boundaries”: 13
I have a bad feeling that the backup singers might help decide who wins this round. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard Adam go off-key, and I don’t think it was totally his fault—though I think some of it was.

And what about Simon sidestepping the fact that he doesn’t like the song?

There’s no doubt it was different from the usual sappy searching for rainbows fare, but I’m not sure if that was a good thing. And it was kind of hard to hear the song with those backup singers screeching at us. They could spell real trouble for Kris…after the break…

Oh, and did anyone else catch the teleprompter to help the guys with the lyrics? I think that’s a good call considering they just learned this thing and the co-writer is sitting right in front of them…

Kris Asks "What's Goin' On"

Cast of “Glee” in the house. Don’t forget to stay tuned for it after “Idol”…

Kris Allen, “What’s Goin’ On”: 14 (out of 15)
I love that he’s not afraid to bring out the guitar. That was solid.

And kudos to Simon Fuller for two good choices, but was he in some kind of protest mood when he picked them?

And, of course, Simon gives round two to Adam. I think I would probably agree…

Round three…after the break…And yes, it appears they will be singing the same song back-to-back with Adam going first. THAT’S dirty…

Adam Brings the "Change"

Adam Lambert, “Change Is Gonna Come”: 14 (out of 15, since he didn’t make the choice)
It was a good choice and a great vocal. But for some reason I just didn’t feel it and I don’t know why.

And Simon said Adam is back in the game. When was he out of it?

Katie Holmes and Suri in the house…

Kris retakes the stage after the break...

Are they really going to make them sing the Winner’s Single back-to-back? That’s TOTALLY unfair…

Simon Gives Round One To...

Kris Allen, “Ain’t No Sunshine”: 19
I had to take a point off for that flat beginning, and I was a little disappointed in the choice because I wanted him to do “She Works Hard for the Money.” But I’m not going to question him because he’s rarely been wrong all season.

But did anyone else notice that he didn’t get any camera angles that showed him looking into the camera?

And Simon not only took back his doubts of Kris, but also gave him round one? What?!

Is Simon smelling some money or is he really coming around? Or are they just trying to hype up the competition?

Round two…after the break…

Adam Comes Out of the Fog...

Adam Lambert, “Mad World”: 20
I think he should get extra points for navigating those steps in the dark and fog. But I didn’t think this one was as good as the last time because the band was too loud. And I love “The Lost Boys” look he’s rocking.

The judges are going to have to SERIOUSLY pick it up. I’m sure they’re hoping for a little overrun into “Glee,” but not that much…

The Final Performance Show Begins...

Here we are, kids. The finale. And I am a bundle of nerves…

Okay, deep breath…Let’s get this thing started…

Camryn Manheim “Ghost Whisperer” in the house…Why does Kara look so serious?...And why is Ryan carrying a handheld mic? Is it because of the noise factor?

And I much prefer Ryan’s dramatic intro to the whole Michael Buffer thing from last year…

Carly Smithson and Annie Wersching (“24”) in the house…

And Ryan warns that tomorrow night’s finale will go a little long…

LET’S DO THIS!!!

After the break…

Michael Johns "Puts a Ring On It"

Michael Johns’ people passed this along to me, and I thought I would share it with you as we close in on part one of the finale…

It’s Michael singing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” at an “Idol” event for DJs from across the country.

Remember that Michael’s CD comes out June 23rd…










Getting Excited...

I've been so busy today, that I haven't had a chance to get excited about tonight's show.

Well now, I'm excited...

We're less than an hour away now...

Get Those Tissues Ready!

If this story is true, you’re going to want a ton of tissues for Wednesday’s finale…

Our Lady of Peace’s MySpace page is reporting that David Cook is performing “Permanent” during the finale in honor of his brother, Adam.

They also report that a download of the performance will be available on iTunes and the proceeds will benefit David’s charity he set up in Adam’s honor.

Details Emerge About Song Choices...

We’re getting more information about what Adam and Kris are going to sing tonight…

Stop reading if you want to be surprised…

FOX5 in San Diego is reporting that Adam will do “Mad World,” but he will give his earlier performance “a little twist.”

FOX5 also reported that Kris was still trying to decide between “Heartless” and “Falling Slowly,” but that he was leaning toward “Falling.” However, MJ is reporting that her sources are telling her those could be wrong.

I know that the temptation to do “Heartless” is strong, but I’m hoping Kris resists it. I believe it would be a mistake to do a song he just did.

Less than seven hours away now, kids…

Possible Details on the Winner's Single

According to a report from FOX7 in Austin, the coronation song is called “No Boundaries” and is co-written by Kara DioGuardi.

You know I’m a fan of Kara’s songwriting, so I’m hoping for good things here. But the real question will be whether the guys can rearrange it in any way…

Can Kris Actually Win This Thing?

There is a lot of breaking news surrounding the finale and I'll get to all of it just as soon as I can...

In the meantime, you can read my thoughts about whether Kris has a chance to win this thing from today's H-D here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How Many Judges Will There Be Next Year?

Today during FOX’s presentation of their 2009-2010 schedule, a reporter asked how many judges would be on “American Idol” next season.

FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly responded, “I can’t comment on that right now.” He continued by saying that like every year, he would sit down with the producers and look at the whole show.

According to Kara DioGuardi, she only signed a one-year deal with the show, but she would like to come back. Simon Cowell has said in recent interviews that he thinks she will be back.

I’m honestly not so sure. I think if the voters could decide this one, Kara would be out. Maybe she can redeem herself by writing a good coronation song…
And on a side note, the “Idol” results show will once again be an hour next year, although it’s scheduled to move to 8 p.m. Maybe we’ll get lucky and FOX will find some super-hilarious comedy between now and January that they just have to put there…

What Should Adam and Kris Choose?

So we have no idea what Simon Fuller is going to choose for Adam and Kris—although I’ve got to believe it will be a better choice than Clive Davis would’ve made—and we don’t know anything about the coronation song yet.

But we do know that the guys must choose to repeat one of their earlier performances. So which ones should they be?

I absolutely think Adam should do “Mad World.” It was universally praised, Simon gave it a standing ovation and a lot of people didn’t see it live the first time because of DVRs cutting off. I also loved “Ring of Fire,” but I think that one was too polarizing, i.e. you either loved it or you hated it.

Although it was “Heartless” that helped get Kris into the top two, I don’t think he should repeat a performance that just happened. So, I think he should go with the song that first made heads turn toward him—“She Works Hard For the Money.” “Falling Slowly” would be a good choice as well.

What do you guys think? What performances would you like to see again?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Details and Rumors About the Finale UPDATED

We’re getting more details and rumors about Wednesday’s finale…

Stop reading if you don’t want to know…

Jason Mraz has written on his official website that he’ll be performing on the finale. I was going to guess that he’ll duet with Kris Allen, but CMT.com is reporting that Kris will duet with Keith Urban.

There is also a rumor that KISS is going to perform Wednesday…

UPDATE: MJ is reporting that Cyndi Lauper will duet with Allison Iraheta. I hope they do "Drove All Night." That would rock!

There's also a rumor on the Internet that the producers are trying to get David Bowie to duet with Adam Lambert...

LaKisha Jones: "I won't let you down"

To say that LaKisha Jones is busy would be an understatement. The Season Six finalist’s debut album, “So Glad I’m Me,” comes out Tuesday, her baby is due in August and she’s still a newlywed, having just married Larry Davis in October.

But fortunately, LaKisha was able to find a few minutes to talk to me about the new album and of course, “American Idol”…

“Sometimes I don’t know what I was thinking taking all these things on at the same time,” LaKisha told me. “The album comes out Tuesday, the baby comes out in August. I already have a six-year-old. I just got married. I am busy, busy, busy.”

But LaKisha knows that it’s a good kind of busy, and she’s excited to see the album hit stores. “I can’t wait until Tuesday comes. I want to go into the store and buy my CD. It will feel so good to do that,” she said.

“I’m excited that finally the CD is coming out, that my message is coming out. I hope it takes us straight to the top.”

LaKisha describes the CD as “a mixture of R&B, gospel and pop all-in-one. It’s the storybook of my life. [The songs] are little chapters. Things going on in my life, things I’ve gone through. The album is titled ‘So Glad I’m Me’ and it’s titled that because I’m glad to be who I am and I hope everyone who buys it, they’re glad to be who they are.”

LaKisha told me the message she hopes to convey with the album is “a message of hope. Everything I went through, all of those things, they all make me who I am. It all makes me stronger.”

We know from LaKisha’s time on “Idol” that she’s more than capable of taking on a Whitney Houston song. But I was curious why she chose “You Give Good Love” as the Whitney song to cover for her album. “[“Love”] was from Whitney Houston’s first album and she’s had a lot of success. It’s my tribute to Whitney and hopefully I’ll do the same.”

After talking about the album, I turned the conversation toward “Idol” and it’s obvious that LaKisha has no shame about being associated with the show. “I’m forever a part of that family. I am really blessed to have had that opportunity, so I have no problem with it at all.”

LaKisha said that fans ask her about the show all the time and she tells them, “What you see is what it is. The judges are how they are on TV.”

So what’s the most popular question she gets about the show? “Who’s your favorite judge? And I always say Simon. He was really rooting for me.” She just laughed when I told her that of course she’d pick Simon because she got to kiss him.

She also admits that there are things that she learned during her “Idol” experience that she still uses today. “People had more confidence in LaKisha than LaKisha had in herself.” She said that now she’s much more confident and is really “learning who I am.”

When I asked you guys what questions you would like to ask LaKisha, I had one friend say “Tell her I love her.” He was only kidding, but when I got the opportunity, I told her that very thing and she was truly flattered and responded “Tell [him] I love him too.”

I then asked her what message she would like to give to him and the rest of her fans. She responded, “I know it’s been a long time coming, but LaKisha is back. I won’t let you down. This is only the beginning.”

“So Glad I’m Me” hits stores Tuesday, May 19th…

Photo Credit: Elite Music, LLC

Who Will Perform During the Finale?

I think you can pretty much guarantee that Norman Gentle and Tatiana Del Toro will be a part of the finale, but who else is going to be there?

Stop reading if you want to be surprised…

The Associated Press is reporting that Lionel Richie, Carlos Santana, Cyndi Lauper, Queen Latifah, Black Eyed Peas and Keith Urban will perform during the two-hour show Wednesday night. If some of these performers are set to do duets with the Idols, I wonder who’s getting Cyndi Lauper, Megan or Allison? I hope for Cyndi’s sake, it’s Allison…

The AP is also reporting that David Cook will perform Wednesday, and Carrie Underwood will perform on Tuesday night. It has become an “Idol” tradition for the goodbye song to be performed at the close of the final performance show on Tuesday, so no doubt Carrie will be doing “Home Sweet Home.”

Stay tuned for more details…

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brooke Gets Some "Idol" Help For Her New Album

Brooke White will release her new album “High Hopes and Heartbreak” July 21st.

The album is executive produced by none other than Randy Jackson. Randy is also co-managing her along with Carl Stubner, the head of Sanctuary Artist Management.

In the official press release, Randy said, “I wanted to work with Brooke from the moment I met her,” says Jackson. “When she sang, I instantly heard the legendary greats that inspired her: Carole King, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell. She truly is an artist for all ages. And this album is a great collection of songs from a great new artist who was birthed on the stage of ‘American Idol.’ I’m so happy to be working with an amazingly talented artist at the beginning of her career.”

The album, which White entirely co-wrote, will be released through June Baby Records, a brand new independent label formed by Brooke, Randy and Stubner…

Photo Courtesy of BWR

Are the Judges Backpedaling?

So after weeks of pushing Adam vs. Danny, could the judges now be backpedaling?

After Wednesday’s show, Simon Cowell told FOX LA that Kris’ performance of “Heartless” was the best performance of the entire season. And Randy Jackson told “American Idol Extra” that after seeing Kris’ homecoming video that he thinks Kris “could win this thing.”

Can the judges feel the tide turning? Or did they see dollar signs when they saw all those screaming people in Arkansas?

What Are Kris and Adam Going to Sing?

I asked the “Idol” PR people what the song categories for Tuesday would be and they told me that hadn’t been announced yet.

Fortunately for us, Paula Abdul has loose lips…

On the “John Jay and Rich Show” today, Paula said they’ll be singing a song chosen by “Idol” guru Simon Fuller, a song the contestants choose themselves (either a previous performance song or a new one), and the coronation song.

Paula thinks that Kara DioGuardi wrote the coronation song, but she’s not sure if there’s more than one song. Kara confirmed to “TV Guide” last week that she did submit a song for consideration, but she didn’t know if it would be chosen.

You’ll remember last year that David and David did a contestant’s choice, a Clive Davis choice and their choice from the Songwriting Contest finalists. The year before, Blake and Jordin did a contestant’s new choice, a reprise of a previous performance song and the same coronation song (the dreadful “This Is My Now”).

If I were Kris and Adam I would sing new songs instead of reprising old ones. But if they do old ones I would like to see Adam do “Mad World” and Kris do “She Works Hard for the Money.”

Thanks to MJ for the information. I know there will be more as we get closer so be sure to keep checking…

UPDATE (courtesy of MJ): Tonight’s “Larry King Live” featured a roundtable of former Idols talking about the show. Ryan Seacrest called in and clarified what Adam and Kris will be singing Tuesday night:

1) Contestant’s favorite—Their favorite song from the season
2) Simon Fuller’s Pick
3) The Winner’s Single

According to Ryan, there will be only one coronation song. Whether or not rearranging will be allowed remains to be seen, I guess. You’ll recall that Blake Lewis was not allowed to rearrange “This Is My Now” and majorly struggled because of it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Danny Gokey: "There were times when I didn't want to go out on that stage"

I never thought I would say this again, but I actually feel sorry for Danny Gokey.

It was clear during his conference call with reporters today that there was part of him that wishes the judges had just shut up. That they had not put so much pressure on him by making him the chosen one. That they had just let him do his thing and judged him honestly instead of trying to push him at America.

It was also clear that Danny read WAY too many blogs about him. And though I appreciate Danny taking an interest, I think his time on “Idol” would have been a much better experience for him if he had just avoided them. Then he wouldn’t have felt like he had to be so careful about what he said and did.

Here’s just a sample of the many things Danny had to say today…

On whether “the scream” did him in: “I really wanted to take a risk. I think it could have been one of the variables. And being so late in the competition you really don’t want to have a performance like that. I think everything in that song was good up to that point. And I rehearsed that scream so much that I really hurt my vocal cords. I was sore on my home visit and I’m still sore this week. But it was funny though. It was a funny scream.”

Later, Danny referred to the scream as “hilarious.” I can’t help but wonder (no one ever asked) why if it was hurting him that he went ahead and did it anyway…

On what he learned from the experience: “One of the things that I learned is I learned a lot about myself and how pressure has an effect on a person. I think for me this whole experience I learned to overcome things in my life. I learned to overcome insecurities, overcome doubts. There were times when I didn’t want to go on that stage because I just felt maybe unprepared or I was like man, is anyone going to like what I’m doing. I over thought the process. But when I had the good performances, especially this past week, I was so thankful. Because even though I didn’t want to go out there, I made myself do it and I did good. Sometimes, we only see so much and you wonder how people are viewing you and that has an effect on your performance.”

On sizing up Kris vs. Adam: “Kris is really artistic and Adam has a way on the show of capturing the audience. Here’s what I think. People need to vote. You know, don’t automatically assume someone’s going in. Don’t have your assumptions. If you want a certain person to win, you gotta vote. I’m telling you this competition is not over yet. I have a feeling this is going to be a tight race this next week.”

On Kris and Adam’s personalities: “Kris is very mellow and that’s always one characteristic I’ve always wanted. I’m an intense personality at times. Adam, he’s just an all-around great guy. I really can’t fault him. Adam is who he is onstage and he is who he is offstage. He’s very creative. He lives creative, he dresses creatively. I mean he talks from that perspective.”

On whether contestants need to rearrange every song in order to survive: “I think you have to change up every song. And it’s funny, there were some songs that I wanted to do that I had prepared and changed up that I never got to do. There were a few times where I picked a song and I tried putting a different arrangement on it and it just didn’t work. It kind of stinks because at this point it’s more than singing—I shouldn’t say it stinks, it’s actually pretty good—but it’s more than singing. People really want to see a creative element see an old song made fresh again. I think Idol from this point on, ever since last year, you can’t go on singing the same arrangement of a song. You’ll get bashed.”

On his future plans: “I personally would like to start a movement with my music. Maybe it sounds so big of me, or a little bit cocky, but the music I have inside of me is to revolutionize a culture and people’s hearts. My dream is to mix my music with my foundation—Sophia’s Heart Foundation. That is everything to me. For my music career, I don’t necessarily want it to be about me. I want it to be about people. When I get a vision of a concert, this is what I see, I see opening up concerts with all the lights going on, possibly following the story of a kid whose father has been killed by a gang, whose mother is a drug addict and kind of watching his life, showing bits and pieces of his life and showing how he’s had to overcome this and that. You know, possibly how Sophia’s Heart Foundation has impacted this kid. And I’d like to come out there and entertain people and come back to another story. And basically what I want to do is I want to entertain people, but I want people to come out of their zone a little. I not only want to make people leave feeling good, but they’re gonna want to make a change. That’s what I want to do. Because my whole testimony is overcoming, overcoming the impossible in my life. And now I want to take that message and tell people if I can do it, they can do it.”

On the pressure: “I felt like I had so much on me in the beginning of the show that I had to outdo myself every week. The thing for me—here was another battle for me on the show—I’m still growing as a musician, yet people expect this to come out of me and at times I just wasn’t there yet. When there’s so much expectancy for one person people will tend to get disappointed, but when you see another person with no expectancy, they’ll show up and they can wow the crowd because people just aren’t expecting it. Then you come and you have so much expectation for something and it doesn’t work out the way you want it you get disappointed. I’m sure there were times when people thought, ‘Man I thought you were better than that.’ At times I was in the room with my mentors, and I was like, ‘They want more, what do I do?’ And I gave it a really good try. The thing is I know that there’s a lot of creativity and I can’t wait to express it the way I want to express it. I know that there’s a bright future ahead of me and that’s how I’m going to look at it.”

On his CD: “I want to mix a soulful album with nice beats—nice R&B beats. Beats that get people’s heads moving and mix it with a hint of a Latin flair. I want to mix it all in one arena.” Danny’s wife was Puerto Rican, so he enjoys that type of music.

His message to his fans: “I want to thank my fans for just supporting me. What affirms me as an artist is them because week after week they voted, voted and voted and that shows that they believe in me. That they see something inside of me. And it makes me feel good. And I want to tell them I love them and I think they’re the best out there. And I hope that they support me when the CD comes out.”

On the tour: “I envision it as a point to talk to my fans and show them a side of me they weren’t able to see on TV. The coolest thing now is I can take my guard down. I don’t have to have a guard anymore. I don’t need votes. People can’t accuse me of wanting to get votes by doing this or that. Now I can just talk openly and freely to the people that I sing in front of and I’m looking forward to that.”

Yes, I believe that was a swipe at Michael Slezak…

On whether he knew he was going home when it was just him and Adam: “I knew. I knew that was it for me. Actually the whole day I kind of thought that it was it for me. Did I want it to be it for me? No, you know, I wanted to go for the gold just like they did. And it didn’t work out that way. I’m a competitor by nature. I like to compete. I gave it what I gave it. Looking back, would I have done things different? Absolutely. But the one thing I can say is that I’m proud of my accomplishment from where I came from 10 months ago losing my wife to where I am today. It wasn’t just the show, I was battling different things. Not only in the competition did I keep my head up and put at the time what I thought was my very best foot forward but I also had to deal with that whole end of the spectrum—losing my wife. I saw a strength in me I didn’t know I had.”

On what Simon said to him: “He said, ‘Man, you are a phenomenal singer.’ And I think this is what he said, he said, ‘It’s a shock that you didn’t make it, but the thing is, these things happen. It’s sad to not see you in there.’ I’m just glad I had the opportunity to sing in front of these judges. I think it’s every singer’s dream to get on this stage and want to please those judges because those judges have right now the most popular opinions in music. Everybody wants to know what they’ve got to say. And I got to grace the stage and sing in front of them. It means so much to me. I hugged Simon, I hugged all the judges.”

Danny said the first thing he wants to do after the tour is get his team together and start working on plans for his foundation. “I want to just grow this foundation because it means SO much to me. It is the legacy of my wife and myself here on the Earth even though she’s gone. So I’m gonna push that. I have a lot of open doors and I’m gonna walk through those doors. I wanna come out with a line of glasses. Hopefully have the glasses promote the foundation.”

By the way, Danny started with 15 pairs of glasses and now he has 50+.

On Simon asking for votes for Adam: “It is what it is. I’ve gotta be honest. It doesn’t make me mad. It doesn’t disappoint me. That’s what he believes is gonna make the most money. Take what I say with a grain of salt because I don’t want people to misquote me. I didn’t get in this for the money. I didn’t get in this so I could live this glamorous lifestyle. My goal is so different and maybe it didn’t line up with what they feel, the pop star. I’m okay with that because I want to have a movement in my music. I feel like my vision is a little different so it’s okay with me. I love Simon. I can’t hate on him. I love the guy. Man, the guy is bad to the bone. We need entertainment because not everyone can be what I’m about because maybe that’ll irritate people. We need a lot of entertainment because that’s what sells.”

On whether he was surprised that he outlasted Allison: “I think the whole amount of the show I was kind of surprised that I kept going. I really can’t explain that one. I think it goes to show that I have pretty strong support out there. And I’m pretty confident that hopefully when I put out a CD that will still shine through…Allison is amazing. Can you imagine the two of us with husky voices going to town [on a duet]? I think we would have ripped that thing to shreds.”

On this week’s vote totals: “I just know that it was neck-to-neck. I believe it was…I hope so.”

During his final thoughts to reporters, Danny stressed how thankful he is and he even thanked the reporters. “I think on this phone call I can be more open about things and I don’t have to worry about being judged as much and I just appreciate that…I was a nobody and this show turned me into a somebody.”

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup for FOX

Elliott Yamin CD Review: Smooth and Refreshing

For those of you who don’t know, I live next to a McDonald’s, which makes it really hard to resist one of my biggest addictions—their large sweet tea.

It’s smooth and refreshing and once you’ve had a sip, you just can’t stop. Before you know it, you’ve drunk the whole thing…

I bring this up because that’s exactly how I would describe Elliott Yamin’s new CD, “Fight For Love.” It’s smooth and refreshing and you just can’t stop at one song. And before you know it, you’ve listened to the whole thing. And you’re hitting repeat because you think that you must’ve missed the bum song in the bunch.

But you haven’t missed it, because there isn’t one…

The CD starts off on a smooth note and doesn’t let up as it ranges from soulful to funky to just downright inspirational.

Elliott wisely reteams with StarGate, the team behind his smash, “Wait For You,” on two tracks—the best two on the CD—“You,” a soulful ballad, and “Don’t Be Afraid,” a funky more up-tempo number that features a bass line reminiscent of “When Doves Cry.”

“Apart From Me,” which Elliott co-wrote, is also a standout with its super-catchy chorus. And “This Step Alone,” another Elliott co-write, has a gorgeous chorus:

“I saw us break/I watched us fall/It made no sense to me at all/You say that you will but then you don’t/So I’m gonna take this step alone/In my heart of hearts I always knew this jump was way too far for you/You say that you will but then you don’t/So I’m gonna take this step alone.”

And then there’s “Someday,” the song that Elliott co-wrote after the death of his mother. When you first listen to it, you don’t really grasp the meaning of the song since it has such an optimistic beat to it. But when you start listening to the words very closely, you get it and it’s a beautiful heartbreaking song:

“Do you still hear me when I call your name/Will you be with me when I lose my way?/When it gets hard let me know what to do/You always told me that you’d never go/I need you to show me that I’m not alone/Do you still hear me when I sing for you?/Show me you do.”

When Elliott hits that last refrain of “Someday, I will see you again,” it’s hard not to burst into tears. In the Hickory Records press release, Elliott says, “I’m so proud of that song,” and he should be because it shows a real maturity in his songwriting as he manages to tap into the feelings that we all feel when we lose a loved one.

In fact, the entire CD shows a more mature Elliott in songwriting, song choice and especially, vocal quality. I’m not sure his voice has ever sounded better and all of these songs do a great deal to showcase it.

Taylor Hicks may have won, and Chris Daughtry may have sold more records, but I think a true case could be made that Elliott Yamin is the most vocally talented Idol from season five. “Fight For Love” goes a long way to proving that…

“Fight For Love” is available now…

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Who Won the Coin Toss?

Adam Vary of EW.com reports that last night's coin toss was won by...

Kris! And he wisely chose for Adam to go first, which means the producers will be deprived of their chosen one getting the pimp spot.

Wow, Kris is really throwing a kink into their plans, isn't he?...

I highly encourage you to read Vary's entire On-the-Scene report because it gives some interesting insight into the feelings of the other Idols and he reveals Adam's reaction to Katy Perry's costume...

You can read it here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

Did America get it right? You bet they did! I feel like standing up and singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” because I am SO proud to be an American right now…

The judges and the show did everything they could to try and force a Danny-Adam finale on us, but justice won out and the best two contestants emerged victorious.

I had an inkling when I saw the crowds for Kris and they completely dwarfed Danny’s—and Adam’s for that matter. But I was afraid the show was just teasing us. I guess no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t contain the Kris fans.

I know this isn’t what the show or the judges wanted, but guess what? This is actually going to be a better show, because I think Kris is more capable of competing with Adam. And the judges can throw him under a bus all they want now, because America has proven that they’re not listening.

In my column and in this blog, I urged you to not listen to the judges and vote with your heart and that’s clearly what happened. Congratulations, America. You deserve a big round of applause for your efforts…

And now the real fun starts…

I will have MUCH more in the next several days as news breaks about coin tosses, song choices and more, so be sure to keep checking back with me. Now, I’m going to go declare my happiness on Facebook and watch the last 45 minutes or so of “Lost”…

Henderson, out!

And the Final Two Are...

9:56 We’re back…Kevin Bacon in the house again…Lights down…Lots of screaming from the crowd…The first person is…KRIS!!!!...I just screamed! Simon looks completely shocked. Could this be bad news for Adam?...

9:57 And the second one is…Danny smiles while Adam looks sick…Kris is stunned…Kara looks sick…It’s Adam…YES!!!...Adam and Danny hug as Adam looks stunned. YEA AMERICA!!! I’m SO proud of you…Kara looks devastated as we hear Kris and Adam celebrate…Goodbye video features Danny’s wife, of course…He just smiles through the whole thing…

9:59 Ryan introduces Danny to sing “You Are So Beautiful”…Paula is about to cry...I probably need to go apologize to my neighbors for that scream…Adam looks sad…Kris is shocked, but happy…Paula is crying…That was actually not too bad…The judges give him a standing ovation…Ryan says they’ll miss him…Kris and Adam give him a hug…

10:02 Simon says, “none of us would have predicted this.” Simon said the second song made him a contender. Simon says it could be a “big ding dong” coming up.” He means a big fight…And we’re out…

I’m going to compose myself and have final thoughts in a minute…

Katy Perry Shows Who Her Favorite Is

9:47 We’re back…Alexis and Megan in the house…We appear to be having some technical difficulties…I can hear some buzzing or something…Ryan stalls by asking Danny about him saying he just wanted this to be over…Adam says, “I just want to see Katy Perry”…She finally comes out…No wonder he wants to see her…She’s wearing a cape that says Adam Lambert…It’s “Waking Up in Vegas,” by the way…She’s wearing what I would call an Elvis bathing suit with Vegas showgirls behind her…Why aren’t we getting any kind of reaction from Adam to the performance?...Now confetti falls from the ceiling. Wow, this is going to take a while to clean up…Finally we see the guys and Adam seems to be enjoying it, but Danny’s just standing there…After the break…

Adam Goes Home

9:37 We’re back…Adam comes out…Since we’ve only got 20 minutes left, I really think Ryan will put him through…He says that going home was a real wake-up call…Ryan asks him about the streaker that was all over the Internet that rushed Adam’s concert...Adam tells the weather and then does the weather girl’s eyeliner…Adam has cougars!!!...Adam visits the theater group he was part of as a child…They give him an award…He’s so cute with the kids…Now, to his high school…That’s still not as big of a crowd as Kris, I don’t think…The mayor of San Diego declares it Adam Lambert Day…And there’s the streaker. Adam laughs…He goes to the Marine Corps barracks and sings the National Anthem…That was gorgeous…

9:42 Lights down…I think Ryan will actually say something this time…I’m wrong. He stretches it some more and sends Adam to the couch…Not sure how he’s going to do this…Katy Perry, after the break…

Jordin Hits the "Battlefield"

9:29 We’re back…Ryan intros Jordin Sparks…Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote the song is on the piano…Okay, what was up with those weird robot dance moves? Okay did someone tell Jordin she’s Beyonce with those poses?...They cut the second verse. Why? We’ve got time…Why did she just salute? Did someone not tell her that the battlefield is just a metaphor?...I like this song, but I’m not sure about this performance—especially those backup singers…And what was the point of Ryan Tedder if they weren’t going to show him?…And what was up with that devil look that Jordin gave the camera at the end?...I think that was actually on tape…Nothing left to say about that…Break…

The Homecoming Videos Begin...

9:13 We’re back…Scott and Anoop in the house…Tour plug…Top three backstage shot…Ryan brings out Danny. Don’t worry, he’s not doing results, he’s just introing Homecoming packages…Danny says he’s unsure…Ryan asks about reuniting with Jamar and he says they just started to catch up…Homecoming Video…A woman in a pink boa is chasing his limo and Danny can’t help but laugh…Jamar rides in the parade with Danny. Danny starts to cry when he sees the crowd…It’s a pretty big crowd…He gets a proclamation from the mayor of Milwaukee, who tells him to “scream all you like”…He says it’s a bittersweet homecoming…Wow, that wasn’t nearly as sappy as I thought it would be…Ryan dims the lights?!...He’s not doing this already, is he?...No, he isn’t. Ryan sends him to actual chairs!...

9:19 Kris Allen comes out…He says he’s nervous…I think they’re going to take Adam last and actually tell him he’s in and then make the drama between Kris and Danny. That’s what I would do…Homecoming video…Kris is swarmed by people VERY early in the morning on the way to the FOX studio…WOW, that’s a lot of people. I think it’s more people than Danny…Kris is nearly torn apart by some female fans…Kris and his dad cry…Another huge crowd. Could he pull this off after all?…We actually hear him sing. He does “Falling Slowly” or whatever that song is called…He does the parade with his wife…His video is actually sappier than Danny’s. WOW, he has a lot of fans…He gets a proclamation from the mayor of Conway…Kris’ dad cries again…and so does his mom…Did the show give him an extra special video because he’s saying goodbye?...I’m totally confused now…Ryan dims the lights. Why? We know you’re not telling us anything now…Ryan sends him to the couch, of course…Break…

The Top 3 Results Show Begins With...A Movie Plug?!

8:59 Ben Stiller does an intro for “The American Idol Desk”…It’s a plug for “Night at the Museum 2”…Bill Hader…Hank Azaria…Jonah Hill…They’re pretending to put the desk in the Smithsonian…SERIOUSLY?! The last regular results show of the season and we don’t hear Ryan say, “THIS is American Idol” and instead get yet another movie commercial? And why do they keep bringing Ben Stiller back after his off-color jokes on “Idol Gives Back” a couple of years ago?...

9:02 Ryan down the stairs. He says that the desk really is going into the Smithsonian…Kevin Bacon in the house…Over 88 million votes. WOW!!!...Ryan plugs a surprise by saying, if you think you know how the competition is going to go, think again. Just over one million votes separating the top two tonight. I think that means Adam and Danny, but…

9:03 Ford Music Video…“Break My Stride”…It’s weird to see three guys. It’s the first time there hasn’t been a girl in the top three…I really can’t explain this one because it’s just stupid, but the song was good…

9:04 Ryan introduces Alicia Keys…She comes out from behind the big video board. Simon seems a little surprised to see her…She is introducing a video for Keep a Child Alive…We see someone behind her come out and grab something/put something in place and someone in the crowd can’t keep quiet…She asks for people to help with a donation…It’s not a video. Alicia introduces Noah, a young boy from Rwanda, who comes out to sing a song he just learned in English…Help me out here, everybody, I should know what this is, but I can’t recognize it…Ryan comes out and decides to try to dance, try being the operative word…Alicia comes back out to remind us to text to make a donation…Break…

Tonight's Show

So tonight we'll get Jordin Sparks singing her new single, "Battlefield," Katy Perry singing her new single, "Waking Up in Vegas" and three sappy Homecoming packages--although I think we know that Danny's will be the sappiest...

Can Kris upset the producers' hopes of an Adam-Danny finale? And if he does, which one will he knock out--Adam or Danny?

We'll find out in just about an hour...

And I'll be back in a few to get this thing started. So if you've decided to watch "Lost" tonight, you can follow my blog to find out what's going on...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jordin's New Single

Here’s your first listen to “Battlefield,” the new single Jordin will be debuting on tomorrow night’s “Idol” results show…

It's the first single from her upcoming second album, and was written by hitmaker Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic).

I think it could be her catchiest song yet, but be sure to let me know what you guys think…

So Who's Going Home?

So for the final time this season, let me ask this question:

So who’s going home?

It would be easy to say Kris, and honestly, that’s what my gut is still telling me, but I think there is a chance that Kris could make the finale after all.

It’s clear that he has a big and vocal fan base, but is it bigger and more vocal than Danny or Adam’s? I’m not sure. And can the judges finally giving Kris the credit he deserves cancel out when they threw him under the bus earlier in the evening? I don’t know the answer to that one either. And the recap didn’t really do him any favors either, pulling out the worst part of “Apologize.”

And I can’t believe I have been so in sync with Randy tonight, but kudos to him for saying the vote is going to be close tonight. It was nice to see him acknowledge that after his and Kara’s ridiculous argument that Kris should have rearranged “Apologize” with just a guitar. Since he was doing that with his second song, doesn’t it stand to reason that he should sing the first song straight? And how was he going to redo that song with a guitar? Make it an uptempo number? Seriously…

I do, however, have to give some props to Danny, who performed well tonight, although I hated the arrangement of “Dance Little Sister.” And “You Are So Beautiful” was good, but Simon’s declaration that it was a “vocal master class” was completely over the top.

And what’s left to say about Adam? Love him or hate him, I believe he deserves to be in the finale. It wouldn’t be the same without him…

So what do you guys think? Will the show get its Adam-Danny finale or will Kris edge his way in? And if he does, who will he edge out?

Post away, kids…

Adam Goes With Aerosmith

Adam Lambert, “Cryin’”: 18
To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the song choice, but it was good as always. And you have to admire a guy who can applaud a backup singer who just did everything she could to completely ruin his performance. Someone should have reminded her that the performance was about Adam and not her as several times during the song she made Adam sound flat, and I think we all know that doesn’t happen.

And interesting that Simon gave the vote speech as opposed to Ryan. It’s true that if anything keeps Adam out of the finale, it will be complacent fans.

Final thoughts in a moment…

Danny Impresses, But Kris Wows 'Em...Finally!

What did we do without YouTube? That version of “Africa” is by Karl Wolf. I’m downloading it as we speak…

Danny Gokey, “You Are So Beautiful”: 18
Someone was flat there, but I think it might have been the guitar player. When I heard the choice, I thought, oh brother, but it was actually kind of shrewd since it plays right to Danny’s fan base.

Kris Allen, “Heartless”: 20
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be pointed out that Kris borrowed pretty heavily from The Fray, but I’m with Randy (again?!). Kris’ version was better. LOVED IT!!!

And kudos to the judges (well, everyone but Paula) for finally being honest. Maybe they think that Danny is already a sure thing, so it’s okay to tell the truth. Or maybe it was so good they just couldn’t deny it…

A Break in the Action...

Now, a break in the action as we get an “Idol Gives Back” report with Carrie Underwood in Angola…

Anybody know who was doing that version of Toto’s “Africa”? That was cool…

Back with Danny after the break…

Adam Lambert Nails Another "One"

Adam Lambert, “One”: 14 (out of 15)
I took off a point because I agree with Randy (?!) that it lost the melody a little too much for me. And I have to admit that I missed some of the performance because I was so distracted by what I thought was Adam wearing Spock ears. It was actually the cords on his ear monitors. But the way he was lit, it looked like he was wearing Spock ears.

I wondered if clearance issues were why two song choices from Simon were reported. Kudos to U2 for allowing this one…

And Kara really needs to cool it, because even though he didn’t admit it, I’m betting that Simon played a little part in the arrangement of that one…

The Judges Square Off Over Kris

Nigel Lythgoe in the house. And wow, does he have a lousy seat…

Kris Allen, “Apologize”: 14
I had to take off a point because I too think he should’ve skipped the piano and just concentrated on the vocal. But it was a good vocal and I like how he handled the falsetto notes, by changing them around. I have no idea what the bum note was that Paula was talking about, unless it was on the piano.

Oh yeah, they threw him under the bus. But kudos to Simon for calling out Kara for criticizing Kris for not reinterpreting what they told him to do…

Danny Kicks Off the Top 3

Ever notice how Ryan crouches when he says, “This”?...

Kelli Williams in the house. Be sure to watch her in “Lie to Me” tomorrow night…

And it’s the 300th episode tonight…

Deep breath. Let’s do this thing…

Danny Gokey, “Dance Little Sister”: 13 (out of 15 because he didn't choose the song)
I still think this was a very shrewd choice by Paula, but that arrangement completely screwed it up. I agree with Simon about the sax solo and I think he should have lowered the key. I didn’t like how he did that first chorus because you should always do whatever you can to negate the backup singers.

And did Kara not get the memo that she’s supposed to push Danny tonight? Hmmm…

Getting Ready for the Top Three

Here we are, ladies and gentlemen. The top three…

By the way, yesterday, Simon Cowell told Oprah that Adam Lambert will win. You may remember that just a few weeks ago he told “TV Guide” that Adam wouldn’t be able to beat Danny Gokey.

Perhaps he feels the tide turning. A solo “Entertainment Weekly” cover can do that for you…

Be back in just a few to get this thing started…

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Conversation With Michael Slezak

Anyone who has been reading this blog over the past 2+ years knows the name Michael Slezak (from “Entertainment Weekly”)…

He’s my favorite “Idol” writer—besides myself, of course—and Friday I got the chance to talk to him. The opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time, because I was having what I called a “crisis of conscience” about Tuesday’s column. My original intention was to completely expose the manipulations the show has been attempting on us over these past few weeks. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that there may some people who don’t want to see what’s behind the curtain. Plus, I realized that by writing such a column, I would in fact be trying to manipulate people myself into voting for Kris over Danny.

For the first time all season, I was completely unsure about what to write, so I knew that a talk with Slezak would set me straight…

I started out by asking Slezak if he was okay, since he is an Allison Iraheta fan. “I’ve fluctuated between rage, depression and grim resignation.”

I then plunged into the topic that had been on my mind since the judges refused to bash Danny Gokey for his horrendous performance Tuesday—manipulation. “I do believe there is a time every season on ‘Idol’ where Toto tugs on the curtain and we see the wizard. I think it happened Tuesday,” he said.
“The judges are in lock step. They're all giving us the same message. They're using different words, but the message is the same. Don't listen to your ears. A vote for [anyone besides Danny or Adam] is a wasted vote.”
But Slezak believes that the audience is catching on. “It’s like people repeatedly telling you the sky is another color. At one point, you’ll stop and look at the sky and say, ‘Did I miss something?’”

So the reason for this unified message from the judges? The show’s desire for a Danny-Adam finale.

“The producers convinced themselves that they wanted a Danny vs. Adam finale and they have pushed those two on us as the only possible choices,” Slezak said. “But only one has actually played his part. Danny leveled off early. Instead of getting better, the wheels started coming off, and he started playing it safe. Kris and Allison surprised the producers with their risks. Everyone got that memo [about Kris and Allison] except for the show and the producers.”

So why the show’s fascination with Danny vs. Adam? “They really got invested in that light vs. dark,” Slezak told me. “They get those ideas in their head,” he said, much like David vs. David last season.

Slezak looks for the judges to use all of their “subtle ways” to sway viewers Tuesday, unless they get clued in that viewers are not that thrilled with Danny’s performance…I will predict that on Tuesday night there will be a questioning of Kris’ lack of confidence by Simon, Randy will say it was just ‘a’ight’ and Kara will question his song choice.”

“They threw [Kris] under the bus. He’s not a power vocalist, but he’s interesting and current.” Slezak said if the judges’ comments were all you heard from Kris’ performance “you would’ve almost felt like it was worse than Danny. America has a right to vote for Danny if he’s the one they like, but if the judges were being honest, the performance was laughable. They would’ve criticized his song choice. We heard them lambaste Lil all season long for that.” Slezak also pointed out that “Idol” used some revisionist history Wednesday night during the results show when Ryan referred to Danny’s note as the “note the judges couldn’t let go of.” Only Simon mentioned the note during his comments.

You might recall that I was pretty angry with Slezak over his treatment of Danny in the early part of the season (when I was a big Danny fan)—so angry in fact that I swore I wouldn’t read his recaps any more (which I had to tell him, and of course he found it hilarious, because it is). Clearly, I changed my mind about that. So what is Slezak’s problem with Danny?

“I don’t get the guy. Rat Pack Week was his best week…He seems very dated and hasn’t really done anything special. He’s the perfect season three contestant or season two. And he’s a little clueless up there. But the judges are obsessed with pushing him. It’s very strange to me.”

Slezak said he would’ve preferred a Kris-Allison-Adam final three, but since Allison is out, he clearly wants a Kris-Adam final two. “Kris is much more subtle that we’re used to on ‘Idol’ so it’s easy to dismiss him. He deserves a chance to make the final two, but the production won’t allow it.”

You can read Slezak’s latest recap here. And his latest “Idolatry” video can be seen here.

You can read what I finally came up with for my column in tomorrow’s “Herald-Dispatch”…

My Complete 180 On Danny Gokey

So a friend of mine sent me an e-mail last week that really got me thinking. She said she couldn’t believe my complete 180 on Danny Gokey.

Now, I know that I went from him being my favorite to giving him a pretty hard time lately, but a 180? So, I went back and looked at my posts over this season and I was shocked at what I saw. My change in opinion is almost staggering…

Now, there have been contestants that I have flip-flopped on over the years—Carly Smithson, for example, who I actually grew to like after despising her during the early rounds—but I have never made such a major opinion change on a contestant in my three plus years of doing this.

See for yourself…

On February 16th, during my analysis of Group 1, I wrote, “Ah, Danny. You guys know that he’s my guy and I look forward to voting for him tomorrow night—A LOT.”

Then on February 17th after giving him a perfect score on his performance of “Hero” (which I downloaded) I wrote, “You can tell me my love is blinding me, but that was awesome—especially since I can’t stand that song. Danny pulled the double whammy. He picked a song that showcased his voice AND his story. I’m sorry Simon wasn’t impressed…”

The next night during the results show, I wrote, “I can’t believe we have to wait three weeks to hear him again.”

Then on February 19th, after Danny’s conference call with reporters, I wrote my strongest defense of Danny yet:

“In fact, just this morning, EW.com’s Michael Slezak fueled that backlash by accusing Danny’s friends of using the photo of Danny and his wife as a vote-gaining strategy. I don’t know if Slezak was on today’s call, but if he was, surely after hearing Danny’s tired and pained voice he feels bad now.Seriously, it was all I could do to keep from taking my phone off mute, screaming, “Danny, I love you. I’m so sorry we’re doing this to you” and then bursting into tears.

And for those of you who think the producers are shoving his story down our throats, honestly, they can’t help themselves. This is the first time that I can think of that “Idol” has found a contestant with a great story that also has a great voice. How can they not spotlight him? And as he said, it’s not his fault.He’s just trying to make the most of it…”

WOW! See what I mean?

On March 10th, after I gave him a 19 (just one point short of perfect) for his performance of “PYT,” I wrote, “Yes, the dancing was off, but this was a real departure for him that worked beautifully—although I’m not sure about that weird beginning. And it was nice to see a sappy family package that didn’t mention his wife. It honestly felt like a new chapter for him.”

Then, the next week, after his performance of “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” I wrote, “Man, if he had only hit that chorus a little faster. The verse was shaky as he tried to hit all the words, but that chorus. WOW! I think it might be on par with the original. Okay, truth time. I think it was better than the original. Let the attacks begin…”

On March 24th, while picking what song I wanted Danny to do for Motown Week, I referred to him as “my favorite contestant.” But when he chose “Get Ready” and ignored mentor Smokey Robinson’s advice, I think that’s when my opinion started to turn when I wrote, “You guys know I love Danny, so I’m really torn here. The vocals were good, but I didn’t like the song choice. And why didn’t he go along with Smokey? Maybe Ryan will ask that tomorrow when he’s got more time, because the way that video was edited didn’t make Danny look very good.”

The next week when he did “What Hurts the Most,” I wrote, “So the judges loved it. Why didn’t I? Maybe it was because he was drowned out by the band a little, or maybe it was because the audio cracked right before his big moment. But something just didn’t work for me.”

The next night (April 1st) during the results show was when Ryan asked the contestants to do their impersonations of each other and Danny impersonated Matt doing his Coldplay performance. During my live blog, I wrote, “That was just wrong.” Later that night, I wrote, “Danny…safe. Is it just me or is he starting to look cocky?”

April 7th, after his performance of “Stand By Me,” I wrote, “This was good, I guess I was just a little disappointed with his choice. Or maybe I really am totally over him. I don’t know how that happened.” The following night I once again pointed out what I called a “cocky nod.”

I tried to get back on board when I chose “Maneater” for Danny to sing during Movie Week (Matt would later share with us that it had to be a song written for a movie, so Danny couldn’t have done “Maneater” anyway.) and wrote, “As I’m sure you guys have noticed, I have fallen out of love with Danny and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the cockiness he seems to be showing during the results shows. Maybe it’s his recent song choices. I don’t know. But I do know that the fastest way to get back into my good graces is to nail a Hall and Oates song.” So, of course I slammed him the next night when he chose “Endless Love”:

“Is he kidding me with all these schmaltzy ballads? Sheesh! And did Megan teach him his pronunciations this week? What is “jou” and “jour”? And isn’t this the second time he’s ignored good advice from a mentor? And where were the glasses? Nice of Simon to mention Danny’s emotion, though, wasn’t it? What is up with these song choices? I would’ve rather heard him do “Against All Odds” than that!”

And again during the following results night, I referred to a “confident smirk.”

I chilled out for the next two weeks, only to unleash my harshest critique last week after that “Dream On” fiasco:

“Alright, Gokey fans, go ahead and tell me I’m being harsh, but I almost took more points off just for that attitude. “It’s…whatever…I’ll just have to go back and listen to it. I don’t think it was as bad as they’re saying.” No, Danny, it wasn’t. It was worse. I appreciate Danny trying to take risks, but wow! Those last several notes were terrible, and some in the beginning were pretty rough too. But Simon is right that he’s safe because the judges jumped in to make excuses for the chosen one.”

And after last week’s results:

“I’m sorry, Danny Gokey fans, but not even you can say his performance Tuesday was good. In fact, that will probably go down in ‘Idol’ history as the worst performance ever by a person in the finale—possibly even the winner.But I can tell you that’s not going to happen if I have anything to say about it. I don’t care if Adam and Kris get out there and sing their ABCs, I am going to vote for them A LOT. I have now made it my mission to do everything I can to keep Danny Gokey out of the finale.Hate all you want, Danny fans. I can take it…”

So what in the world happened? How did I go from him being my guy to making it my mission to keep him out of the finale? I know it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, but that’s absolutely mind blowing, isn’t it?

Last week, when I was able to talk with Michael Slezak from “Entertainment Weekly,” I told him that I thought I had let him get into my head concerning Danny (which he had a good laugh about), but surely that can’t be all of it. There have been contestants over the years that I was such a fan of that I was willing to forgive ho-hum performances just to keep them in the competition—Constantine Maroulis, Ace Young, Blake Lewis—so why did I turn so drastically on Danny?

Honestly, I think I fell for the hype…

Now, I’m not saying that Danny is not a good singer, because he is. But I think I made him into a better singer than he was because I fell for his story. Anyone who knows what it’s like to lose a loved one and have to carry on without them can relate to what Danny is going through. So it was easy to get all caught up in the emotion of Danny’s story and not notice that he was practically mumbling through the verses to get to those power choruses. And I think that’s what I did. The further we got away from those emotional moments, the more I noticed Danny’s disappointing song choices and note missteps. And the more disappointed I was in his performances, the more I noticed other things like his impersonation of Matt that came off almost rude and the cocky-looking expressions on his face during results shows that made it seem like he was sure of his safety.

Now that’s not to say I think Danny is a terrible guy, because I don’t. I still stand by what I wrote after that conference call with reporters. Danny seemed to me that day like a genuinely nice guy and based on his interactions with his fellow Idols, I still believe that to be true. I’ve just—as I said before—fallen out of love with him. And if I can continue the metaphor, Kris was there to catch me.

No doubt, the manipulations of the show have also played into my split from Danny with the judges throwing other contestants under the bus to prop Danny up. But I think more than that Danny just disappointed me. I was expecting great and when he only delivered good, I lost interest.

Go ahead, Danny fans, let me have it. Even though Slezak offered to take some of the heat for me, I am still willing to take it. It’s what I’m here for…

But in all honesty, I think if Kris has any chance to knock someone out of the finale, it’s Adam, not Danny. I think Danny’s fan base is just too strong now—even if I’m not a part of it any more…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Have the Judges Chosen for the Top Three?

On Tuesday, the top three will be singing a song of their own choosing and a song chosen by the judges.

And since the judges’ choices are usually sent to the contestants during their Homecoming visits, we usually know what the choices are before the show airs…

Warning: Stop reading now if you don’t want to know the choices…

Here are the choices as reported on “MJ’s Big Blog.” Just remember that these could always get changed before Tuesday…

Randy and Kara have chosen One Republic’s “Apologize” for Kris Allen. I was worried that the judges would try to sabotage Kris with a lousy song, but this is actually not a bad choice. My biggest concern is that it may be a little out of Kris’ range. Hopefully, Kris will pick a killer song to counterbalance this one.

Paula has chosen Terrence Trent D’Arby’s “Dance Little Sister” for Danny Gokey. I think this is a terribly shrewd choice by Paula. I can hear Danny singing it in my head right now. The chorus is perfectly suited for his voice and it’s an upbeat song to counterbalance Danny’s choice, which you know will be a ballad.

Simon is choosing for Adam, but there’s some confusion over what he has chosen. Some reports say he has chosen U2’s “One” while others say it’s “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. Either one would continue Simon’s streak of great song choices for the finalists. And I think we know that Adam would nail either one.

I think all three choices show that this is going to be a great show—the best one since Ruben-Clay-Kimberley in season two and possibly the best ever…

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Clay Aiken Gets a Piece of the "Rock"

Clay Aiken will guest star on the season finale of "30 Rock."

He'll appear along with Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige and Adam Levine.

"30 Rock" airs Thursday, May 14th at 9:30 p.m. on NBC...

Friday, May 8, 2009

David Cook Headed for Columbus

David Cook is returning to the Buckeye State…

David will be at the Ohio State Fair Saturday, August 8th at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $28 (which includes Fair admission) and go on sale Saturday at noon…

By the way, David will be seeing a lot of Ohio over the summer. He is in Akron tonight, and will hit Elyria, Springfield and Newark May 26th-28th…

Photo Credit: RCA

Tour Tix on Sale Tomorrow

Just a reminder that tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 a.m. for the American Idols Live Tour.

The pre-sale is going on today.

Tickets are $37.50-$66.50 for the Columbus show.

Believe it or not, I actually had tickets in the fifth row on the floor on Ticketmaster and I let them go. Why? I just decided that it wasn’t worth $170 to see Megan Joy flap her arms…

Photo Credit: 19 Entertainment

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Allison Iraheta: “I’m pretty happy that I made it that far”

I’m still not sure how Simon Cowell could say that Allison Iraheta has no personality, because listening to her talk to reporters on her conference call today, I can definitely tell you she has one. She has the personality of a 17-year-old. She’s bubbly, a tad precocious and loves to talk in incomplete sentences.

In other words, she’s a lot of fun. Just forgive me if don’t always know how to punctuate her…

Here’s a sample of what she had to say…

On whether or not she knew she was going home: “It was weird. I’ve been in the bottom three so many times, so I’m prepared for anything. It was either [Danny] or me, and it was me. I’m pretty happy that I made it that far.”

On her duet with Adam: “We thought about doing a duet for a while now. We really had fun and we’re even planning on doing [“Slow Ride”] on the tour.” Allison clarified that the Idols chose the duet pairings.

On having four judges: “Change is good. I love Kara. It’s awesome that they change it up. You don’t want to be stuck seeing the same thing.”

On the best comments she got from the judges: “I really like the fact that they say that I was different. I really like that because I stayed true to myself and I reminded myself of that so much being here. It’s been a long ride and I’ve been so happy to be a part of it.”

On being like a little sister to the guys: “They would pick on me. It’s love, you know, it’s so cool. It was like a family, you know, it was really great. They would help me with song choice. It was really great.”

On the fact that Chris Daughtry finished fourth as well: “It’s really cool for me. Hopefully, something will happen for me…It made me feel better. He’s done so much and done well and it’s like you know if he’s done well enough to make it all the way to the top then it gives me a chance and hopefully I’ll do well, as well as he does.”

On Simon’s comments: “It was like, every week, I’m boring and I have no personality and I was like, ‘Okay Simon.’ I’m really not the type of person who talks back, but this show he said, ‘start begging’ and I was like you know what, that’s it and I thought it was the perfect time to stand up for myself. I’m not who you’re saying I am. I’m not boring. I feel this is the perfect timing for me to come in.”

On singing in Spanish: “If I have the opportunity to I definitely want to bring back what I first started doing, which was singing in Spanish.”

On how the accident on the set affected them: “We were just very, we didn’t know how to react. It was a great friend of ours, the stage manager, Debbie, we were just like, wow. But you know what? You know she’s doing better and we were just conscious of what was going on and we wanted to know how she was doing during the show and we heard she was doing fine. I guess that really helped us to continue on and do what we were going to do. And I guess we did…We were all [distracted]. The whole day things were not going well. I think during each of our performances we started out shaky and then we got into a good place and just did what we were supposed to do and yeah, we had to just go on with the show.”

On Slash as the mentor: “When I heard it was Slash, I was like, oh my gosh, I can’t wait to meet him. He’s so awesome and I’ve been a fan for so long and it’s insane that I got to sing while he was playing for us. I think he was one of the best mentors we had and it was so great that he took time out of his schedule to just come to the show and help us out.”

On whether getting so many comments from the judges that had nothing to do with her singing annoyed her: “It sort of did. I was like, come on, I’m singing here. But I think overall they all look for what you’re gonna do as a selling artist. And I know there were a lot of risks that I did. I mean, hey, I had fun with it and I think that’s what matters.”

On whether being in the bottom three affected her song choice. “It really didn’t affect anything because I felt like I was doing pretty good. I was prepared for anything so if I was in the bottom three again and I’m actually eliminated, I’m ready because I’d be leaving on a good note. I honestly feel I did pretty good and I’m pretty proud of myself.”

On whether she’ll go back to school: “If I take my GED I’ll be completely done…I really want to continue with the Idol school. I have a great teacher…I was home schooled so I was doing a lot of things ahead of time. And so, I’m almost done with school pretty much.”

On her final performance: “It was funny because I was crying and I was singing a song called Cry Baby, but I really felt like it just felt so different. Like, alright, you know, they’re not going to judge me on this, so I’m gonna do whatever and I’m gonna give it my all. I just really felt it. I felt really great about it and I felt like this was my last time on here so I should give it my all and end on a good note hopefully.”

On the judges disagreeing with her choice of “Cry Baby”: “I appreciate everything they say, but I really think it was about me feeling it and I really don’t regret doing that song or anything I did back at the show because I felt really good about it. I think it’s really about me feeling it and just enjoying what I was doing and having fun.”

On who her fans should vote for now: “They gotta vote for whoever they think is awesome. It’s so crazy, this competition, because everybody’s so different. If you find someone that you can totally connect to, you go for it and vote for them. Whoever they feel just connects with them.”

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

"EW" Chooses Their Favorite

It’s not unusual for “Entertainment Weekly” to do an “Idol” cover story at this point in the competition. But it is unusual for the story to focus on only one contestant.

Check out the cover of next week’s issue…

Yes, Adam is the only one who gets the cover.

I haven’t read the article yet, but I know I’ll have thoughts on it when I do…

Photo Credit: Time Inc.

Quotes From the Top Three

Here’s what the Top Three had to say after last night’s show, courtesy of the official FOX press release:

Kris Allen: “Making the Top 3 is a huge thing for me. I get to go home and interact with people from my hometown. That is what I am most looking forward to.”

Danny Gokey: “It means everything to me that I get to go home. My heart looks forward to that. I can’t wait to hug necks, shake hands and sing my butt off.”

Adam Lambert: “Top 3 is crazy! It’s a big milestone. We get to go home. To have my hometown rooting for me and following the show is really surreal and really, really exciting. I have a feeling it will be overwhelming. I’m a little nervous, but looking forward to it.”

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Did America Get It Right?

So, did America get it right?

NO, NO, NO, a thousand times no…

I’m happy that America kept Kris in the game, I’m just sorry it came at the expense of Allison. She was so much better than Danny and tonight’s amazing performance just proved that even more.

I’m sorry, Danny Gokey fans, but not even you can say his performance Tuesday was good. In fact, that will probably go down in “Idol” history as the worst performance ever by a person in the finale—possibly even the winner.

But I can tell you that’s not going to happen if I have anything to say about it. I don’t care if Adam and Kris get out there and sing their ABCs, I am going to vote for them A LOT. I have now made it my mission to do everything I can to keep Danny Gokey out of the finale.

Hate all you want, Danny fans. I can take it…

Next week, the top three will be doing two songs—a judges’ choice and a song of their own choosing. Now since there are four judges and only three contestants I’m not sure how that’s going to work. If the show really wants to preserve their Adam-Danny finale they’ll let Kara pick Kris’ song. She’ll probably want him to do Rihanna…

So what do you guys think? Did America get it right? Or are you with me in my mission to—as my hero Michael Slezak of EW.com, says, “Put the Go in Gokey”?

And the Person Going Home Is...

9:53 We’re back…Allison, Danny and Adam on stage. Kris is still shocked…Lights down…The second person is…Adam…Told ya. It is the most dramatic thing to do after all…Now, come on, America. Make me proud, would ya?...

9:55 Danny…is safe. Darn it, America. I was really hoping…Allison is crying, as she should be. That’s ridiculous…Goodbye video…Slash tells her “that kicks a—over most 30-year-olds I know”…Ryan asks the crowd to get on their feet for Allison doing “Cry Baby,” which is kind of ironic considering the tears you can see down her cheeks…Now I think I’m going to cry because this is totally unfair…Allison goes down to the judges…Finally, a shot of Danny, who almost looks remorseful. I hope he realizes that the show saved him…That was one of the best goodbye performances I’ve ever seen…She gets hugs from the judges from the mini-stage…Ryan pulls her back to the main stage…Ryan tells her he knows that he’ll be playing her on the radio real soon…Allison and Adam share a big hug…Simon actually looks perturbed…Ryan tells us how it’s going to work next week, but I was busy typing so I need to rewind the tape…And we’re out…

Final thoughts in a moment…

"No Surprise," Daughtry Does a Good Song

9:42 We’re back…Ryan introduces a video of Chris Daughtry while Allison, Danny and Adam wait backstage…Of course they show Chris getting eliminated…Their new album, “Leave This Town,” will be out in July…Ryan introduces them doing their first single from the new album, “No Surprise”…That was a good song…

9:49 Ryan asks Chris how vivid the memory of being eliminated is and he says “very vivid,” Kris brings out the framed album to commemorate Daughtry’s CD selling 5 million copies…After the break…

I’m guessing they’re going to put Adam into the top three and then make the drama between Danny and Allison. That’s what I would do…

And the First Person in the Top Three Is...

9:33 We’re back…Ryan is holding some cards finally…Shot of Idols backstage…Ryan reminds us that the Top 3 get trips home…Video of past Idols going home…Blake…Kat…Jordin…Carrie…Bo…Cook…Archie…Taylor…I love hearing Archie say, “Where did they park?”…Ruben…Elliott and his mom…Syesha. I figured we’d forgot her after what the show did to her…Ryan explains there are three stools for the top three and they will be announced in random order…Ryan brings out the Top 4…

9:35 Lights down…Allison...Danny…He’s just recapping everyone…Adam…LOTS of screams. He actually looks a little nervous…He thanks Kara for calling him a rock god…Kris…LOTS of screams. I hope that means lots of votes…The crowd MEGA boos Simon’s comments…One to safety…KRIS…YES!!!...He’s shocked and so am I. I couldn’t even spell shocked…He’s about to cry...I think my votes put him over the top…Break…

Now, let me pause to say that this probably means bad news for Allison since I can’t believe Danny would be out. But I’m going to hold out hope that America has done the right thing…

Gwen Stefani Wears Me Out

9:23 We’re back…Ryan and Paula stand on the stage and he asks her why she chose now to perform on the Idol stage. She says it’s the happiest place to be…Ryan introduces No Doubt doing “Just A Girl.” Does anyone else think it’s sad that they couldn’t come up with a new song for the performance?...Gwen Stefani actually did this twice by the way…She does push-ups on the mini-stage and then jumps off into the audience. Maybe it’s a good thing the judges weren’t there, they would’ve been in her way…That made me tired just watching it…Ryan walks out to talk to her and he says she made him nervous…He asks why they’re going on tour when they don’t have a new album and she says she wanted to go on tour to get inspired for a new album…Break…

Paula's Just "Here For the Music"

9:12 We’re back…Tour plug…Ryan walks over to the Idols to talk to them…Danny says Wednesday nights are the most tiring and he is sitting there almost asleep. See what I mean about confidence?…Simon tells Kris, “we don’t want humble anymore”…Ryan asks Danny about his final note. He says when he watched it back, he laughed the whole night. He said his own aunt muted it and that he heard people were making ringtones with “that scary scream.” He added he thinks he made a name for himself with that “poor scream.” What was that? Humility from Danny Gokey?...Ryan asks Allison about her attitude and she says Simon was asking for it…

9:16 Ryan introduces Paula video…I still LOVE that “Cold Hearted” video…Ryan sits in Paula’s place at the table to introduce her…Paula starts out at the top of the stairs with several guys surrounding her…You can’t see her for the bright light, but she’s clearly not singing…In fact, the camera never stays long enough on her face for us to see if she’s singing or not…The choreography is cute, but Paula’s moves aren’t completely crisp. She’s moving pretty good, though. And that bounce into those guys’ arms was crazy! And then that guy twirled her like a baton! YIKES!!!...The song ends and the dancers gather around her like they’re asking questions. One of them says, “Paula, will you be back next season?” She says, “Gentlemen, I’m just here for the music. Good night,” and then walks away. I guess that was supposed to be clever. She walks toward the giant video screen, which says “Live, Laugh, Dance! Love, Paula”…Break…

As a performance, it was good, but having it on tape didn’t allow for what we really wanted to see—Simon’s reaction…

The Top 4 Results Show Kicks Off

8:59 Dramatic taped intro…Danny says he has to show people he can handle rock. Well, he couldn’t…Allison was clearly irritated backstage…And Allison and Adam were so cute…

By the way, the incident that happened on the stage last night was that Debbie, the stage manager, fell while on the steps on stage and even dangled off of them for a little bit. Apparently she got caught as they were collapsing. She went to the hospital as a precaution, but she was okay. That’s according to EW.com…

9:02 Over 64 MILLION VOTES? Seriously?! WOW!...Ryan introduces the Idols. Allison and Kris look a little sick. Danny looks cocky as always…Ryan introduces the judges…By the way, Paula’s performance tonight is, of course, on tape, as is No Doubt’s…Ryan teases everything happening on the show tonight…

9:04 Ford video…”Move Along”…Pictures of the Idols come alive to follow the cars…It’s a little hard to describe…and a little stupid…

9:04 Group song…Slash accompanies the Idols doing “School’s Out”…He is completely drowning out Adam…Danny gets the chorus?! Who arranged this? It’s not an R&B song, dear…A little feedback problem…Let me say again Allison and Adam are so cute. They duet again. Clearly the producers have discovered something here. I’d be shocked if they don’t perform together on the tour…Okay, Adam and Allison were good. Kris handled it alright. Danny not so much…

9:07 Ryan talks to Slash about the Idols and his solo album…Break…

Okay, I hope you’ll forgive me an anecdote here, but I can’t hear “School’s Out” without thinking of the Appalachian State pep band at Marshall’s last Southern Conference Basketball Tournament. Their pep band played it constantly and when the game got close it was a little scary. I made the mistake of walking by when they announced Marshall’s Keith Veney as the player of the tournament and I slightly feared for my life…

I'll get back to the show now...

What Would You Like to Ask LaKisha Jones?

I’m scheduled to interview LaKisha Jones about her new CD next week.

So, I thought I would open it up to you guys and see what you would like for me to ask her.

You can ask your questions as comments on this post, or you can e-mail me at idolchitchat@hotmail.com.

Then check back late next week to see if your question got answered…

Photo Credit: Elite Records, LLC

A Glimpse of Adam Lambert as Joshua

A friend of mine just posted this on my Facebook page, so I thought I would share it with you.

It’s Adam Lambert doing “Is Anybody Listening?” from “Ten Commandments: The Musical” with Val Kilmer.

And yes, it’s awesome…

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An "Idol" Tony Nomination

The Tony Award nominations were announced today and there was an Idol among them…

Are you ready for this?

Constantine Maroulis received a nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in “Rock of Ages.”

“Rock of Ages” received five nominations in all, including Best Musical.

Congratulations, Constantine!

I think since it’s Rock Week on “Idol,” there should have been some kind of tie-in with “Rock.”

Also, a cast album is in the works for those of us who can’t get to New York to see the show…

The Tony Awards will air Sunday, June 7th at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Take a Listen to Paula's New Song

Here is the song Paula will be performing tomorrow night, “[I’m Just] Here for the Music.”

You’ll notice that some of the lyrics are very similar to ones from Paula’s last single, “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.” I loved that song, but this one I’m not sure about…

Be sure to let me know what you think…

So Who's Going Home?

So, who’s going home? As much as it pains me to say it, I think it will be Kris. Without a doubt, it should be Danny. He made the worst song choice and it was at times pretty painful to listen to. But I think Danny has a bigger fan base than Kris and he outsang him in the duet. Plus, Allison gave a better performance than Kris and her duet with Adam was incredible. And there’s no way Adam is going home after what happened last week.

What do you think? Do you agree with me that Kris is going home? Do you agree with me that the band was totally off tonight? And do you agree with me that tomorrow’s results show with Daughtry, No Doubt AND Paula Abdul is going to be awesome?

Be sure to post your comments or you can send your thoughts to idolchitchat@hotmail.com...

Allison and Adam Rock the House

Allison Iraheta and Adam Lambert doing “Slow Ride”
Did anyone else get visions of an Adam-Allison finale just then? Wow! That was really good. But if the producers’ plan was to have Adam sing Allison under the table, it didn’t work. I have to agree with Simon, I think that duet may have saved Allison. Was that the producers’plan?

Wow, I am really into the conspiracy theories, aren’t I?

Final thoughts in a moment…

Danny Tries Some Aerosmith

Danny Gokey, “Dream On”: 13
Alright, Gokey fans, go ahead and tell me I’m being harsh, but I almost took more points off just for that attitude. “It’s…whatever…I’ll just have to go back and listen to it. I don’t think it was as bad as they’re saying.” No, Danny, it wasn’t. It was worse. I appreciate Danny trying to take risks, but wow! Those last several notes were terrible, and some in the beginning were pretty rough too. But Simon is right that he’s safe because the judges jumped in to make excuses for the chosen one.

Yes, Paula Is Performing Tomorrow!

I’m interrupting tonight’s show with this big news…

Yes, Paula Abdul is performing on tomorrow night’s results show! WOO-HOO!

She’ll be doing her new single “[I’m Just] Here for the Music.” Paula told Ryan on his radio show this morning that she didn’t put everything together until Saturday.

I’ll have more on this later.

Until then, back to our show…

Kris Takes Some Lumps

Kris Allen, “Come Together”: 17
I love this song, but I would’ve preferred he lose the guitar and show some personality. And there were several moments during the song where he was yelling. I think the band needed the dress rehearsal worse than the contestants. The sound is completely off.

Our First Duet

Kris Allen and Danny Gokey doing “Renegade”
So why do I get the feeling that the point of that was for the producers to prove to us that Danny can outsing Kris? And sadly, I have to say that I think that’s what happened. The harmonies, however, were gorgeous. But just when I was starting to think good things about Danny, he had to go and get all cocky again with his “I think we overcame it” comment about not being able to hear himself. I think that was a shot at the band. Of course, they probably had it coming.

Allison Gets "Feisty"

So Allison went to Adam’s hair stylist and I have to say it looks better than it ever has…

Allison Iraheta, “Cry Baby”: 19
I liked the performance, but I have to agree with Randy (?!) that it might have been a tad boring. But what was up with the attitude? She pounced on Simon almost immediately. I think she’s getting a little frustrated.

The first duet is coming up with Kris and Danny. This must have made for a pretty tough week for the contestants, but it should be interesting…

The Top 4: Adam Gets Us Started

I just barely made it in the door…Phew!

So, apparently, it’s been a rough day around the “Idol” set as there was an accident that caused part of the set to collapse, keeping the contestants from getting a full run-through.

And, they’re pairing up to do duets in addition to their individual performances. Hmmm…

Oh, and Ryan saying it’s a big week for Paula, there are rumors she will be performing on Idol this week…

So let’s get this started…

Adam Lambert, “Whole Lotta Love”: 18
Okay, so the performance was good—as it usually is with Adam—but I thought the song was a little boring. Maybe I’m just a little over him.

Monday, May 4, 2009

David Cook Talks About His Brother

I just had to share this video with you guys.

It's David Cook talking to a reporter after the charity race Sunday. You can see it here.

It just makes me love him even more...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sad News From the "Idol" World...

Some extremely sad news from the “Idol” world today…

David Cook’s brother, Adam, passed away yesterday.

David shared the news today at the 12th annual Race for Hope 5K in Washington, D.C., where he was serving as grand marshal. The race raises money to support finding a cure for brain cancer.

According to EW.com, he said, “Like everybody here, I'm affected by this disease. I actually lost my brother yesterday to a brain tumor. I couldn't imagine...I couldn't imagine being anywhere else right now…I lost one today, but I've gained 9,000 and I will be here every year that they will have me.”

A friend of the family told the Associated Press that Adam had stopped his chemotherapy treatments earlier this year because they had stopped helping.

Fans can make donations to David’s Race for Hope team in Adam’s memory through September 30th here.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Cook family...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Big Month for Idol CDs

May is a big month for “Idol” CDs…

This Tuesday, May 5th, Elliott Yamin will release his second CD, “Fight for Love.”











Then Tuesday, May 19th, Ruben Studdard will release his new CD, “Love Is"...











while LaKisha Jones (from season six, in case you’ve forgotten) will release her debut, “So Glad I’m Me.”

I hope to have reviews of all three of them in the next few weeks…
Photos Credit: Amazon.com

Just How Much Money Has "Idol" Generated?

“Portfolio” has estimated how much money “American Idol” has generated over eight seasons.

Their estimate? $8.2 billion.

You can see the breakdown here.

Sanjaya Goes the Cheesy Reality Show Route

After writing a book and releasing a CD, it seemed like Sanjaya Malakar was going to take the straight and narrow route for his post-Idol career, but clearly that’s not the case now…

Sanjaya is among the cast of “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here,” the NBC reality show which drops celebrities in the jungle in Costa Rica and puts them through all kinds of challenges to see who can survive.

The show has garnered a lot of press because of the participation of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

The show premieres Monday, June 1st at 8 p.m. and then air almost nightly for three weeks. MTV will air marathons on Sundays.

I think he would have been better off to try to get on “Dancing With the Stars”…

Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Daughtry Returns to the Idol Stage

So, it’s probably no surprise that since it’s Rock Week, the former Idol returning to the stage for this week’s results show is Chris Daughtry, who with his band, Daughtry, will be debuting the first single from their next album. The song is appropriately called “It’s No Surprise.”

No Doubt will also be performing.

The surprise is Slash as the mentor. Yes, he’s a legendary guitarist, but serving as a mentor for a singing competition? I’m not completely sure about that one…

Photo Credit: David Clinch/RCA

Friday, May 1, 2009

Clarifying Matt's Comments

The fine folks at FOX sent me the transcript of the conference call with Matt Giraud, so I wanted to clarify some of his comments...

Here is his entire quote about not going into the competition to be the American Idol:

"No, I never came in wanting to be The American Idol, you know my dream was to play that piano on that stage, my dream was to sing jazz on that stage, my dream was to meet the mentors, that was like dreams come true to me, it wasn’t like man, if I win. Do you know what I mean? Yes, there are definitely a lot of perks and I’d like it and I was fighting for it, but that wasn’t the goal, I’m not kicking myself because I’m not winning. I think that obviously we’ve seen past Idols who go home in fourth and fifth place do even better than the Idol, so all hope is not lost."