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

Friday, February 26, 2010

This Season's Goodbye Song

My idol, Michael Slezak at EW.com, has solved the mystery of last night’s elimination song…

It’s Will Young’s “Leave Right Now” and it will be the song you hear accompanying the eliminated singers’ journeys all season long.

You may recall that Will was the winner of the first season of “Pop Idol,” the British show that gave birth to “American Idol.” He is represented by 19 Entertainment.

You can hear the song in its entirety here…

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Did America Get It Right?

So did America get it right? For the most part, I would say no, they did not. Ashley was the right call because her performance was mediocre and I’ve never really liked her anyway. But the rest, I think were totally wrong…

Even though Tyler came off creepy, his vocals were not worse than Jermaine or Tim by a long shot. I would’ve liked to have seen what else he could do if he dropped the 70s act…

And even though I think Tyler throwing the judges under the bus was a little classless, I do sort of see his point. The judges seemed to really like his 70s/Jim Morrison vibe and then they trashed him for continuing it last night. If they wanted him to change, they should have told him sooner…

I believe that Janell definitely deserved another chance. I didn’t think her performance was all that bad and I hate to see her go. But the real wrong here was done to Joe Munoz who absolutely did not deserve to go home. He was one of the few guys who put together a good performance Wednesday. Clearly, Tim Urban got some sympathy votes. Even he knew it should have been him.

America will get a chance to make things right next week as the Top 10 girls and Top 10 guys take the stage a little wiser, and hopefully, a lot better…

What do you think? Did the right people go home? Post a comment and share your thoughts…

The First Results Show Produces Some Surprises

So I know what you guys are thinking. Angela missed the first results show of the season? Well, I had a good excuse—or at least I think it was a good one (I’ll let you guys judge for yourself a little later).

But you guys count on my minute-by-minute recaps, so I don’t want to let you down. So here it is, only without the actual minutes so I could fast-forward through the commercials…

Dramatic taped intro…Why can’t Randy keep his mouth shut during Ryan’s “THIS” intro?...Judges intro…Ryan asks Simon about him being more harsh than usual last night. I didn’t think he was and neither did Simon…Kara’s husband is in the audience. He’s hotter than Casey…

Group song. “American Boy”…Seriously? This early with the group numbers?...Those are the fakest vocals I have ever heard. And some of them need some serious lipsynching lessons…Crystal looks so over it, which just makes me love her more…Seriously. What is the point?...Break…

Girls first…Lights down…Back row stands…Siobhan…Safe…Haeley…Safe…

Michelle…Safe…Katelyn…Safe…That leaves Katie and Janell. One of them is going home. It’s surely Janell, isn’t it?...And it is. Janell is going home…I’m a little surprised. I thought she could go pretty far…She does “Alone” again…It’s better this time…Break…

We’re back…Allison Iraheta comes down the steps from behind the girls to sing “Scars.” This is a good song that I hope does well for her…That was a great performance except for the jerky movements she kept making…And she’s as bad at interviews as ever…

Lights down…Bottom row of girls stands…Paige stands…Does that mean she actually made it through?...Safe. I’m stunned. I was sure she was gone…Lacey…She seems sure it’s over…She’s safe…So who is going?...Lilly…She’s almost in tears…Safe…It’s got to be Ashley who’s gone, right?...If it’s Crystal, I’m going to have a fit…Safe. Phew…Ashley and Didi are left and go to center stage…I hope it’s not Didi…Didi…safe. Yea!...Ashley is out…So I got one right…

Ashley is handling it pretty well. But I think there’s an undertone of anger there too…Ashley’s giving it all she’s got. She’s clearly trying to impress someone, but I think the chorus is shakier tonight than it was Tuesday…And who was she pointing that angry finger at while singing “happy”?...Break…

We’re back…Ryan shows tape of Tyler at rehearsal in his boots and robe…He thought he was going to wardrobe before rehearsal…

Lights down…Back row of guys stands…Big Mike…Safe…John…Safe. Hmmm…Aaron…I’m guessing Tim is the guy who’s going home in this row…Aaron is safe…Todrick…Safe…Tim and Joe…

It absolutely should be Tim…Tim…SAFE?!...He’s in COMPLETE shock. The cameras keep showing him shaking his head…That was wrong, America. Joe did not deserve to go. His performance was actually good Tuesday…And it’s really good tonight…Break…

We’re back…Ryan announces “Idol Gives Back” and its sponsors…Ryan brings in Kris to talk about Haiti…You can download Kris’ performance from iTunes tonight and 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit Haiti…Ryan tells all the other ways you can donate…Kris does “Let It Be” with video of Haiti behind him…It’s just Kris and a piano and his guitar…Oh yeah. I’m downloading this one…HOW AWESOME WAS THAT? Holy cow!...I don’t know who’s directing this stuff though because the lights coming up was incredibly awkward. There needed to be a pause there…Break…

We’re back…Lights down…Front row of guys stands…Casey…Safe…Jermaine…He seems quite worried…Safe. Uh-oh. There’s a surprise coming…

Lee…Safe…Andrew…Safe. Phew…That leaves Tyler and Alex. As creepy as Tyler was, I gotta believe it’s Alex…Tyler and Alex come to center stage…Simon thinks Tyler is leaving…Alex is safe and he’s in shock…Tyler is going home and Casey is shocked…Ryan asks what his misstep was and Tyler says that he didn’t get enough constructive criticism during Hollywood Week and what they did say was “too late”…Simon rolls his eyes…Yeah, that’s the way to go out, Tyler. Throw the judges under the bus…

Video of journey of people leaving…I don’t know the song…Tyler takes the stage…He gets cut off as we’re out…

Final thoughts in a moment…

Tonight's Results Show

There’s a chance I might be late blogging tonight, as I am in the middle of my own little “Idol” adventure. I’ll have more details on that later…

Remember that tonight’s results show is an hour beginning at 8 p.m. Allison Iraheta will be performing her new single, “Scars,” Kris Allen will be performing and sharing video from his trip to Haiti and Ryan Seacrest will be displaying all of his cruel tricks as two girls and two guys will go home.

See you tonight…

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So Who's Going Home?

Before I get down to business, let me offer an apology. Blogger has been totally freaking out tonight, so a lot of my posts were a little late, so I’m sorry that it wasn’t as instant as it normally is.

Now, back to business. So who’s going home? I think Jermaine Sellers for sure. Then it’s a toss-up between Tim Urban and John Park. Jermaine gave a lousy performance and he showed what we had already suspected—he is quite the diva. The audience doesn’t like that. Tim and John both gave bad performances of completely wrong song choices.

Overall, I would say that the guys did a better job than the girls—but not by much. The biggest thing I would take away from tonight’s show was how out of synch my opinions were with the opinions of the judges. Several times I was unsure of what they were listening to. And it’s clear they’ve already picked who they want to push at us (Aaron Kelly, anyone?).

So what do you guys think? Who do you think is going home?

Remember that the hour-long results show starts tomorrow at 8 with performances from Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen. I may be a little late joining the party tomorrow, but I’ll jump in as soon as I can…

Andrew Goes "Down"

Andrew Garcia, “Sugar We’re Going Down”: 18
I didn’t see that one coming. It was unique and original, but there was something strange about it. And did you notice how he barely looked up while he was singing?

Casey Takes Kara to "Heaven"

Casey James, “Heaven”: 19
He deserves extra points for managing to keep it together while Randy and Kara were goofing off right in front of him and people were laughing. That could have really screwed him up, but instead he managed to deliver a really good performance.

Alex Gets a Little Awkward

Simon admitted he’s winking at his girlfriend. Can we see her now?

I love that Alex got to call out Mary in his video. After all, he made it and she didn’t…

Alex Lambert, “A Wonderful World”: 13
I think it was a good song choice but the performance was totally off. Did anyone else notice him look down and then scoot back to be in the right place for the camera?

This is the first season I can remember where there were so many nerves on display. In a way it’s refreshing that everyone isn’t so polished. But it doesn’t make for a very good show…

Big Mike Shows the "Love"

Michael Lynche, “This Love”: 19
MAD props to Big Mike for not going R&B. That would have been the easy way for him. I took off one point just because it wasn’t perfect. But it was pretty darn close.

And is Kara right? Was I too swayed that Mike sang after a bad performance and it wasn’t actually that good?

John Makes a Bad Choice

John Park, “God Bless the Child”: 12
I understand John wanting to show off that gorgeous lower register, but that was not the way to do it. That was a terrible choice and he didn’t do it any favors.

John made the mistake I warned about in this week’s H-D column. He chose a song for his parents instead of for the audience…

Lee Impresses

Lee DeWyze: “Chasing Cars”: 17
That was almost really good and then came that bum chorus. When he hit that first bum note, it kind of messed him up a little. But I’m with Simon. I don’t know what Kara and Randy were listening to.

And for the record, I never know what Ellen is listening to…

Is Tyler Still My Guy?

Tyler Grady, “American Woman”: 15
I know I’ve been saying Tyler’s my guy, but I’m not sure what to say there. The song choice was good I think, but the vocals were not all there. And I agree we’re done with the 70s.

Joe Makes a Great Choice

Joe Munoz, “You and I Both”: 16
That was a GREAT song choice (I gave it a 5.). I have no idea what Randy heard. I just think nerves messed up his performance a little bit.

Should Tim "Apologize" To Us?

Tim Urban, “Apologize”: 12
And they chose to bring him back over Thaddeus, why? That was a COMPLETELY terrible song choice. His falsetto completely failed him. He needed to sing something slower. I would’ve recommended something by Five For Fighting. He has that kind of tone.

Jermaine Exposes His Inner Diva

Jermaine Sellers, “Get Here”: 12
I’ve always liked Jermaine, but there was one note where I actually winced. I think it was a great choice, but it would have only worked if he’d sung it closer to the original, a la Justin Guarini in Season One. Those vocal acrobatics were terrible. And Ryan didn’t do him any favors by exposing him as a diva during his post-performance interview…

And Ryan, Michael is more than just “from the band.” He’s kind of the musical director. Hello!

Will Aaron Say "Goodbye"?

Aaron Kelly, “Here Comes Goodbye”: 13
Apparently Simon and I are watching a different show tonight. I agree with his confidence speech, but I think Aaron is just too young. I think it was a good song choice, but he rushed through it way too fast.

Man, they are all pimping him REALLY hard…

Todrick is Accused of Murder

Can the underdog guys give a better performance than the girls? Man do I hope so…

But what was that weird intro with Ryan stopping cold in the middle of his “THIS” to scold Simon for talking? I’m guessing it was on tape, so why would they use that one? An odd way to start, don’t you think?

And Randy just said that the girls “blew it out last night.” They did? That’s not what he said last night…

And Simon just lowered the boom on someone by saying “if you forget the words, you’re going home.” Clearly, someone forgot the words during rehearsal. Who wants to bet it was poor Aaron?

Let’s do this…

Todrick Hall, “Since U Been Gone”:18
The vocals were not perfect, but THAT is how to give a first performance. AND a great way to not be forgotten by going first. I still think he was doing someone else’s version, I just don’t know who.

Now hold up. The judges have been saying all along that you need to be original and take risks, so he does and he’s accused of murder? I just can’t agree…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Meet the Guys

Let’s take a minute to meet the 12 guys who will be singing for our votes tomorrow night…

Lee DeWyze
Hometown: Mount Prospect, IL
Currently Resides: Mount Prospect, IL
Age: 23
Our first real dose of Lee was his final Hollywood performance of “You Found Me.”







Andrew Garcia
Hometown: Moreno Valley, CA
Currently Resides: Moreno Valley, CA
Age: 24
Andrew will forever be known as the guy who did “Straight Up” acoustic during Hollywood Week.







Tyler Grady
Hometown: Nazareth, PA
Currently Resides: Nazareth, PA
Age: 20
The most we saw of the 70s loving Tyler was his audition with “Let’s Get It On.”






Todrick Hall
Hometown: Arlington, TX
Currently Resides: Arlington, TX
Age: 24
Todrick was part of the Destiny’s Wild drama on Group Day (and the somersaulter), but he might be best known for the original song about “Idol” he wrote for his audition.






Casey James
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Currently Resides: Fort Worth, TX
Age: 27
Casey gave some great performances in Hollywood, but he will always be known as the guy who took his shirt off for Kara and Victoria at his audition.



Aaron Kelly
Hometown: Sonestown, PA
Currently Resides: Sonestown, PA
Age: 16
Aaron wowed with “The Climb” at his first audition, but then struggled with lyrics in Hollywood.





Alex Lambert
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Currently Resides: North Richland Hills, TX
Age: 19
Alex was a member of Dreamers, the Group led by the ultra pushy Mary Powers. He was one of the many who did “I’m Yours” for his last performance.




Michael Lynche
Hometown: Astoria, NY
Currently Resides: Astoria, NY
Age: 26
“Big Mike” is probably the most well-known of the guys because of his baby being born on national TV. And of course, there was that whole story about him getting kicked off…






Joe Muñoz
Hometown: Huntington Park, CA
Currently Resides: Huntington Park, CA
Age: 20
My only note on Joe is his Hollywood performance of “Man In the Mirror,” but I’m sure we saw him somewhere else. I just don’t remember where.







John Park
Hometown: Northbrook, IL
Currently Resides: Evanston, IL
Age: 21
John showed us his gorgeous lower register during his Chicago audition with “More Than You’ll Ever Know.”






Jermaine Sellers
Hometown: Joliet, IL
Currently Resides: Joliet, IL
Age: 27
Jermaine caught our eyes with his gorgeous rendition of “One of Us” at his audition. For his sake, I hope people remember that instead of him throwing the band under the bus during Hollywood Week.






Tim Urban
Hometown: Duncanville, TX
Currently Resides: Duncanville, TX
Age: 20
Tim is now best known for being the replacement guy. His first Hollywood performance was a shaky “Come Back to Me,” but he got through because he has a good sound.

Photos Credit: Patrick Ecclestein/FOX

So Who's Going Home?

Wow. Did anyone else have trouble getting through those two hours? There are always a few questionable song choices and even more questionable notes during the first performance show, but tonight? Again I say wow…

For the first time this season, let me ask the question I will ask at this time every week, so who’s going home?

That’s a really tough one, but my gut tells me Paige Miles for sure. Then it’s a toss-up between Ashley Rodriguez and Lacey Brown. I say Paige for sure because we didn’t know her at all and she went first with a forgettable performance. Ashley could go because she dared to do Leona Lewis—not very well—and Lacey could go because her performance was pretty rough.

It will definitely be interesting. But remember, we don’t find out until Thursday night.

Tomorrow, it’s the guys’ turn. In just a few, I’ll post their pictures and bios so you can get to know them before tomorrow.

But they had best bring it because I don’t know if I can sit through another two hours like that. Not even for you guys…

Katie Closes the Show on a Downer

Katie Stevens, “Feelin’ Good”: 15
That song has killed more than one “Idol” dream over the years. It won’t kill Katie’s, but it definitely didn’t do it any favors.

And Kara brought up an interesting point—I know. I’m surprised again. Could anyone hear themselves tonight? I hope they get these sound problems fixed…

Final thoughts in a few…

Crystal Wakes Me Up

Crystal Bowersox, “Hand In My Pocket”: 20
FINALLY!!! I love her! And not just because she’s from Ohio. I’m a little concerned that she might get too into her instrument playing and forget that it’s a singing competition.

But watch the backtalk, hon. Talking back to Simon does not do you any favors. Wonder if she’ll whip out some David Bowie next week?

Siobhan Plays a Wicked Game

Siobhan Magnus, “Wicked Game”: 18
An interesting choice, but a good one. Her performance was pitch perfect, but it sounded a little too showtune for me. I’m not sure it was the best choice for her first performance, but it was good for her voice.

I would love to know what it sounds like on the stage. I wonder if the music sounds as muffled to the contestants as it does to us?

Didi Shows Us the Way She Is

Didi Benami, “The Way I Am”: 16
I thought the song choice was good, but I think she was trying too hard to imitate other singers with those vowel sounds.

And I’m with Simon. These are the mega-hyped girls? The guys had best bring it tomorrow.

Michelle Starts "Fallin'"

Michelle Delamor, “Fallin’”: 14
NEVER go with Alicia Keys for your first performance. I hated the choice and the arrangement was really weird. I think she’s got a good voice, though, she just needs to use it and quit trying to be so dramatic.

And I think Ellen is starting to show her inexperience. That was not fantastic…

Lacey Gets Caught In a "Landslide"

Lacey Brown, “Landslide”: 12
That was a really bad song choice. The arrangement was HORRIBLE with the key going all over the place. And the backup singer got a little overwhelming at times. They need to remember who the stars are.

And why did Ryan feel the need to throw Lacey under the bus by making her admit that she disagreed with Simon? Especially when he was right?

Haeley Wants to "Hold Your Hand"

Haeley Vaughn, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”: 15
I thought that sounded like a lame choice, but it worked. However, the vocals were not the best as there was A LOT of shouting.

And is it just the sound or is everyone shouting a little bit tonight?...

Katelyn Suprises

Katelyn Epperly, “O Darlin’”: 17
I’m pretty surprised by this one. That was a great song choice and I didn’t think she had that kind of voice in her. But I have to agree with Kara—I know I’m shocked too. Her look didn’t work.

Kara, you cannot say b---h on a family show!

Lilly Is "Fixing a Hole"

Lilly Scott, “Fixing a Hole”: 17
She has a great voice, but this was definitely an interesting song choice. I like that she stayed true to who she is but I’m still getting Megan Joy flashbacks…

Interesting that Simon said it’s important to sing a song you like and not one you think will get you to the next round. I disagree. At this stage, it’s about getting to the next round…

And what was the intense conversation between Kara and Simon? They’re getting along much better this year…

Janell Asks a Question

I don’t know about you guys, but I hate the rotating judges. Simon should always go last! It’s his last season. Throw us a bone…

Janell Wheeler, “What About Love?”: 14
I’m with Ellen. I liked the song choice but I don’t know Janell well enough to know if she could have actually done it well without the nerves. They really got the best of her.

And did we actually hear Randy say something intelligent? Was I dreaming? If you missed it, he said that contestants should always choose a song that they can bring something different to that doesn’t make people compare it to the original vocalist…

Way to go dawg!

Does Ashley Make Me "Happy"?

What does Simon have against “Battlefield”? It’s a metaphor, Simon…

Ashley Rodriguez, “Happy”: 14
Remember my warning about current songs? Ashley didn’t heed it. And to go with Leona Lewis? HUGE mistake. I agree with Simon about the arrangement. There was too much verse and not enough chorus. The chorus is the big moment of that song. No one remembers the verse.

And for the record, I thought her version of “Battlefield” was bad too…

Paige Kicks It Off...

Who was that voice stepping all over Ryan’s intro tonight? That is so not allowed…

Paige Miles, who we barely know, has to go first? That’s not going to be good for her…

And no big shocker, Katie Stevens is in the pimp spot tonight…

Ellen’s talking first…Or at least I hope that’s the case and they’re not going right to left this year…Ryan addresses it and Ellen says that she had to run away from Simon’s wandering hands and they show a “video”…

Let’s get to this!

Paige Miles, “All Right Now”: 12
They picked Angela Martin over her, why? That was all flash and no substance. All of the vocal acrobatics were a little annoying.

And speaking of annoying, did Ryan really just make her confess that she has to pee on national TV?

And BOO HISS to Simon not going first. You can tell he was a little annoyed…

Could be a long night because the sound is a little off tonight…

Are You Ready?

Welcome to Season Nine of “American Idol”!

For those of you who are new to the blog—and as a refresher course for the rest of us—here’s how I handle the live performance shows.

I give each contest a score based on the official scorecard from the now defunct “American Idol” magazine. The score is based on four categories: Vocal Ability, Song Choice, Personality, and Stage Presence. Each contestant receives a rating (from 1 to 5) in each category. The ratings are then totaled up for the final score, with 20 being the highest possible score.

I post each contestant’s scores as soon as possible—usually during the commercial breaks—and you are welcome to offer your critiques by posting a comment. I’ll post them just as soon as I can.

Just a few minutes to go now…

Are you ready?

Melinda Tells her Story

Melinda Doolittle will tell her story in a new book, “Beyond Me.”

According to the press release, Melinda “shares poignant, often humorous stories, revealing the secrets of her success and giving practical guidance to overcome personal obstacles to achieve the next level in any area of life.”

Jordin Sparks wrote the foreword.

The book is scheduled to hit stores May 4th…

Photo Credit: Zondervan Books

iTunes Throws In a Fun Twist

The usual iTunes-“Idol” partnership is getting a fun twist this season…

Beginning tomorrow, you can purchase downloads of your favorite performances (or you can pre-order them tonight). But beginning with the Top 12, the theme of each week’s show will be featured in advance on iTunes, along with playlists of original songs by the original artists from which the contestants may choose and which fans can preview and download.

Interesting, don’t you think? Although it might take a little suspense out of the song choices, it does kind of open up the process a little…

National Research Firm Decides to Determine Weekly "Idol" Winners

A national research firm announced today that it will conduct a series of studies during the “Idol” season to help it determine the weekly winners…

From the press release:

“HCD Research will provide participants with an identification number and direct them to a password protected website where they can vote one time, unlike the current process in which viewers can vote multiple times.

While viewing the performances, participants will indicate their perceptions of the contestants by moving their mouse from left to right on a continuum. The responses are recorded in quarter-second intervals and reported in the form of curves. Participants will also rate the contestants' performances on a scale from one to 10.”

To register for the studies, you can click here.

The results will be posted on HCD’s mediacurves.com website…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Meet the Girls

Let’s take a second and meet the 12 girls we’ll see perform Tuesday night…

Didi Benami
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Currently Resides: Los Angeles, CA
Age: 23
Didi is best known for nailing “Terrified,” a song written by Kara DioGuardi and recorded by Katharine McPhee.








Crystal Bowersox
Hometown: Elliston, OH
Currently Resides: Toledo, OH
Age: 24
Crystal first burst on the “Idol” scene with her amazing rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.”









Lacey Brown
Hometown: Amarillo, TX
Currently Resides: Amarillo, TX
Age: 24
We were introduced to Lacey when the show used her rendition of “What a Wonderful World” for a montage.








Michelle Delamor
Hometown: Miami, FL
Currently Resides: Miami, FL
Age: 22
Our only real look at Michelle came from Group Day. She was part of the group, “Faith” that did “Irreplaceable.”





Katelyn Epperly
Hometown: West Des Moines, IA
Currently Resides: West Des Moines, IA
Age: 19
In Hollywood, we saw her do “Something to Talk About” and “Bubbly,” but we mostly know her from her story about her Dad leaving her mom shortly before her Chicago audition.





Paige Miles
Hometown: Naples, FL
Currently Resides: Houston, TX
Age: 24
I don’t remember hearing a single note from Paige, but when she was chosen for the Top 24, Simon said that she was a better singer than she knew.





Siobhan Magnus
Hometown: Cape Cod, MA
Currently Resides: Marstons Mills, MA
Age: 20
She is most known for being a member of Destiny’s Wild, one of the groups who did “Bad Romance” on Group Day.





Ashley Rodriguez
Hometown: Chelsea, MA
Currently Resides: Chelsea, MA
Age: 22
Ashley was another member of the group, Faith, and she sang “Battlefield” in Hollywood. Simon told her she had “it” after her audition.








Lilly Scott
Hometown: Littleton, CO
Currently Resides: Denver, CO
Age: 20
Lilly caught our ears in Hollywood with her scorching rendition of “Lullaby of Birdland.”








Katie Stevens
Hometown: Middlebury, CT
Currently Resides: Middlebury, CT
Age: 17
Katie is best known as the girl with the Alzheimer’s-stricken grandmother, but she has also delivered solid performances, including “For Once In My Life.”





Haeley Vaughn
Hometown: Fort Collins, CO
Currently Resides: Fort Collins, CO
Age: 16
Haeley got a lot of camera time in Hollywood, probably because of that infectious smile. She is probably best known for her performance of “I’m Yours” with her guitar.






Janell Wheeler
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Currently Resides: Tampa, FL
Age: 24
Janell turned heads immediately at her audition with “House of the Rising Sun.” She also did well with “American Boy,” but she’s probably best known for saying she blew it after her voice troubles hurt her final individual performance.


We’ll see which of the 12 rises to the top and which of them crumbles tomorrow night in a special two-hour episode beginning at 8 on FOX…

Photos Credit: Patrick Ecclestein/FOX

Another Idol Returns for Thursday's Show

“Idol” is doing everything it can to fill all 60 minutes of Thursday’s first live results show…

FOX announced today that Allison Iraheta will return to the “Idol” stage to sing her new single, “Scars.”

Kris Allen will also perform and share video from his recent trip to Haiti with the United Nations Foundation as the first initiative of “Idol Gives Back”…
Photo Credit: Chris Cuffaro/FOX

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Simon Cowell: "You've got to be original"

We only had about 20 minutes with Simon Cowell today but they were pretty action-packed as we heard some of his thoughts on the Top 24, whether or not he thinks Ellen was a good choice, and his thoughts on who his replacement should be…

On the winner: “There is definitely a better chance of a girl winning this year…You want somebody who represents what is going on at the moment. I would love to find a Taylor Swift. You want somebody relevant, not just a contest winner…The guys are real equal.”

On the Top 24 choices: It all happened so quickly. It would have been much easier if we’d had five or six days. But we had a limited time and decisions were made relatively quickly.” Simon said you just have to live with the decisions. “And they can always audition the next year…It’s good that we have a mixed bag this year. It’s about remembering people. If you can remember somebody it’s a good place to start.”

On what happened with Chris Golightly: “I remember [during his first audition] that Kara was utterly besotted with him. I really honestly don’t have a clue. I’m guessing it was some sort of technical issue.” When asked if Chris could now audition for “X Factor,” Simon said, “I have to find out what [the issue] was first.”

On what the contestants need to do: “You’ve got to be original. The reason David Cook did so well was that he managed to find interesting versions of songs. He was smart. Don’t always do the obvious. And suck up to me. That always helps.”

On what mentors he would like to have this season: “I think we should have Lady Gaga. She’s the most relevant artist in the world right now. I think she should be number one. She’s very smart. I like her.”

On what he says during the show: “I don’t go in there with a pre-conceived notion. I try to be in the moment. You’re there to be honest, truthful but most importantly to say what the people at home are thinking.”

On General Larry Platt: “It’s an interesting thing.” Simon said he has always found older people fun and interesting, which is why there’s no age cap on “X Factor.” “For him I’m absolutely thrilled.”

On whether he is feuding with Ellen: “There’s been no falling out…I don’t know Ellen that well. It was a difficult situation for her [coming o the show during Hollywood Week]. Directly addressing the stories about him being an hour later for taping one day, he said he “turned up 15 or 20 minutes late” because he had his “X Factor” press conference earlier that day, but he said it “wasn’t a problem.”

On “Idol” without Paula: “Paula is my friend. She always made me laugh. It’s like not having my friend on the show anymore. I do miss her.”

On the reaction to him leaving: “It’s very flattering and I really do appreciate it but the show goes on. I’m going to feel sad when it all ends…It’s better to be popular than unpopular.”

On his last season: “I want to go out on a high. I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.” Simon also said something else very interesting about that, “I’ll hopefully be the last one to speak.” So apparently that hasn’t been decided yet.

On who his replacement should be: “You’ve got to know what you’re talking about. You’ve really got to have experience so you can offer constructive criticism as well… Someone who’s had managerial experience is helpful. It’s like judging ice skating at the Olympics. Over the years judges are replaced by personalities, but you need someone who actually knows what they’re talking about…You’re never going to pick someone as good as you, are they? You see people put in a role to play a role [like the mean judge]. It grows quite tiresome. This person specifically has got to have a lot of experience in the music business.”

Simon spent so much time saying that judges absolutely need to have music experience, that it left me (and others) wondering whether he was referring to Ellen. So when a reporter asked just that, Simon jumped at the chance to clear up his comments since he realized they could be “misconstrued.” “I was speaking specifically toward my replacement. Let me tell you why Ellen was a good choice. She actually is responsible for people on her own show. She loves music and has been an artist.” Simon believes his replacement needs to be someone with music experience because he has music experience.

On the names that have been bounced around:
Howard Stern: I’m fairly certain there hasn’t been an approach [by the show].
Perez Hilton: He’s funny, he’s got good taste in music. That would work.
Noel Gallagher (of Oasis): “It’s a possibility.”
“There’s no shortage of candidates.” When asked who he would really like to see, he answered, “If I really knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t tell you.”

His final word to reporters: “I hope we cleared up some of the rumors. We’ll do it again soon.”

I hope so, because I admit that I am as “besotted” with him as ever. And I am more convinced than ever that the show cannot thrive without him…

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Simon Says...

Though the majority of tonight’s media conference call with Simon Cowell was taken up with questions about his potential replacement, we did get some insight into the Top 24…

Here’s a teaser for you until I get the rest of the call posted…

Simon said, “There is definitely a better chance of a girl winning this year.”

He also denied that he and Ellen were not getting along and he said that Howard Stern has not been approached by the show.

I’ll have more in a few so Stay Tuned…

"Idol" Adds An Interesting Twist

Here’s an interesting twist to this season…

For the first time in “Idol” history the Top 24 will be allowed to have Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter accounts.

My guess is that they’ll be limited in what they’re allowed to say because I can’t imagine the show wanting to ruin the suspense of song choice or other surprises. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
Photo Credit: Patrick Ecclestein/FOX

Next Week’s Theme and More From the Official Press Release

So the official Top 24 press release arrived in my inbox at 1:05 this morning. And no, I was not up to receive it…

I know what you’re wondering, so let me get right to it. Yes, Michael Lynche is in the Top 24. So were all the reports wrong? I have no idea. But I’m willing to bet money that “Idol” will never say…

However, there was a change in the Top 24. The press release had the following statement: “It has been determined that Chris Golightly is ineligible to continue in the competition. AMERICAN IDOL contestant Tim Urban has replaced Golightly as part of the Top 24.”

I wondered last night how I had missed one of the guys going through and now I’m pretty sure that I didn’t. I’m guessing that Chris Golightly was edited out of the show and Tim Urban was inserted in later.

Now to the other important detail—next week’s theme. The release says, “each contestant will perform a Top 10 hit from the Hot 100 chart.” Whether this means the current Hot 100 chart or the history of the Hot 100 chart, I have no idea (but I will definitely try to find out). But I have long argued that current hits spell trouble for contestants, so if it is current stuff, this could be interesting.

Honestly, I hate it when they do themes this early in the competition because this is really the contestants’ chance to show us who they really are before they get pigeon-holed…

I’ll have much more in the coming days, including some comments from Simon Cowell, so Stay Tuned…

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Final Thoughts on Tonight's Show

So we finally have our Top 24. For the most part I think it’s a pretty good group although I think there were some mistakes made…

I think Thaddeus Johnson probably deserved to be in the Top 24 more than Tim Urban or Aaron Kelly…

And I still can’t believe the judges didn’t let Angela Martin through. Did they fear she would turn into another Lil Rounds and not live up to her early potential? I think the girls are strong this year, but there was a place for her—maybe in place of Katelyn Epperly.

It’s at this point that I feel I should make a little confession. Remember how I told you that reports were that one contestant was kicked out of the Top 24 because his father told his local newspaper? If you haven’t already Googled it to find out, I will now tell you the contestant in question is Michael “Big Mike” Lynche. “Big Mike” has been such a huge part of the early episodes that I can’t imagine the show going on without him, but rules are rules. However, when FOX sent out its press release detailing the seven contestants that were announced last night Michael was on it. So maybe the reports are false or the show decided to keep him in. I’ll be able to tell you for sure once I receive the final press release early tomorrow morning…

And tomorrow I’ll have even more stuff to tell you about the contestants as Simon Cowell is scheduled to do a conference call with reporters…

For now, I’ll remind you that beginning next week the show goes three nights. The Top 12 girls will sing Tuesday night, the Top 12 guys will sing Wednesday night, and then Thursday we’ll get the results. The lowest two votegetters for both the guys and girls (four total) will be eliminated…

Hollywood Round 4: The Top 24 Is Completed

Two guys remain. Andrew Garcia and Thaddeus Johnson...Andrew…“Straight Up”…Thaddeus…“Man In the Mirror”…I don’t like this…Thaddeus…He’s out…Simon says he’s really sorry and he genuinely didn’t do anything wrong. I get the impression that Simon really liked him…He’s devastated and walks away from Ryan…I personally think it was a wrong decision. He deserved to be there more than some of the other guys…Andrew is, of course, in now but they’re going to mess with him a little…He’s in and he says it’s for his son…

The top 24 presented to the tune of “Hallelujah.” Um what? Don’t they know that’s the song TV uses for bad things?...

So here’s the recap of our Top 24…

The Girls
Didi Bonami
Katelyn Epperly
Janell Wheeler
Lacey Brown
Ashley Rodriguez
Crystal Bowersox
Katie Stevens
Lilly Scott
Paige Miles
Siobhan Magnus
Michelle Delamor
Haeley Vaughn

The Guys
Michael Lynche
Casey James
Aaron Kelly
Lee Dewyze
Todrick Hall
Tyler Grady
Alex Lambert
Joe Munoz
Jermaine Sellers
John Park
Tim Urban
Andrew Garcia

I’ll have final thoughts in a moment…

Hollywood Round 4: The Final Girl Is...

Two girls left. Tori Kelly and Haeley Vaughn…Haeley…Simon says at times she can be a little annoying…“I’m Yours”…He says that she’s super talented but she picks a year with a lot of great girls…Tori…“Hot ‘N Cold”…Tori is out…Haeley is in…I thought so, but they made it pretty dramatic…

Ok. I apparently missed someone. Ryan says there’s only one guy spot left. And it’s either Andrew or Thaddeus. That’s just wrong…

We’ll find out. After the break…

Hollywood Round 4: More Spots Get Filled

Lilly Scott…That Ella Fitzgerald song…She had troubles with the band during rehearsal…“Rich Girl”…I thought it was ok, not great. I just like that people ripped out Hall and Oates songs…I think she should make it, but who knows now…Kara’s smiling too much for it to be bad news…She’s in…Kara really sucks at these fakeouts…

Paige Miles is in…Who?...Simon says she’s better than she even knows. So why haven’t we heard her?...

Siobhan Magnus is in…

Michelle Delamor is in…

Jermaine Sellers is in…Guess throwing the band under the bus didn’t hurt him…

John Park is in…

One girl and two guys to go. One of those guys had better be Andrew Garcia. And I have to believe the girl is Haeley Vaughn…

We’ll find out. After the break…

Hollywood Round 4: Our First Real Shocker

Katie Stevens…Recap of backstory with Alzheimer’s stricken grandmother…“For Once in My Life”…I can’t imagine her not making it…She’s in…Simon asks about her grandma. That was sweet…

Quick shots of people who didn’t make it without names…I did recognize the leader of Destiny’s Wild, Jacob Liewer, though…

Angela Martin…her third attempt…I just can’t imagine the show without her… “?”…“I’m Goin’ Down”…Recaps all of her problems: Dad dying, sick child, and going to jail. But she doesn’t mention anything about the reports of her mom being missing…She starts crying before she gets to the stage…Kara comes and sits next to her…She’s not in…WHAT?!...Kara and Randy encourage her to keep going…They put Katelyn through and not her? What?...Was this the shocker the promos promised?...Sorry. Just don’t get that one…

More after the break…

Hollywood Round 4: My Fave Girl Makes It!

Lacey Brown…Made Top 50 last year but lost in sing off with Megan Joy. Simon asks if it was the wrong decision and she says it wasn’t and that she needed the extra year…Simon says the girls are tougher this year…She’s in…“What a Wonderful World,” her Hollywood performance, plays as we see…

Ashley Rodriguez is in…

Alex Lambert is in…

Joe Munoz is in…

Wow! Lacey’s performance was good…

Crystal Bowersox…“(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”…She didn’t know how many people actually watch “Idol”…Unanimous decision…She’s in…I would hope. I really like her…Randy dubs her Mama Sox…I like that…

I count 4 guy slots and 6 girl slots left…And we’ve still got Angela Martin, Haeley Vaughn, Andrew Garcia, Lilly Scott, and Katie Stevens to go…After the break…

Hollywood Round 4: My Guy Makes It!

Tonight we learn the identity of the 7 remaining guys and 10 remaining girls that will make up our Top 24…

Let’s get crackin’…

37 contestants are still waiting…

Janell Wheeler…”House of the Rising Sun”…“American Boy”…“Love Story”…Did Ryan just say “chagrined”? Sorry I’ve never heard him use that word…I think she’s in…She’s in…Ellen’s good at this fakeout stuff…

Tyler Grady…My guy…“Let’s Get It On”…“Home”…I’m really not sure since those were the first notes we heard from him since his audition. I’d like to hear more but I don’t know if the judges agree…He’s in…Yea!...I’m looking forward to actually hearing him…

That tease had better be faking us out about Crystal Bowersox or you’ll hear me—and Slezak—screaming in your homes…

Six guys and Nine girls to go. More after the break…

“Idol Gives Back” To Haiti

FOX announced today that the “Idol Gives Back” movement will begin during next week’s results show as Kris Allen takes the stage…

Kris will perform and also show footage of his trip to Haiti with the United Nations Foundation. During the show, viewers will be asked to donate to the Idol Gives Back Foundation to support the efforts in Haiti.

The first results show of the season airs Thursday, February 25th at 8 p.m...

FOX also announced that this year’s “Idol Gives Back” will air during the Top 7 results show Wednesday, April 21st from 8-10 p.m. The event will benefit the Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and the United Nations Foundation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hollywood Round 4: Final Thoughts

So here again are the people we saw get into the Top 24 tonight:

Michael “Big Mike” Lynche
Casey James
Aaron Kelly
Lee Dewyze
Todrick Hall
Didi Benami
Katelyn Epperly

I think this is a great start to the Top 24, but I don’t think it will be complete without Andrew Garcia, Crystal Bowersox, Lilly Scott, and Tyler Grady.

However, I must warn you that after last year’s Joanna Pacitti incident, I don’t consider anything official until I get the official press release from FOX. So I’ll be sure to let you know when I do…

So what do you guys think? Do you agree with the decisions the judges have made thus far? Did you lose your favorite tonight? Be sure to post a comment and let us know…

Remember that tomorrow’s episode starts at 9 p.m. after an all-new “Human Target” (which I highly recommend by the way) on FOX…

Hollywood Round 4: One More Guy Gets In...

Todrick Hall…Sang the original song about “Idol” for his audition…Was with Fantasia in “The Color Purple”…I’m not even going to try to predict now…He’s in…With no stalling…

Jessica Furney…Was rejected in Hollywood last season…”If It Makes You Happy”…She was the only one who got the “Sweet Escape” verse right and she had to fight the judges for the right to sing it…She’s out…She begs the judges…Randy and Simon look unfeeling, but Ellen looks devastated…Simon tells her it’s not going to work…She asks what she did wrong and Simon tells her that she didn’t sing as well as the others…Ellen gives her a nice pep talk and Simon finally chases her off…She tells the camera that it was because she lost her voice on Group Day. I didn’t think she was all that great when she did have her voice to be honest…

17 more to be revealed tomorrow…Uh-oh. My guy Tyler looked disappointed. Of course, I’m not sure how I can keep calling him my guy when I haven’t heard him sing in forever…And Ryan says there will be a “shocking elimination.” Hmmm…

Final thoughts on this episode in a minute…

Hollywood Round 4: Three More Guys Are In...

Casey James…Shirt off in audition…“Dr. ?”…Ellen comments to Kara that his hair is down for her…He’s in…With one of the lamest reveals ever…Sheesh Kara…Randy teases Kara that her foot popped up when Casey hugged her…I really like him…

Aaron Kelly…“You Are So Beautiful”…Forgot words during “Get Ready” on Group Day (as we saw him do during his final performance)…I’m thinking he’s going home…He’s in…What? I’m surprised with that one…I think he’s good, I just didn’t think the judges would let him through…I guess it gives Randy one more person to say “Wow! Just 16!” about…

Lee Dewyze…”You Found Me”…I think he’s going home…Kara says they saw a lack of confidence…Lee disagrees…Kara says they didn’t agree until about five minutes ago…He’s in…They’re really surprising me now…

So who are they cutting?

Four guys, two girls are in…

More after the break…

Hollywood Round 4: Two More In...

Next up…Didi Benami…“Terrified”…“Angel”…Simon says she wasn’t one of the most consistent ones. Huh?...Didi’s in…It’s unanimous…She tells Kara that her song was awesome and Kara says “You did me proud”…

Katelyn Epperly…Her backstory was that her dad had just left her mom…“Something to Talk About”…”Bubbly”…Ellen has a lot of fun with it…She’s in…

Shelby Dressel…“More Than a Feeling”…Not sure about her…She’s out…Randy encouraged her to come back…I think that was a good call…Simon said, “That’s the wrong decision.” So I’m guessing it wasn’t unanimous…

That’s two girls and one guy. Remember we get 12 of each…

More after the break…

Hollywood Round 4: The First Person In the Top 24 Is...

46 are left. Ryan makes it sound like it’s the next day, but I’m not sure that’s true. It usually isn’t…

Contestants are in the holding room and will take the long walk through the theater to the stage and the judges…

Ryan points out the new Vitamin Water cups. So does that mean no Coke this year?...

Up first…Michael “Big Mike” Lynche…“Waiting on the World to Change”…“I’m Yours”…Simon says he’s a really nice guy and he improved over the week but he didn’t know if Michael believed he could win…He’s in…It’s unanimous…He picks up all of the judges but Randy…Ellen says her “back’s not so good” now…

WOW! They are so going to milk the crap out of this, aren’t they? Even worse than usual…

Hollywood Round 3: And the Room Going Home Is...

The other rooms hear the screams from Room One…The judges enter Room Two…Simon starts out somewhat cheery…He says most of you have been better than we thought you would be…They’re going home…Simon makes them clap for themselves…Goodbye to Mary Powers…Charity Vance…Brian Walker…Christian Spear…Lloyd Thomas…Hope Johnson...

Judges to Room Three…Randy gets to start…He says talent is the best they’ve ever had…They’re of course through…Janell Wheeler…Ashley Rodriguez…John Park…Shelby Dressell…and some others I missed…The rooms celebrate together…

46 are now left…Yea! “The Green Mile” episode lives on! Only instead of elevators or gardens, the walk is through the Kodak Theater…

And it starts…After the break…

Hollywood Round 3: One Room Gets Good News

Room #1:
Tori Kelly, “Hot ‘N Cold”
Lilly Scott, “She’s Gone,” NICE!!!
Andrew Garcia, ?, but it was good…

The judges enter…Ellen gets to deliver the news…They’re through…Of course…

Lilly Scott, Siobhan Magnus, Thaddeus Johnson, Michael Lynche, Katie Stevens, Tyler Grady through…I have a feeling those are names we’ll be hearing again later…

I hope at some point we get to hear my guy Tyler sing again…

Which room is going home? We’ll find out. After the break…

I have to say at this point I have no idea what’s going to happen in this second hour. I’m guessing we’ll meet 12 of the Top 24 and relive their journeys, but I have absolutely no idea…

And I hate that…

Hollywood Round 3: Inside Room #3

Now to Room 3…

Didi Benami, Lee, Angela Davis and Shelby Dressel…

Shelby Dressel has a complete breakdown over trying to remember the lyrics of “More Than a Feeling.” It was so-so…

Aaron Kelly forgot the lyrics to his song, “Angel,” but he eventually recovered…

Ashley Rodriguez did “Battlefield.” It was decent. Ellen liked it…

Lee Dewyze did a pretty good version of “You Found Me”…

Joe Munoz, “Man In the Mirror”…

Haeley Vaughn, “I’m Yours,” with her guitar

Janell Wheeler, who overcame voice troubles to do “Love Story.” Kara said “wrong song” and Simon agreed—as do I. Janell told the camera she blew it and couldn’t take the pressure. But I think Haeley was so strong that Room 3 has to be going through…

The judges announce their decisions to the rooms and one of them is going home…After the break…

Hollywood Round 3: Inside Room #2

Now to Room 2…

Charity Vance who did a somewhat weak version of “Defying Gravity”
Tasha Layton, whose final song we didn’t see…
An overconfident Mary Powers who told Ryan her song “Hot ‘N Cold” was “cake,” but I thought her performance was blah. Simon told Ellen he thought she was “interesting because she’s older…
Lloyd Thomas, whose version of “Man In the Mirror” was not as good as Thaddeus. Simon said “I just like him”…
Brian Walker, the singing police officer, finally surfaced but we didn’t hear his final song. However, he thought Simon liked it, but I’m not so sure…
Tisha Holland and Jermaine Purifoy…
Hope Johnson, who did a shouting rendition of “Home” that Kara clearly didn’t like…

I think Room 2 is going home…

Hollywood Round 3: Inside Room #1

So tonight it looks like we’re going to see some of the same and a few things different, as it appears the “Green Mile” episode has been eliminated this season. BOO HISS!

So now that we’re in the part of the show that I know how it works, I figured I’d go ahead and start blogging…

71 people remained at the beginning of the final individual performances. The contestants are backed by the band, but they receive no feedback from the judges.

We get our first glimpse of the three holding rooms…

Among the contestants in Room 1: Casey, Tyler (my guy) and Todrick. In Room 2: Kia, Mary, Hope and Christian. In Room 3: Shelby, Haeley, Maddy, Jessica and Angela…

Fade to Angela’s final performance of “American Boy.” I was beginning to wonder where she’d been since we hadn’t seen her. She alludes to “what she’s going through.” You may have heard that her mother is missing…

Fade to Casey and his groupmate Jermaine P. Jermaine did “Brickhouse” and Casey did “Bubbly.” Casey is in Room 1, while Jermaine is in Room 2.

After a VERY dramatic intro, we meet more of the contestants in Room 1:

Andrew Garcia and Katie Stephens…
Jermaine Sellers who did a good version of “Man In the Mirror” and then threw the band under the bus…
Sibohan ________ who did “Livin’ for the City”…
Buckeye Crystal Bowersox who played both the guitar and harmonica on “If It Makes You Happy”…
Alex Lambert, Michael “Big Mike” Lynche and Todrick Hall all did completely different versions of “I’m Yours”…
Thaddeus Johnson who did “Man in the Mirror” after the band finally got his song straight. He did a great version much to the delight of his mom…

I think it’s pretty clear that Room 1 is going through with probably several of them making the Top 24…

Why "Idol" Made a Programming Change

When FOX announced its “American Idol” schedule, tonight’s Hollywood episode was only scheduled to be one hour. And now not only is it two hours, but it will also reveal some of the top 24—an “Idol” first. Normally that announcement is reserved for the always dramatic “Green Mile” episode where the contestants take the long walk/elevator ride to the judges.

So why the change? Three reasons: 1) It’s February sweeps 2) The Olympics are on 3) Tonight’s episode of “Lost” centers on Locke. In other words, it’s one competitive night and FOX is pulling out all of the stops.

Since I have no idea what’s going to happen tonight, I have no idea how to bring it to you. I guess I’ll just see how it goes.

But whatever I do I’ll have to do it quickly because I’ll have an episode of “Lost” to watch. It’s bound to be a doozy…

Tonight's "Idol" begins at 8 p.m. on FOX...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Breaking News: “Idol” Makes a Change

During the Daytona 500, the “Idol” promos touted a two-hour event for tomorrow night. I was a little confused because that’s not something the show normally does during the last week of Hollywood shows.

Thankfully, the fine folks at FOX have just sent out a press release to clear things up…

From the press release:

“On Tuesday evening, the remaining contestants will take the stage to perform their final solo number in front of Simon, Ellen, Kara and Randy in hopes of singing their way into the Top 24. Following these performances, the judges will deliberate, and for the first time in IDOL history, will announce some of the Top 24 semifinalists.

Tune in Wednesday, Feb. 17 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) as the judges reveal the remaining contestants who will round out the Top 24.”

Whether this means the elimination of the “Green Mile” episode, I honestly have no idea. But I kind of hope not, because isn’t that long walk to the judges an “Idol” tradition?

“Idol” airs Tuesday, February 16th for two hours beginning at 8 p.m. on FOX…

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kat on "Community"

Katharine McPhee will guest on “Community” Thursday, March 4th…

I’ll have more on this later as Kat is scheduled to do a conference call with the media.

“Community” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC…


By the way, the Kara DioGuardi song "Terrified" that Didi Benami nailed during Hollywood Week is on Kat's latest CD, "Unbroken."

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Danny's Debut CD

Here’s a look at the cover of Danny Gokey’s debut CD, “My Best Days,” which is scheduled to hit stores March 2nd from RCA Nashville.

I’ll have more on this as we get closer to the release date…

Photo Credit: Sony Music Nashville

Idols Sing for Haiti

When “We Are the World 25 for Haiti” makes its debut during tomorrow night’s Olympics Opening Ceremony, you will see a few Idols in the group…

Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee and Randy Jackson all participated. Rickey Minor, the “Idol” music director, is a co-producer of the song.

After tomorrow night’s premiere, you can download the song and see behind-the-scenes footage at WORLD25.org. You can also download it from iTunes and watch the video on YouTube.

The Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies air tomorrow (Friday, February 12th) at 7:30 p.m. on NBC…

Kelly Defends "Idol"

There’s no doubt that Kelly Clarkson is not afraid to speak her mind. And I love her for it…

Thursday, the head of Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta, jumped to the defense of his star Taylor Swift after critics slammed her Grammy Awards duet with Stevie Nicks (Just for the record, I’ve long thought that Swift couldn’t sing live. This just confirmed it.).

He said, “This is not ‘American Idol.’ This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It's not about that technically perfect performance.”

That’s all Kelly needed…

On her official blog, Kelly wrote an open letter to Borchetta:


"Wow ... Dear Scott Borchetta, I understand defending your artist obviously
because I have done the same in the past for artists I like, including Taylor,
so you might see why it's upsetting to read you attacking 'American Idol' for
producing simply vocalists that hit 'the high notes' ...

You know what,
we not only hit the high notes, you forgot to mention we generally hit the
'right' notes as well. Every artist has a bad performance or two and that is
understandable, but throwing blame will not make the situation at hand any
better.

I have been criticised left and right for having shaky
performances before (and they were shaky) and what my manager or label
executives say to me and the public is 'I'll kick butt next time' or 'every
performance isn't going to be perfect.'

I bring this up because you
should take a lesson from these people and instead of lashing out at other
artists (that in your 'humble' opinion lack true artistry), you should simply
take a breath and realise that sometimes things won't go according to plan or
work out and that's okay.

Sincerely, One of those contestants from
'American Idol' who only made it because of her high notes.”
As I said. You’ve got to love her…
Photo Credit: Mike Ruiz/RCA

Carrie Scores at the Super Bowl

I’m a couple of days late with this, but better late than never, right?

How about that National Anthem from Carrie Underwood Sunday night? After she was done, I turned to my fiancé and said, “That’s how that should be done.” After years of people complaining about singers lipsynching to pre-recorded tracks, Carrie left no doubt she was singing.

Granted, she did miss that last note a little bit but you can forgive that because she was probably just so psyched to get through it she let her guard down a little.

If you missed it, you can hear it here. Personally I think it should be the standard against which all future Anthems should be measured…

Another Simon Replacement Rumor

Another day, another Simon Cowell replacement rumor…

The “New York Daily News” is reporting that Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary is in the running to replace Simon. Also mentioned as possibilities are Jamie Foxx and Tommy Mottola…

Meanwhile, Howard Stern said on his Sirius radio show Monday that FOX is considering him as a possible replacement. He reportedly said, “They’d have to pay me a ton of dough because I already make a ton of dough.”

Personally I think this whole thing is a negotiating ploy to get more money from Sirius XM. Or at least that’s what I hope…

FOX is not confirming any reports about who is in the running to replace Simon…

Carrie Hits "Sesame Street"...

Carrie Underwood voiced a character for “Sesame Street” named Carrie Underworm. You can see her singing “The Worm Anthem” here. And for you non-NASCAR fans, that’s Jeff Gordon introducing her…



The episode aired today. It will air again March 17, April 8, and April 26.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Group Day: Where Was the Drama?

Rah Rah Ah Ah Ah. Roma Roma Ma…

As if I wasn’t obsessed with that song already. Thanks “Idol”…

How cool was it that the groups got to rip out some Lady Gaga. Of course, I think one group took it a little too seriously…

In fact, I’d say all the groups took things a little too seriously. Where was all my beloved Group Day drama? Where were the catfights and the power struggles? Instead we just got lots of singing. And what fun is that?

I’m kidding. Sort of…

For those of you who missed it and don’t remember, the contestants must break into groups of their choosing and then choose a song to sing. This all happens after day two ends, which this season was 11 p.m.—which means most contestants rehearse all night…

After some small dramas involving two groups singing the same song (the aforementioned “Bad Romance”) and a slight power struggle in one group, we got right down to business with the 96 singers left after round one. I think in future seasons I’m going to have to start making flash cards from the audition rounds so I can better recognize the faces we see so quickly.

And there are some faces we still haven’t seen, but we’ve still got next week…

The first group up was Faith—Michelle Delamor, Charity Vance, and Ashley Rodriguez—doing “Irreplaceable.” Their good harmonies were rewarded with all of them advancing to the next round…

Team Awesome—Michael “Big Mike” Lynche (whose wife gave birth moments earlier), Seth Rollins (who has the autistic son), Tim Urban and Michael Castro (Jason’s brother)—did “Get Ready.” After our first “after the break” of the season, the judges revealed that only Big Mike and Tim were through…

Neapolitan—Liz Rooney, Thaddeus Johnson, Jessica Cunningham and an unnamed fourth—were one of the competing Lady Gaga groups. They all went through. Destiny’s Wild—the other who accused Neapolitan of going a cappella because they decided to first—gave a performance Ellen called “weird.” But Todrick Hall, Theri, Jareb Liewer and Siobhan Mangus were all through, which shocked me since Theri sounded so bad…

In fact, we saw a lot of people go through, but we didn’t hear them all sing…

The Mighty Rangers—Tori Kelly, Maddie Penrose, Mark Labriola, Kimberly Kerbow and Danny Jones—had some lyric problems with “Closer.” Tori and Maddie, the only ones to remember all the words, went through while the others went home—despite Mark’s pleas to the judges…

Phoenix—Jermaine Sellers, Ben Honeycutt, Jeff Goldford, Moorea Mesa and Cat (?)—had some pretty big problems throughout the night. Especially when vocal coach Debra Byrd told them they didn’t know what they were doing. But those problems got worse when Cat suddenly decided to quit because she didn’t want to humiliate herself (Uh, too late sweetheart.). Ellen tried to stick up for them, but there was just no saving their version of “Carry On My Wayward Son.” Only Jeff and Jermaine went through…

The toughest song for everyone to sing on Group Day was Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape” with its difficult lyrics on the bridge. Which begs the question. Why even pick that one? Sheesh…

Big Dreams with Matt Lawrence (who had been in jail) and Amanda Shectman (the actress who begged Simon for her spot) was one of those groups that miserably failed with “Escape.” None of them advanced…

Also out were Lea Lorente, Carmen Turner, Kimberly Carver and Dave Pittman (who I think was the contestant with Tourette’s Syndrome)…

Loved the Brooke White music for the montage…

Middle C—Janell Wheeler, Jermaine Purifoy and Casey James—all went through with “Closer”…

Three Men and a Baby—Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, and J.B. Ahfua—nailed “No One” to all advance…

Dreamers—Mary Powers, Hope Johnson, Margo May, Alex Lambert and Erin (?)—provided the most drama on Group Day as the others struggled to deal with Mary taking charge—including “Idol” pianist and arranger Michael Orland (Bad move, Mary.). They butchered their song, but Mary, Hope and Alex managed to make it through…

All in all 71 advanced to the next round…

We then got a list of some familiar faces that advanced, but unfortunately I don’t write that fast and I didn’t have the good sense to hit record in time. But I did catch that my guy Tyler Grady is still in it…

Last night I said I’d be keeping my eye on Tyler, Andrew, Lilly, Didi and Crystal. Tyler and Andrew we know got through and I think I saw Lilly and Crystal advance, but I’m not sure about Didi. If anyone did see what happened to them, let me know…

And now I’m adding Casey to that list to watch…

Next week we get the final performances before the judges make their decisions, which is of course accompanied by the waiting in the separate rooms. And then next Wednesday, we finally learn the identities of the Top 24 in the episode affectionately dubbed “The Green Mile episode”…

And I have to say that thus far, I feel good about Ellen DeGeneres on the panel. Granted, she hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to talk, but when she does it’s good stuff. It’s clear she’s taking her responsibility seriously. And I for one appreciate that…

What do you guys think? Do you have favorites you’re rooting for to make it through to next week? Feel free to leave a comment and start the discussion…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hooray for Hollywood!

If you read my column in the H-D today, or you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I love Hollywood Week. Now is the time when I finally get excited about the season.

And tonight’s episode did not disappoint. I think it might have been one of the best Hollywood Week episodes ever. The show really is following through on its promise to help us get to know the contestants better.

That having been said, it would be nice if the show would provide some graphics to remind us who some of the faces we saw tonight were. I’m afraid my memory’s just not good enough to remember…

Before we dive into what happened on tonight’s episode, let’s get right to the big question. How did Ellen do? So far, so good. I liked it when she sat right down and told Simon, “I come on, you leave.” At one point she had fun teasing the contestants about who should step up and step back. Several times she got downright blunt and once we heard her say that someone would “get annoying.” Would’ve loved to have known who she was talking about then.

Now to tonight’s action…

First we saw Katie Stevens, who we met along with her Alzheimer’s stricken grandmother. She gave a way too effortless performance of “For Once In My Life.” Then it was Skiiboski with “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Katie went through, but Skiiboski did not…

Andrew Garcia did a BRILLIANT rendition of “Straight Up” that I really wish Paula had been there to see. But Kara almost ruined it by saying that he reminded her of how Adam “flipped” songs. Um, Kara, Adam didn’t do any original flips. That was Kris. Andrew went through…

Vanessa Wolfe got to eat peanuts on an aeroplane, but she choked in Hollywood with her version of “No Rain” and didn’t go through.

Tasha, the pastor, did get through…

Pants splitter Cornelius Edwards proved that every year there’s a novelty act that had no business going through. Maegan Wright, whose little brother helped her get through, was also out as was Italian family man Amedeo DiRocco. Also out was Bosso who was from Ohio who butchered a song at the keyboard…

Janell Wheeler did a good version of “American Boy” with her guitar and made it to the next round…

Haeley Vaughn brought out her guitar for her song (something about Hallelujah and Revolution). Mary Powers, whose daughter loved Simon, went gutsy with “Sober” (a Kara co-write). Both of them went through.

Also through were Todrick Hall, Charity Vance and Ashley Rodriguez…

Day two began with Simon’s dreaded “Don’t forget the words” speech. I was sure that would mean someone would forget them, but it didn’t happen—at least that we saw…

It was clear that beat boxer Jay Stone—who I really liked—was not taking this thing seriously as he did a ridiculous version of “If I Ever Fall In Love Again,” or at least that’s what I think that was. He was out…

Lilly Scott did a scorching rendition of the Ella Fitzgerald song, “Lullaby of Birdland.” She went through easily…

Michael Lynche, aka Big Mike, managed to overcome the distraction of his wife being in labor to do a great rendition of “Waiting On the World to Change” to get him through…

Tim Urban missed quite a few notes of “Come Back to Me” and he knew it, but he still got through because he has a good voice. And apparently Kara was listening to a different song because she said the chorus was shaky and the rest was good (It was actually the other way around.). Justin Williams, the cancer survivor, did a somewhat strange song I didn’t recognize. Clearly it was the wrong choice because he didn’t get through…

Also not getting through were Paige, Erica Rhodes and sisters Amanda and Bernadette…

Next up was Maddy Curtis, whose brothers have Down’s Syndrome. I didn’t recognize her song, but it was clear from the beginning it wasn’t the right choice. A little too old fashioned I think. She didn’t make it…

Casey James, who took his shirt off for Kara and Victoria at his audition, brought out his guitar and did a scorching rendition of a blues number. He got in easily…

Didi Benami, who couldn’t contain her emotions at her audition, managed to hold it in and do an appropriate Kara song called “Terrified.” It was a great performance and a really good song. I’ve always said Kara can write. She just can’t judge. Didi went through…

Crystal Bowersox from Elliston, Ohio, absolutely nailed “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.” She was in as well…

In total, 96 went through to the next round, including—I think—my guy Tyler. I think that was him doing all that cursing at the end of the episode…

Tomorrow night it’s GROUP DAY!!! WOO-HOO! And you guys know how much I love that…

And during Group Day I’ll be watching for Tyler, Andrew, Lilly, Didi and Crystal. Because even the best singers can be brought down by all of the drama.

And that’s why I love it…

Remember that tomorrow’s episode airs at 9 p.m. on FOX…

And be sure to share your thoughts on the outstanding performers from Hollywood by posting a comment…

Friday, February 5, 2010

Howard Stern?!

Please let this be a crock. Please let this be a crock…

The “New York Post”s notorious “Page Six” reported today that FOX’s number one choice to replace Simon Cowell next season is…

Howard Stern?!

The item quotes an “insider” as saying, “They know he would be great TV and would clash with the other judges such as Ellen DeGeneres and the contestants. ‘Idol’ will do what it takes to sign him.”

Another source tells the paper that the “Idol” talk is a negotiating ploy by Stern to get what he wants from Sirius XM Radio.

FOX declined to comment to the “Post.”FOX reality guru Mike Darnell has done a lot of crazy things, but this would be the craziest and no doubt the final nail in the “Idol” coffin. I mean, Howard Stern on the biggest family show on the planet?

Let’s hope it’s not true…

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Your First Look at Kimberly's New CD

Here’s your first look at the cover of Kimberly Caldwell’s new CD, “Without Regret.”

The CD is scheduled to hit stores April 6th…

Photo Credit: Vanguard/Capitol

Carrie Gets Set to Hit the Big Screen

Carrie Underwood is adding movie star to her resume…

Sony Music announced today that Carrie has landed a supporting role in “Soul Surfer,” a film based on the story of Bethany Hamilton. Hamilton is the 19-year-old champion surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack at age 13.

Carrie will play Sarah Hill, a church youth leader. The movie stars AnnaSophia Robb as Hamilton, and Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid as her parents.

Filming begins later this month…

Photo Credit: Matthew Rolston/Sony Music Nashville

Randy Gets Sued

TMZ.com has reported that Randy Jackson and MTV have been sued by a man claiming that they stole his idea for “American’s Best Dance Crew.”

Dwight McGhee claims that he pitched a show to MTV back in 2004 called “International Breakerz League” that is “too similar to be a coincidence.”

McGhee is seeking $2 million in damages…
Photo Credit: MTV

Jordin Speaks Out for Haiti's Children

Jordin Sparks has recorded a PSA for SOS Children’s Villages, an organization that helps orphaned and abandoned children.

The PSA is to spotlight the organization’s efforts in Haiti.

You can see the PSA here.

Carrie Gets the Super Bowl Spotlight

Carrie Underwood will sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIV this Sunday.

This continues a hot streak for “Idol” singers and the NFL as Jordin Sparks sang the anthem at the AFC Championship Game and Kris Allen nailed it at the NFC Championship Game.

Carrie will sing right before kickoff, which is scheduled to be some time around 6 p.m. on CBS…
Photo Credit: Matthew Rolston/Sony Music Nashville

Could Carrie Be the "Mother"?

Here’s your first look at Carrie Underwood on “How I Met Your Mother”…

Carrie will play a love interest for Ted on the March 1st episode.

“How I Met Your Mother” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Richard Foreman/CBS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"The Road to Hollywood": Why Not Always Do It This Way?

As far as audition episodes go, tonight’s “The Road to Hollywood” clip show was pretty good. In fact, I think this is how all the audition episodes should go.

Instead of having one city per episode, why not just give us several clip shows like this one? I think that would be way more entertaining.

However there was a possibly bittersweet moment in tonight’s hour. If you’ve been reading the Internet, or magazines, or even my column in yesterday’s H-D, you know that there are reports a contestant was replaced in the top 24 because his dad broke the show’s confidentiality agreement. Because I hate spoilers I won’t tell you the contestant’s name, but I will tell you we saw him tonight. And if the reports are true, it will be sad because he was good…

Here are my thoughts on tonight’s episode…

Of course they had to start things off by addressing the “Pants On the Ground” phenomenon…

How smitten was Victoria with Simon when she found out he co-wrote Jessica’s audition song, “Footprints in the Sand” (which was on Leona Lewis’ debut album)? I still can’t believe Simon is that sappy…

Crystal (“Piece of My Heart”) is from Elliston, Ohio. I looked it up. It’s southeast of Toledo…

Lacey (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) sat next to Megan Joy during the “Green Mile” episode when they chose Megan. Boy did they make the wrong choice there…

I would absolutely add Thaddeus (“How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”) to my fave list…

What was up with Adrian’s (“Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”) super high voice? Love the nickname Blondezilla…

Michael, aka Big Mike, pulled the Simon’s favorite song card with “Unchained Melody,” but he nailed it…

I liked Didi (“Hey Jude”) even though I should be cautious of girls with strange tones to their voices…

Aaron (“The Climb”) is 16 going on 10. But it was a great song choice and I really liked him…

Was Kimberly (“I Kissed a Girl”) really not wearing underwear?...

I thought with the setup that Shaddaii (“Fallin’”) was going to be able to sing. I’m just glad they showed her so we could get another glimpse of NPH…

And Joe Jonas got one more chance to say something meaningful tonight, and he still didn’t. Sheesh…

All in all 181 people got golden tickets to…

HOLLYWOOD WEEK! WOO-HOO! And this season we get three full Hollywood episodes. I’m sure that’s because of Ellen, but I don’t care. I’m just so glad we’re getting them…

It all begins on Tuesday night. I’m finally starting to get excited, kids…

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Denver: The Mile High City Hits Some High Notes

We’re in the homestretch now, kids, which you know makes me very happy…

Here are my thoughts on Denver…

“Tempted” was a great choice for an audition song for Mark, but did we really need to know every little detail of his childhood, Simon?...

I’m sorry, but Mario (“Jailhouse Rock”) and his nervous laugh was actually funny…

Kimberly’s (“The Way I Am”) audition was weird and she wasn’t that good…

With Danelle’s (“I’m the Only One”) emotion, I can’t help but wonder if she’ll get chewed up and spit out in Hollywood…

I agree that Casey (?) looked better with his hair down, but I also agree that he was not that good. And I love that Simon said it was turning into “Project Runway”…

So Simon trashed Tori’s singing (“Gravity”)—which I thought was good with a bold choice of song—and then kissed up to her daughter, Hope? You gotta love him…

Austin (“Bigger Than My Body”) said that his teammates got mad at him for not doing much since he’s the long snapper. But I bet they get even madder at him when he screws up. That’s kind of an important gig…

There should have been nothing funny about Kenny’s (“Be Without You”) audition, yet somehow I laughed. I especially laughed when Victoria tried to find something positive…

Nice use of Katharine McPhee’s “Had It All.” That song grows on you…

Nicci (“Something Kind of Ooh…”) is the perfect example of someone who will get chewed up and spit out in Hollywood…

Especially since FOX confirmed by press release today that there will indeed be a Group Day…WOO-HOO!!!...

And please tell me that the producers put Ty (“Achy Breaky Heart”) up to that “Bikini Boy” crap…

All in all, Denver sent 26 through to Hollywood. If I had to pick a fave, I would go with Mark, if only for his choice of “Tempted”…

Tomorrow night, we see the best of the rest on “The Road to Hollywood.” Remember that it airs at 9 p.m. on FOX…