This is the story I wrote for the print edition today:
“American Idol” has been the master of the TV universe for several years. That grip is finally slipping.
And it’s not some hotshot new show stealing its thunder. Instead, it’s ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” around since 2005.
For the first time, “Dancing” has beaten “Idol” several times this spring in overall ratings, once an unthinkable feat for any rival of Fox’s vaunted juggernaut.
As both shows conclude their seasons this week, each has lately been hovering in the 19 to 20 million viewer range, with “Idol” episodes down 15 to 30 percent from a year ago. Voting on “Idol” has dropped so much, host Ryan Seacrest sometimes hasn’t even bothered to announce vote totals. Last week’s 47 million was 47% fewer than the top 3 show in 2009.
“Dancing” found its footing thanks to powerhouse casting this spring, most notably reality star Kate Gosselin and actress Pam Anderson. The show in February had its biggest debut
Paula Abdul has been dancing around offers, ranging from “Dancing With the Stars” to “So You Think You Can Dance” to Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” to a possible revival of “Star Search.”
She has finally found a new job: Live Feed has broken the story that she is joining “Got To Dance,” a U.K. import like “American Idol.”
The show is an all-ages dance competition (unlike “So You Think You Can Dance”) and encompasses a broad range of dancing. According to the Live Feed report, Abdul will be lead judge, executive producer, creative partner, mentor and coach. Wow! It sounds like she’ll be doing almost everything!
It will likely air mid season and might compete directly against “Idol.”
CBS has never had a hit dance show. NBC features dance on “America’s Got Talent” while ABC and Fox both have hit dance-heavy shows.
She is also set to appear on the “Idol” finale Wednesday, according to ew.com, and wish Simon a fond
Casey James in a press conference today (which I skipped) did admit he has no clue about business. So he wasn’t offended when Kara said he should focus on women and young girls as his target audience. (More here at MJs blog.)
I know nothing of demographics and my marketing skills are obviously poor, or I wouldn’t have been doing the same bar gigs for 11 years (laughs) so, I definitely don’t take offense to it.
That’s going to really help him out in the real world, eh?
He also effused about Harry Connick Jr.:
Harry Connick Jr. was amazing. All the mentors were really great. But, when somebody takes the time to do the music—he brought his band, he wrote the scores, he wrote the music and composed everything. He even came into iTunes and stopped by and made sure we were OK there. He put a lot of time in. And that, to me, said a lot about who he is as a person and a musician. The whole situation in general stands out to me and says, ‘This is special’.
He didn’t have a TV
Simon Cowell did a one-on-one over English tea in Los Angeles with Oprah a few days back. It aired today.
She asked him upfront why he’s leaving.
“You just know time’s up,” he said.
He said at first, he felt “Idol’ was “an adventure.” About two years ago, that buzz was long gone: “I was sitting in the auditions and I was thinking, this is as far as I can go.” He said he wanted to leave before he got fired.
Cowell said Paula Abdul’s departure has hurt the show. “She had her own reasons to do what she did,” he said, without stating them.
He feels whoever takes his place “has to know what they’re talking about,” as opposed to just having someone who is obnoxious. “I had a lot of controversy over the years given the way I am but that’s how I am in real life.” he said. He feels he can spot a potential star.
He knows there were times “I was sitting there bored and the audience doesn’t tune in to see me bored,” he said. “They deserve more
Casey James leaving
In a result that shocked nobody, Casey James came in third last night, setting up the expected Lee DeWyze – Crystal Bowersox showdown.
Apparently, Lee got the most votes last night. Where will Casey’s votes go next week?
While the early consensus is Crystal all the way, Lee has a broader, more commercial appeal. He could take it all the way like Kris Allen last year.
Casey certainly did better than I expected but the weak pool of contestants meant somebody had to finish third. He seldom was much better than a solid bar band singer to me. Only a couple of times (notably his John Lennon cover) did he transcend that. Otherwise, he is cute but not a memorable artist to me.
Here are the coveritlive poll results:
Who will win next week? Lee -89% Crystal: 11%
Q&A: Illuminating 23% Filler -77%
Ford Fiesta ad: A-18% B- 9%
Is Casey finally gone? That’s the general consensus. But general consensus is often wrong. So we’ll see…
Chicago resident and “American Idol” finalist Lee DeWyze does have a modest Atlanta tie. His mentor and former teacher Amy Coleman has a sister Lisa who splits time between Cumming and Decatur and he has visited a few times over the past eight years.
His last trip was notable a year ago when Lisa and Amy convinced him to do Monday night Open Mic Night at the famed Eddie’s Attic in Decatur. The Indigo Girls, Jennifer Nettles, John Mayer and Edwin McCain are among the artists who toiled there in their early days. The Colemans wanted to make it special so they even got him a limousine, which they took in from Buford:
“He was nervous getting up in Eddie’s Attic,” Lisa recalled, just like he always is on “Idol.”
Though Lee was in the final three on Open Mic night, he lost. I don’t know who beat him but naturally, the Colemans thought Lee wuz robbed! “It was jaw-dropping,” Lisa said, and not in a good way.
Both Colemans suggested he try out for “Idol.” Lisa said he was reluctant.
Who is going home?
Tonight basically set us up for a virtually guaranteed Lee DeWyze-Crystal Bowersox finale faceoff, something we’ve expected for weeks on end.
Casey James just didn’t bring it at all. He veered from predictable to dull despite the judges’ efforts to lift him up.
While I didn’t think Lee was that good, he certainly pushed himself to ensure a top 2 position. Crystal did, too.
My rankings: 1. Lee’s “Simple Man” 2. Crystal’s “Come To My Window” 3. Crystal’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” 4. Lee’s “Hallelujah” 5. Casey’s “It’s Alright With Me” 6. Casey’s “Daughters”
Up first: Casey James (his pick: “OK It’s Alright With Me- Eric Hutchinson) – Amiably pleasant, yet unmemorable. He didn’t exactly give us anything that wants us to take him to the final two, that’s for sure.
Randy: That song was alright with me. I wanted to hear something more from you. This is down to the wire. Do a safe,
Four more shows! Four more shows! Hallelujah! That’s what Simon is thinking, eh?