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Archive for December, 2010

Crystal Bowersox has a decent 2nd week in sales

crystal-bowersox-farmers-daughterCrystal Bowersox, in the week covering the days leading up to Christmas, drew another 37,710 in sales on top of the 58,000 plus week one. That’s 95,566 so far after two weeks, not bad considering she is getting no real radio airplay for “Farmer’s Daughter.”

Mediabase reports five stations playing her song (four Hot AC, one Triple A) for a total of 46 spins the past week.

Crystal’s song could fit on country radio though country is already playing a song called  “Farmer’s Daughter. ” Problem: it’s by Rodney Atkins.

- Joe’s Place has now leaked half the top 40 and Joe’s Place is usually pretty accurate. I’m personally not into such spoilers so early on but feel free to partake if you like. I glanced through and there doesn’t appear to be anybody from Georgia who has been listed there. (Three Georgia people are listed among those who made it at least to Hollywood.) Ultimately, I may do some preliminary research on anybody with local ties, of course. Joe’s Place is also unsure how …

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Japanese love Elliott Yamin; Simon, Ellen made boatloads of cash in 2010

215320135Elliott Yamin is now arguably more popular in Japan, which has embraced many an American act. He has an album coming out only in there February. Good luck, Eliott!

He will be spending next month promoting it in Japan.

- The 20 highest earning celebrities of 2010? Forbes said two of them are former “Idol” judges: Ellen DeGeneres at $55 million (No. 17) and Simon Cowell at $80 million (No.11)

- Happy birthday, David Achuleta! He’s  20 years old and no longer a teenager, though he probably will pass for one for at least another six years. (Please don’t grow a goatee!)

- Entertainment Weekly posted the top 20 “Idol” performances of all time. It’s a good list. Fantasia’s classic “Summertime” tops the list. Enjoy!

I’d have to review a LOT of “Idol” performances to come up with my own top 20. It’d take a loooong time. Kudos for them for trying!

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Idol offers media promotional clips of auditions

alg_resize_american-idol-judgesFor the first time at least since season two, “Idol” has given the media a 23-minute “select auditions” advance screener featuring some of the people who tried out for season 10.

The purpose: show that life after Simon Cowell isn’t so bad, that there is what the PR folks term “incredible chemistry” among Steven Tyler,  Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.

I’m going to hold judgment on the “incredible” part but based on the very select, edited clips, it’s not bad chemistry. Tyler actually holds up better than I expected, providing random humor and plenty of verve, sometimes singing along or accompanying good singers. (”Idol” only provided clips of two bad singers and nobody said anything remotely Cowell-like to them.)

Jackson is now the default leader as elder statesman. Lopez is chipper and sweet but grounded. The audition room is more streamlined with the behind-the-scenes staff no longer shown the way they were last year. The nine past winners are all featured on the walls …

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Back from vacation: catching up with the news

broadwayI followed our new policy and did not blog a single time while on vacation!

But all good things must come to an end. I hope you enjoyed my advance items and your Christmas. I don’t think I missed too much. Here’s a quick summary of what happened while I was gone:

- Constantine Maroulis has become a daddy!

“Sometimes Christmas comes early and we’re so lucky to get the greatest gift a few days early,” Maroulis tells PEOPLE. “Angel and I are thrilled to welcome our perfect baby girl into the world today. Mom and baby are healthy and I couldn’t be more excited to ring in 2011 this way.”

- Carrie Underwood’s “Mama’s Song” moved up to No. 3 while I was gone. Has it peaked? Maybe. But it has done better than I expected and is not a “radio failure” by any stretch of the imagination.

Crystal Bowersox sold 58,000 copies of “Farmer’s Daughter” her first week, better than Lee DeWyze. The runner up has outsold the winner the first week only twice: Clay Aiken and Adam …

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My favorite personal ‘Idol’ moments of 2010

I’m on vacation this week so these are pre-written items so you guys can talk amongst yourselves.

I saw several “Idol” alums live this year, plus the usual “Idols Live” tour. And I interviewed several of them by phone and face to face. Here are my top 10 most notable “Idol” moments with links to the original blog entries:

Carrie-on-truck- Carrie Underwood live was probably the highlight of my year. She really blew me away in late October at the Gwinnett Arena, proving to all of us why she won season four and has been such a success since then. She even made a trip on a pickup truck elevated above the crowd work.

- Adam Lambert live. He also proved to me why he’s so popular, selling out mid-sized arenas world wide.  In September, at the decidedly un-rock-like venue of the Atlanta Symphony Hall, he gave the incredibly enthusiastic crowd a solid 70-minute theatrical performance, sounding smooth and commanding the stage with panache.

- I caused Anoop Desai a few problems in October. He was in …

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Biggest ‘Idol’ stories of 2010

simon-cowellI’m on vacation this week so I’m posting evergreen items for you to ponder.

Here are my top 10 biggest “Idol” stories of this past year. I did this off the top of my head so I may have missed something so feel free to add your own:

1. Simon Cowell leaving. No duh! He was the key to the success of the show when it launched in 2002. He didn’t mince words, shocked the public and the contestants with his honesty and turned smugness into a lucrative $35 million a year contract. His departure is huge – and not in a good way for “Idol.” Lurking in the fall of 2011: his “X Factor,” U.S. edition. And NBC is even considering a rival in the form of “Voice of America.”

2. Ellen DeGeneres/ Kara DioGuardi out. After one season, Ellen DeGeneres left, never feeling comfortable playing judge and jury. Kara DioGuardi was cut, too. She had her moments as a judge (Casey James’ obsession notwithstanding), but the powers that be obviously were seeking someone bigger.

3. Jennifer Lopez/ Steven Tyler …

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Back again: my picks for most successful ‘Idol’ contestants of all time, 2010 edition


I’m on vacation so here  are some evergreen items for you to peruse. I may actually repeat this one later (and add more details, too) when more people are reading the blog. I kind of ran out of time to provide commentary for all 25.

A year ago, I posted my 25 most successful “Idol” contestants of all time.  This is as good a time as any to do this again. I based my rankings on an unholy mix of subjective feelings and actual accomplishments in venues such as music sales, acting and Broadway. While I try to look at overall post-”Idol” accomplishments, I am giving weight to more recent efforts. (Sorry, Josh Gracin!)

I am going to limit myself to the finalists from the first nine seasons, all 107 of them. I also realized only now that last year, I actually made a top 26 because I accidentally ranked both David Cook and Kellie Pickler at 8. Not surprisingly, season five (”Idol’s” most popular season) is most represented with seven finalists. No other season has more than three. …

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Rewarding longevity

I’m on vacation this week so I’m posting items in advance so you guys have a place to continue the conversation. Obviously, MJ is always the best place to go for breaking news.

The biggest changes in “American Idol” history are going to be implemented in a month’s time.

simoncowellWhy? Simon Cowell’s gone. Last season was a dud. Ratings are down. The winner? Who was that again? So we have new judges, no more semifinals, changes in the Hollywood rounds, and younger kids allowed to compete, just to name a few.

But for reality TV, “Idol” is hardly alone in its longevity.  It has many peers that show no signs of going away. Here are veterans of note:

Which of these non-”Idol” shows do you like the most?

  • Real World
  • Survivor
  • The Amazing Race
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Project Runway

View Results

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- MTV’s “Real World,” (1992-present) after 18 years, is producing its 25th incarnation. It’s considered the original reality show that we …

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Jennifer Hudson, David Archuleta, Katharine McPhee all have New Year’s TV gigs

jennifer hudson weight watchers 2New Year’s Eve is a great pay day for any musical artist with even the slimmest of resumes. (For instance, in Atlanta, we get the likes of Soul Asylum and Coolio at the Hyatt Regency downtown, partying like it’s 1995.)

Jennifer Hudson is joining the biggest show on ABC, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest.” She joins Drake, Train, Mike Posner, Far East Movement, Atlanta’s Ne-Yo, La Roux, Natasha Bedingfield, Avril Lavigne and Willow Smith.

David Archuleta will be on “New Year’s Eve Live” on Fox while Katharine McPhee joins  Fox News for its “All American New Year.”

MJ has a sampling of others who won’t be televised, such as Matt Giraud at a casino in Battle Creek, Michigan and Melinda Doolittle, David Hernandez and Michael Johns at Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. I scanned a list of Las Vegas New Year’s sites and came across (of all people!) Jasmine Trias, who came in third season three behind Fantasia and Diana DeGarmo, performing at the Cannery. She’ll be …

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‘Idol’ judges talk to press in Vegas; reviews of Crystal Bowersox’s ‘Farmer’s Daughter’


To drum up more publicity, the “Idol” judges and Ryan Seacrest gabbed briefly with the press in Las Vegas at the Mirage, revealing nothing we already know apparently. And lots of spin.

Yes, there are 60 contestants set to perform this week using Beatles songs heard at Cirque du Soleil’s “Love.” Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine and top-notch producers are there to coach the newbies on the ways of the music business. Of those 60, 20 will be cut and we’ll have 40 ultimately to choose from.

Jennifer Lopez said there was deeper female talent. (No clue if they will force a 50/50 split male-female among the 40 or not.)

I have this sneaking suspicion we’re going to miss Simon Cowell even more than we expect.

- Reviews for Crystal Bowersox’s ‘Farmer’s Daughter,”out yesterday, were a mixed bag.

Here’s a more positive one:

“When the production and the outside songwriters stay out of her way, Bowersox expertly works the territory between folk and country. Though typecast as a Janis …

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