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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 in. So the producers opted for big names in hopes of making people forget Simon Cowell.  It’s too soon to say if a kinder, gentler judges’ panel will work but I’m skeptical of these additions. Then again, I can’t stand the mealy-mouthed “Sing-Off” judges’ panel, but I like the singing enough to stick around.

4. Lackluster ninth season. That’s right! We had an actual season of “American Idol” this year which featured, um, lots of people we have already forgotten. This was arguably the dullest top 12 in the history of the show and easily the weakest winner. Everybody seemed like a paler version of a better or more interesting previous “Idol” singer. Lee DeWyze was a weak facsimile of David Cook and Kris Allen. Katie Stevens, meet Kat McPhee. Tim UrbanSanjaya was far more fun. Michael LynchRuben already had your number. The only person with the most distinctive personality was Crystal Bowersox but her style is distinctly non-commercial in this day and age. And she didn’t really improve much over time and became somewhat predictable. Simon couldn’t have left at a better time.

Another excuse to post a picture of Carrie Underwood on this blog!  This is from her concert at Gwinnett Arena in October.

Another excuse to post a picture of Carrie Underwood on this blog! This is from her concert at Gwinnett Arena in October.

5. Carrie Underwood has an incredible year. A third, hugely successful album with “Play On.” A monstrously successful tour. A wedding of her dreams right here in Georgia. Yet more awards thrown at her, including a virtual sweep of the new American Country Awards. She definitely has earned a vacation!

6. Fantasia has a strange year. She began the year with a new reality show “Fantasia For Real,” to get herself back on the radar. It worked. The show did well and a second season was quickly commissioned and aired. It got out that she was dating a married man. She then tried to commit suicide. Oh, and she had a new album, too, that has generated a couple of hits. And she’s been touring to decent-sized crowds. So it’s definitely been a roller coaster year.

7. Nigel Lythgoe returns as a producer. Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. And that’s the case with Nigel, who left after season seven to focus on “So  You Think You Can Dance.” The show seemed to lose its bearing a bit without him. First, they began using four judges, which he would never accept. Then they started having trouble keeping the live show on time (the four judges didn’t help!).  And this past season, as we know, the entire show seemed less interesting and ratings dropped about eight percent. Would Nigel staying have made any difference? Who knows! Maybe he just needed time away to appreciate what he missed. He is now back and in control and making some serious changes, as we know. We’ll also know soon if he can keep “Idol” vibrant season 10.

8. Adam Lambert tours the world. Lambert may not have won “American Idol” in 2009 but who cares? He is now an established artist with hit singles and a big tour that is selling out in multiple countries. And he managed to keep himself out of negative controversy.

9. Ryan Seacrest starts dating! Yes, Ryan created a life outside of work this year, dating his new squeeze Julianne Hough. Not that this means he’s kicking back with a sweet tea and watching re-runs of “Intervention” all day. He recently signed a $60 million, three year deal with Clear Channel for his radio show. Plus, he makes another $15 million a year from  “Idol” and millions more producing shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on E!, where he does red-carpet and celebrity news.

10. “Pants on the Ground.” Atlantan General Larry Platt is far too old to be on the show, but the producers sniffed a novelty hit and let him into the judges’ room. Nobody anticipated the crazy reaction he generated with his tune about sagging pants and the increasing coarseness of society. He rode the wave to many download sales and TV appearances. Sure,  it’s unlikely he’ll see another hit, but he is now firmly entrenched in our brains forever.Thanks Larry!

Larry-Platt-Pants-on-the-Ground-Grammys-2010

28 comments Add your comment

Deirdre

December 22nd, 2010
8:45 am

Love the list.

Harriett

December 22nd, 2010
8:54 am

Me, too! Can’t believe I had already forgotten “Pants on the Ground.” It was the most remarkable thing about that season. :)

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
9:01 am

Every time I see some thugster/gangsta wannbe showing off the top half of his underwear… I sing (sometimes quietly, sometimes out loud) “Pants on the ground. Pants on the ground. Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground.”

:-)

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
9:01 am

Posting this from the end of the last thread.

American Idol Auditions We’d Like To Have Seen: Biz Marky (Just Friend)

Randy: “Dawg… for me… it was pitchy. It was all over the place. But you know what? That was so bad it was good.”

Paula: “That song is so sad. It hurts when you care about someone but they don’t feel the same about you, doesn’t it? Come here and let me give you a hug.”

Simon:”You keep singing like that, young man. And “just a friend” is all a girl will ever be. My advice. Don’t serenade a girl. Ever.”

Heather MacDonald

December 22nd, 2010
9:11 am

Hi all! I’ve been busy baking cookies, so I haven’t stopped in much lately. Just saying hello and Merry Christmas from the household of Highlander, Heather and our two furry, four-footed, purring, meowing daughters! :-) Hope everyone has really happy holidays!!

Lilly

December 22nd, 2010
9:26 am

Crystal Bowersox’s music isn’t commercial, but her album sold 58,000 copies during its first week of release. That’s not great by idol standards, but it’s better than most people expected. Since someone is going to say it anyway, I’ll add that it is also approximately 19,000 more than Lee Dewyze sold during his debut week, but the two weeks before Christmas are usually the highest week for album sales. We’ll see how much Crystal’s numbers fall in two weeks.

Mercedes S.

December 22nd, 2010
9:28 am

Quick helloo – cookie baking here too!
Thanks for mentioning Adam, Rodney! How many other idols, wonners or no, have had world tours?

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
10:16 am

Rodney Ho

December 22nd, 2010
10:17 am

Katharine McPhee does a lovely cyber-carol of “Jingle Bells” with her fans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixt4EXWMwXg&feature=player_embedded#!

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
10:18 am

And thanks, Rodney, for another wonderful picture of Carrie!

JTesla

December 22nd, 2010
10:26 am

I think Adam is into “wonners”.

Deirdre

December 22nd, 2010
11:23 am

I’ll bet he’s into twoers, too.

I-Ninjakicksbackxfactor

December 22nd, 2010
12:32 pm

You go gurl Crystal! Show the WGWG, tweens, and cougars who can succeed in the real world.

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
12:39 pm

What about Rickey Minor leaving? He was miffed when he wasn’t even mentioned during the farewell show.

It’ll be interesting to see how the band does this year.

Harriett

December 22nd, 2010
1:03 pm

Hey, everyone. They have just dismissed us for the holidays, so I am out of here until Jan 3. I will try and sneak a peek at the blog from time to time. May the spirit of Christmas and the other holidays lift your hearts and bless your souls. Merry Christmas to all!

wreckedpizza

December 22nd, 2010
1:14 pm

Rodney just had to diss my girl Katie Stevens didn’t he? Well, happy holidays to you too, buddy! ;-)

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
1:58 pm

Good news, ‘Pizza. Katie turned 18 on December 8. :-)

Mercedes S.

December 22nd, 2010
2:05 pm

Sheesh, for once I DON’T correct a spelling mistake…

wreckedpizza

December 22nd, 2010
2:16 pm

Ah, now there is some Christmas cheer courtesy of Rickster…if only one could be 18 again and live in Los Angeles.

Still miffed at the “judges” for screwing Katie and Siobahn up with their changing critiques from week to week. That was one instance where Mr. Cowell (and cohorts) did not please this viewer.

Lilly

December 22nd, 2010
2:43 pm

LOL, I-Ninjakicksbackxfactor, Crystal sold less than WGWG winners Kris Allen and David Cook, and given her type of music, she’s going to have a tough time.

JTesla

December 22nd, 2010
2:53 pm

Tough time Lilly? Only in the world outside of coffee shops and street corners. She would make a killing on a street corner here in down town Portland. Maybe grab a corner between the trumpet guy and the guy who has 5 buckets that he plays like drums. Just avoid the silver painted robot guy, that dude dominates.

Mercedes S.

December 22nd, 2010
3:12 pm

JT, that silver painted robot guy STILL around? He was very visible during my trip to Portland last year. Quiet, though..

I-Ninjakicksbackxfactor

December 22nd, 2010
3:26 pm

Jamey Johnson, Zac Brown Band, and such sell records and do well today. Crystal isn’t that different. Rootsy music from people who eschew contemporary trends. Crystal outsold Lee week one and Jackie has a 300,000 plus lead on the white guy who beat her on AGT and we’ve already forgotten him. Cougars and tweens can make WGWG show winners, but talent will win out as cougars and tweens move on to fresh cubs and abandon the Lees of the world.

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
3:50 pm

Sorry for being so out of it… but what is WGWG?

JTesla

December 22nd, 2010
3:54 pm

Mercedes: saw him a few months back, but I haven’t seen him since it turned cold and wet.

Thanks for asking Rickster, I thought it was just me who didn’t get it.

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
4:15 pm

No problem, JT.

Rickster

December 22nd, 2010
5:00 pm

Folks… I’m outta here till Monday. I hope you get everything you want for Christmas.

“But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Irene

December 26th, 2010
4:02 pm

Constantine Maroulis was nominated for a Tony award as best actor in a musical for “Rock of Ages” on Broadway. That’s a pretty big deal. He’s now on the road with it and is reconnecting with fans all across the country.