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Archive for February, 2011

My first ‘Idol’ assessment on video

This is a grand experiment this year: me on camera talking about “Idol” on top of writing about it. Sorry, the coding was incorrect before. Here’s my first try with host Brittany Umar of Cinesport:

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Major leaks from last Friday’s taped performance of top 12 guys

Naturally, Joe’s Place got all sorts of juicy details from last Friday’s pre-taped performance with the top 12 guys we’ll see Tuesday night. The site got not only the songs but the performance order.

If you want to know, here it is.

I won’t give away any specifics but here are teasers:

- Three of the 12 guys received standing ovations from the audience. Two you’d expect, one not so much.

- A very obvious person got the pimp spot.

- One person sang a song best known to be sung by a woman.

- At least one guy chose a sung he had already sung in Hollywood.

- At least four of the songs have been done on “American Idol” before,  one that was a signature song for a woman during season one. Two have been kind of done to death on this show and not good picks at all.

- One hard-rock act that I’m 100% certain has never been heard on “Idol” gets covered.

- Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler become tear-eyed over one performance.

- One person blames the fact he was “given” a song for his …

Continue reading Major leaks from last Friday’s taped performance of top 12 guys »

Which contestants biggest on social media?

Schwartz Research Group studied the social media presence of various “American Idol” contestants and here are the top 10 most connected, based on likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Will this correlate to actual votes? We’ll see.

tim-halperin-american-idol1.Tim Halperin

2. Scott McCreery

3. Lauren Alaina

4. Paul McDonald

5. Thia Megia

6. Brett Loewenstern

7. Julie Zorilla

8. Robbie Rosen

9. Casey Abrams

10. Kendra Chantelle

Most likes on Facebook are the young ones:

Scott McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Tia Megia

Most followers on Twitter:

Tim Halperin, Paul McDonald, Julie Zorilla

Facebook is far more popular for “Idol” fan engagement, triple that of Twitter.

Three least popular on social media?

Tatynisa Wilson, Rachel Zevita and Clint Jun Gamboa.

And here are Yahoo’s top 10 most searched season 10 contestants the past week:

  1. Thia Megia
  2. Casey Abrams
  3. Lauren Alaina
  4. Scotty McCreery
  5. Clint Jun Gamboa
  6. James Durbin
  7. Jacob Lusk
  8. Pia Toscano
  9. Julie Zorilla
  10. Haley Reinhart

States doing the most Yahoo! searches …

Continue reading Which contestants biggest on social media? »

Handicapping the ‘American Idol’ top 24

It’s a bit unfair to handicap the top 24 since we have not see any of them perform live  (or more or less live, since this  week’s shows were taped last Friday). But who ever said blogging was fair? We are here to make snap decisions based on limited information!

So here we go:

Likely to go into the top 13:

Casey Abrams - Sure, he’s a bit doughy and looks 15 years older than his 19 years, but he is a classic archetype that can excel on the show. He’s likable, approachable and talented. His bluesy voice has plenty of range. Think a more skilled, less cheesy Taylor Hicks. His ‘Georgia on My Mind” with the stand-up bass is an instant “Idol” classic.

robbie_rosen_210x156Robbie Rosen – The Long Island teen with the Barbra Streisand nose has impressively mature depth and texture in his voice. He could go far in this competition given his consistently smart performances so far.

Jacob Lusk: The R&B/gospel singer got zero airtime during the initial auditions. We first noticed him in the group round of …

Continue reading Handicapping the ‘American Idol’ top 24 »

Why ‘Idol’ is better this year

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 24: top row (L-R) Kendra Chantelle, Jovani Barreto, Lauren Turner, Casey Abrams, Tatynisa Wilson, James Durbin, Karen Rodriguez, Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Scott McCreery, Brett Loewenstern, Pia Toscano and Jordan Dorsey. Bottom row (L-R): Rachel Zevita, Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald, Julie Zorrilla, Tim Halperin, Haley Reinhart, Clint Jun Gamboa, Robbie Rosen, Naima Adedapo and Ashthon Jones. CR: Michael Becker/FOX

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 24: top row (L-R) Kendra Chantelle, Jovani Barreto, Lauren Turner, Casey Abrams, Tatynisa Wilson, James Durbin, Karen Rodriguez, Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Scott McCreery, Brett Loewenstern, Pia Toscano and Jordan Dorsey. Bottom row (L-R): Rachel Zevita, Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald, Julie Zorrilla, Tim Halperin, Haley Reinhart, Clint Jun Gamboa, Robbie Rosen, Naima Adedapo and Ashthon Jones. CR: Michael Becker/FOX

Here’s the column I wrote for the print edition set for Monday:

“American Idol” has aired more than 300 hours of entertainment since 2002, some of it truly enthralling and memorable. But season nine last year felt like arthritis was setting in as dull contestants and a dysfunctional judges’ panel left viewers feeling enervated and ready to ditch the show forever.

Fox knew it needed to give the show, still No. 1 in the ratings, an adrenaline boost this year. Surprisingly, “Idol”  has found its mojo again.

Here are reasons why …

Continue reading Why ‘Idol’ is better this year »

‘American Idol’ top 24 Green Mile recap: more male talent than female

Jordan Dorsey, Atlanta's Aaron Sanders and Robbie Rosen perform during the Beatles round. Aaron did not make the top 24. CREDIT: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Jordan Dorsey, Atlanta's Aaron Sanders and Robbie Rosen perform during the Beatles round. Aaron did not make the top 24. We didn't even see him! The other two did. CREDIT: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

The Green Mile two-hour episode (on top of Wednesday’s one hour portion) went by relatively pain-free.

The only disappointing departures for me were John Wayne Schulz and Colton Dixon. Otherwise, favorites and not so favorites made it through in not-so-surprising fashion.

Happy with the top 24?

  • Yes. There’s talent in dem hills!
  • No. A few should not be there and some really good singers got cut.

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No-brainers such as Casey Abrams and Robbie Rosen breezed in. And it’s clear the male field was far stronger than the females. Unfortunately, “Idol” required equal male and female numbers so we got a couple of less-than-worthy women in favor of better guys. Such is life on “Idol”  and its requirement for all-male and all-female semifinal rounds next …

Continue reading ‘American Idol’ top 24 Green Mile recap: more male talent than female »

Simon Cowell explains ‘The X Factor,’ coming this fall, with audition cities

Simon Cowell explains how “The X Factor” works below and provides audition cities, none really near Atlanta.

Los Angeles, CA Sunday, March 27 L.A. Sports Arena

Miami, FL Thursday, April 7 Bank United Center

Newark, NJ Thursday, April 14 Prudential Center

Seattle, WA Wednesday, April 20 Key Arena

Chicago, IL Wednesday, April 27 Sears Centre Arena

Dallas, TX TBA TBA

I presume the host and judges will be named soon as well.

TV Ratings: “Idol” last night drew 22.6 million viewers, down from 23.5 million for the comparable sixth-week episode a year ago. That’s a 4% drop. Among 18-49, it’s down 13% from 9.1 ratings to 7.9.

Continue reading Simon Cowell explains ‘The X Factor,’ coming this fall, with audition cities »

Recently betrothed Kellie Pickler on ‘Ellen’ talks about elopement

Kellie Pickler is a regular guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres  Show.” She’s always a delight:

She explained why they decided to elope on New Year’s Day:

“Every time we got to the guest list, it was like, ‘Oh my God! I hate half these people,” she said.

She and her hubby of seven weeks Kyle Jacobs found a small Caribbean island.

“We didn’t plan anything,” she said. “We just packed a wedding dress. We packed him an outfit. We flew there. We didn’t know what kind o f cake. we didn’t have our food picked out. We just had faith in God that it’d work out. It was the most incredible day of my life.”‘

Ellen gave her a wedding gift: a bed with a covering featuring a photo of Pickler meeting her hero Clint Eastwood the last time she was on “Ellen.”

Pickler considers “11″ her lucky number, thus 1-01-11 is now her wedding date forever. She sees it everywhere – on her microwave, her oven, you name it.

She had no bachelorette party so Ellen sent out three male stripper types to dance with …

Continue reading Recently betrothed Kellie Pickler on ‘Ellen’ talks about elopement »

Casey Abrams rushed to hospital over stomach pains

caseyabramsaustinaudfox

Early favorite Casey Abrams was rushed to a hospital yesterday for stomach pains, according to TMZ.

If he isn’t ready to perform Friday, he could be eliminated though the local Fox affiliate below reports he should be out today.

The talented 19 year old Idyllwild, Calif. singer who could also play stand-up bass was ranked No. 1 by a huge margin among blog readers here Monday. His early departure would be a huge blow to the show. Let’s hope and pray for his quick recovery and that whatever it is is not serious.

Continue reading Casey Abrams rushed to hospital over stomach pains »

‘American Idol’ recap, Vegas Beatles edition, first cutdowns: sob story shocker

Julie Zarrillo and Tim Halperin improve their chances making the top 24 with their Beatles performance. CREDIT: Ray Mickshaw/Fox

Julie Zorrillo and Tim Halperin improve their chances making the top 24 with their Beatles performance. CREDIT: Ray Mickshaw/Fox

In past years, the “Green Mile” episode was usually squashed into one hour. This year, they’ve stretched it out to three hours and cut the Beatles round in Vegas to one hour.

That sounds like a recipe for disaster. But it wasn’t in the end. Our connections with some of the best singers deepened.

Chris Medina’s elimination before the top 24

  • It was about time!
  • He should have had a shot at the top 13

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During the Beatles hour, we got a taste of some tough love from one of the vocal coaches (Peggi Blu) and a tease of what Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine will bring to the table when he becomes the regular mentor during the rest of the season.

We heard mostly good to great Beatles covers. We lost a few contestants we got to know along the way (but not that many.) Then quickly, we get into the elimination of the …

Continue reading ‘American Idol’ recap, Vegas Beatles edition, first cutdowns: sob story shocker »