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Archive for February, 2011

EW provides details of ‘Idol’ on-line voting via Facebook

EW has details of how the “Idol” on-line voting will work. They will limit voting, but it’s pretty generous: 50 votes per Facebook address. Nigel Lythgoe did not have the details earlier this week when he spoke to me.

“Idol” has not made an official announcement. They better do so soon because live voting happens in exactly a week for the top 24.

It sounds like the texting and toll-free number votes will remain the same: as many as you can squeeze into the voting time period.

- Oscar winner  Jennifer Hudson will present at the Oscars Sunday.

AP photo

AP photo

- Aretha Franklin told Fantasia to take a chill pill and get real after Fantasia said she skipped the Grammy’s because she was peeved she was not included in the Aretha tribute. Or in more formal terms than that, to USA Today.

“I was sorry to hear that Fantasia was upset because she did not get the opportunity to participate in my Grammy Tribute this year. I recall that in the past, Fantasia participated in both my MusicCares …

Continue reading EW provides details of ‘Idol’ on-line voting via Facebook »

Archie Comics creates an ‘X Factor vs. American Idol’ battle

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I grew up reading Archie comics so this gives me a chuckle: an upcoming Archie comic in which auditions for “American Idol’ and rival  ‘X Factor” roll into Riverdale at the same time!

MTV got the scoop.

The two famous reality shows hold open auditions to see who can snag the best musical act, and The Archies, Josie and the Pussycats, and even The Bingoes show up for the competition! Watch Simon Cowell of The X Factor versus Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler from Idol in the craziest reality battle Riverdale has ever seen!

This could get ugly!

Continue reading Archie Comics creates an ‘X Factor vs. American Idol’ battle »

(UPDATE) David Archuleta explains why he left Jive Records; Scott McEntyre engaged

AP

AP

Season 7 runner up David Archuleta, after his second album disappointed, agreed to split ways from Jive Records, according to Hollywood Reporter.

That second album, “The Other Side of Down,” sold only 67,000 copies and generated no radio hits. His first album sold more than one million copies.

UPDATE: David has clarified that he left Jive Records, not the other way around.

“They’re changing as a company. And, then, I feel like I’m changing as an artist. I’m changing the direction I’m going, too. There were offers to continue working with them, but it just didn’t feel like the right thing now.”

- Season 8’s Scott McIntyre is engaged with a pretty blond named Christina Teich.

- Bad news for folks who like to hear singing: the Vegas episode has been trimmed to one hour tomorrow while the “Green Mile” has been expanded an extra hour tomorrow, with the rest on Thursday. Ugh.

- And here’s Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson singing their top 5 country hit “Don’t  You Wanna Stay” on …

Continue reading (UPDATE) David Archuleta explains why he left Jive Records; Scott McEntyre engaged »

Nigel Lythgoe: online voting is coming

Nigel Lythgoe at the Fox Theatre today, Feb. 21, 2011.

Nigel Lythgoe at the Fox Theatre today, Feb. 21, 2011.

Back in 2002, “‘American Idol” offered up just one option to vote: calls.

At some point, “Idol”’ added texting as an option.

This year? Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe just told me that online voting is going to be added this season. Though a publicist later told me it was not a done deal, Lythgoe’s exact quote to me was affirmative: “We are going to introduce online voting.”

He was unsure about the details and whether there’d be any limits on the voting online. He did say that there are no plans to limit texts or voice calls. I videotaped the interview, which was rather brief. I’ll post it later.

He’s in Atlanta at the Fox Theatre today to judge an early round of season 8 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” which Lythgoe said will blend elements of last year’s all-star additions while returning to 20 finalists from the 11 last summer.

I just watched 12 dancers,most of whom are not from Atlanta. It was an impressive stretch …

Continue reading Nigel Lythgoe: online voting is coming »

Who are your early favorites? Casey Abrams, Robbie Rosen, Jacob Lusk?

Casey Abrams during his original audition CREDIT: Michael Becker/Fox

Casey Abrams during his original audition CREDIT: Michael Becker/Fox

Being an early favorite at this stage of the game only goes so far. A  year ago, we were gaga over Andrew Garcia and he didn’t make it past eighth place, never able to match the glory of his “Straight Up” performance in Hollywood.

The good news this year the talent pool appears much deeper. We’ve seen more potentially great artists than we perhaps have ever seen at this stage compared to the first nine seasons. Could Simon Cowell’s absence be the show’s savior?

So here’s the poll to see who your favorite five singers are so far. Sure, it’s patently unfair. We’ve seen some singers  more than others. Many in the spoiler top 40 haven’t even been heard yet. Let’s just say it’s more a straw poll.

Who are your top 5 early favorites so far? (Pick up to 5!)

  • Ashthon Jones
  • Brett Loewenstern
  • Casey Abrams
  • Carson Higgins
  • Chris Medina
  • Clint Gamboa
  • DeAndre Brackensick
  • Haley Reinhart

Continue reading Who are your early favorites? Casey Abrams, Robbie Rosen, Jacob Lusk? »

A visit to the Idol Across America Mobile

The Idol bus on the Emory campus. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The Idol bus on the Emory campus. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

The promo “Idol Mobile” swung through Atlanta yesterday, including a stop at Emory University and later, Centennial Olympic Park, as part of a 16-city run. It’s in Charlotte today.

I swung by Emory for a few minutes. It was amusing to see Randy Jackson’s monstrous shoes. The other memorabilia: Carrie Underwood’s victory dress, David Cook’s guitar and a Ryan Seacrest suit. And I even got an “Idol” lanyard for my troubles. Outside, folks could take pictures with the judges – or big lifesize cutouts of the judges. Was it worth the visit? Well, it was only 15 minutes from me so I guess it was worth it for me to take these exciting photos:

That's Carrie's dress and an employee for the day capturing the moment for posterity.

That's Carrie's dress and an employee for the day capturing the moment for posterity.

Here's Ryan Seacrest's suit

Here's Ryan Seacrest's suit

A David Cook guitar.

A David Cook guitar.

Some autographs from famous folks.

Some autographs from famous folks.

Randy's shoes on the right

Randy's shoes on the right

Carrie's biggest selling album.

Carrie's biggest selling album.

Emory sophomore "DJ Courtney" Rivkind is not a fan of "Idol" but kissed Randy Jackson's "face" because she likes black dudes. She said she can sing but doesn't need a show like "Idol" to validate her.

Emory sophomore "DJ Courtney" Rivkind is not a fan of …

Continue reading A visit to the Idol Across America Mobile »

American Idol Hollywood recap part 3, cutting to 60: Talent? We got talent!

Stefano Langone of Kent, WA were among those who made it into the to 60. CREDIT: Michael Becker/FOX

Stefano Langone of Kent, WA was among those who made it into the to 60. CREDIT: Michael Becker/FOX

Almost every year, the judges and producers tout how this is the most talented group ever.

Based on what we’ve seen after tonight, I have to say they aren’t exaggerating this year. There is a surfeit of talent, many who aren’t weak copies of past “Idol” contestants like the crew we saw a year ago (with Crystal Bowersox the lone exception.). We might have a true Hispanic sex symbol (Jovany?), a genuine male country singer (John Wayne?) and an Italian Stallion (Robbie?).

“Idol” has only 42 minutes to highlight 100 contestants. We manage to hear bits of 27 singers, a vast majority who move into the top 60 and sound great to boot. Among my favorites were all guys: Robbie Rosen, Casey Abrams, Carson Higgins, John Wayne Schulz and Jacob Lusk, to name a few.

Next week, the 60 go to Vegas to learn Beatles songs.

Here’s my recap:

Up first: Haley Reinhart, who we haven’t seen in awhile. …

Continue reading American Idol Hollywood recap part 3, cutting to 60: Talent? We got talent! »

Nigel Lythgoe embraces ‘warmth’ over meanness

AP photo

AP photo

In today’s press conference via phone, Nigel Lythgoe said it was time for “Idol” to focus more on warmth than meanness.

He felt in 2002, America needed and welcomed the honesty of Simon Cowell. “Now,” he said, “we need warmth… I think the true mark of any program is to judge the time and society at the certain point the program comes out… we need to think we have a future… With Randy, Steven and Jennifer, they provide that warmth along with the eccentricity of a rock star.”

- Nigel is thrilled the ratings have not dropped off a cliff despite the loss of Simon and Paula since he was producing the show season 7. The show is down about 10 percent year over year so far. (Last night, the show drew 22.8 million and an 8.1/23 18-49 ratings/share. That is down 18% from the 27.89 million, 10.1/26 a year ago. That’s the worst comparison year over year so far for a Wednesday episode vs. last year’s comparable Tuesday episode.)

- He mentioned in passing that there were 20 left …

Continue reading Nigel Lythgoe embraces ‘warmth’ over meanness »

Idol tidbits: Nigel Lythgoe, Fantasia, Paula Abdul

AMERICAN IDOL: L-R: Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez at Hollywood Week on AMERICAN IDOL airing on FOX.  CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL: L-R: Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez at Hollywood Week on AMERICAN IDOL airing on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

Nigel Lythgoe is speaking to press in a mass phone conference at 1 p.m. EST today. I will certainly be on the phone to ask him about whether any voting changes are set for this year. (Probably not but worth asking.) If  not,  I’ll get to talk to him in person Sunday at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, where “So You Think You Can Dance’ will be holding auditions.

You have to wonder if we can give Nigel credit for editing last night’s show so well.  This was one of the best Hollywood episodes in recent history. They did not spend too much time on Tatiana types and balanced the drama and the singing well. Plus, the three judges did a good job with the critiques. Jennifer Lopez has clearly grown into saying “no.” And even when Steven Tyler goofs up, it’s endearing.

- Joe’s Place is speculating that the “Green Mile” episode being shot now won’t cut it down to …

Continue reading Idol tidbits: Nigel Lythgoe, Fantasia, Paula Abdul »

‘American Idol’ Hollywood auditions, group sing edition

James Durbin belts it during the group rounds. CREDIT: Michael Becker/Fox

James Durbin belts it during the group rounds. CREDIT: Michael Becker/Fox

Group sing night is always a delight from a viewers’ standpoint. You get a wide expanse of singers along with reality-show-branded “drama.”

Tonight was no exception. Of the 168 people who started the night, only 120 came out the other end.  And at least 56 of the contestants were named during the two hours. That’s a lot to sift through!

In between, clashes were highlighted and egos  smahed. We also got deeper impressions of some folks. The most hated person from round one, Tiffany Rios, got her comeuppance. Sweet, deep bass country singer Scott McCreery and really young-looking (and sounding) Jacee Badeaux get tons of airtime with both winning more fans with their empathetic reactions to the stressful proceedings. Jordan Dorsey came off as arrogant. Chris Medina didn’t sound quite as good as I remembered from his original audition. James Durbin, Adam Lambert redux, has the loudest voice for sure.

And the …

Continue reading ‘American Idol’ Hollywood auditions, group sing edition »