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Ryan Seacrest signs on to continue as ‘Idol’ host; most of the top 6 have Southern ties

Ryan will continue at least into season 12 of 'Idol." CREDIT: AP

Ryan will continue at least into season 12 of 'Idol.\

Fox confirmed that Ryan Seacrest will continue as host of “American Idol” at least through 2014 and season 13. He has been there since the beginning.

Hollywood Reporter says it’s worth $15 million a year, the same as his last contract.

Despite the fact Seacrest has his own production company, his E! News duties, a role on “The Today Show” during the Olympics and his morning radio show, he is sticking with what got him there in the first place.

The Dunwoody High School grad, who has taken the throne left by the late great Dick Clark, was expected to return so this news is not a surprise.

In the press release:

“Ryan has been with AMERICAN IDOL from the very first day. I can’t imagine the show without him,” stated creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “He is the consummate host and an exemplary professional. Having Ryan continue to be a part of the AMERICAN IDOL family is great news for everyone.”

And alluding to how easy Ryan makes a very difficult job look (as opposed to, say, poor, hapless Steve Jones), Fox reality show president Mike Darnell said he is “one of a kind…His ability to engage the viewers, keep the contestants at ease during intense moments and adapt to any situation, especially during the live shows, solidifies him as the absolute best in the business.”

AMERICAN IDOL: L-R: Top 6 contestants Jessica Sanchez, Skylar Laine, Phillip Phillips, Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanagh on AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday, April 19 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL: L-R: Top 6 contestants Jessica Sanchez, Skylar Laine, Phillip Phillips, Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanagh on AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday, April 19 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

“American Idol” and the South have gone hand in hand over the years.

Kelly Clarkson. Ruben Studdard. Clay Aiken. Taylor Hicks. Fantasia. Kellie Pickler. Chris Daughtry. Scotty McCreery. Lauren Alaina.  This part of the country draws the singers and the voters.

This year is no different.

Seven of the top 13 had Southern ties. Of the remaining top 6, five have Southern ties. Only Jessica Sanchez is a West Coast girl.

Elise Testone grew up in New Jersey, went to school in Charleston, S.C. so we’ll take her. Joshua Ledet is a Louisiana native. Phillip Phillips is from Leesburg here in south Georgia. Skylar Laine is from Mississippi. Hollie Cavanagh has British roots but lives in Texas.

I decided to look at the entire 131 contestants who have made the finals of “American Idol.” We will count the South as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Misssissippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana South Carolina and North Carolina.

The percentage from those states: 48%.

Even if I exclude, Oklahoma (which is probably more Midwest and includes just Carrie Underwood), that drops to 47%. Some don’t consider Texas part of the true South. Drop that, and it falls to 40%.

In any case, it’s a disproportionate number considering in any given year, only two out of the seven or so audition cities are in the South.

We’ve done stories before on why this is. Theories abound. The church-going background of many Southern singers. The down-home likability of Southern contestants. The fact “Idol” has done better ratings wise in the South and probably gets more votes from that region. I’d say it’s a little bit of everything.

- The 25th anniversary Fox show Sunday featured a 3 minute clip about “Idol.” It made me feel extremely nostalgic, having lived through virtually every minute shown on screen:

Here’s a little radio airplay update:

Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl” is still rising but is stuck at No. 8 and other singles are moving up faster. This could become the first single of hers that has not gone top 2. Then again, other times with other songs (think ‘Mama’s Song” in particular), momentum slowed, only to pick up later. So we’ll see.

Casey James’ “Let’s Don’g Call It a Night” is now at No. 20 on the Mediabase 24/7 country airplay chart but I don’t see much more upside there. At No. 35, Lauren Alaina’s “Georgia Peaches” is falling after peaking at 31. And Kelly Clarkson’s country version of “Mr. Know It All” (which I prefer) is at No. 41, rising quickly. Kellie Pickler’s “100 Proof” is now at No. 58.

Clarkson’s “Stronger” is down to No. 5 after peaking at No. 1 but remains No. 1 on the Hot AC. Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself” is down to 22 after peaking at 16. Daughtry’s “Outta My Head” is at No. 35 with Carrie’s “Good Girl” at 36.

On the urban chart, Jennifer Hudson’s “Think Like a Man” peaked at 20 and is now at 19 at urban AC. Ruben Studdard’s “June 28 (I’m Single)” peaked at No. 16 on that chart.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

92 comments Add your comment

JTesla

April 23rd, 2012
10:20 pm

Good for Ryan, he must see that there is more life in the show.

MyPatootie

April 23rd, 2012
10:39 pm

Sorry, RoHo but have to disagree with you on the Southern states. Oklahoma is definitely NOT a Southern state. It is Midwest. Also Texas is normally not considered a true Southern state so that is debatable. I do get and appreciate your point though and had thought of that already. Something even more outstanding, that somewhat goes along with that, is the fact that a huge number of country singers are from the South. Of course, that is to be expected. Something else I have noticed, especially in the last few years, is the number of country stars(especially male) from Georgia making it big in Nashville. GA has always contributed big but it has been astronomical in the past 5 yrs. or so. Must be something in the water!

MyPatootie

April 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

Oh, BTW noticed you left out Louisiana in your list of Southern states, so just replace OK with LA. I will give you TX if you insist.

Rodney Ho

April 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

@MyPatootie If you exclude Oklahoma, that drops the percentage to 47%. If you drop Texas, that drops it to 40%. Still, that’s an incredibly huge number. Yes, Georgia is generating a lot of country stars, the most recent Brantley Gilbert and Kip Moore.

Rodney Ho

April 23rd, 2012
10:43 pm

And yes, I did include Louisiana in my tally, just forgot to include it on the list of qualifying states. I will add that.

Someone

April 23rd, 2012
10:57 pm

Oklahoma is def not the midwest, it’s the southwest. Reba, Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks, they are all from there and are southern.

Someone

April 23rd, 2012
11:01 pm

Btw you forgot Kentucky and West Virginia. I can’t really recall any finalists from there.

Rodney Ho

April 23rd, 2012
11:02 pm

@someone I don’t think either Ky or WV has ever had a finalist on the show.

MyPatootie

April 23rd, 2012
11:07 pm

Sorry “Someone” but OK is considered a Midwestern state. Do some checking and you will see. OK is never, ever considered a Southern state! Also, you are right about KY, as I even missed that one, but no, no, no on West Virginia. They are only “VA Wannabees” and are so close to PA they can not be even remotely considered a Southern state. Ask West Virginians if they are from the South, and you will get an earful.

Bob

April 23rd, 2012
11:29 pm

We’re just better than they are. It’s not tricky to figure out.

Jenny

April 23rd, 2012
11:40 pm

I have to agree with Patootie… Oklahoma is not the South. Not even close! It’s the Midwest… and no more southern than Kansas is!!

And Texas is debatable. It’s geographically southern… but…

I would say “The South” is the arc from Louisiana, up through Tennessee and over to the Carolinas. And all underneath it, except Florida which everyone knows is a transplanted northern state. ;-)

Jenny

April 23rd, 2012
11:51 pm

And yes, before anyone points it out, I do know OK is south of KS on the map. ;-) I just meant when you think of “southern”, OK is not it.

Simply put, “The South” is Dixie…. magnolias and peach orchards and Tara… not the Dust Bowl.

El Bingo es Loco

April 23rd, 2012
11:56 pm

These are the Southern states, and there is no disputing this, as they formed the CSA:

TX, LA, AR, MS, TN, AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, and VA

KY, WV, MO, OK, and AZ were CSA territories, but never CSA states.

So…geographically, KY should be added to the list of Southern states with no doubt. And, historically, it would be considered accurate to include WV, MO, OK, and AZ (though and extreme outlier) as “Southern” states.

patti

April 24th, 2012
12:36 am

Why in sports do u think they call the south “THE SEC”? we must need a special term to call southern singers Southern,its a way of life… outsiders envy but just don’t get…it is the states that formed the CSA, unless I missed something in American history class, I don’t think Ok. was ever considered part of ” Dixie”!!

patti

April 24th, 2012
12:53 am

Yes we do count Reba, Garth and Blake as singing southern style because they all headed to the heart and soul of country music via Nashville

MyPatootie

April 24th, 2012
12:55 am

Jenny and patti are very smart and I like the way you think and espouse the facts! Night-night!

pebblebeach

April 24th, 2012
6:50 am

Southernman

April 24th, 2012
7:14 am

you all need a life….

Deirdre

April 24th, 2012
7:23 am

Morning!

Congrats to Ryan on his new contract. The powers that be at Idol would have been idiots not to keep him. While he manages to keep a live show moving, mostly on time(or within a minute of on time) keep the judges talking or not talking depending on what is needed, remain cheerful despite the voices coming over his earpiece, all of which is remarkable by itself, he also takes a group of 12 or 13 kids and helps them feel as comfortable as possible in front of millions of people. He supports them in a way that say I’ve got your back.

He is an absolute gem.

Deirdre

April 24th, 2012
7:24 am

And Rodney, I’ll bet you never thought the definition of “southern” would be the main topic in the comments after you posted this piece.

Rickster

April 24th, 2012
8:18 am

When I saw that Matt Lauer had signed a new contract, I wondered how long it would be till we heard Ryan would do the same!

Rickster

April 24th, 2012
8:26 am

Great montage clip.

Of course, it does show that Randy’s judgement has been impaired for at least 7 years since he called Fantasia’s “Summer time” one of the “best performances” of any season.

Deirdre

April 24th, 2012
8:40 am

Actually, Rickster, I kind of agree with Randy on the Fantasia performance of Summertime. She is not my favorite by far but that performance was subtle, emotional and lovely. The Fantasia who sang Summertime was not the screeching howler that we see today.

Deirdre

April 24th, 2012
8:47 am

Kind of an interesting story about a man. while hog hunting, accidentally shooting his girlfriend. Not good that he shot her, of course, and thank goodness she will survive but what do you think his life will be worth once she realizes that he mistook her for a hog?

G

April 24th, 2012
9:00 am

Truth of the matter is Fantasia could never earn a living singing songs like Summertime. Trust me when I say she’s doing fine on the urban circuit.

It’s not as though there was any doubt that Ryan would retain his gig. Ryan will leave when he’s ready, or when the show has ended…..whichever comes first.

Woodpappy

April 24th, 2012
9:01 am

Deirdre I too believe that Ryan is a true gem. W/O him the show would be in the toilet. Thank You Ryan for staying on board !!

Mercedes S.

April 24th, 2012
9:23 am

With new contract in place I hope Seacrest will have enough backbone to turn down producer demands that he torture contestants about their sick pets and other personal ordeals in their lives.

Do want to know what’s going in with PP’s health though. Sounds like a recurring, difficult issue. Can he really go on tour with a chronic kidney problem?

I’m having a hard time posting here today too. The comment box keep flipping and moving around!

From the South . . . .

April 24th, 2012
9:25 am

Carrie Underwood is not from the South!

Newsies

April 24th, 2012
9:30 am

……and in other IMPORTANT news, U.S. will be in Afghanistan through 2024.

Deirdre

April 24th, 2012
9:30 am

Philx2’s kidney problems have been ongoing not recurring. With a stent in his kidney for just about the entire season, he has endured a good deal of pain and said earlier that he hoped he could make it through the season. He needs surgery and will probably get it as soon as the season is over or as soon as he’s eliminated, whichever comes first.

He would not be the first contestant to miss all or part of the tour. As mentioned earlier, Bo Bice had to leave the tour for emergency surgery. Kat McPhee did not join the tour for nearly 3 weeks while her damaged vocal cords were healing.

Idol has been very supportive of contestants with health problems, especially the popular ones. It would be a public relations nightmare if they weren’t.

JTesla

April 24th, 2012
9:30 am

Hey, is Oklahoma part of the “South?” I don’t know if that’s been addressed yet.

Deirdre

April 24th, 2012
9:34 am

Deirdre

April 24th, 2012
9:34 am

That laughing emoticon kinda gives me the creeps. I think I’ll stick with lol.

Southernman

April 24th, 2012
9:40 am

I too agree that Fanny’s rendition of “Summertime” ranks amongst the best in idol history. Not saying it was the best, but it is top 3.

Wonderwall

April 24th, 2012
9:56 am

Man. Yall talk about these idiots as if you KNOW them! Why so much concern over game show contestants that you don’t know, have never met and never will? Will your world end if 2Phil has to drop from health reasons? Will Idol bomb? Will the show end? Will your lives end….uh…maybe we shouldn’t ask this particular question.

Woodpappy

April 24th, 2012
10:12 am

Wonderwall…..take a hike.

JTesla

April 24th, 2012
10:27 am

It’s funny, Wonderwall talks about “these idiots as if (he) KNOW(s) them!”

Sam-A

April 24th, 2012
10:27 am

And, Wonderwall, our Woodpappy is the official policeman of this site, so better do what he says!

Mercedes S.

April 24th, 2012
10:30 am

There are too many Wonderwalls in this world – and they always show up here!

DanJ

April 24th, 2012
10:37 am

Signing Ryan was a no brainer! Now replace ST, JLo and Randy. Jimmy should be sitting at the table not behind the scenes. I’d rather have someone honest with an ear for music than a star who’s a household name.

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

April 24th, 2012
11:08 am

Hi y’all,

Well, good for Ryan. He’s the consistency Idol needs. I can’t see the show being hosted by anyone else.

Wow, the Idol blog doubling as a geography/history lesson. Who knew?

PS. Did I miss the talk of Rodney’s new gig as a TV commercial star? :D

Sam-A

April 24th, 2012
11:27 am

Agree that Jimmy I should be a judge; with him as the sensible anchor, Randy might go back to his innocuous judging, and I believe Paula is available now, so bring her back – she was the only one I could stand on the silly XF show. Then we’d still have some of the familiarity we loved for so many years, and Jimmy is certainly a worthy and honest speaking replacement for Simon!

Jenny

April 24th, 2012
11:39 am

D, I too liked “Summertime”. That one, and “I Believe” with the choir, were the only two times I ever liked her.

I’m glad to see that Matt is staying on the Today show, and Ryan is staying on Idol. I think each is in their correct niche. And I’m glad that Ryan seems to have fully recovered from whatever was causing his bizarre behaviour a couple of seasons ago. During the worst of it, I thought he surely needed to be let go… it really soured me on him for a while… but now, he seems fully back to his old self, and does a great job again.

And KCF, yup, the geography lesson was a pretty funny tangent. Bet Rodney never saw that coming! But we true southerners must correct those who would claim Oklahoma… ;-)

Jenny

April 24th, 2012
11:44 am

Or as Scarlett would say, “Oklahoma simply isn’t received.”

There, JT, did that answer your @9:30 question? ;-) ;-)

(Kidding, in case the winks didn’t make that clear.)

JTesla

April 24th, 2012
11:52 am

You know it’s interesting, or not, but many people in Kansas would like to consider themselves to be part of the South, and also to be the buckle of the Bible Belt. Of course, they also don’t pronounce the Arkansas river ‘ark-en-saw’ but instead pronounce it ‘r-can-zes’ therefore maintaining the Kansas in ArKANSAS, so they be crazy. Pardon my clumsiness in showing pronunciation via typing.

Rickster

April 24th, 2012
11:58 am

I hope that Ryan’s contract is guaranteed and his salary in escrow. Otherwise he’ll be out all that money when Idol ends.

After all.. we all know that Idol’s on it’s last legs, on it’s death bed, going the way of the dodo bird, getting ready to start pushing up the daisies, getting ready to sleep with the fishes.

Rickster

April 24th, 2012
12:00 pm

and it has been for… what…. 4 or 5 seasons? ;-)

Brenda

April 24th, 2012
12:08 pm

Ryan is the only viable member of Idol. Unless they get rid of the two new ditz’ behind the judges table, Idol is looking like a joke. I don’t know who is worse. And then there’s Randy. I used to like Randy. He would stand against Simon’s opinion, but now he has become a mouse in JLo’s shadow and useless opinions.

Jenny

April 24th, 2012
12:13 pm

Hey, speaking of the Voice (which we weren’t :-) ) … I haven’t been watching, but saw a recap on the news last night. Do y’all think that little Atlanta girl is good? (not sure of her name, but the one who looks in pictures like she can’t straighten her neck?)

I keep hearing about her and was curious to see how good she was… but on the recap, her voice was all scratchy and scrape-y and not very pleasant to listen to. Was it just me? I keep hoping music will move away from that sound.

Rickster

April 24th, 2012
12:17 pm

Jenny,

Check Rodney’s wrap-up – currently the first thread in the blog.