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Archive for the ‘'American Idol'’ Category

‘American Idol’ Chicago auditions recap

Johnny Keyser is back! He should have made it further last year.

Johnny Keyser is back! He should have made it further last year.

Thank you Deirdre for corralling everybody over to my “moving!” blog entry to comment on the show Thursday night while I was out. I’ll tell you all when the commenting issue on the new software is fixed.

Without all the set up from day one in New York, they chose to highlight more talent in Chicago. Far more talent.

And that made for a more entertaining two hours. We saw 16 people make it to Hollywood, twice as many as in New York.  We saw only five bad ones. There wasn’t a situation liks Wednesdahy where the singer was closer but not quite there.  Among my favorites; MacKenzie (country), Curtis (the gospel guy), Kez (fire performer) and Lazaro (stutterer).

If spoilers are to be believed, a mere three of them, though, make it to the final 40.

First up:

Mackenzie Wasner, 17, Leiper’s Fork, TN (“Whenever You Come Around” Vince Gill) – This blond country singer has a dad …

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“American Idol” season 12 debut recap

AMERICAN IDOL: Pictured L-R: Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey at the Chicago auditions of AMERICAN IDOL airing on the two-night premiere Wednesday, Jan. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Jan. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).  CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL: Pictured L-R: Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey at the Chicago auditions of AMERICAN IDOL airing on the two-night premiere Wednesday, Jan. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Jan. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

Who do you like the most of the three new judges so far?

  • Mariah
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Based on opening night in New York, Nicki Minaj brought color, pizzazz and the occasional British accent to the “American Idol” stage season 12. Whether that will help enliven the ratings is a big question mark.

Overall, this panel is a bit tougher than past years. They turned away some passable singers, even one that’s missing a leg.  Nicki, especially, set the tone and would often say singers weren’t quite ready for primetime if they fell just short of the mark.

I can’t say I necessarily saw the next “American Idol” tonight though, based on spoilers, three of the eight singers we …

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‘Idol’ returns today for 12th season

Ryan Seacrest is the glue that holds "Idol" together. CREDIT: AP

Ryan Seacrest is the glue that holds "Idol" together. CREDIT: AP

Nigel Lythgoe told TMZ what I believe is true; Ryan Seacrest is truly indispensable on the show.

“Ryan Seacrest drives the entire program,” he said. “He’s not on an earpiece or anything. He’s not beholden to anybody. He controls the show. He’s really important.”

I agree. I believe the moment he leaves would be the most blatant sign the show is on its last legs. It’s not there yet. But the show does return tonight at 8 p.m. Interestingly, the AJC print edition for the first time since season one did not request a story about “Idol.”

But the Los Angeles Times did the obligatory piece here.

“Yes, there are too many of these shows on the air, and they are taking each other down a little bit, but this is still the king of the shows,” said Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment at Fox. “This is the one, and only one, that makes stars. Period.”

***

I was quoted in the USA Today story about “American …

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‘Idol’ bits: ‘Vote for the Worst’ closing after season 12

Sanjaya Malakar helped bring "Vote for the Worst" into the spotlight in 2006. CREDIT: Vote For the Worst

Sanjaya Malakar helped bring "Vote for the Worst" into the spotlight in 2006. CREDIT: Vote For the Worst

“Vote for the Worst” began in 2004 as a bit of lark to make fun of “American Idol.”He would encourage people to vote for the most ridiculous or entertaining (or both) contestant that given week.

But nine  years later, the founder Dave Della Terza has decided to end the site after season 12. (My “Idol” blog, which began in 2005, closed its doors in October, 2011 but I have continued to report about “Idol” here.)

Vote For The Worst’s spotlight peaked season 6 with the big push for Sanjaya Malakar, who lasted much longer than anybody expected. Howard Stern and numerous press sites tracked him. He also supported Scott Savol season four and Taylor Hicks (winner) season five.  Later on, he pushed Kristy Lee Cook (season seven), Megan (coo!!!) Joy (season eight), Tim Urban (season nine) and winners Scotty McCreery (season 10) and Phillip Phillips (season 11.).

I emailed him …

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‘Idol’ pre screening in Atlanta included Bo Bice, Vanessa Olivarez

Vanessa Olivarez (season 2) and Bo Bice (season 4) came by the AMC Sugarloaf Mills pre-screening of 'American Idol," season 12. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Vanessa Olivarez (season 2) and Bo Bice (season 4) came by the AMC Sugarloaf Mills pre-screening of 'American Idol," season 12. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

‘American Idol,” for the first time, decided to do a pre screening of the show a week before its debut and brought out the judges for a satellite Q&A session with Ryan Seacrest out of Los Angeles.

They held screenings in several major ciites, including Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Atlanta, where we landed at Sugarloaf Mills AMC with a few hundred “Idol’ acolytes, plus two former ‘Idol” contestants who live locally: season 2’s Vanessa Olivarez and season 4’s Bo Bice. Oliveraz is currently in two bands: Granville Automatic and country quartet Mama’s Blue Dress. Bice is leaving in two weeks from Conyers to spend a possible year-long stint in the starring role on Broadway for “Pump Boys & Dinettes.”

We saw a 45-minute cut-down version of what will be the debut next week in New York (two hours on Wednesday) and Chicago …

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Interview with Kris Allen, season 8 ‘Idol’ winner coming to Eddie’s Attic Jan. 20

Kris Allen shows off his cast (in a mirror). CREDIT: Kris Allen's Instagram

Kris Allen shows off his cast (in a mirror). CREDIT: Kris Allen's Instagram

Season 8 “idol” winner Kris Allen broke his right wrist in a New Year’s Day head-on auto collision that wasn’t his fault. Fortunately, the wrist will heal,within a couple of months, he said, and he’ll be able to get back to playing guitar.

Also good news: his pregnant wife and high school sweetheart Katy made it out okay and the baby in her belly, due in July, is fine. Plus, his tour is alive and well. He will stop at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur January 20 for two shows. Details here. Tix are $15 in advance, $18 at the door.

“It definitely hurts,” he said in an interview Monday. “But the show must go on.”

He briefly described the accident:

“My wife and I were driving home. We were getting into a turning lane and this lady came out of nowhere and hit us head on. We were going about 25 miles an hour.”

His Ford Escape absorbed the shock.. He passed out, but his wife got him back awake.  He realized …

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‘Idol’ bits: a thinly veiled fictional account of ‘Idol,’ Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood

elimination-night---final-cover---hi-res-3_4_r560Last month, I received an advance copy of a book titled “Elimination Night” about a fictional “Project Icon” show that may or may not be a satire of “Idol.” It appears to have been written by someone who worked on “Idol” (thus, the “Anonymous” author name) during season 10, when Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined the judges’ panel. The characters are thinly veiled versions of the real thing with dumber names.  Wayne Shortline, the host, sounds suspiciously like workaholic Ryan Seacrest. Bibi Vasquez is a bit like an egomaniacal Lopez. Joey Lovecraft is the crazy fictional take on Tyler. Nigel Crowther left “Project Icon’ for his own TV show “The Talent Machine.” Paging Simon Cowell? Leonard Braitwaite masequerades as a cruel version of Nigel Lythgoe.

Naturally, we don’t know exactly what is based on truth and what is purely made up, which is the point of these books. Inspire intrigue. I have yet to read its nearly 300 pages, save for the first few pages. If I have some …

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‘Idol’ bits: Kris Allen breaks wrist in accident, getting a baby

Kris Allen will be at Eddie's Attic January 20. CREDIT: AP

Kris Allen will be at Eddie's Attic January 20. CREDIT: AP

Season 8 winner Kris Allen is set to perform at Eddie’s Attic Jan. 20 and a recent head-on car accident won’t stop that. He broke his wrist, which means no guitar playing any time soon. Check out a photo here.

In better news, he Tweeted that he and his wife are expecting a baby.

Kris Allen ‏@KrisAllen

Yes I got in a really bad wreck tonight and yes I’m having a lil baby. #gonnabeadadd

***

Rolling Stone caught some blind auditions with Usher and Shakira subbing in for Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera on “The Voice.”  Atlanta’s Usher had this to say:

“You can’t really compare my style to anybody,” Usher said of his approach to coaching. “My style is more military than anything, because I’m all about the preparation and have always been. I rehearse a million times to be prepared. My style is to make them understand the seriousness of the craft and that they have the very best opportunity to be the greatest or the …

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For first time, ‘Idol’ holds screening parties for season debut, including Discover Mills (now Sugarloaf Mills)

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Radio personality/producer Ryan Seacrest attends KIIS FM's 2012 Jingle Ball at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on December 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 01: Radio personality/producer Ryan Seacrest attends KIIS FM's 2012 Jingle Ball at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on December 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

While I was on vacation, “Idol” sent me this note six days ago. There is an advanced screening on January 9 at Discover Mills (apparently now Sugarloaf Mills) in Atlanta, a week before the actual debut.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this is already full but you can certainly try to RSVP. A live Q&A with the judges will be available on www.livestream.com or www.americanidol.com.  I will attend the local event for sure.

This is clearly an attempt to generate some advance buzz for a show that in years past hardly needed any.

FOX TO WORLD PREMIERE SEASON 12 OF “AMERICAN IDOL” FOR FANS

WITH ADVANCED SCREENING AND LIVE Q&A EVENTS NATIONWIDE

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9

Live Interactive Q&A Featuring

Ryan Seacrest, Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Keith …

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Top 10 ‘American Idol’ stories of 2012: new judges, successful alums, Seacrest

AMERICAN IDOL: SEASON 12: L-R: Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL: SEASON 12: L-R: Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

This was not a banner year for “American Idol,” though it had little to do with the actual talent presented to the world.

Besides the inevitable, inexorable aging of the show’s audience, which is now about 50 years old (vs. 32 when it debuted in 2002), the show was buffeted by competitive forces in the form of  “The Voice” and “The X Factor.” Ratings fell about 25 percent year over year to its lowest level since season one, when the show aired over the summer.

Here are my top 10 “Idol”-related stories of the year, which includes career updates of many of the biggest stars of “Idol” over the years.

10) Marry me! During the “Idol” finale, season 5 singer Ace Young proposed live to season 3 runner up Diana DeGarmo. She was genuinely surprised in one sense but the two have bonded closely since they met on Broadway during a production of “Hair.” The …

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