‘Idol’ tweaks its formula to stay fresh for Season 8
How long can the dominant but aging American Idol keep hitting the high notes?
Television’s top-rated series opens Season 8 Tuesday (Fox, 8 ET/PT) with its hugely popular auditions while trying to freshen a format now well into the TV version of middle age.
Although Idol is expected to easily maintain its No. 1 status, last season’s ratings drop was its biggest yet, Season 7 champ David Cook hasn’t ignited the charts, and some wonder how long a devoted fan base will remain loyal in a medium as fickle as television.
To stem Idol fatigue, the show has made changes: a fourth judge, Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi; an extra week of Hollywood rounds with the return of group performances; and a larger semifinalist field along with reinstatement of the judges’ wild-card picks.
Kara DioGuardi happy to croon ‘Idol’ critiques
New American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi will figuratively sing some performers praises. For others, she will literally sing critiques.
“For me, it’s so much easier to show them” how their song could be interpreted, the award-winning songwriter says. “That’s what I do every day in the studio when I’m talking to the artist, like ‘Why don’t you try it this way?’ I use my voice to express that.”
More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…
In the air: ‘Idol’ No. 8: You know what’s coming
It’s not exactly Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œAmerican Idol: Extreme Show Makeover,Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ but when the eighth season of Fox TV’s reality juggernaut kicks off Tuesday, Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œIdolÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ will be singing a slightly re-mixed tune.
Songwriter Kara DioGuardi will be joining Randy, Paula and Simon at the judges’ table. The semifinalist roster will grow from 24 singers to 36, and the wild-card round has returned. It also looks like the show will be devoting less time to the freaky audition episodes, although I am sure they will feel as excruciatingly long as ever.
And that is probably as it should be. Because one of the best things about Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œAmerican IdolÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ is how dependably disastrous it truly is.
New ‘American Idol’ Judge Kara DioGuardi Insists She Fits In
Being the new kid is never easy, and “American Idol” rookie Kara DioGuardi will have millions of people watching her every move when she debuts on the show Tuesday. So how is the new judge fitting in with the time-tested trio of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson?
“It took a minute to be yourself and also find a place in the show where you weren’t at all detracting from the people around you or inhibiting them in any way,” DioGuardi said in a conference call with reporters Thursday (January 8). “It’s something I’m still working on. I think I’m there”
The Watcher: Will Kara DioGuardi be ‘Idol’s’ second real judge?
In just a few days, the first episode of “American Idol” arrives, and your life won’t be the same until May.
Much of the early-season attention will fall on new judge Kara DioGuardi, who is about to go from moderate obscurity to a spot somewhere between Paris Hilton and Barack Obama on E!’s list of most important Americans.
DioGuardi is not without rÃƒÆ’ ©sumÃƒÆ’ ©. She has written songs for dozens of major artists, including Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, and is a talent executive for Warner Bros. records.
5 BEST “American Idol” Top 12ers
Hoo boy! American Idol doesn’t start for another few days and already great chunks of the TV-gobbling populace hate my guts. The vitriol started mighty early this year. And you know what? I love it. All’s fair, I say. I attack your dopey faves; you attack doughy bloggers. However, all my friends and enemies, the powers-that-be will delete your comments if you curse up a blue streak. So while you are free to call me fat, “Jabba-esque” even, you can’t modify said zinger with any version of the f-bomb. Trust me: Your comments will have a lot more oomph if they actually stay on the page.
So now, where were we? Ah yes. Yesterday we accurately tackled the 5 Worst American Idol Top 12ers. Today, the 5 BEST American Idol Top 12ers. See? Pop Life is soooo positive! (If you’re wondering who’s gonna be surly this time, we should be hearing from the Claymates…right…about…now.)
The Season Doesn’t Start For Another Few Days, But I Already Have My Favorite “American Idol” Contestant
Meet Adam Lambert, a Los Angeles-based singer who the judges’ panel apparently liked enough to make him go through to the top 50. (Recall that this year, the 36 top candidates will make it to the big stage in Hollywood, as opposed to the 24-member semifinalist casts of previous years.) Lambert’s Jake Shears-meets-Frank N. Furtery version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” is above, and while I am kinda bowled over by its over-the-top, er craziness, I should note that I was one of those people who thought “Take Your Mama” was going to be a massive crossover hit a few years back. Apply your grains of salt accordingly, but do note that he at least isn’t trying to win peoples’ hearts by doing dopey Britney impressions.
UPDATE: Jackson woman to be on ‘American Idol’
Here’s what Blackman Township resident Jessika Baier can say: She’s one of 16 singers who auditioned for “American Idol” in Puerto Rico and got a chance to sing before the show’s four judges.
What she’s not allowed to say until the episode featuring her airs Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ possibly next week during the season premiere Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ is whether Simon, Randy, Paula and new addition Kara DioGuardi sent her to Hollywood.
Baier, 20, won a July talent contest sponsored by Moose Lodge 156, earning a plane ticket to San Juan for Aug. 2 auditions along with 300 others.
She was told to come back to Puerto Rico on Sept. 29. Neighbors chipped in and organized a garage sale that raised $2,000 for her return trip.
With a non-stop year full of once-in-a-lifetime moments, screaming fans, and a chart-topping, self-titled album, you would think it would faze singer DAVID ARCHULETA, but, as Amy Choate-Nielsen finds out, the spotlight of fame hasnÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t seemed to faze him one bit. HeÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s still just David.
ItÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning, and David Archuleta is standing in a corner of the Los Angeles International Airport talking to me on the phone.
HeÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s got his back turned, a trick he learned to try to stay incognito, and heÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s facing the wall, but it only takes a minute for the first person to walk by and happily ask for an autograph. Sure, heÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s on the phone. And sure, heÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s so tired he yawns and apologizes for it about every five minutes. But no, itÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s no problem to sign an autograph.
Welcome our new Idoltracker — Phil Stacey!
The Idoltracker blog is pleased to welcome a very exciting new member to our team: Season 6 alumnus and country and gospel star Phil Stacey, who will be joining us for the entire season to share his insight from his days in the Idoldome. From Phil we will hear what might be going on in the minds of the contestants, what the pressures are and the thinking behind the critical decisions made each week. We are delighted to have him aboard as part of the Idoltracker family.
And now, without further ado, following is the introductory post of a giant of the Idoldome, Mr. Phil Stacey
Celebs Have High Expectations for Obama
Jordin Sparks, perky: “I’m excited to see what he can bring to the country and how he can help the economy while promoting volunteerism. And if he needs a babysitter, he just needs to call me!”
Theater Review: Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‹GreaseÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢
CHICAGOÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ When we think of “Grease” most of us think: large cast and gobs of glitz. But this musical, written by Chicagoan Jim Jacobs with the late (transplanted to Chicago from New York) Warren Casey, originated as a small scale show. Over the years it has grown into a mega-phenomenon.
The road production that is now at The Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University has gone back to it rootsÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ it is just what it was meant to beÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ show-casing strong talent and a cast of high energy performers. A total of 25 actors make up the entire cast.
Taylor Hicks poised to take post-Teen Angel flight
Taylor Hicks knows how to make an entrance.
The “American Idol” crooner-turned-Teen Angel descends from heaven in a giant ice cream cone for “Beauty School Dropout,” his big number in the Broadway tour of “Grease” (through Jan. 18 at the Auditorium Theatre).
Hicks is fine with heights. Ah, but the hair issue is a different story. It’s a second job, taming his signature gray mop — Hicks started graying at 14 — into a 1950s pompadour. The process takes “as long as it takes from 1950 to 2008,” the 32-year-old singer jokes. “I don’t think it would work in this day and age. I might not have won ‘American Idol’ with a pompadour.”
It’s a perfect weekend for going to the dogs
Calling all dog lovers: This weekend is for you. Bring your friendly four-legged friend and enjoy Seattle Dog Winterfest Saturday and Sunday at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the waterfront while helping raise money for Ginger’s Pet Rescue of Seattle and the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation.
The highlights of the weekend are a meet-and-greet from noon-4 p.m. Saturday with Cesar Millan, of National Geographic Channel’s “Dog Whisperer,” and a dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday honoring Millan. The $300-per-person fundraising dinner will also feature a musical performance by “American Idol’s” Blake Lewis and a slide show about Ginger’s Pet Rescue.
The World Is Complete, Sanjaya’s Long Awaited Album is Here: Listen
The “American Idol” alum who I liked to refer to as “My Little Pony,” Sanjaya Malakar, is releasing his first album with a book to accompany it (why … why not.) His album is called “Dancing To The Music In My Head.” His book, which shares the same title, is being published by Pocket Books and is described as a memoir.
Oh man, this is rich, I can not wait for all the hub-bub to start on this — wait, are we over him, or do we love him? I never know! Either way, this is bound to give me a little guilty pleasure. A ton to talk about with the gals at water aerobics! After the jump, take a listen to a few songs, I promise it’s soooooooooo worth it.
American Idol Experience Contestant Preview
There are a couple websites out there talking about what the guest experience will be like for those in the audience at the American Idol Experience, which is currently in soft-opening phase (which means not guaranteed to be open on any particular day and no golden tickets awarded) at DisneyÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s Hollywood Studios. But IÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ve been given a few details from a couple first hand accounts of what the audition and show performance is like from those guests lucky(?) enough to pass the muster.
So if youÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢re considering auditioning. Heads up. HereÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s your first look at what youÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ll need to be prepared for.
Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell Attempt To Recapture the Island Magic
After yesterday’s fleshy collection of Steve Martin/Martin Short beach photos, we were feeling charitable toward seaside man-duos (we are not going to say “bromance”…we’re just not.) Then, Ryan Seacrest came along.
This latest addition to the Defamer beefcake collection (of Seacrest and his man-duo partner Simon Cowell jetskiing in the Caribbean) is ideal for those Seacrest fantasists who had always imagined him in his off hours, adorned in nothing but a vest, a saucy, come-hither stare, and something dangling from his lips. Enjoy, and kill yourself.
Simon says try new things
Simon Cowell says American Idol is not an “inherently mean show.” (REUTERS/Fox/Handout)
When Simon Cowell was asked about the notion of the Emmy Awards adding a category for best reality-show judge, he didnÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t sound too confident about his own prospects.
Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œWell, itÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s a good thing, providing I win, and itÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s a bad thing if I lose,Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ Cowell said. Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œI wouldnÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t hold my breath on winning.Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬
Indeed, the subjective nature of the phrase Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œbest reality-show judgeÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ comes with the word Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œbest.Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ How might one evaluate such a thing?
Lord Lloyd-Webber: Simon Cowell doesn’t work hard enough with his artists
Simon Cowell should work harder with his artists, Lord Lloyd-Webber has suggested, contrasting his own treatment of up-and-coming talent with that of the X-Factor impressario.
The composer hit out at Cowell after putting identical twins Francine and Nicola Gleadall, who were rejected from the X Factor, into the final of his BBC One show to find a good Eurovision act for Britain.
Cowell, 48, had described the pair as having “the personality of two bananas”. They were ejected at the boot camp stage of the show.
But Lord Lloyd-Webber criticised Cowell’s attitude with some of his artists, saying he had ” a problem”.
He said: “I think the public will fall in love with them. If Simon Cowell didn’t think so, that’s his problem.
Dakota Fanning On Jennifer Hudson: Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‹SheÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ll Make It Through AnythingÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢
Jennifer Hudson has remained out of the spotlight since the tragic murder of her mother, brother and nephew in October, but her Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œSecret Life Of BeesÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ co-star, Dakota Fanning, told Access Hollywood that sheÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s certain Jennifer will Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œpull through.Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬
Dakota told Access Thursday night at the CriticsÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ Choice Awards that sheÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢d had contact with the Academy Award-winning actress since the tragedy and would support her in any way needed. Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œThe cast and the director and the producers have just let her know weÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢re all here for her,Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ the young actress told Access. Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œSheÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s really strong, so I know sheÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ll pull through, but, itÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s really, itÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s really tough.Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬
Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œThe Secret Life Of BeesÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ cast, which also includes Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo, became very close knit during production, said Dakota.
Clarkson’s Album Cover, Title, Real Face – Revealed!
Well, here it is! And by it, I mean the cover for Kelly Clarkson’s new album – “All I Ever Wanted.” I am digging this shot of her standing in front of what looks like the wrapper for a Willy Wonka candy treat way more than the one she’s using to promote her single, ‘My Life Would Suck Without You.’
I’m also happy that the rumored album title, “Masquerade,” was just that – a rumor. Plus, it’s nice to see that she eased back on the photoshop this time around.
What do you think of the cover and title for her disc, dropping March 17?
Kelly Clarkson Reveals Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œAll I Ever WantedÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ Album Cover, Amazon Previews First Single
That image up there is the cover for Kelly ClarksonÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s new album, All I Ever Wanted, due out March 17th. Earlier this week we reported that the first-ever American IdolÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s new LP would be called Masquerade, but we were trusting the Wall Street Journal on that, so donÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t blame us. Like the singerÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œMy Life Would Suck Without YouÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ single, the cover depicts a shiny, happy Clarkson, one ready to step out of the shadows of the brooding My December and reclaim her pop throne. Personally, the image kinda reminds us of another Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…â€œcomebackÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ album: Britney SpearsÃƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ Blackout.