Zap2it Teams With ‘American Idol’ Sites Idol Inferno, and MJsBigBlog for the Ultimate Idol Fan Chat Series!

I could not be more excited!

I’ve been asked to join Richard Rushfield of Idol  Rickey Yaneza of and Joseph Kapsch of to bring YOU a NEW LIVE weekly chat series!

We’ll be talking Idol here and at the partner site every Thursday afternoon at 10 am pt/1 pm et beginning tomorrow, January 20!

Count on tons of lively, fun and informative conversation. Special guests will include insiders and Idol alumni.

Make sure to join us, will you?

Read the press release after the jump:

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Zap2it, the leading TV and celebrity news web site from Tribune Media Services (TMS), announced its Editorial Director Joseph Kapsch will team with renowned “American Idol” experts on a new live chat series coinciding with the start of the hit show’s tenth season.  The weekly “Idol” conversations will super-serve avid fans who crave an inside look at the competition, its talented contestants and their dramatic performances.

The live chats will bring together a core group of “Idol” experts who share the common bond of being uber-fans.  Regular participants in the discussions which promise to be lively and provocative will include:

  • Richard Rushfield, creator of Idol Inferno ( and author of “American Idol: The Untold Story”
  • Rickey Yaneza, the namesake behind (, called “the essential ‘American Idol’ fan site” by Entertainment Weekly
  • M.J. Santilli, creator of MJsBigBlog ( and “Idol” commentary contributor to the New York Post and AOL Television

Special guests including past “American Idol” performers and insiders will add another dimension to the conversations.  Guests will be announced as the chat series progresses.

The live chats will take place every Thursday at 10AM PT/1 PM ET starting January 20 and running through the end of the “Idol” season in May,  The chats will be available to consumers on each of the participating web sites and blogs as well as on Zap2it editorial partner sites and Tribune-owned TV station and newspaper sites.

This collaboration marks a reunion between Kapsch and Rushfield who first teamed together to bring the Los Angeles Times’ online entertainment offerings to prominence among consumers and the industry in 2008.  Heavy interest in the duo’s coverage of “American Idol” at the time helped reach new audience and page view highs.

“American Idol,” the most watched reality and competition show in modern television history, kicks off its 10th season tonight on FOX.  An off-season shake-up added singer/actress Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith singer/songwriter Steven Tyler to the judging panel to replace the departing Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi.

Zap2it’s comprehensive coverage of the show is aggregated in its “State of the American Idol Union” special section available now at  From the season’s opening audition episodes through the Hollywood and Las Vegas rounds and on to the finale episode in May when the winner is crowned, the “State of the Idol Union” section will serve as the pre-eminent online hub for avid fans of the show.

“‘American Idol’ is one of our lifetime’s true pop culture phenomena so I’m super-psyched to be taking part in this new chat series,” said Joseph Kapsch, Zap2it Editorial Director.  “Collaborating once again with ‘Idol’ pundit extraordinaire, Richard Rushfield, as well as M.J. Santilli and Rickey Yaneza is going to be a blast.  I’m confident that week in and week out, Zap2it readers who are as fanatical as we are for all things ‘Idol’ will be more than satiated by these conversations.”

“Idol Nation is a vast community, spread across the Internet,” added Richard Rushfield, creator of Idol Inferno.  “I’m thrilled to be working with these partners to bring it all together in one great chat room where we will break down the critical issues each week of ‘American Idol’ brings.”

Richard Rushfield’s latest book, “American Idol: The Untold Story” which chronicles the behind-the-scenes action at the most popular TV show in history, is available in bookstores now. is regarded as the fastest-to-market in terms of posting recaps and fan reaction to “Idol” performances.  Created in 2005, MJsBigBlog is a one-stop shop for “American Idol” spoilers, opinion and commentary.

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Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
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  • BootStar

    Congratulations, MJ!

  • Eileen99


  • Incipit

    Hey, that’s a very nice write-up, mj – and this sounds cool. I guess the media ennui for Idol – not so much, this year. ;) I like that it will be available after the fact – and with different POV’s, it ought to garner a good audience.

  • tinawina

    Wow, that’s great mj! Congratulations!

  • Bobbi

    Congratulations, MJ! This is a fantastic idea. I love the fact that we’ll be able to experience so many different viewpoints.

  • Niall

    Sounds great. Rickey’s shown himself to be a flake and weirdo over and over; it surprises me that he still gets these gigs. Rodney Ho or someone else would have been better. Oh well.

  • SpenserJ

    Fabulous, mj! Congrats. I am however mystified how anyone could call Rickey’s site the “essential” idol fan site. Puhleeeze.

  • tierbee

    Congrats, MJ! Looking forward to it :) !

  • Girl4Reba

    Congratulations MJ! I couldn’t be happier for you. I for one am very excited. For all you do each and every season, & I might add so very professionally, I applaud you. Yeah! You go girl!!

  • Valentin432

    Congrats MJ

  • LoveDaRocker

    Very good. Looking forward to it.

  • emmuzka

    So the chats are text based, right? No audio?

  • larc

    Oh, I like the sound of this! Congrats, MJ.

  • TwigLA

    Grats, MJ. I’ll join the ranks in questioning Rickey’s inclusion. Rodney Ho, Lindsey Parker, or even Melinda/TI seem like much better choices.

    I’d prefer a video chat, because voice and facial expressions often convey clearer messages than the written word. I really enjoyed the round tables that were done last year.

  • Mtlfan

    congrats mj!!!!

  • khomphuong

    Congrats Mj and Rickey.

  • luvadamlambert

    cooooool-congratulations! :)

  • sagi

    Sounds fun, I could do without Rickey though! :( MJ and Richard seem so professional with their blogs, Rickey is just weird and so passive aggressive.

  • bmms

    Huge CONGRATS to MJ! This will definitely be exciting.

  • jersey

    Congratulations, MJ! I feel like I’ve watched you grow up! I can’t wait!

  • Rickey

    Michael Slezak when he was in Entertainment Weekly wrote that was the essential American Idol fan site.

    I co-hosted this live chat with Richard Rushfield and Zap2It last season. Carly Smithson joined us at one time and it was a lot of fun. However, a lot of “Idol” writers join the chat as well so it will be a blast.

    A couple of seasons ago MJ and Jim Cantiello joined me for a voice chat (“IdolGeeks“) immediately after the show, but Jim got too busy at MTV doing his live blog/video reactions we couldn’t do it anymore.

    The first time I ever joined a round table was during Season 7 for MTV. MJ, Jim, Maura and Michael were there. That was pretty awesome.

  • CarieB

    Well, they couldn’t have tapped anybody better or more suited to the job! Congrats, MJ!

  • http://MJO judes

    That’s great MJ. Will look forward to seeing how this pans out.

  • abbysee

    I am gonna be nice because I see we have company, so I will just say yay for MJ and her BigBlog, which imho is the bestest fucking idol blog by far!

    Everyone check your pockets before you leave…..

  • Mark

    Hey, congratulations!!! This should be lots of fun.

  • J9BT

    01/19/2011 at 4:13 pm
    Michael Slezak when he was in Entertainment Weekly wrote that was the essential American Idol fan site.

    Sorry, Rickey, but I think that MJ’s is the essential American IDOL fan site!

  • GreenHippo

    Where do I go when I want to know anything Idol, or Idol-related or Idol-similar? Here MJ’s!!! Yay, this is very cool, congratulations MJ, this is well deserved.

  • Rickey

    I think my blog is still well-known for my American Idol fanhood. This is why fans and these websites still turn to me for my insight. However, over the past couple of years and specially last year, I made a conscious effort to branch out into pop culture and treat other Reality TV shows with the passion I covered American Idol. I believe MJ has gone in the other direction and dug deeper into everything Idol. For example, the Idol summer tours which I covered almost daily for two years, I dropped last season — which MJ covered even more this summer. I still remember a conversation with MJ before when she told me she couldn’t do what I did during the summer tour which was spend hours every night covering everything — and yet, she eventually did it.

    Also, if you don’t agree with Michael Slezak and Entertainment Weekly, bring it up with him, not me. He wrote the article in the print magazine.

  • Niall

    I doubt Slezak would repeat his assertion about Rickey’s blog. It’s pretty clear who has lapped him in AI blogdom, and where the interest is.

    Mj, will you all be taking requests regarding AI alumni guests or is that in the hands of a producer?

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Congratulations, MJ! This chat sounds like fun!

    We’ll be talking Idol here and at the partner site every Thursday afternoon at 10 am pt/1 pm et beginning tomorrow, January 20!

    So all we need to do is come here to follow the chat? What is the URL of the “partner site”?