This week’s Idol Coach is the legendary singer, Tony Bennett. He’ll be mentoring the kids as they take on the standards.
Bennett, a fan of American Idol, says the contestants can learn a lot from working in front of a live audience, “You learn things like knowing not to stay on the stage too long so you are always welcomed back…I’ve learned everything from my audiences; they have become my best teachers.”
I’m still on vacation, and still playing catch-up. I won’t be watching the show live tonight–I’ll be at the Avalon in Boston watching Taylor Hicks do his thang…
I’ll be recaping the Chicago and Boston shows soon. In the meantime, some items that I missed this week.
Ken Warwick spoke with Chuck Ross of TVWeek.com about last week’s shows. First up, Ken insists that the rumor that Gwen Stefani did not want Sanjaya Malakar to sing her song was “rubbish.”
As far as the voting is concerned, Ken says that the producers receive the final tally at about 2 am after the votes from Hawaii come in. The telephone company calls the producers with the results. They get a very exact list of how each contestant placed, and then Fox’s Standards and Practices follows up to make sure it’s “all fair and right and there are no anomalies.” About busy signals, Ken insists that there is no congestion on the national telephone grid. The source of problems, he says, are the local exchanges.
Ken on why Southern singers do well on Idol, “There’s a lot of church singing going on down there, there are a lot of people who have good voices but they aren’t particularly good singers because they don’t have the muscle control. If you’ve been singing every Sunday in your church for the past 10 years, then that muscle control is something you develop.”
Nigel Lythgoe did a conference call last week with reporters. He says there will never be another World Idol like in 2003, where Kelly Clarkson lost to Norway’s Kurt Nielsen. After Ken Warwick told Chuck Ross of TVWeek that the songwriting competition had been put on the back burner, Nigel now says, “Hopefully they’re still going to do the [songwriting] competition… it isn’t really anything to do with Ken and I. It’s to do with 19 [Entertainment] and 19 Music, which is a separate area…I do believe the songwriting contest is going to continue. Keep your eyes on the website…”
Nigel on Vote For The Worst and Sanjaya Malakar, this season’s teflon-coated contestant, “Can’t you understand why little girls vote for Sanjaya? I can…When you’re getting 30 million votes, whatever that website can do is just not enough.” And more on Sanjaya, “I don’t know what the controversy is, to be frank. He has guts, this kid, and you have to applaud that. If half the people with more talent than him had his guts, we’d be getting better talent all-round. I don’t think he’s stupid.”
Finally on the recent ratings dip, “Even if we lost 50% of our audience, we still would be in the top three programs in the country.”
I’ll end with some short bits on last week’s show. Provident Bank got some free advertising last Tuesday’s performance show. Corporate logos are forbidden on placards brought into the studio by audience members, but employees who work with contestant Lakisha Jones held up signs during the broadcast that said, “Provident Bank is banking on LaKisha to win. The camera zoomed in on the signs three times. According to the New York Times, “Forbes magazine recently reported that a 30-second spot during American Idol costs an average of $745, 000, so to purchase those three seconds from Fox would have cost Provident around $74, 500.”
After last week’s results show audience members were asked to stay for a taping of a solo performance by Akon singing “Don’t Matter”, and then a separate solo performance by Robin Thicke, both, according to Idol staff, for use on a later show.