The American Idol Series Finale airs tonight at 8/7c pm on FOX. Cue the crying girl!
‘American Idol’ Exec Producer Trish Kinane on Show’s Legacy: ‘I Don’t Think This Is the End’ – “I have no idea what’s going to happen in future, but it’s a classic format,” exec producer Trish Kinane tells Variety. “I don’t think this is the end for ‘Idol’ forever, but in the immediate future, this is the farewell.” On last night’s retrospective special on Fox, the “Idol” team, including creator Simon Fuller, heavily teased a possible reboot of the show, which would hold onto the classic format, but bring changes to the singing competition. While “Idol” brass have talked about bringing the show back, insiders close to Fox tell Variety there are no formal plans to renew “Idol” for another season at this time, but the possibility of a future revival certainly isn’t out of question. The source echoes Kinane’s feelings that the show’s format can be seamlessly rebooted at any time on any platform. – Read more at Variety
‘American Idol’: Keith Urban Talks Trent Harmon’s ‘Amazing’ Coronation Song – “That one just sort of fell by the wayside a little bit,” Urban said of the song. “I was focusing on the songs and the next thing I knew they called me and asked if I would be cool with Trent singing it. I was all for it.” And what did Urban think of Harmon’s performance? “I heard his version of it and it was amazing,” he said. – Read more at Billboard.com
Keith Urban Reveals New Details on His Carrie Underwood Duet on ‘Ripcord’ – With his time as a judge on American Idol coming to an end, Keith Urban is looking forward to the release of his upcoming album, Ripcord — which, the country crooner recently revealed, contains a collaboration with former Idol winner Carrie Underwood. “I wrote this song with this guy called Busbee. The song is called ‘[The] Fighter.’ I would say it’s a call-and-response song between a guy and a girl and Carrie’s on that song with me,” Urban shared. – Read more at Entertainment Tonight
Q&A The starmaker-mentor at ‘American Idol’ shines light on what it takes to succeed after the lights go down – For years the criticism has been that “Idol” is no longer a star maker. How do you respond to that? Your question is, really, can you properly develop someone within four to six months — and you can’t. This show is screening tens of thousands of kids so there’s a huge A&R job being done. But when you get down to the importance of what this show is, well over 50% of the Top 10 have gone on to have a career in music, TV, film or Broadway. They have gone on to have careers. Why haven’t the other shows done that? If you look at “The Voice,” it’s been great for Blake [Shelton] and for Adam [Levine] and the other judges — Gwen [Stefani just had] a No. 1 album — but the focus of “Idol” has always been on the next “American Idol.” It’s a different approach from these other shows. If you look at Cassadee Pope [who won “The Voice” in 2012], we have a huge hit, and that’s three years in the making. – Read more at the Los Angeles Times
‘American Idol’ and Kieran ready to dim the lights one last time – “Kieran, dim the lights,” he says, pointing a finger skyward. The spotlights drop and the studio turns mostly black with an eerie red glow. “Here we go,” Seacrest says, announcing the results to millions of viewers. But none of those viewers know who Kieran is — which is just how a television lighting director likes it. Kieran Healy has been with “Idol” since its very first episode in 2002. After the series finale on Thursday night, he’ll be the one turning the lights off, concluding 14 years of groundbreaking television. It is quite a bio: He was once a roadie, a lighting designer and production manager for The Who. After touring all across the country, he worked on concerts in the early days of MTV, and he has credits on dozens of shows. – Read more at CNN Money
AMERICAN IDOL OUT – I started at FOX in June 2000 and in September of 2001 the world changed. I will always believe that the events of September 11 had a lot to do with why American Idol resonated with the viewers. It’s not like there hadn’t been any talent shows on the networks prior to Idol. I still remember telling my daughter about it and she stared at me and said “Dad, that’s Pop Stars” which was a little show on the WB. She did not seem all that excited. Rupert Murdoch was excited about Pop Idol, which was a big hit in England. His daughter Liz sold him on it and Rupert told Sandy Grushow, Gail Berman and Mike Darnell, the FOX Entertainment chiefs and our head of reality, we were buying it. Rupert told them they needed to make it as big as it was in England. We were all skeptical. – Read more at Revenge of the Masked Scheduler
12 ‘American Idol’ Secrets: Time Zone Trouble, Courting Simon Cowell, House Party – Disasters – 10. Learning From “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Naturally, “American Idol” season two was a high priority for the network, but Murdoch wanted it on the fall 2002 schedule, despite the fact that the first season finale aired September 4, 2002. “As a practical matter, it was impossible to do,” Grushow said. There was no time to prep a new season, and the network had rights to the World Series that fall. “But even more importantly, we had all seen what had happened with ABC and ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ where they over-relied on the show. I felt very strongly that ‘Idol’ should be a once-a-year-affair. I was pushing back hard against Rupert’s desire to turn it around and run it again,” Grushow said. – Read more at The Wrap
American Idol Will Be Missed – American Idol debuted less than a year after 9/11, when a singer with big dreams had no obvious way to get heard. There was no Facebook, no MySpace. YouTube wouldn’t launch for another three years. SMS wasn’t yet common (a lot of Americans sent their first text messages while voting on Idol). In the beginning, Ryan Seacrest co-hosted the show with Ryan Dunkleman. Performers were judged by the pop star Paula Abdul, the producer Randy Jackson, and the record executive Simon Cowell, who’d served as a judge on the original British version, Pop Idol. – Read more at The Atlantic
How “American Idol” destroyed itself: The reality game show changed the rules for music — and made itself obsolete – That “American Idol” actually accomplished one of the things it set out to do—find and celebrate new talent—remains an integral part of its legacy. The track record of other U.S. singing competition shows is hit-or-miss: “The Voice” hasn’t been as strong, despite drawing from a deep talent pool, although current pop darlings Fifth Harmony are alums of “The X Factor.” (Internationally, things are much different, as both One Direction and Little Mix are reality music show alums.) Pre-fab pop music, whether formed by a TV show or a label, has always been stigmatized as being somehow less authentic or even fake. Although “American Idol” didn’t completely erase this perception, it did wonders to underscore that it doesn’t matter how or where a musician was discovered, as long as the talent is there. – Read more at Salon
‘American Idol’s’ Constantine Maroulis returns for series finale: ‘The underdog story worked out wonderfully for me’ – “I had my plans to be a leading man on Broadway and I was on my way to doing that,” he said. “And ‘American Idol’ introduced me to the country, to middle America and the world. And I was able to create a brand there and knowing it was something to cultivate and nothing would be handed to me even if I were to win the show.” Carrie Underwood won that year; Maroulis came in sixth. “I don’t want to sound arrogant or confident,” Maroulis, now 40, said. “I know I am not beating Carrie Underwood. My plan was to fall in the top two. “And one week I had a free-fall off the show,” he added. “Whether it was great television making on their behalf, who will ever know? And I truly don’t care. The underdog story worked out wonderfully for me.” – Read more at New York Daily News
American Idol’ Ends, Eclipsed by Internet Democracy – The early front-runner in Season 9 of “American Idol” was Andrew Garcia, an amiable pop-R&B singer with a smooth voice, a neck tattoo and a relaxed mien. He was also, by some measures, already something of a star. This was 2010, and the YouTube revolution was underway: Mr. Garcia’s cover-song videos on the site were widely liked, which meant that, unlike prior contestants who had come to the show more or less cold, he had a built-in fan base. That was also the first year that “Idol” producers allowed contestants to supervise their own Twitter and Facebook accounts, but a few weeks into the experiment, it was cut short: – Read more at New York Times
First Person: My ‘American Idol’ Experience, by Pia Toscano – Things had been going great for me week after week, but I noticed that I started to plateau. I battled a lot with my nerves and bad stagefright. I knew I had to change it up and start moving around the stage and really owning it. Rock Week came and I couldn’t just stand there again in a pretty gown and sing another ballad. So Nigel chose “River Deep Mountain High” for me. I was terrified of it; I actually had to make use of the stage that I was so scared of. I ended up loving the performance and my version of the song. I was proud of myself, because I had never done something like that before. People seemed to enjoy it, and the judges gave me great remarks – but unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough. I felt it coming. Everyone was so shocked by my elimination that week, but I knew in my heart that it was happening that night. I was eliminated from American Idol in ninth place. – Read more at Yahoo.com
An ‘Idol’ life: John Stevens looks back on the show that shaped his youth –
Without “Idol,” he said, “It would have been the tough road. Opportunities would not have opened up as easily for me. I probably would have attempted to go to Berklee, I don’t know whether I would have succeeded at that. I probably would have ended up doing music education, as opposed to doing performance. I didn’t think when I was a junior in high school that people wanted to listen to Sinatra, even given Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble’s careers. I didn’t have the confidence that I’d be able to make a living at it. I’d be teaching music somewhere without ‘American Idol.’?” After graduating magna cum laude in 2009 from Berklee College of Music with a degree in professional music, Stevens stayed in Boston, where he continues to perform in high-profile settings. He sang “My Way” at the 2014 funeral of Thomas Merino, a beloved former Boston mayor, and sang with the Boston Pops on New Year’s Eve. He also has what he calls “a real job,” working full-time as a concierge in a downtown Boston hotel, sharing his love and knowledge of his adopted city with visitors. – Read more at Buffalo.com
Justin Guarini on the American Idol Reunion: ‘I Feel Like I’m Part of a Living Time Capsule’ – How’s it going? Are you hiding in the corner of the theater right now?
Yeah, they’ve been working me like crazy; we’ve got a whole bunch of rehearsals here today. We’re doing it right where we started in what used to be the Kodak Theatre, now it’s the Dolby Theatre. The whole 15 seasons has a real nice symmetry to it because we’re all ending up right where it began, which is cool.
How would you describe the experience so far? Has it been surreal, or fun, or weird, or some combination of those things? I feel like I’m part of a living time capsule. You know in school when you dug up the time capsule you put in the ground like 15, 20 years ago? I literally feel like I’m doing that, but inside the capsule we’re all different people. – Vulture.com
Pia Toscano on Her New Music and Fiancé Jimmy R.O. Smith: He ‘Is the Most Supportive Person in My Career – He’s My Biggest Fan’ – Watching the TV show that “completely changed” her life come to a close has been sad for Toscano, but as she tells PEOPLE, “All good things must come to an end.” Adds the singer, 27, who will appear on the show’s grand finale Thursday: “It’s a celebration of all this amazing talent and this monstrous platform that has provided opportunity to so many artists, so I’m sad to see it go. It’s such an iconic television show and I’m definitely bummed about it, but I’m super excited to be apart of the finale.” – People.com
‘American Idol’ Final Two Discuss Their Mississippi Showdown, Friendship & Tonight’s Big Finale – “I don’t know if anybody realizes this or not but this a top two from the same state in the greatest singing competition in the history of television,” said Harmon as he held Renae’s hand. “We are actually friends. At night we still text and talk.” Harmon said he had nothing but love for the 22-year old single mother, and would be happy for her if she wins. “She knows how to work, and I feel like it has paid off,” he said. “She’s doing it for her baby.” Asked what she loves about Harmon, Renae said is that he is so “genuine.” – Read more at Billboard
How Pop Stars Killed ‘American Idol’ – It’s tempting to say that American Idol, which closes out its final season tonight, went downhill after the 2010 departure of tart-tongued Brit Simon Cowell — the music-business lifer who transformed “cruise ship” from a benign vacation locale into a contempt-dripping insult, and who exhibited his tireless commitment to the deep v-neck on primetime television. But Cowell’s exit was predated by the real cause of Idol’s decline: the decision to offer judgeships to the incredibly famous, who took the focus off the singers and confused its overall mission. – Read more at Rolling Stone
‘American Idol’ Prepares to Sing Final Tune – At its peak, the ratings juggernaut was averaging more than 30 million viewers a night in 2006, and advertisers like Coca-Cola, AT&T and Ford were lining up to run ads and integrate their products into the live show. But for years, the massive audience that helped cement Fox’s standing among broadcast networks has been steadily declining. There was instability among the judges, competition such as NBC’s “The Voice,” and rising costs that challenged the show’s profitability. – WSJ.com
Love It or Hate It, American Idol Changed the Pop-Culture Landscape for Good – I will miss American Idol, first and foremost, as the last thing about which we all had an opinion. In 2016, we’re an uneasy coalition of rabid fanbases who barely overlap; I myself am a popular-culture fanatic who’s never watched House Of Cards or seen a second of an Avengers film, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed a step. But in the heyday of Idol, whether you watched it every week or avoided, hated, and mocked it, you knew about it. Even if you’d never seen the show, you could do a Simon Cowell impression, simply through cultural osmosis. Idol was either appointment viewing or a sign of the end-times. (During the show’s run, I have held both opinions, often in the space of a single episode.) Do you think The Voice will ever polarize a nation like that? Please. – Read more at Vulture