The women start first tonight in the “American Idol” Top 24 round — and predictions are that a woman will finish first at the end of the season.
Guys have won the last two years of “Idol” — rocker David Cook in 2008 and the mellow Kris Allen in 2009.
But Simon Cowell told reporters last week, “I would say there is a better chance of a girl winning this year than last.
“I’d love to find a Taylor Swift, ” he added, “somebody’s who’s relevant rather than just a contest winner.”
It is a risky strategy.
Ellen is hit with “Idol” fans, Garcia early favorite
As the public get their first chance this week to vote for performers on the top-rated TV talent contest, guitar-playing Andrew Garcia and young mom Crystal Bowersox are emerging as early fan favorites among the top 24.
Garcia, 24, of California, and Bowersox, 24, who plays guitar and mouth organ, won a leading 26.2 and 25.2 percent of votes in the AOL Television poll over the weekend.
Michael “Big Mike” Lynche, whose wife had their first baby while he was competing, was third favorite. But Lynche was also voted the most overhyped, as fans decided by an overwhelming 78.3 percent that highlighting personal stories such as his gave contestants an unfair advantage.
Some 58 percent of those polled said DeGeneres was doing an “awesome” job in her new role, with just 7.4 percent judging her “awful”.
Blake Lewis Plays Beat-boxing Monster for Cartoon Network:
Just booked my first Cartoon. Playing a 3 headed monster named Lump, that beat-box’s. How perfect! Can’t wait till… http://bit.ly/afFLzA
Just got doing my voice overs for Cartoon Network. So fun! http://twitpic.com/14rvky
In the recording booth for my first voice over as three headed monster “Thump”. So much fun! http://bit.ly/d1tr2n
Join Phil on the Love Revolution Tour with Natalie Grant and Britt Nicole
Phil is very exciting to announce that he is hitting the road with Natalie Grant and Britt Nicole this Spring on the Love Revolution Tour. Make sure to check out his tour dates and mark your calendars for all the fun! Check back regularly because more dates are going to be added soon.
More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…
‘Idol’ top 24: Meet the women
The Hollywood round is history; tonight, American Idol (8 ET/PT, Fox) gets down to reality for the semifinals. First up, the 12 women perform, followed by the men Wednesday. USA TODAYchatted with the hopefuls to gain insights:
Jason Castro casts his vote for Lilly Scott
When it comes to the Top 24’s silver-haired wonder Lilly Scott, color Jason Castro impressed. The former finalist tells Idol Tracker he happened to sit in on Lilly’s Hollywood week audition and now places the 20-year-old Colorado native at the top of his list of standouts. “I was in the room and she was so great, ” says Jason excitedly. “Her first song sounded amazing.”
And what exactly was the Season 6 top four finisher’s reason for being at the Kodak Theatre during the height of Hollywood Week? To cheer on his brother, Michael, of course, who was trying out for the second time but got cut after group night. “His audition went fantastic, ” Jason defends, “but he was in the wrong group.”
On ‘Idol, ’ Shifts in Power, Not Talent
Effectively, this season of “American Idol, ” the ninth, is the show’s last. Simon Cowell, its godfather figure, responsible for dashing the ambitions of untold singers and for being the most visible advocate for music criticism in this country, will leave after this year’s finale, in May, to prepare for the United States debut of his own singing competition, “The X Factor, ” next year.
Even in retreat, though, he’s the show’s bread and butter, its most reliable source of wisdom and intrigue. Last week, in a conference call with members of the news media, he talked about what sort of winner he’s hoping for this year.
Worst ‘American Idol’ Semifinalists Ever — #10: Brenna Gethers
For the next two weeks, we’re teaming with Vote for the Worst to name the 10 worst ‘American Idol’ semifinalists ever. Check back tomorrow to see their pick for number nine.
Name: Brenna Gethers
Worst Performance: ‘Last Dance’
Why We Loved to Hate Her: Brenna Gethers’s fate was sealed during the second week of the season 5 semifinals when she made an all-too familiar ‘Idol’ mistake: singing a song with ironic lyrics.
Miami singer makes `Idol’ Top 24
If American Idol’s ninth season sometimes feels like the plot of a Lifetime TV movie — poverty, pregnancies, pity parties — Michelle Delamor’s story stands out.
Perhaps that’s because the Miami contestant who auditioned in Orlando and wowed judges with her take on Chain of Fools is . . . normal.
Until she became a Top 24 finalist, Delamor, 22, was the children’s choir director at Unity by the Bay in Miami. She grew up with a loving family in Miami Shores, graduated from Miami Beach Senior High, and about the only major drama she’ll cop to is, “I was so bad at Driver’s Ed!”
We caught up with her by phone from Hollywood where she was busy selecting the song she’s to sing Tuesday night during Idol’s first live show of the season.
‘American Idol’ Tweets Range From Hair-Care Tips to Book Recommendations
The great “American Idol” social media experiment got off to a mellow start last week. In the handful of days since the show announced that it would allow contestants to post to show-approved Facebook, Twitter and MySpace pages, the chatter so far has been predictably tame, ranging from hair-care tips and props to other singers to nerves, excitement about the first live performance show and a couple of shout-outs to the contestants’ tykes.
The Fate of the Teenage ‘Idol’
As Middlebury teen Katie Stevens begins her competition for home votes tonight on “American Idol, ” she’ll be one of only a few of the 24 to be worrying about something else: homework.
The 17-year-old senior at Pomperaug High School isn’t the youngest contestant this year.
That honor goes to Haeley Vaughn, the country-leaning junior at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, who is 16, as is Aaron Kelly, a senior at Cyber Charter School in Sonestown, Penn. Also still attending school is Alex Lambert, 19, of Richland High School in Forth Worth, Texas.
The only other teen in the Top 24, Katelyn Epperly, 19 of West De Moines, Iowa, is a sophomore at Millikin University in Decatur.
Familiar names top list of WAMI nominees
The Wisconsin Area Music Industry has announced its list of nominees for the 2010 WAMI Awards. Fox Valley fans will be happy to learn this year’s ceremony is being held in their own backyard.
Artist of the Year nominees include Appleton native Cory Chisel, Eau Claire’s Bon Iver, Fever Marlene and Kings Go Forth out of Milwaukee, and American Idol’s Danny Gokey.
Tickets go on sale Monday, March 1, at 10 a.m.
Danny Gokey interview, Allison Iraheta on this Thursday’s ‘Idol’
I got a few minutes on the phone last week with season eight finalist Danny Gokey, who is on a whirlwind radio promotion tour to introduce himself and push his new single “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me.”
Like he was on the show, he came across as humble, yet earnest.
He said he’s enjoyed meeting radio program directors and fans across the country, selling himself as a country artist. “I’m more of a hands-on guy. I like meeting people. I like doing this.” (He does wish he could remember names better after I noted how many people he has probably run across in recent months.)
Country Stars Find Friends in Nashville
Eric Church, “American Idol” finalist Danny Gokey and Randy Houser reveal how Nashville’s friendly reputation extends to the country music community. (Feb. 22)
Me and Katharine McPhee, BFFs
It’s difficult sometimes, when you’re trying to get some work done and there are celebrities standing in your path that you have to chat up to avoid looking rude.
It happened to me Sunday at Auto Club speedway as I was strolling toward the media center and high school classmate/”American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee popped up.
The last time I talked to Katharine was about 10 years ago, when we performed together in “Into the Woods, ” the spring musical at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. Nevertheless, I think her agreeing to sing Sunday’s national anthem was a ploy to reunite with me, her old pal, who is probably just as famous given how I host a weekly high school sports talk show on our Web site.
Inside American Idol Judge Kara DioGuardi’s Home
Home Decor: Celebrity songwriter and New York transplant Kara DioGuardi feels inspired by her Hollywood Hills home. InStyle gives fans a look at the special features that make the American Idol Judge comfortable.
The three-bedroom, Spanish-style abode is filled with abstract oil paintings by DioGuardi’s husband, Mike McCuddy, a home-builder and artist.
DioGuardi says she was first attracted to the home because of its seclusion, and the interior’s beamed ceilings and open floor plan that connects the kitchen, dining room, and den.
Jay Leno’s first guests include Sarah Palin, Simon Cowell and the cast of ‘Jersey Shore’
Sarah Palin and Simon Cowell are among the first guests who have agreed to appear on The Tonight Show when Jay Leno returns on March 1. His first night back isn’t particularly star-powered: He’ll have Jamie Foxx and Olympic Gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn on the couch, with a musical performance by Brad Paisley. But on Tuesday, Leno is sure to get the eyeballs with an appearance from Palin, who will be joined by Olympic Gold medal snowboarder Shaun White. On March 3, the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore will help with Leno’s Jaywalk All-Stars segment while Chelsea Handler and speed skater Apolo Ohno will chat with Leno. On March 4, Matthew McConaughey and Jason Reitman will drop by, followed by Morgan Freeman on March 5 and Cowell on March 8. Joan Jett and The Blackhearts will perform March 9, and Kristen Stewart will appear March 10. Other guests include Dana Carvey on March 11 and Judd Apatow on March 12.
Simon Cowell’s mum says his love for Mezhgan Hussainy has ‘completely turned around’ her son
Simon Cowell’s mother Julie has been speaking about her joy for her son’s new found love with Afghanistan-born make-up artist Mezhgan Hussainy.
Speaking from her Brightonhome, she said: “I knew it was serious when Simon said he had something important to tell me” reveals Julie, 84. “I asked if it was good or bad and he replies, ‘That depends which way you look at it.’ ‘Just tell me, ’ I said. He explained that he had asked Mezhgan to move in with him. Although girlfriends had stayed with him in the past, he had never done that before. This seems to make it official.”
X Factor’s Olly Murs signs to Simon Cowell’s label
Olly Murs has signed a joint deal with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Music and Epic Records.
In what the labels are calling an industry first, 2009’s X Factor’s runner-up will release his debut album through both companies.
The 25-year-old from Essex, who’s performing on the nationwide X Factor arena tour, was mentored by Cowell through the last series of the TV show.
Epic Records has released music from previous X Factor groups including JLS.
On news of the announcement Sonny Takhar, managing director of Cowell’s label Syco, said: “We are thrilled to be involved with Olly. As an artist he ticks every box.”
Derek Hough, Cheryl Burke Back On ‘Dancing, ’ Lacey Schwimmer Out
LOS ANGELES, Calif. —
A handful of professional dancers have confirmed they are heading back for Season 10 of “Dancing with the Stars, ” but even more interestingly, a couple of veterans have announced that they would not be returning to the hit reality program.
Two-time winner Cheryl Burke (with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith) and one time winner Derek Hough (with Brooke Burke) both confirmed on Twitter they will be back for the show’s latest season, which returns to ABC on March 22.
The two pros confirmed their participation in the celebrity reality dancing show via Twitter.
“I’m Not not doing season 10” Derek wrote craftily with a double negative, while Cheryl was more direct, Tweeting, “Got the big call! Can’t wait till next week!!!!”
On Monday afternoon, Mark Ballas also joined the list of dancers returning, Tweeting, “So I uuuuuuuuuh guess i WILL see you next season my friends :)”
But two pros so far have announced they would not be returning for this season – Lacey Schwimmer and Jonathon Roberts.
“Hey twitterbugs! I will not be doing DWTS this season. But be sure to tune in! <3” Lacey wrote.
White House Easter Egg Roll to be ‘Glee’-ful
Being the president’s wife apparently has its perks.
Sources confirm to me exclusively that First Lady Michelle Obama has invited the cast of “Glee” to perform at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 5 — and, barring any last-minute glitches, they’re gonna do it!
Rumor has it Mrs. O and her daughters are big fans of the show. And since a White House gig is an offer that’s pretty darn hard to refuse, “Glee’s” producers did some lickety-split schedule rejiggering in order to honor the request.
PAULA ABDUL: NEXT DAYTIME DIVA?
Even OPRAH thinks PAULA ABDUL’s got a shot at being the next Oprah!
That’s why the ex-“American Idol” judge got O’s personal go-ahead to tape a one-hour TV pilot for brand-new network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).
Format will be Oprah-inspired – lotsa celeb guests, and real people telling inspirational stories. If the pilot clicks, viewers (like me) who’ve missed Judge Wack-a-Doodle will be able to catch her ditzy shtick daily.
Asked if a hosting gig would conflict with rejoining SIMON COWELL on “The X Factor, ” Paula pooh-poohed: “Of course not. If ELLEN DEGENERES can do it…so can I!”
More Idol Headlines:
Howard Stern fires back at Simon Cowell
Did anyone out there really think Howard Stern was going to just sit there and say nothing after Simon Cowell told reporters he didn’t believe the shock jock was qualified to judge “American Idol”? Right. Didn’t think so.
On his satellite radio show on Monday, Stern took aim at Cowell’s suggestion that he lacked the music-industry experience necessary to be an “Idol” judge. “I’m an American icon.… I changed radio, ” Stern told his listeners, reports Examiner.com. Ticking off a list of qualifications including the production of books, movies, live specials and TV shows, he added, “Not only that, throughout my career I’ve been responsible for generating interest and branding a bunch of very longstanding musical artists, musicians and entertainers in this business, and backing them and nurturing them and making sure they had a shot.”
3 Chicago singers bring different styles to ‘American Idol’
The three Chicago-area contestants in “American Idol’s” Top 24 have a couple of things in common: They’re all guys and they’re all in their 20s.
However the musical styles and influences of Lee DeWyze, John Park and Jermaine Sellers couldn’t be more different. In recent phone interviews, the Chicago competitors talked about what to expect from their “Idol” performances (which continue 7 p.m. Central Wednesday; the Top 12 female contestants compete 7 p.m. Central Tuesday on the Fox talent show).
Two Colorado singers belt their way to “Idol” semifinals
Colorado is well-represented on “American Idol” this season. Two of the 24 semifinalists are locals.
Haeley Vaughn, 16, is the pop/country contender from Fort Collins, a junior at Poudre High School.
Lilly Scott, 20, is the “indie classic rocker” from Littleton. She lived in Denver, and her band, Varlet, played in LoDo for years.
Scott soared on a rendition of “Lullabye of Birdland” during “American Idol’s” Hollywood week auditions.
This week on “Idol, ” the top 12 girls perform Tuesday, top 12 guys perform Wednesday, and four semifinalists are cut Thursday.
Former teachers praise Michael Lynche as he commands ‘Idol’ stage
Talk to teachers and former students at Gibbs High School about Michael Lynche, the towering 26-year-old St. Petersburg native who performs Wednesday as part of American Idol’s Top 24 semi-finalists, and the same words keep coming up.
Loyal. Hardworking. Naturally talented. And a gentle giant.
“You might see him at a distance and say, ‘How spooky is that guy?’ ” said voice teacher Phyllis Gessler of Lynche, a personal trainer and onetime standout football player whose size has already earned him the nickname “Big Mike” on the show. “But what a teddy bear of a person he was.”
Bay State’s Ashley Rodriguez and Siobhan Magnus begin ‘Idol’ countdown
Ashley Rodriguez and Siobhan Magnus are ready to conquer prime-time’s No. 1 TV show.
The two Massachusetts songbirds make their debut as part of the top 24 on Fox’s “American Idol, ” tonight at 8 on WFXT (Ch. 25).
“This is my comfort zone. Being on stage is my favorite place to be, ” said Chelsea native Rodriguez, 22, in a telephone interview with the Herald last week from Los Angeles.
Katharine McPhee: 110 Stories Sexy
She’s always up to something, and last night (February 22) Katharine McPhee was spotted at the 110 Stories benefit reading event in Westwood, California.
The “American Idol” babe looked amazing as she posed for the paparazzi outside the Geffen Playhouse, sporting a black and blue getup.
Even More Headlines:
Anoop Desai’s advice for the Top 24: ‘Don’t expect to win!’
More than any other “American Idol” cast, the class of season eight seems poised to produce the most actually successful non-winners. Not only do you have Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta getting major attention for their freshman projects, but Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds and Matt Giraud all have albums or tours in the first half of 2010.
But Anoop Desai has not only beaten those guys to the punch, he might actually repeat before they’re even out of the gate. Next month, ‘Noop Dogg plans to release a six-track EP filled with new music. Then this fall, he plans to do it again. This is all part of his masterplan to stay at the forefront of his fans minds.
As it turns out, having a grand plan is essential to surviving life after “Idol” — and just one piece of advice Anoop has for this current crop of contestants!