Idol Headlines for 1/18/08

‘Idol’ Talent Not as Amateur as Fans Thought

Is TV’s “American Idol” becoming a slick way to promote wannabe stars with previous experience in the music industry rather than a showcase for raw, undiscovered talent?

This question is being asked after it was revealed that prior to appearing on the show, some contestants have been signed to million-dollar deals by record companies. As first reported by New York Magazine, several of this season’s “Idol” hopefuls are less amateur than the show would lead viewers to believe — and may actually be some of the most seasoned contestants the competition has ever seen.

One in particular, Irish singer Carly Hennessy, has an impressive music resume. Her album can be bought online or at record stores.

ABC News

‘Idol’ season 7’s first semi-scandal: the semi-pros

The TiVo’s barely gone cold on the second episode of American Idol, and already, a scandal? OK, it’s not quite on the level of Corey Clark producing Paula’s receipts from Fred Segal, but for the die-hard Idolizers out there, this is legit. Should the competition be open to semi-professionals? Like contestants who’ve had previous major label recording deals, were managed or produced by a big-time music industry name, or have even been nominated for a Grammy? The intrepid sleuths at blew the lid off this story, listing no less than 13 alleged top 50 contestants with a not-so-amateur past.


More Idol Headlines After The Jump

‘American Idol’ Fans Weigh In On Connected Contestants

On Tuesday night, “American Idol” audiences were introduced to Kristy Lee Cook, the winsome 23-year-old kickboxing cage-fighter from Oregon who purportedly sold her favorite horse to pay her way to the Philadelphia auditions. Following the two-hour, season-seven premiere, fans rushed to the Internet’s various “Idol” forums and message boards, praising Cook’s performance and declaring her an early favorite for the show’s eventual title crown.

Others, though, went on the offensive to protest the comely blonde’s “Idol” eligibility, considering she’s not exactly the greenest contender in the running. Of course, there were a few others who just couldn’t help but comment on the obvious: “That chick’s so freakin’ hot.”

Final Wednesday ‘Idol’ premiere ratings

It took only took nights and four hours of American Idol to move FOX into first place for the season.

The second night of American Idol, this one featuring auditions from Dallas, averaged 30.4 million viewers and a 12.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic. Those Final Live + Same Day National Ratings were off by 3 million viewers and 1.2 demographic ratings points from Tuesday’s premiere.

As I observed in my analysis of Tuesday’s ratings, Idol dropped only 600, 000 viewers between the first and second nights last year. As retention goes, that’s insane. The 3 million fall was actually better than the 3.9 million Tuesday-to-Wednesday drop from two years ago and many times better than the 6.9 million drop in 2005.


Final ‘Idol’ Premiere Ratings

So is Chris Daughtry right about American Idol being in decline, or is it mighty silly to be up-in-arms about an 11 percent year-to-year viewership decline for a show that remains far and away TV’s most popular?

I guess it depends on how you look at things.

The Final Live + Same Day National Rations are out for Tuesday (Jan. 15) night’s premiere of American Idol and already silly people on the Internet are claiming that a total viewership figure averaging 33.4 million (up a smidge from the Fast National estimates) is a sign that the Idol stranglehold on the TV landscape is finally over.


Randy Jackson: There Would Be No Chris Daughtry if There Wasn’t American Idol

American Idol judge Randy Jackson spoke to Rolling Stone Brian Hiatt yesterday to discuss a plethora of issues and predictions for this season version of the show. During the conversation, Chris Daughtry comments about the show decline came up, and Jackson defended the program credibility. …I love Chris. I think he made an amazing record that he sold extremely well, Jackson said. …He a testament to the fact that no matter where you finish on Idol’ even if you finish twelfth’ if you make a great record and you got that kind of exposure, the public will resoundingly buy it. But the bottom line is there would be no Chris Daughtry if there wasnt American Idol.


Chris Daughtry Apologizes for ‘American Idol’ Slam: ‘I’m … Just Being Honest’

Chris Daughtry, the former “American Idol” fourth-place finisher-turned-rock star has backpedaled a bit for some recent negative comments he made about the show that launched him to stardom.

Alongside a picture of him in a “What are ya gonna do?”-type pose, Daughtry posted a lengthy apology on his official blog on Monday for slights he made in a Rolling Stone interview that were perceived as a criticism of “Idol.” In the interview posted on the eve of the season seven debut, Daughtry was quoted as saying, “I feel like it’s definitely lacking some credibility at this point … It’s in a state of decline and if they don’t do something about it, it’s probably not gonna last too much longer. I’m sure that’ll be used against me, but that’s the truth, you know?”


Fun with Daughtry Idol Quotes

(antiMusic) Former American Idol contestant and top selling artist of 2007, Chris Daughtry is in a bit of a whirlwind of controversy following a Rolling Stone article where he is quoted as saying that American Idol is in decline. [The drop in ratings back him up] Daughtry took to his website following the publishing of the article and tried to clarify his remarks saying that they were taken out of context.

While we published part of his statement yesterday where he claimed they left out all of the good things he said about the television karaoke contest that made him a star, RS went on the offensive and posted the entire transcript and a recording of the interview. While we didn’t find too many “good things” he had to say about the show, we can’t argue with the negative things either. Perhaps he was referring to the following comments as the good ones? “It just gave me the opportunity to show people who I was. And that’s not saying that in a cocky way, but all I’m saying is I was an artist before I went on the show.”


‘American Idol’: A very thin line

Each season of “American Idol” asks our nation not just to choose our champion, but to decide what kind of people we are. What makes us, American viewers of “American Idol” (as opposed to viewers of “Lithuanian Idol” or “Indonesian Idol” or any other franchise of the worldwide empire) unique? In choosing an idol, we say what as a people we aspire to be -‘ are we a whimsical beat boxing people or are we at heart a perky yet sincere balladeering people? The great questions of our age each year sort themselves out on the “Idol” stage.

This year, the preseason audition episodes force us to confront another question haunting society: Where is the line between deluded belief in one talent and actual mental illness, or sadder still, mental handicap?

This is the line that the audition episodes walk. We all as a society agree that it is wrong and not endearing to mock the disabled. We also as a society believe that it is impossible not to laugh at healthy-minded people who nurture catastrophic blind spots about their own abilities. The show by and large seems to recognize that line, saving its worst abuse for the merely misguided, while the truly, clearly handicapped receive gentler letdowns.


‘American Idol’: The seven-year itch?

And so, again, out of many, (very very many) will come one. In these days of modern entertainment, with all our special effects and fancy editing tricks, somehow we have lost that which throughout history has formed the basis of drama -‘ the site of a cast of thousands amassed for combat.

Yes, we have our Lords of the Ringses and our Bravehearts with their sweeping pans over millions of little cartoon orcs and swordsmen, but somehow even the best graphic effects the entertainment industrial complex has to offer leave one cold; nothing stirs the heart like a De Mille pan over scores of extras packing their huts, each one in his own way dreaming of escaping to a better life as they race to flee pharaoh. No amount of modern alchemy can re-create the one plaintive voice amidst the crowd crying at his obstinate mule, …400 years of bondage and today he won’t move!


Five Essential Moments from Last Night’s American Idol

Day two of the American Idol open-call phase featured more uber-kindness from the judges, and more singers who may be serial killers (the fingernail keeper, the breathing-exercises Bon Jovi guy’ see below). The Dallas auditions brought a farmer and a frat boy, plus wannabe Carrie Underwoods (Jessica Brown), bizarro Kelly Clarksons (Beth Maddocks) and a dead ringer for James Van Der Beek (Colton Swon). But for the five best moments from last night episode, check out these quick clips:


Paula Danced, Simon Hugged and Ryan Kissed a Girl

The first thing we learned about the Dallas auditions was that a girl went into labor at the audition and named her baby …Idol. No way he going to have trouble living up to that name.

Here are the highs and lows:


Idol Chatter: Deep in the Psyche of Texas

BEFORE EVEN BEGINNING to watch this episode, a viewer wishing to maintain his sanity must prepare for the inevitable: “AI” can’t go to a place like Dallas without indulging in a shameless listing of Texas stereotypes and catch phrases.

So let’s make a game of it: We’ll see how many of them “Idol” can pack into the show’s first 3 minutes:


When Did American Idol Get So Emotionally Violent?

The seventh season of American Idol debuted this week with a new focus on the contestants’ biographies and back stories. After the first episode aired, Slate contributors and staffers began to consider what they’d seen. Is the show meaner than it used to be? Why the focus on sad-sack freaks? Read our whole discussion below:


Alexis Cohen: From American Idol To A Times Square Sidewalk

Fox had the Pennsylvania-native hop on Amtrak yesterday, and filmed her interacting with pedestrians in the freezing cold on the sidewalk in Times Square. Never before has the channel’s journalistic brand of “dance, monkey, dance” been so overt — or shamefully entertaining. But perhaps we shouldn’t feel too guilty about laughing at (with?) Alexis. According to her MySpace profile, she is a member of two different improv troupes. (The Tool and Ministry fan is also a Wiccan and hails from “the planet UR Rectum.”) Clip above.


Paula Abdul’s Stalker Revealed: Apparently He Does This Sort of a Thing for a Living

If you watched American Idol last night, you probably remember Paul Martrurano, the creepy 32-year-old whose ode to stalking Paula Abdul brought the world the line “If I were Columbo, I’d Peter Falk her.” It turns out that the song is by Marturano’s band The Hairy Aureolas; a raunchier version of “Stalker, ” along with a song with the charming title “Wet Fart At My Girlfriend’s, ” are on the band’s MySpace page. But it turns out this isn’t the first time that these guys have made a play for a judge of a 19 Entertainment-produced show! Yes, that’s right: The increasingly desperate Idol producers may even be getting ringers for the “funny” contestants now. And those ringers aren’t that funny! After the jump, check out the Hairy Aureolas’ ode to Sheila E., which they performed 10 years ago on The Magic Johnson Hour. Yes, that’s right, 10 years ago. At least they’ve got … pluck?


American Idol Promotes Global Brotherhood, Shaky Singing

Last night, American Idol went to Dallas for its second audition episode, but things seemed a little, well, strange. The judges seemed to be going through the motions, the night’s big finish was an eight-minute attempt to bring the world the next William Hung, and a lot of the people who got through had auditions severely lacking the oft-discussed “wow factor.” Is everyone just tired? Could everyone just be exhausted after last year’s anticlimactic run–especially the viewing public? Fox won the night handily again, but ratings were down 19% from last year’s second episode.


Cowell’s harsh words fail to hurt Edwardsville ‘Idol’ contestant

Kyle Reinneck’s experience with “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell’s infamous criticisms aired Wednesday night during the Fox show’s Dallas auditions.

The 20-year-old Edwardsville man sang about 40 seconds of “Never Again” by former “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson before being interrupted by Cowell.


Ask The Answer Bitch

With so many former American Idol winners and contestants being dropped by their record labels, is that show still important? Has it lost its magic?

The B!tch Replies: A puzzle, really. J Records had a phenom like Taylor Hicks, who so beautifully merges the 1970s faux soul of Michael McDonald with the carefully manufactured excitement of a revivalist power-pop barn dance, and all in one pair of pointy-toed boot things. And then they go and drop him.


Jennifer Hudson joins Perry’s ‘Family’

Jennifer Hudson is negotiating to star in “Tyler Perry’s the Family That Preys, ” a drama Perry wrote and will direct and star in for Lionsgate.

Sanaa Lathan, Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodard and Rockmond Dunbar are already set for the project, which begins shooting March 2 at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

Script focuses on two families from different sides of the tracks that become intimately involved in love and business.


Zaxby’s relaunches Boneless Wings

Boneless Wings will be available until the end of March on the chain Meal Dealz menu, which features combination items that come with seasoned Crinkle Fries and a 22-ounce drink for $4.99 to $5.49. Guests may order Boneless Wings as a meal or a la carte.

To publicize the return of the guest favorite, the chain has enlisted the help of four celebrities for the next installment of its …indescribably good advertising campaign that was rolled out last fall. Cameras captured amusing, unscripted responses from “American Idol: Season Three” runner-up Diana DeGarmo, actor John Schneider, NFL star Jerry Rice and NBA star Dominique Wilkins.

Fast Casual

For the Record

The new season of “American Idol” is under way, of course ‘  but don’t forget about last year’s winner, Jordin Sparks. The 18-year-old singer is continuing to promote her self-titled debut, which was released in late November, with a chat and performance of “Tattoo” on Fox’s “Talkshow With Spike Feresten” on Saturday night. Jordin Sparks has had a poor outing, barely cracking the Billboard albums chart’s top 10 in its first week of release. …


Taylor Hicks Fans Are Crazy

Last week, we posted an item suggesting that Hicks might have tried to conceal the identity of a woman enjoying his favors; as of now there are 415 comments, many from the brigade of angry Hicks devotees hell-bent on defending their hero’s good name. Which poses the question: How do you get to a place in your life where you’re spending your time on the Internet in support of a game-show winner who makes Michael Bolton look edgy? There’s a whole world out there, people; open your door and go look.


Hicks gets slick

Just like when he slowly but surely won over many to his cause during the fifth season of the popular TV singing contest, American Idol, Taylor Hicks broke stereotypes and exceeded expectations when he flew in rece