CAROLING WITH CHIKEZIE! A Q&A
There’s a general rule in the entertainment industry that unless one is truly exceptional (Cher, Madonna, Charo), one has to earn the right to be called by a single name.
Many American Idol contestants who are barely known outside their local food courts, however, have flouted that rule before disappearing back to obscurity and, let’s hope, finding their other name.
Not so Season 7’s 10th place finisher Chikezie. He dropped the “Eze” but never dropped out of sight, due to his short but memorable stay on the show, his Luther Vandross-esque vocals and his gloriously boffo version of The Beatles’ I’ve Just Seen A Face.
‘American Idol’ Producer: Paula’s Job Is Not In Danger
But Idol executive producer Ken Warwick — on a conference call with reporters this afternoon — insisted that Paula’s job has never been in danger and made it sound as if the powers that be will do whatever is required to keep her on board: “There’s never been any discussion that we would want to get rid of Paula. Even if there were people in production that didn’t like her. And Simon’s one of them. He bobbles in and out. He dislikes her one minute, he loves her the next. But the truth is, we’ve never had a discussion of, is her job in jeopardy? No, it’s not! America loves Paula. She’s an integral part of this program. And as far as I’m concerned, I hope she’s there until the day it comes off the air. End of story.”
More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…
‘American Idol’ Producer Insists Season-Eight Adjustments Aren’t ‘Panic Changes’
“Wherever we can, we wanna change things up a little bit, ” he said. “We felt that in doing the 12-and-12, that by the time we got down to the final eight, we’d been living with these kids for eight weeks already. If any of them didn’t have fantastic characters, it got a bit boring.”
One of the biggest complaints about the old system was the placing of contestants into groups and only allowing two from each set to advance. What if there were more talented people in one group than another? Warwick said that problem has been remedied by allowing three from each group into the finals instead and bringing back the judges’ wild-card picks.
“It’s fairer than it was in the past in that three are going through instead of two, so there’s less chance of us missing somebody, ” he insisted.
‘American Idol’ tweaks hit format for 8th season
Changes are coming to “American Idol” when it returns in January, including a return to “wild card” finalists picked by the show’s judges and less airtime for memorably bad auditions. But don’t expect the show to abandon its affection for untalented contestants, executive producer Ken Warwick said Monday.
Failing to include them would mean, “I would have a pretty boring show on my hands and it wouldn’t be honest, ” Warwick told a telephone news conference. The majority of those who tried out in Puerto Rico, for example, weren’t very good, he said.
Fox’s hit talent contest will open its eighth season with a two-night, four-hour premiere on Jan. 13-14 from 8-10 p.m. EST, the network said.
Talent to get more time on “Idol”; Abdul’s job safe
“American Idol” will focus less on early auditions and give more time to performers who make it to Hollywood when the top-rated U.S. television talent show returns to the air in January, producers said on Monday.
Since its inception in 2002, “American Idol” has produced bona fide stars such as Kelly Clarkson, country singer Carrie Underwood and Oscar-winning singer/actress Jennifer Hudson.
Warwick added that producers had tweaked the format slightly for the new season “to make it more interesting.”
Jingle Ball’s speedy pace a pity and a mercy
The best thing about KDWB’s annual Jingle Ball, which filled the Xcel Energy Center with 13, 673 screaming fans Monday night, was the rapid-fire pace.
Across the four-hour St. Paul show, a half-dozen acts performed sets ranging from 15 to 30 minutes apiece, providing a breezy snapshot of pop music in 2008. Alas, the brevity meant the good (terrific multi-platinum sexpot Rihanna) and the bad (shrill New York dance artist Lady GaGa) whizzed by at a nearly equal clip.
Z100’s Jingle Ball 2008: In Which Ne-Yo Makes Us Believe In Pop Again
So, Friday night was the 2008 installment of Z100’s end-of-year-fest known as the Jingle Ball, and while this year’s lineup didn’t have any guaranteed swoon objects like last year’s Jonas Brothers fest, the lineup was nowhere near the crapfest that was Zootopia. Kanye West and Ne-Yo and Rihanna (and even Leona Lewis and David Archuleta, to a lesser extent) made me realize that while the ever-shrinking beast that is “pop music” certainly has its problems in 2008, its high points can still bring smiles to faces and twitchiness to butts.
No. 54: David Cook Beats David Archuleta On “American Idol”
The long-term effect of “The Rocker” beating “The Really Sweet Kid Who Is Nevertheless Possibly Controlled Via Wires by His Incredibly Creepy Father” on American Idol last May is probably minute to negligible; at this point, no one’s going to confuse Idol for a “star maker” of any real sort. (Never mind Taylor Hicks’ travails; third-place finisher Syesha did a single with Boney James, for Pete’s sake.) As for the show itself, the whispers wondering how long it can last have been getting louder and louder. (Maybe we’ve just tapped all the singing talent in America already’ has anyone considered that?) At this point, though, David Cook’s victory may be most memorable for inspiring this clip:
WICKED Cast Visits FOX’s The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet 12/18
The performance is in recognition of Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure, Vol. 10, the annual holiday music CD which benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The two-disc special 10th Anniversary Edition of Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure, Volume 10 offers 36 original and traditional holiday songs.
In addition to 26 new recordings by stars and casts from virtually every show on Broadway, including the premiere of an original song by Elton John, “Cold Christmas, ” recorded by the cast of Billy Elliot, there also are highlights from Vols. 1-9, with the voices of Antonio Banderas, Harvey Fierstein, Idina Menzel, Bernadette Peters, and AndrÃƒÆ’ ©a Burns, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael Longoria, Nick Jonas and American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis and Ace Young. Also performing on this year’s CD are Rosie’s Broadway Kids, young students in the performing arts program founded by Rosie O’Donnell.
The Sleigher: Broadway Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure
What it is: The casts of Broadway shows from this year and years past doing Christmas songs, va-va-voom-style, with proceeds to benefit Broadway Cares, an organization that raises money and makes grants for AIDS-related causes.
The lump of coal: The Sleigher considered shooting himself every time the next song on this CD came up on his iTunes, so his dislikes are not definitive here. That said, hell go for the 2006 recording of …The Hanukkah Song by the cast of The Wedding Singer, in which soloist and American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis attempts to wring soul out of a song in which no soul is available. Maroulis is not necessarily mistaken in this approach: One of the Sleigher favorite Christmas records is A Partridge Family Christmas Card, in which David Cassidy tries to infuse …Jingle Bells with the spirit of Otis Redding. Somehow that charming, though. This is not.
Mandisa ‘It’s Christmas’ Review
Even though I’ve never watched a complete episode of the hit music show, “American Idol” yes, I’m the one person who hasn’t, that’s how I first heard about Mandisa.
One of the deejays on the local Christian radio station was a fan of the show and would often talk about this great singer on the show who was a Christian. The person that they were talking about was Mandisa. From what I’ve read she made it into the final rounds of the show in the 5th season and thought by many should have won that year.
PETA praises Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood has won praise from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has released its annual …In/Out List for 2009.
…Sexiest Vegetarian Carrie Underwood, who hails from Checotah, has been dubbed …in, while …‹real (oblivious) girl Jessica Simpson has been ruled …out.
…Fur foe Eva Mendes is on the …in list, while …fur-flaunter Eva Longoria is listed as …out.
Not suprisingly, convicted dog fighter and former NFL quarterback Michael Vick is on PETA …out list, while Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps is …in.
Mullen Readies USO Tour to Central, European Command Areas
Musician Kid Rock and comedian Lewis Black have signed up for another hitch. The two entertainers will headline a United Service Organizations tour to bases in the Central Command and European Command areas of operations. The men will accompany Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the trip, leaving tonight. Officials cannot release the exact schedule because of security concerns.
Kellie Pickler, a country singer who shot to fame on the TV reality show …American Idol, also is along on the trip. A North Carolina native, Pickler has performed for troops in Iraq before.
Leonard Cohen To Net A Million?
Leonard Cohen could become £1 million (about $1.9 million Canadian) richer before the new year.
The Canadian singer, songwriter and poet is set to collect £1 million in royalties from the U.K.’s X Factor television show because the Canadian Idol-like program’s three finalists ‘ Alexandra Burke, Eoghan Quigg and boy band JLS ‘ have recorded their own versions of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as a single. One of them is expected to hit the top spot on the U.K. singles chart over Christmas, which means it could sell a million copies and downloads.
More than 105, 000 copies of Burke’s version of “Hallelujah” have been downloaded since Sunday, which makes it the fastest selling download ever in Europe. Burke is the favourite for the Christmas #1, since she’s currently at the top of the overall internet sales chart as well as the iTunes and HMV.com charts. Physical copies of the single will be available in the U.K. on Wednesday.
Hallelujah: From Alexandra Burke to Jeff Buckley – Listen to the top ten versions of the Leonard Cohen classic
Say what you like about Simon Cowell when he picked Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah as X Factor’s Christmas tune he chose one of the genuine jewels of 20th century song.
The writer’s original version will remain a case study for singer songwriters for years to come. His vocal grows as the song does- from a shy sidestep to a lion roar . And listen to the female chorus. If that isnt the sound of Angels singing I dont know what is.
The X Factor
In a moment of grace that could be taken for humility, Simon Cowell concluded Saturday night’s six-month search for a new recording star with a thank you. The X-Factor …was not everyone’s cup of tea, the producer-judge admitted, but he wanted to thank …everyone who had watched it, voted for it and everyone who has written about it.
This may be the only time that the press, sections of which have carried X-Factor stories daily for weeks, has been publicly acknowledged as the x-factor in a programme’s success. But Cowell knows on which side his bread is buttered. The headlines last week may have been all about a near-riot at a JLS gig in Croydon, the contract that contestants had to sign banning them from bad-mouthing Cowell …anywhere in the solar system and how only £150, 000 of the …million-pound recording-contract prize would line the winner’s pocket – but they were still headlines.
Survey: ‘American Idol’ judge Simon Cowell more famous than God among British kids
We all remember the outraged public response to John Lennon 1966 comment that the Beatles had become bigger than Jesus.
American Idol judge Simon Cowell might want to keep that in mind before he responds to the results of a recent survey of British children in which they rated him more famous than God or the Queen.