‘American Idol’: Are They Really Pros?
“American Idol” is billed as an amateur talent contest, but this season, several of its contestants have already been, at one point, professional singers who even held recording contracts.
Now the hit television show faces a backlash from some of America’s truly undiscovered talent who think it’s unfair to compete against ex-professionals.
“I believe anybody that has more experience, someone who has been signed to a major label, of course that gives you an advantage. The question is, is that fair to someone like me, that has never done this before?” said Nina Shaw, a former contestant on this season’s “American Idol.”
Some ‘American Idol’ contestants are getting a second shot at fame
When Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol, the humble waitress from middle-of-nowhere Texas embodied the rags-to-riches story that has become the hallmark of the reality show.
An obscure but talented singer is plucked from the heartland of America, moves to Hollywood and is launched into pop superstardom. It was Southern single mom Fantasia in Season 3 and Oklahoma farm girl Carrie Underwood a year later.
But that looks unlikely this year.
American Idolhas a clearly stated mission over the next three weeks: Winnow down its current crop of 24 semifinalists into a lean, gender-balanced pack of six men and six women. Because if there were, say, eight women and four men heading into the March 11 finals, all hell would break loose in the Idol nation. There’d be strongly worded e-mails, a perilous dip in the show’s ratings, and perhaps even rallies where fans could destroy their cherished Daughtry and Carrie Underwood albums en masse. Or at least that must be the great fear of executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and his cohorts.
Flu takes its toll on ‹American Idol women
The sickness that been ravaging workplaces across the country hit …American Idol this week, apparently leaving several of the top 12 women feeling the blues. If they were looking for sympathy from Simon Cowell, however, they were out of luck. The British judge was so cranky, it seemed like he was feeling sick himself.
Sick or healthy, two of the women will be heading home on Thursday. The younger contestants fared well, as did those who sang later in the program. But several women picked a bad night to let nerves and a little virus get the best of them.
American Idol: Top 12 Girls Perform
I have to say tonight’s show was a mixed bag for me. There were a lot of surprises for me with the girls’ performances, some good and some bad. I went into the show with a few clear favorites and a few that I didn’t have high hopes for and it all got turned around on me. There wasn’t as much of a “Wow!” factor with any of the girls and actually none of them earned the patented DOUBLEPLAY, but that’s not to say there weren’t some great performances.
Recap: ‘American Idol’ Top 12 women perform
There has been much talk of a flu bug decimating the American Idol women this week. Is our shared infirmity going to make me more generous to Wednesday’s (Feb. 20) performances from the Top 12 American Idol Women? Or am I going to blame them for infecting me at last week’s Idol party? We’ll see… As Ryan Seacrest says, the show must go on.
Josiah Leming And Me, In Bigger Than The Sound
On The Record: Josiah Leming Is You ‘ Only With More MySpace Friends
Any time you start your day with an impromptu business meeting at an International House of Pancakes (in Tennessee, no less), you know things are going to get fairly surreal. When that meeting is followed by an hour-long drive to a bait-and-tackle shop in Dandridge ‘ “the second oldest town in the state!” ‘ where you’re greeted by a one-eyed dog and taken upstairs to meet the biological grandparents of an 18-year-old former reality-TV contestant who sings like Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and looks kind of like Haley Joel Osment (pre-DUI, of course), well, let’s just say things quickly head into uncharted territory.
American Idol? Not yet. Teen idol? Could be.
The next American Idol is three months from being crowned but a new teen idol might have emerged Tuesday. Miami-born 17-year-old David Archuleta was the sensation of opening night of Idol’s round of 24.
Charming and personable, with a refreshing reservoir of kidishness, Archuleta took possession of the classic Shop Around, a song probably older than his parents. “By a comfortable mile, the best performance by far, ” Simon Cowell said. Randy Jackson concurred. “Really brilliant, so mature.” The young girls in the live audience, a key voting block, shrieked their agreement.
Archuleta owned the night but his was not the only stellar performance. Michael Johns, who has early buzz off his terrific audition and Hollywood round, closed Idol’s ’60s night with a rousing Light My Fire, which also drew effusive praise. “I feel like I’m seeing a true legend rock performer, ” Randy said.
Jennifer Hudson Is Realizing Her Dreams Thanks To Oscar: ‘It Still Hasn’t Hit Me’
A year after winning an Academy Award for her breakthrough role as Effie in “Dreamgirls, ” Jennifer Hudson is spending her days 30 miles outside of Wilmington, North Carolina, on the set of the 1960s-era film “The Secret Life of Bees.”
Between shots, she spoke with MTV News about her very eventful year in the movie and music industries, as well as her appreciation of “American Idol” ‘ the catalyst for it all.
MTV: Has the excitement that came with your Oscar win faded at all? Are you back to “normal”?
The Qik PSA: American Idol winner Jordin Sparks in Ghana Speaking out Against Malaria
My friend Jim Long (@newmediajim) is carrying his Nokia N95-3 with him on his trip this week, traveling with President Bush and his entourage around Africa. Earlier today Jim caught up with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks in Ghana and captured what she had to say about helping to stamp out Malaria (“Malaria No More”) and shared his interview live on Qik for the world to see and then instantly available to be shared and available on demand.
‘American Idol’ Sparks sings anti-malaria tune
“American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks said Wednesday that Americans should help Africa battle deadly malaria and that Irish rocker turned activist Bob Geldof looks “like a saint” in person.
Sparks, 18, told AFP in an interview on the sidelines of US President George W. Bush’s trip to Ghana that she caught a glimpse of Geldof wearing a white outfit, adding: “My mouth was dropped open. He looked like a saint.”
Sparks was making her first visit to Africa at the invitation of Malaria No More, one of the beneficiaries of the “Idol Gives Back” charity episodes of the hugely popular televised talent show.
Jordin’s no idle Idol
“American Idol winner Jordin Sparks has really taken her act on the road in the last few days, but it not to promote her new album or single. She says she has found true emotion in helping malaria victims in Africa.
Sparks, who won last year competition of the hit reality/talent show, is in the final stages of a three-day trip to Ghana, joining President and Mrs. Bush on a campaign to highlight malaria control efforts. She is traveling with Malaria No More, a nonprofit organization working to end malaria mortality
Kellie Pickler, Dierks Bentley In Star-Studded Fire Benefit
Country stars Kellie Pickler, Dierks Bentley, John Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Randy Owen are among the many celebrity performers at an upcoming benefit concert for victims of a horrific nightclub fire in Rhode Island. One hundred people were killed and 200 more injured at the Station Nightclub when pyrotechnics sparked a huge blaze on February 20, 2003. Monday’s concert marks the fifth anniversary of the tragedy. All proceeds will go to the Station Family Fund, benefiting the survivors and the 65 children who lost one or both parents in the fire.
Clay Aiken Album to Be Released in May
Get ready Claymates, a new Clay Aiken album is just around the corner. The former American Idol contestant is in New York City currently recording his fourth album, which he expects to be released in early May, he tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“We’re hoping the next album will be out about May 6, ” Aiken, who is currently starring in the Broadway run of Monty Python’s Spamalot as Sir Robin, tells PEOPLE.
Abdul pretends her bad video didnt happen
Paula Abdul is extremely disappointed in the new music video for …Dance Like There No Tomorrow, according to a source close to the …American Idol judge.
…She doesnt think it Heidi Montag-bad, but she still trying to pretend like it didnt happen. If Randy (Jackson) wasnt involved, shed be more vocal about it, but she does appreciate the fact that he was involved, said the source.
‘American Idol’: Chris Sligh Rates the Top 12 Men
We have seen over and over again that American Idol can change lives. Every year, it’s exciting to see contestants come in and slowly transform from unknowns to celebrities.
First week is always the hardest ‘ some kids come in having never been shown, while other contestants have been over-”pimped”…this year was no different. This week, though, Randy and Paula seemed to be on mind-numbing drugs that caused logic to go out the window (seriously, Randy, Jason Castro was just okay?!? Michael Johns is like Michael Hutchence?!?). And Simon finally returned to form!
So, let’s get to the performances.
‘Idol’ Banter: Meet the Boys
Simon is already nervous. Not only did he trash adorably campy Danny Noriega simply because he raised the shadow of Sanjaya – that snap! Danny gave Mr. Crest Whitestrips after earning the honorific “hideous” was the best moment of the night – but he criticized the gang for not being current, over and over again. This contest is meant to discover a recording artist, Simon insisted, and please, male contestants, don’t forget our former “Idols” are getting dropped from their labels left and right. Show me something that will sell!
What will sell this year, if it proves to be male at all, will probably not be able to drink legally. 16-year-old former Star Search winner David Archuleta and 20-year-old Christian jam-bander Jason Castro scored the night’s home runs, their earnest, quivering personalities complementing gorgeously bland performances. I will say that Archuleta has that special vocal something – a really creamy, irresistible tone that even the most egregious excesses of melisma can’t erase. Castro seems forgettable to me, beyond perfect skin – but the little-girl audience that keeps “Idol” afloat has voted cute many times before.
American Idol: Handicapping the boys
The audition tour, Hollywood week, the Green Mile, all the build up and pre-game hype are over and at last we can get a look at our final 24 contenders. So step right up and get your tip sheet, handicapping the contenders and the soon to be also-rans of Season Seven. Please remember, all opinions made based on these first glimpses subject to change, many many times, before we reach the Kodak Theater in May.
‘American Idol’ Recap: David Archuleta, Michael Johns Stand Out, But Top 12 Boys Fail To Impress
And they’re off!
The seventh-season semifinals of “American Idol” kicked off Tuesday night with a surprising whimper from the top 12 guys. Producers have been promising the best talent yet since day one, but the mood on the “Idol” stage was subdued right from the get-go.
The normally hyper “walk and wave at the camera” introduction of the 12 contestants ‘ which is a fun way to get a glimpse of each singer’s personality ‘ seemed like an afterthought. Not one singer committed to a wild gesture or a fun greeting. Danny Noriega came close, but at the last minute changed his mind, as if a producer was off camera threatening the wild child with violence if he misbehaved.
‘American Idol’: Top-12 Guys Do the ’60s
“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest opens Guys Night by reminding us “people are saying this year’s talent is the best yet.” By “people” he means “Idol” producers. This is our first opportunity to see what they mean. Naturally, the 12 guys are forced to sing tunes from the 1960s — when their grandparents were young.
The Fantastic 3 are back judging the 12 guys’ performances: Randy “ClichÃƒÆ’ © Man” Jackson, Paula “The Fog” Abdul and Simon Cowell the Unyielding.
Jason Castro Gets the American Idol Audience Daydreaming
Last night, American Idol kicked off the head-to-head competition, and aside from “where’s Carly?”, “what was the name of the other girl who disappeared from the audience mid-show?” and “are we really going to have this Australian Rock Star reject shoved down our throats all freaking season?” the most important question was: Which contestants’ performances caused the Idol viewers of America to head for their nearest search engine? After the jump, Google Trends brings you last night’s top five Idol-performed songs and top four performers (as of 7:45 a.m. ET).
Bon Jovi still drives the fans
More than 20, 000 people poured into the Palace early to hear opening act, Daughtry, whose bestselling debut follows leader Chris Daughtry’s appearance on a recent season of American Idol.
Bon Jovi keeps fists pumping at Palace
The show was opened by Daughtry, fronted by “American Idol” alum Chris Daughtry. The songs were mostly murky, unremarkable 3 Doors Down clones, but Daughtry’s TV-honed performance skills lifted them and his band above tedium.
American Idol winner performs at Mullins
Former “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood performed at the Mullins Center last night as part of her first headlining tour. She focused on most of the songs from her newest album, “Carnival Ride, ” along with some older fan favorites from 2005’s “Some Hearts.”
The three years since her “American Idol” win have transformed the Oklahoma native into a completely different performer. Her stage presence has evolved, focusing more on pumping up the crowd than on showcasing her vocal talents.
Carrie Underwood’s post-‘Idol’ career on fire
Since winning the fourth season of “American Idol” two years ago, Carrie Underwood has become a quick sensation in country music and beyond, and her success just continues to build momentum.
Underwood, who is coming to the Petersen Events Center in Oakland on Friday, has sold some 8 million records and won more than two dozen prestigious awards, including back-to-back female vocalist of the year wins at the Country Music Association Awards, and top female vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards last year.
Music Preview: It’s been a dream come true for Underwood since winning the big contest
The last time Carrie Underwood set foot in Pittsburgh was the fall of 2005, when she took the stage at Mellon Arena with the likes of Anthony Fedorov and Anwar Robinson, names that only diehard “American Idol” fans will now remember.
The discussion at the time was all about whether or not Underwood was ready for stardom and whether Nashville would embrace a pretty young blonde from a TV talent contest.
We have our answers to those questions.