Super Bowl coverage turns to ‹Idol for ratings
NEW YORK – The Patriots werent the only ones seeking history on Super Bowl Sunday.
Fox hoped New England pursuit of an undefeated season, coupled with the underdog New York Giants, would break the record 94.08 million viewers who watched the 1996 Super Bowl.
To help its cause, Fox brought in a ringer: the network other ratings monster, …American Idol.
Before the game, …Idol host Ryan Seacrest rolled out a red carpet, …Idol judge Paula Abdul performed her first new song in a decade, and …Idol winner Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.
Take the Game, Leave the ‹Idol
By the time Eli Manning kneeled down on the final play of the Giants 17-14 Super Bowl win Sunday night, the memory of Ryan Seacrest in the pregame show was nearly gone. His most welcome words: …Seacrest out, or something like that, as the …American Idol host bid adieu.
No network can get a multihour pregame show right, and Fox didnt, thanks to turning it into an …American Idol promotion with Seacrest as a co-host at the red carpet and Paula Abdul in a taped performance. And while I like reading the Declaration of Independence on days other than the Fourth of July, let me note that Fox summer stock re-enactment of its signing was better with the songs of …1776. But Fox did the game very well. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have never been better in doing what they should do. Buck set up the action, offered some storytelling and made sharp calls.
‘Idol’ winner sings anthem
Earlier in the night, sixth season “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, a native of Super Bowl host city Glendale, Ariz., sang the national anthem, and looked incredibly nervous as she took the field. And why wouldn’t she? A year ago, her only dream of going to a Super Bowl was if her father, former NFL player Phillippi Sparks, was playing in one.
But Sparks delivered the anthem with the same poise she showed during her “Idol” run. She kept the histrionics in check, and didn’t go too far over-the-top in terms of vocal showboating.
Game a Family Affair for Jordin Sparks
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) ‘ Jordin Sparks probably couldn’t have picked a better set of circumstances for her first Super Bowl.
First off, the “American Idol” champ was selected to sing the national anthem. Then, her favorite team, the New York Giants ‘ and the former team of her retired football player dad, Phillippi Sparks ‘ was playing in the big game. Finally, the game was held at the University of Phoenix stadium ‘ just a few miles away from her home.
“When they approached me to sing at the Super Bowl, I was like, ‘Yeah I want to sing at the Super Bowl ‘ are you crazy?'” Sparks said as she got glammed up for her performance Sunday. “I’m very very very happy.”
And that was before her dad’s old team stunned the New England Patriots 17-14.
Jeers: American Idol Fumbles the Super Bowl
Jeers to Fox for allowing American Idol to tarnish its Super Bowl pregame show. The network enlisted Ryan Seacrest to emcee insipid red-carpet coverage of celebrities arriving at the big game. He annoyingly referred to Hugh Laurie (who looked like he was being held at gunpoint to promote House’s post-Super Bowl episode) as “Dr. House.” Have a little respect, Ryan ‘ the guy’s an award-winning actor, not Urkel!
Then Paula Abdul debuted her new single, “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow” (if only that were true for her career…) with a pretaped performance so listless, it made Britney’s VMA sleepwalk look like Michael Jackson at Motown 25. Randy Jackson, whose new album (!) includes the song, stood off to the side and played bass, despite earlier threats that he, too, would dance. And last season’s champ, Jordin Sparks, “sang” the National Anthem (though it looked suspiciously like lip-syncing to me). They all could learn a lesson from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, whose rockin’ halftime show was refreshingly free of gimmickry.
‘American Idol’ Week 3: Power Rankings
1) Kristy Lee Cook
Gorgeous Oregonian’s ”Amazing Grace” was the hands-down highlight of American Idol week 1, and Internet backlash about her one-time deal with Arista Nashville hasn’t stopped her from topping our reader poll for two weeks running. (Last week: No. 1)
2) Samantha Sidley
Demure beauty played along gamely when Ryan and Paula swapped duties during her audition, then delivered a restrained, lovely version of ”Don’t Know Why.” If, as we suspect, she’s more than a Norah Jones copycat, she’s one to watch. (New this week)
3) David Cook
Beat-down fauxhawk aside, this congenial rocker proved his smarts (studying Daughtry tapes before auditioning), fashion sense (rocking a cool argyle sweater vest), and vocal ability (delivering a unique take on ”Livin’ on a Prayer”) in one fab audition. (New this week)
‘American Idol’ buzz: Renaldo Lapuz, Paul Marturano
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, this season’s most buzzed-about “Idol” tryout, Renaldo “We’re Brothers Forever” Lapuz, is a 45-year-old former tricycle taxi driver from the Philippines, who came to this country in 2004 and has worked as a janitor for Wal-Mart and Greyhound, among other places.
In a phone interview, Lapuz told the paper he’s “single and a permanent immigrant” of the United States and that his style of music is ballads, adding “I like serenading.”
“We’re Brothers Forever” (aka “I Am Your Brother”) is not the only composition of the contestant whose “Idol” costume might best be described as an angelic pimp-wizard combo and was inspired, according to Lapuz, by the film “Gladiator.” “In 1998, I recorded 10 songs in the Philippines, in a recording studio … I translated two songs into English, ” Lapuz said.
Local waiter going to ‹Idol Hollywood round
More than 100, 000 singers and sideshow acts packed into Charleston, S.C. coliseum last August hoping to audition for …American Idol.
After two days of hearing the talented and the tone-deaf, judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson handed out only 23 of the show coveted golden tickets to Hollywood.
Chattanoogan Tim Harris was among the lucky ones who earned the judges nod and advanced to the Hollywood round, which is expected to air Feb. 12-13 on WDSI Fox 61 (Comcast channel 11).
Time for striking writers to rethink game plan
The moment of truth has arrived for those TV writers walking the picket lines for the past three months, pounding the pavement and tossing their laptops in hopes of trying to break the backs of the networks.
Their strategy was to stop writing new episodes of scripted shows, which would leave the prime-time lineups bare. The networks would then be forced to air a slew of offensive and ridiculous reality shows that would repulse the TV-viewing public. Ratings would fall flat, or at least flatter than usual.
This reality infusion isn’t a new trend, of course. “American Idol” has been the ratings giant following Kelly Clarkson’s rise to fame in season one. And even though “Idol’s” numbers are down from last year and a case can be made that, Nielsen-wise, the show has already peaked, the writers find themselves in a bad spot right now.
With “Idol” back, FOX, like NBC, is in the catbird seat. But now the network has another bullet in the chamber ‘ the gun aimed directly at the heads of the WGA ‘ in “The Moment of Truth.”