America, meet your six ‹Idol finalists
“American Idol” is not, despite the many protests of Simon Cowell, a singing contest. That should be obvious from the way the singers’ performances are occasionally preceded by videos that delve into their likes, dislikes, families, jobs and so forth. If it were purely a singing contest, why should we care about what kind of people they are?
Instead, “Idol” is a popularity contest, and while the singers’ vocal skills play a part in keeping the contestants around, so do their personalities. Not their real personalities, of course. This is reality television, after all, where the mere presence of cameras alters the behavior of the people being filmed.
American Idolatry: If Only Reality Were This Well Organized
The tens of thousands of hopefuls who lined up last summer to audition for …American Idol have been trimmed to just six aspiring pop stars, whose fate will be decided by the whims and loyalties of the more than 20 million people who tune in each week to the most-watched show on television.
Determining the winner is about the only part of …American Idol left to chance. That was made clear during recent visits to Stage 36 in Television City, near Hollywood, where each Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox …American Idol creates hopes and dashes dreams.
From the placement of local sorority members along camera sight lines to the instructions to the audience members about when to stand and how to wave their hands, …American Idol is as scripted as a …reality show dare be.
More Idol Headlines After the Jump
Andrew Lloyd Webber Forsees Big Night for Brooke White
Looking back over his day with the contestants, Lloyd Webber was cautiously hopeful that his works would survive their encounter with American reality television and enthused about the singers the show has fielded. Not having seen the show on air this season, he said after working with the group, …The six kids were really in their own ways all very talented. I think that in their own way they’re a pretty diverse bunch, and in their own way they’ve all got something.
Although Lloyd Webber was barred …under pain of death from revealing the song choices, he was allowed to speak of being struck by one moment in particular. …The girl who I was really quite impressed with was Brooke. She was really — I got something out of her. I mean, whether or not, you know, that is there at the end, I really couldn’t tell you.
“The one thing is, working with me, one on one, where I’m on the other side — I’m sort of actually, in her case, holding her hand to get the performance out of her. It’s very different than sitting in a great big television studio with a big audience and you’ve got a camera in front of you. So, one will have to see.
‘American Idol’ Power List: The Top 6
After Mariah Carey week, Jason Castro slips past David Archuleta in our rankings. See where your favorite lands this week
Top 6 Power Rankings: Is Syesha’s Time Up?
Our second-largest turnout yet showed up to have a say in this week’s American Idol Power Rankings. How did it shake out? Well, David C. is still atop the chart ‘ this time with his largest margin of victory over David A. in three weeks. Jason, meanwhile, seems to have lost a good chunk of the “boost” he got from Michael Johns’ sudden exit.
Among the ladies, Carly has pulled ahead of Brooke, while Syesha languishes in last with just one percent of the vote.
American Idol: It’s David vs. David
Forget David vs. Goliath. The battle of the century is David vs. David, and the arena is the glittering stage of TV’s No. 1 hit, “American Idol.”
In one corner is Utah’s own David Archuleta, a sweet, humble, baby-faced crooner full of hope and dreams. Sweating it out in the other is Missouri’s David Cook, whose haunting arrangements and too-cool-for-school air has made him a popular counterpoint to Archuleta’s optimism and pre-teen appeal.
It’s become The Chosen One vs. The Edgy One every Tuesday night. Here’s our analysis of how the Davids stack up, from singing styles to fashion design.
Is ‘American Idol’ rigged for gender balance?
In amongst my usual …American Idol posts and e-mails ‘ occasionally accusing me of being a Kristy Lee Cook hater and therefore a left-wing anti-American Commie terrorist ‘ was a note from an …adult to senior citizen viewer and stalwart Carrie Underwood fan who thinks the show is rigged.
At one point or another weve all had this pass through our minds, especially when our favorite contestant is dumped in favor of someone we feel is less worthy.
But his e-mail got me thinking, and not just because it was laced with hot-button race and gender issues.
American Idol – David Archuleta still favorite to win the Idol
Over the past few weeks the number of American Idol contestants shrunk in half from a dozen down to the last six. And even though David Cook pulled out some brilliant performances in the past episodes, David Archuleta remains the favorite to become the winner of the American Idol 7. At the online bookmaker BetUS (new window), David Archuleta was the prime-choice from day one and it seems the mind of the bookie is made up – Archuleta will win the Idol, listed with favorite odds -150. At some other online odds makers David Cook is tied with Archuleta, but at BetUS Cook is behind him with odds +150 (meaning the bookmaker will pay out extra $150 on every $100 wagered). And the battle for American Idol supremacy will obviously rage between the two “Davids” – the next on the betting sheets is Jason Castro who holds long odds +800 to win American Idol.
American Idol is Getting Voted Off by Demographically Desirable Viewers
It’s bad enough that American Idol’s latest winner has been diagnosed with a throat ailment that’s probably tied into the show’s insistence of holding up Whitney, Mariah, and Celine as its Holy Trinity Of Divas Everyone Should Emulate. Now the LA Times is raining on the show’s parade even more, saying that even though ratings don’t seem to be down that much overall, they’ve plummeted enough among two key demographic groups’ women ages 18-34 and kids ages 2-11′ that the show’s producers should be somewhat worried, especially since last week’s episodes had some of the show’s lowest ratings since its first seasons. (That’s what happens when you kick off the resident hottie, even if he does wear ascots.) Is it because people are watching less TV? Are this year’s contestants as boring as Simon Cowell thinks? Or has the public just gotten tired of the Idol machine?
Fox 411 Columnist’s Anti David Cook Diatribe: A Sign the Clive Davis Is Not Pleased?
Yesterday, the always-quick-on-the-uptake Fox News writer Roger Friedman posted a story about David Cook having an album out prior to his American Idol appearance, a fact which Friedman presumably noticed because said album, Analog Heart, topped the Amazon MP3 store’s charts this past weekend. (It’s since been pulled.) Friedman even got a little outraged about Cook being a “ringer, ” which is pretty funny given that every other singer left in the competition this year has either put out an album (Carly, Brooke) or been on some sort of TV show (Syesha was on The One, Jason was on Cheyenne, and David Archuleta was on Star Search). But the fact that Friedman is just now getting peevish about the sanctity of American Idol’s contestant pool makes me wonder if one of the record-biz bigwigs he pals around with has put a bee in his bonnet about the possibility of the grunge revivalist Cook beating out the lip-licky Archuleta, who’s seemed to be this season’s chosen one from the start.
For David Cook, there are gifts that would be sweeter than an ‹American Idol win
After his song was done and the judges had bathed him in praise, David cried a little. The next night Ryan Seacrest gave him the chance to talk about what had happened the night before, but David declined. I admire his need for privacy, but I suspect that even if he wanted to, he probably cant talk about it publicly without breaking down or, like he did Tuesday night, softly weeping.
This is heavy stuff, heavier, I think, than a lot of people realize. It hard to imagine how hard it is until you go through it.
Rockwall is singing praises of ‘American Idol’ hopeful Jason Castro
ROCKWALL ‘ The crowd that gathers on most Tuesday nights at the new Hilton Hotel in Rockwall is on a mission.
Sure, they’re surrounded by balloons, large TV screens and much laughter, but this is serious business. The 350 or so people are there to watch local Jason Castro perform on American Idol ‘ and then to get him through to the next round.
“Everybody gets on their phones like crazy at the end of the show, ” says Jennifer Wasserman, the hotel’s sales and marketing director. “There are people who have two phones going at once.”
American Idol: Jason Castro discount at Hog City Deli
Mention you’re a fan of Jason Castro and Rockwall’s Hog City Deli will give you a discount during their American Idol watch party tomorrow. Fill up on all the details here.
American Idol: Brand new Jason Castro T’s
Do you want to wear your support for your favorite local Idol, Jason Castro? Now you have more options.
Michael Johns in vicroey lane with Team Australia in Long Beach
Johns turned out to be the perfect …Good luck charm for fellow Australian Will Power who drove his Aussie Vineyards-backed car to a win in the final Champ Car race ever on one of the world most famous street courses.
Power, who was born and bred in Toowoomba, Queensland, led the race from start to finish and Johns watched the entire race from the team pit box as guests of team owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Craig Gore.
…What an amazing day, said Johns.
Scoop: Michael Johns’ Wife ‘Cried All Night’;
All the “pop tarts” certainly came out to play last Thursday night at Us Weekly magazine’s Hot Hollywood bash held at Eva Longoria’s restaurant Beso.
But even though he was bitterly booted off “American Idol” two weeks ago, Michael Johns held his head high, although that’s not to say he isn’t still hurting.
“It was pretty heartbreaking, especially how it was done ‘ it was brutal, ” said Johns in reference to his harsh elimination. “I kept it together OK; it was the wife who cried all night. I was the one telling her that it was all going to be all right.”
Access Extended: Booted ‘Idol’ Kristy Lee Cook’s Fiance Talks Proposal
A newly engaged Kristy Lee Cook with her fiance, Andy, talk about the details of their steamy sauna proposal with AccessHollywood.com’s Dish of Salt, Laura Saltman.
Live with Kristy Lee Cook
American Idol (ex)contestant Kristy Lee Cook leaves ABC Studios with a kiss after appearing on Live with Regis and Kelly in New York City on Monday.
Syesha Mercado celebrated in Sarasota
With the field of contestants vying to be named the next American Idol narrowed down to six, Sarasota County students will gather Tuesday to cheer on 2005 Booker High School graduate Syesha Mercado.
Mercado, who was a student in the Booker High’s visual & performing arts magnet program, is one of the six idol finalists.
Students, parents, faculty and staff of Sarasota County’s public high schools will come together at Booker High’s theatre to view the next episode of the hit Fox TV show, according to a press release from the Sarasota County school district.
LAWYERS ON AMERICAN IDOL?
Monica Phillips Jalil (director of mktg) and the gang at Washington, D.C.’s Ross, Dixon & Bell are pulling out the stops for their former partner Will Hopkins, who is one of 20 finalists in American Idol’s Songwriter Contest. Let me turn over the mic:
How did Will Hopkins go from lawyer to songwriter? In 2000, with no musical training whatsoever, [he] decided to start composing songs. He had always written them in his head and he finally decided to do something about it.
AI Aftermath: 7th place finishers – VIDEOS
Welcome back to “AI Aftermath, ” where we explore Idol’s past. Each week, as one more American Idol hopeful is eliminated from the competition, we take a look back at contestants past who were eliminated in the same week. We’ll examine how they did on the show and what they’ve been up to since their eliminations. In honor of Kristy Lee Cook’s elimination last week we’ll be looking at other seventh place finishers.
This week: 7th place finishers, featuring featuring Ryan Starr (Season One), Kimberly Caldwell (Season Two), Jennifer Hudson (Season Three), Anwar Robinson (Season Four), Ace Young (Season Five) and Sanjaya Malakar (Season Six).
Underwood thinks before she sings
At the age of 25, country artist Carrie Underwood has already enjoyed career milestones that would make a 50-year-old music veteran happy.
She won “American Idol” in 2005, then immediately released a debut album that went septuple-platinum and won her multiple music industry awards, including two Grammys.
Her latest album, “Carnival Ride, ” has sold double-platinum so far. She is co-headlining a tour with Keith Urban that comes to Raleigh’s RBC Center on Saturday.
Underwood recently talked to us about performing, pinching herself and being the world’s sexiest vegetarian.
Underwood plays underdog to Urban
Despite being one of the most popular and most mainstream-geared genres in music, country can sometimes still be a pretty funny little universe all to itself.
If you’re not a country fan and I give you the names Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, and then ask you who’s the bigger star, you’ll choose the former without even blinking. But to millions of country loyalists, including the overwhelming majority of folks who packed the RBC Center on Saturday night, it’s Urban who rules the roost.
Individual Tickets Go On Sale for CMA Music Festival Concerts
Individual tickets to the 2008 CMA Music Festival’s nightly concert series go on sale Saturday (April 26) at all Ticketmaster outlets. Tickets to the shows at LP Field in downtown Nashville are priced at $40 for reserved seats on the lower and club levels and $30 for general admission in the upper deck. Appearing June 5 are Jewel, Montgomery Gentry, Kellie Pickler, Sugarland and Taylor Swift. The June 6 concert features Faith Hill, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Josh Turner and Carrie Underwood. The lineup for June 7 includes Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town, Craig Morgan and Kenny Rogers. The series closes June 8 with Bucky Covington, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sara Evans, James Otto, Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam. Tickets to the evening concerts do not include admission to the daytime concerts at Riverfront Park or the autograph sessions at the Nashville Convention Center.
Phil’s Pages: Chapter 13
I’m back at last, but will be mired in catch-up duties for most of the day. So, without further literary ornamentation on my part, here’s Phil’s latest installment.
Well, my friends, it has been an extraordinary week for your buddy Phil. To start things off, many press outlets have gotten a hold of my debut CD (hard to believe it comes out a week from Tuesday!), and has thus far received favorable reviews (thanks, Ken!).
Also, this past Tuesday, I was also able to participate in a Make A Wish benefit called Waiting for Wishes, hosted by Rascal Flatts Jay DeMarcus and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Kevin Carter. This was outfit number two for my wife, Kendra (for any lady readers keeping track), and she got to sit at the significant others’ table with Allison DeMarcus and friends while I waited tables with several NFL players and other country artists.
GMA Sunday Evening Sees Collaboration, Inspiration
Collaborations and inspiration were the theme at the second night of showcases at GMA Music Week 2008. Christian music pioneer Michael W. Smith brought along some new friends this year for his night of Sunday worship, adding the vibrant Israel Houghton and American Idol contestant Mandisa to the lineup. Rolling out such anthems as …Shout to the Lord, …Let It Rain, and …Mighty to Save the group brought a message of surrender and worship into the packed Ryman Auditorium. Guest Rebecca St. James was also on hand to preside for a special Compassion International offering, which earned over $6, 000 at the night beginning to help purchase mosquito nets for needy African families.
Best of The Dove Awards Marathon on GMC Wed Followed by 39th Annual Dove Awards Live
GMC’s Doves Day climaxes at 8:00 p.m. with the live telecast of The 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards. Artists performing include: American Idol ® previous finalists Phil Stacey, Mandisa and Chris Sligh; Dove Award Female Vocalist of the Year Natalie Grant with country icon Wynonna, 19 Recordings/Jive Recording Artist Jordin Sparks; Ricky Skaggs and The Whites, Point Of Grace with Cindy Morgan, Charlie Daniels with Third Day’s Mac Powell, Casting Crowns, Marvin Sapp, Switchfoot, The Clark Sisters, David Crowder*Band, Trin-i-tee 5:7, The Isaacs, Angella Christie, The Hoppers, Jeff and Sheri Easter and Karen Peck and New River, New Artist of the Year Nominees 33 Miles, Brandon Heath, Group 1 Crew, Mandisa, Rush Of Fools and DeWayne Woods.
Idolatry – Andrew Lloyd Webber
Despite a ratings slide, it’s still a TV hit, but the singers might not have a future on today’s music charts
In its seventh season, American Idol is still TV’s biggest draw. Maybe it’s the razzle-dazzle, Vegas-on-steroids staging of the big-voiced amateurs that makes it all so appealing. Or perhaps it’s the supposed power that viewers have in deciding the fate of pop-star hopefuls.
But with the exceptions of Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino and Carrie Underwood, few of the show’s winners have made memorable impressions. And there doesn’t seem to be a thriller among the contestants on the current season. None of this year’s crop of singers seems to exude that certain “It” factor all great pop artists possess.
“They’re all forgettable. If I strain my brain, I may remember one. But I don’t, ” says Dominic Patten, an author who writes about music and pop culture. “The show this season lacks any inspiration.”
Carmen isn’t bitter about ‘American Idol’ Despite the gossip, she and Clay are still close friends
TMZ managed to twist this around into “the show’s rigged!”
Beyond distorting the facts ‘ or just making things up ‘ came the accusation that Rasmusen is harboring some sort of grudge, that she’s bitter about not winning the second season of “American Idol.”
That, as TMZ so nicely phrased it, “She went home in sixth place, to lead a life of obscurity and bitterness.”
Again, Rasmusen wrote nothing of the sort. Again, never let the truth get in the way of good gossip.
“The only point I was trying to make was that some contestants get more attention than others, ” said Rasmusen, who ‘ surprise! ‘ was not contacted by TMZ about its story. “I chose that example because Clay is so well-known.
Vocal strain keeps Jordin Sparks from big tour
American Idol winner Jordin Sparks is resting at her Glendale home after strained vocal cords forced her to temporarily withdraw from a just-launched concert tour headlined by Grammy-winning R&B singer Alicia Keys.
Sparks is suffering from a vocal hemorrhage, which must be treated with vocal rest to avoid more serious problems, according to her grandmother, Pam Weidmann, who guided Sparks’ career from age 12 through her Idol win.
“It’s a huge disappointment, particularly since she was about to begin the tour with Alicia Keys and she had some major television appearances happening this week, including the Dove Awards (for Christian music), ” Weidmann said.
Could ‘Idol’ Star Lose Her Winning Voice?
A vocal chord injury could permanently strip “American Idol” season six winner Jordin Sparks of her singing voice if she does not abide by doctor’s orders and rest, several throat specialists told ABCNEWS.com.
Scarring from a vocal chord injury could make a difference for a professional singer, said Dr. Peter Catalano, chairman of the department of otolaryngology at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. “It may change your ability to sing certain types of songs or potentially, if it’s really bad, affect your ability to sing altogether.”