‘American Idol’ Power List: The Top 4
Industry insiders envision ‘Idol’ final four’s future
Recent history tells us we’ll be hearing from American Idol’s final four. Exactly what we’ll be hearing is a little harder to predict.
Projecting the shape of albums from the last four contestants would seem to be a snap based on their images. David Archuleta is a teen prodigy with a penchant for inspirational ballads. Jason Castro is what used to be called a “folkie, ” a laid-back singer/songwriter type. David Cook is, by Idol standards, a rocker, with a knack for striking arrangements. Syesha Mercado is an R&B belter with a Broadway bent.
‘Idol’ finalists need a narrow groove
To reach American Idol’s final four, the contestants have acquired strong fan bases. But when it’s time to make albums ‘ and you can be confident they will make albums, no matter the result of tonight’s performances (Fox, 8 ET/PT) ‘ can they find a commercial niche?
History shows it’s a chancy proposition (Chris Daughtry, yes; Katharine McPhee, not exactly). Each of this year’s quartet has a clear image, but careful refinement is required for recording success.
Brainstorming newer, fresher ‘Idol’ theme nights
I know, I know, I write a googillion words a week about American Idol ‘ and I’ve already referenced an unfunny Ben Stiller “Idol Gives Back” joke in the first sentence of this blog item! ‘ but all the recent press about the show slipping in the advertiser-craved 18-34 demographic, and now having a median viewer age of (le gasp!) 42, got me thinking.
As Idolatry viewer Lee Chesnut from Barnard, Vt., griped in a recent e-mail titled “Oldies Idol, ” the show has been bizarrely reluctant to allow season 7 contestants to sing contemporary songs. “Neil Diamond Week, Andrew Lloyd Weber Week, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Week, Dolly Parton Week, Beatles Week (twice!), ’60s Week, ’70s Week, ’80s Week…. I mean it’s almost cruel to imagine this season’s winner being turned loose to compete in the ‘real world’, ” Lee writes, before hitting the all-caps button. “WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY FAVORITE SHOW??”
Cryin’ Out and Tryin’ Out
In honor of American Idol tonight, we’re taking you on an exclusive experience of what it takes to go from “who are you?” to “your VIP table is right this way, Ms. Underwood.” And surprise, surprise, auditioning for the biggest show on TV is just about as twisted as Jason Castro’s dreads, and twice as long. Bet you’ll find that even the nontelevised part of the Idol journey is still a helluva lot more entertaining than watching one full episode of According to Jim.
WELCOME HOME, KRISTY LEE!
AN EVENT WAS HELD SATURDAY AT RAY’S FOOD PLACE IN SELMA TO WELCOME HOME AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANT, KRISTY LEE COOK.
ORGANIZERS SAID THEY EXPECTED A LARGE CROWD BUT HAD NO IDEA THAT SEVERAL HUNDRED PEOPLE WOULD SHOW UP.
“American Idol Maroon Out” Planned For Castro
Aggieland could become an …American Idol outpost Thursday ( May 8 ), resulting in an …American Idol Maroon Out, with millions of fans of the widely viewed FOX program tuned in’ if Texas A&M University architecture student Jason Castro is selected as one of the three finalists Wednesday evening in the telecast of the hotly contested musical talent competition.
As legions of loyal fans of the …American Idol television show know, producers of the program tape segments at the hometowns of those contestants selected as the three finalists. If Castro should be one of those finalists, Texas A&M would share …hometown billing with Rockwall, the Dallas-area town he calls home when not in Aggieland. Castro will be performing live and FOX would tape the …American Idol Maroon Out from the east steps of the Jack K. Williams Administration Building, the stately structure at the main entrance to the university, beginning at 7 p.m. ( CST ) Thursday. Fans are encouraged to attend.
‘American Idol 7’ – The curse of the top four
For the past three years, I’ve been writing a regular “This Week in ‘American Idol’ History” piece for Foxes on Idol. Each week, I take a look back at the corresponding week in previous seasons, highlight the performances, recap the elimination, provide an update on what the eliminated contestants have been doing, and offer some conjecture as to what might happen during the current season.
I always look forward to the top four because, historically, it’s been the one round that has resulted in the biggest shockers of the season. What’s significant is that these shockers have occurred every other year in odd seasons and this is one of those years.
Why David Archuleta will win American Idol
It’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame night on American Idol tonight. Which seems oddly appropriate, somehow, in this strangest of Idol seasons ‘ fine one minute, not-so-fine the next ‘ because there’s only one true rocker left in the bunch.
And, no, it ain’t David Archuleta.
Those Idol fans with long memories ‘ long enough to go back, way back, all the way back to this time last year ‘ will remember that it was at about this point in Idol’s season that consensus critics’ pick Chris Daughtry was told his Idol journey was over. Daughtry, the sole hard rocker to make the final four, exited the stage ‘ and sold a gadzillion CDs. He’s still selling them, to hear the music charts tell it.
This time, music fans, and not just Idol believers, can only hope the same doesn’t happen to David Cook.
But it might.
American Idol Shows Signs of Over Saturation
There is concern in recent weeks over plunging ratings for the Fox smash hit American Idol, now in its seventh season. While still dominant in the ratings, the show has been losing significant viewership, and some of that might have to do with over saturation and expansion of the result show into a one hour format.
“The kids who normally watch this show have homework to do, ” says Payton O’Brien, Senior Editor of the Gambling911.com website. “No time to be watching American Idol for this long a period.”
The results show had been expanded to one hour from its past half hour format.
Audience declines for “American Idol” are steepest among youthful viewers, the people who set the pop culture agenda and are most likely to buy music made by the show’s winners. These are not the people you want to turn off.
Another concern is the lopsided talent pool that became most obvious after Australian Michael Johns got booted off prematurely during “American Idol Gives Back” Week.
American Idol Oddsmaker says it’s sayonara Syehsa Mercado
Nobody wants to miss out on the fun of …American Idol, least of all the Vegas odds-makers. That why Johnny Avello, director of the Race and Sports Book at Wynn Las Vegas, has come out with his own predictions for the fates of the top four.
According to Avello, David Archuleta is leading the race, with odds of 6 to 5, David Cook is trailing Archuleta, with 3-to-2 odds, and Jason Castro follows, with 10 to 1 odds. The last woman standing, Syesha Mercado, has the weakest chance of winning, with odds of 12 to 1.
Avello is proud of his …Idol predictions thus far. He been at it since the first season, and he never far off. …The only real surprise was Taylor Hicks, confessed Avello.
As for this season, Avello said, …if there a surprise for me, it David [Cook] so far. I had him down in the ninth spot.
Idolator Presents it’s entry in the American Idol Song Competition
The “song contest” portion of American Idol, in which hopefuls around the country pen the coronation song for one of the Davids whoever winds up winning this season, is enough of a laughingstock that even Simon Cowell’s mocking it: “You can guarantee either the word ‘proud’ or ‘moment’ will be in the song. How about ‘I’m Proud to Be in this Moment Now’?” Ho snap! Well, if it’s that much of a laugh, then there’s no reason I can’t offer my own lyric for next year. Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy “There But For The Grace Of Clive.”
Guess he not a fan of David Archuleta
On Accelerate, their punky 14th studio album, R.E.M. went number one in Canada and Europe and topped the alternative, rock, digital and internet album charts in the U.S. As they prepare for a massive world tour that kicks off May 23 at Deer Lake Park in Vancouver, Ben Kaplan checked in with guitarist Peter Buck from the R.E.M. headquarters in Athens, Ga.
Q Do you watch American Idol with your kids?
A Some people watch that, but kids nowadays are pretty smart. That horrible boy band sh-t and pop Idol crap is, I don’t know, some people listen to it. I’m lucky I guess – my kids don’t.
American Idol’s David Archuleta Has One Savvy VAR Dad
I’ve yet to meet a VAR who isn’t trying to use whatever they have at their disposal to work some new angle. But is there another solution provider out there with a combination of foresight, guts, heaven-sent blessings, and sheer luck more formidable than Jeff Archuleta’s?
If you don’t recognize that last name, you either don’t have a television or you’re in a Tuesday-Wednesday night bowling league. Jeff is, of course, dad of cuddly American Idol favorite David Archuleta. That was Jeff in the crowd cheering his son into the final four of the top-rated talent contest last week.
Jeff is also the principal and founder of Arch Consulting Group, a Salt Lake City VAR, “specializing in locating and purchasing the highest quality of technical equipment through non-traditional channels.” In fact, Jeff’s company made its bones post-bubble by helping failed dot-coms liquidate IT assets while reconfiguring and reselling the gear at discount prices. It was a rare bit of initiative in a largely punishing environment for anyone connected with IT.
Finding that silver lining helped Jeff grow his business just as his son’s vocal talent was beginning to blossom. In 2002, David, then 12, was competing on Star Search. Jeff, a musician himself who refers to his son as “a reluctant singer, ” started making plans to expand. With 80 percent of his business coming from asset recovery from failing technology companies, it seemed like the perfect time to make a long-term bet on both his business and his boy. Nice call, Jeff!
Simon Cowell given exclusive Queen’s privilege
London (ANI): Music mogul Simon Cowell has been granted permission to park his Rolls Royce anywhere in Britain, a privilege that is usually given only to the Queen. Cowell insisted that his 200, 000 pounds car should be outside every theatre during auditions for ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, and his driver Tony constantly at the wheel.
In order to achieve his requests, the producers had to beg councils up and down the country for special permission, just so he wouldn’t be mobbed by admirers. It would seem that they are trying to go out of their way to please Cowell, as officials in Birmingham have even agreed to dig up concrete bollards to let him park on the pavement outside the Alexandra Theatre.
More Kentucky Derby party gossip and dish
Who is “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks rooting for on this season’s show?
“David Archuleta. He kind of reminds me of Wayne Newton. You know, the “Danke Schoen” at (17). He’s a young entertainer. (He’ll do great) if he could just sustain himself when he tours. From that show, it doesn’t necessarily have to be music, it could be film. The show form is television. There could be ample opportunities (for him) in the entertainment industry.”
Hicks, meanwhile, will drop a new album this fall; a DVD called “Whomp at the Warfield, ” a two-disc set of his pre-“American Idol” songs and is planning tours in Asia and Italy.
“I never thought country boy from Alabama could go over to Asia and have a fan base, ” he said, sipping on a Jack Daniels and 7. “The soul patrol reaches around the globe. It’s an international concept.”
Clay Aiken: `I’m not trying to be Justin Timberlake’
Clay Aiken is realistic about his niche in the musical landscape.
“I’m not cool, you know what I mean? I’m not gonna lie, ” the good-humored singer told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I’m not trying to be Justin Timberlake. Thank God we have him, but I’m not him. … I’m not gonna bring anybody’s sexy back.”
Aiken embraces his pop-lite sensibility in “On My Way Here, ” his first album of all-new material in more than four years.
The 29-year-old “American Idol” alum ‘ he placed second to Ruben Studdard in the Fox show’s second season ‘ was the first non-winner to release a successful album, “Measure of a Man, ” which went double platinum in 2003. He followed that up with two cover albums: “Merry Christmas With Love” and “A Thousand Different Ways.”
Ask “American Idol” runner-up Blake Lewis a question
Blake Lewis, the runner-up on the sixth season of “American Idol, ” will be appearing at Dutchess Stadium next month, and here’s your chance to ask him a question.
Journal reporter Sean T. McMann will interview Blake later this week about his appearance at the annual K-Fest concert, and he’s offering Blake’s fans a chance to ask the singer a question.
Head over to the Journal’s pop culture blog, “Sean’s Space, ” just a click away at www.seantm.blogspot.com, and find out how you can interact with Blake.
Cars, bands and stars bring crowds to grand parade
It seemed everyone had a favorite part of the Apple Blossom Festival’s Grand Feature Parade on Saturday.
The pair were overwhelmed to see the grand marshal of the parade, Fantasia Barrino. Barrino, winner of the third season of “American Idol, ” her cropped red hair shining brightly in the sun, waved to the crowd from a blue convertible.
“That was basically unspeakable, ” Jacob said.
“That’s the reason we came, ” Lane said. “This was it. I’m ready to go now.”
Barrino was to have a press conference at the Wingate Inn after her appearance in the parade, but she left Winchester earlier than planned because of her concern that she would be late for an engagement in Louisiana, said Barry K. Carper, vice president of the Apple Blossom Festival.
“Fantasia had to get an earlier flight, ” explained Susie Iden, a member of the celebrity committee. “She had to leave town earlier than expected.”
Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift Rock Stagecoach
Theyre two of the most popular newcomers to country music in recent memory. And over the weekend, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift showed Indio Stagecoach Festival a thing or two about what happens when you give a girl a guitar.
And with multi-platinum company like the Judds (who gave their first show together in years, billing it as a one-night-only reunion) and Rascal Flatts, the daunting task of taking the stage mustve seemed pretty darn intimidating.
‘Idol’ Carries a Shakier Tune
It’s time for the annual “American Idol” column, written this year with a heavy heart. Let’s not kid ourselves: Something’s not right.
“Idol” remains, by far, the most powerful force in television. The show is such a ratings behemoth that Fox, for the first time, is likely to finish the season as the nation’s most-watched network. Rupert Murdoch must be pleased that his plan for world domination is going so swimmingly.
Fox’s success comes with an asterisk, since all the broadcast networks have seen their ratings suffer: Viewers drifted away during the long writers’ strike and didn’t come back. CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ” for example, is down 19 percent. “Idol” is doing comparatively well, but its ratings have slid 7 percent. And there aren’t any writers to blame.
5 reasons the best 12 weren’t
THE ALLEGED best top 12 in “American Idol” history has given us inarguably the worst season in “American Idol” history.
It all started off so promisingly. The finals opened with a night of Beatles songs, as entertaining an installment of the show as you’ll find, with a mixture of impressive covers (notably Chikezie — remember him? — turning “She’s a Woman” into a bluegrass/hard rock mash-up) and memorable disasters (David Archuleta forgetting half the words to “We Can Work It Out”). Every season, the producers and judges will talk up that year’s contestants as the best bunch ever, and for one fun night, it looked like we should believe the hype.
But it’s been downhill ever since.
‘American Idol’ itself deserves a vote of no-confidence
If you’re an “American Idol” viewer like me, you’re probably feeling a bit taken for granted right about now.
For six seasons, we’ve tuned in each week to Fox’s singing smackdown, believing that the performances matter and trusting that the results aren’t fixed.
But on this seventh go-round, the producers of the show are sorely testing our faith. They’re assuming we’ll put up with anything, even a mishandled fiasco like Paula Abdul’s meltdown last week.
Poor befuddled Paula caused a mini-scandal when she critiqued two of Jason Castro’s songs, one of which he hadn’t sung yet. She had a few explanations for the “oops” moment: one, that she’d mixed up her notes for Jason and David Cook, and, two, that she’d heard Jason’s second song at the dress rehearsal and accidentally mentioned it.
Many sing praises of Archuleta
In a cynical world, some believe that David Archuleta isn’t for real, that his sweet persona is part of some calculated self-promotional plan, like Rodman’s weirdness or Madonna’s outrageousness.
It’s easier to believe in drunken teen divas and criminal ballplayers and wacky Jackson children than to believe in a shy, guileless kid from Utah.
Others not only believe it, they need to believe it.
They embrace it.
“I feel kinda weird writing this, but I’m a 24-year-old graduate student who was inspired by David, ” Linha Pahn, an aspiring Mississippi medical student, wrote on the “American Idol” online forum. “I’ve been rejected by all medical schools … and I wonder if my dream of becoming a good doctor will ever be attained. With every rejection letter, I would cry myself to sleep. … David has made me smile again. There’s a certain way his voice connects to my soul when he sings that makes me feel better about my life, that everything will be OK.”
‘Oh, to be a boy’ on ‘American Idol’
Given that three of the four remaining finalists on “American Idol” are male, logic might suggest that the only remaining female contestant would be safe when the vote is tallied this week.
Of course, as we’ve seen in all seven “Idol” seasons, logic doesn’t rule the voting. Or much of anything else that goes on with the show.
And the most recently eliminated finalist, Brooke White, indicated somewhat inadvertently that there’s a good chance the final three will be David Archuleta, Jason Castro and David Cook, with Syesha Mercado bidding them and the rest of America farewell on Wednesday night.
“Well, you know what? The boys are awfully popular this year, ” White told critics in a conference call. “And I know that because their fan mail came in great, humongous stacks.
Eleven Simple Rules on How to Become the Next ‘American Idol’
Were winding down this epically long season of American Idol, and the four remaining contestants are preparing to enter the real world as a recording artist. While it may seem like fate and a little luck has a lot to do with becoming successful on America’s favorite TV show, there are a few tricks that can help any wannabe get to the top. Weve devised eleven simple rules to help next year’s hopefuls claim the title, and to hopefully make the show more enjoyable for those watching at home.
Syesha backers launch rally
Fans of Syesha Mercado – the “American Idol” contestant who has made it to the top four – are rallying to keep the 21-year-old in the competition after tonight’s performance on the FOX show. They hope a nationwide Vote for Syesha Mercado Day will help.
If she stays in the competition this week, Mercado will fly into town Friday, escorting a FOX TV crew throughout Bradenton and Sarasota to highlight her hometown. It’s a luxury provided to the final three “Idol” contestants, said her brother-in-law, Edward Bailey.
“So we’ve got to do something, ” he said on voting. “We’re telling everyone to call everybody they know (to vote).”
The “Idol” voting polls will open at 9 p.m. tonight and close at 11 p.m.. Voters can call or text message. Bailey is heading the local effort.
Idol Chatter: Syesha Mercado, ‘Idol’s’ Soulful Survivor
THIS MIGHT be Syesha Mercado’s last week on “American Idol.” And she should be ecstatic about that.
Not because she’ll be leaving the hit show — that’s a tough break in any case. But because she outlasted, outperformed and outsang all of the female competitors and all but three of the wildly popular men in this season’s formidable lineup.
And she’s had to fight for her survival each step of the way, landing near the bottom of the contestant pack a record-tying five times at least without losing her spot in the mix.
The secret to her success? It’s tough to say, since the “Idol” audience can be as unpredictable as a Gulf Coast hurricane, but her continued improvement onstage is surely a factor. She dazzled during Andrew Lloyd Webber week and showed off an impressive range with the songs of Neil Diamond.
Abdul may be confused but some Idols are clueless
Judging by the hyperventilating media reaction after last week’s show, American Idol (8 p.m. on FOX, CTV) viewers were shocked — shocked, I tell you — by Paula Abdul’s mental confusion when she started critiquing songs that hadn’t yet been performed.
Omigod — stop the presses! An aging pop schmoozer was thrown off by last-minute format changes in judging protocol. How will we, as a nation, recover?
Me, I was more dumbstruck by the fact two of the top five finalists freely admitted they’d never heard most of the songs they perform weekly on this high-powered karaoke showcase.
For those who still watch American Idol after each year’s big, gushy finale, the endeavor becomes something of an exercise in occasionally excruciating, diminishing returns. From Broadway to C-list reality shows, the Idol franchise’s reach extends well beyond the recording industry, even though that is the show’s primary focus.
Undeterred by music’s increasingly dire fortunes, Idol keeps throwing marginally talented runners-up at consumers, rejoicing when something sticks (Chris Daughtry) or cutting its losses when it doesn’t (Katharine McPhee, Ruben Studdard). A trio of Idol vets — Clay Aiken, Phil Stacey and Chris Sligh — have prepared fresh material (or in Stacey and Sligh’s case, debut discs) for consumption. How does each stack up?
Music Review: Clay Aiken – On My Way Here
On My Way Here returns to the same formula used in Measure of a Man: to showcase Aiken’s rich voice in ballads rife with corny, generic lyrics. It’s a shame that Aiken keeps creating such bland albums, because he can truly sing. The titular song “On My Way Here” grabbed me instantly when I first heard it. Then again, it may be because it sounds very similar to “Measure of a Man”. In “Lover All Alone” and “Sacrificial Love”, Aiken controls his famously powerful lungs, resulting in two soothing but ultimately unmemorable songs. Power ballad fans need not worry though, for he unleashes those pipes in “The Real Me” and “As Long as We’re Here”.
Aiken Finds His ‘Way’; Diamond Is Right at ‘Home’
Aiken has always seemed more interesting than his material and his public would allow for: beatific in voice, prickly in personality. At its best, “On My Way Here” is a recessive blend of sweetness, piety, confusion and barely concealed resentment that occasionally, if unintentionally, bares its teeth. The subtext of every song seems to be, How did I wind up here? Or, alternately, What do you want from me?
This week’s reviews: Costello noodles, Diamond comes home, and much more
Interesting week, featuring a New Waver with a nuevo triumph, a ’60s/’70s icon, a couple of former Idols and more. Capsules ahoy:
Disc Debuts: ‘Phil Stacey’ by Phil Stacey
The Kentucky-born singer has a nice, warm voice that rings true no matter what he croons. He’s at his best on the country-rocking ” ‘Round Here, ” which was written by the members of Little Big Town. “You Are Mine, ” co-penned by former Mr. Mister leader Richard Page, is a winning down-home ballad. But most of the disc is cluttered with slick, ordinary fodder such as the forgettable single “If You Didn’t Love Me, ” the cloying “Identity” and the sappy “Be Good to Each Other.”
New crop of “Country” wannabes ready to warble
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Actress Sean Young, ‘N Sync’er Chris Kirkpatrick and former Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson have “Gone Country” at CMT.
The cable network has ordered a second season of the reality competition series, in which a group of celebrities vie for a chance to release their own country single.
Season 2 competitors also include Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach, who recently competed on sister network MTV’s “Celebrity Rap Superstar”; actress-singer Irene Cara of “Fame” fame; former “American Idol” finalist Mikalah Gordon; and actor Lorenzo Lamas, who recently popped up on ABC’s “The Bachelor, ” on which his daughter Shayne is one of two remaining contestants.
Bizarre ‘American Idol’ Memorabilia — David Archuleta Night-Lights, David Cook Snow Globes, Creepy Jason Castro Dolls — Turns Up On eBay
Watching the seventh season of “American Idol, ” it’s pretty obvious who the front-runners are. But to really get a sense of which singers are ringing fans’ bells, the best place to look is on auction sites like eBay, where the business of “Idol” ephemera and bootleg tie-in products is booming, and, sadly for lone female contestant Syesha Mercado, pointing to a testosterone-heavy finale.
There has always been a flourishing black market for “Idol”-related merchandise, but this year’s crop of mostly home-cooked products has reached a new level of intricate and sometimes creepy creativity.
Leading the pack with 86 different items for sale on the site as of press time is spiky-haired rocker David Cook. Though he’s been praised for his ability to breathe new life into songs with his (often borrowed) rocking arrangements, the majority of the Cook offerings fall into the personalized buttons, shirts, magnets and necklaces variety. But one forward-thinking entrepreneur was offering the Web domain DavidCookSongs.info (sold for $1.99), and another is hawking a nice-looking black hooded sweatshirt with Cook’s mug on it for $24.95.