Rickey Minor, Wild Times and Idol Analysis

Here are some Sunday morning articles for your reading pleasure:

ETA:   I just have to add this  lengthy profile from the LA  Times  of Clive Davis, the chairman and chief executive of BMG U.S.   Davis is the label executive who oversees the production of Idol albums.   And as many of you already know, he has a long, distinguished career in the record business,  introducing legendary performers like Janis Joplin,  the Grateful Dead, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen and  recently Alicia Keyes and Pearl Jam.   The headline of the article is “Hands on Hands Off”.   I believe it refers to this key passage:

“I’m well aware that all the success of ‘American Idol’ puts a taint with some people on my other history, which began with Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen and Carlos Santana, ” the bespectacled Davis says, looking sharp in his nicely tailored slacks and sweater.

“But a discerning person recognizes that when you are running a company, you’re dealing with a mixture of commerce and art. The important thing is to know when you are dealing with art and when you are dealing with commerce, and I know that difference.”

Hmmmm.   Taylor Hicks, who has toiled as a songwriter, musician and performer for the last 10 years would just love to know he’s merely commerce in Davis’s eyes.   Or am I reading Davis’s comments wrong?   And this:

“The mistake people make about ‘American Idol’ is that they think the show itself is enough to make anyone a bestseller, so there is no creativity involved, ” Davis, a guest judge on the TV program, says in his deliberate, thorough way. “But the show’s exposure is only worth about 350, 000 to 500, 000 record sales for an artist.

“To go beyond that, you have to have hit songs to get on the radio.”

Could the difference between DAUGHTRY’s 1 million plus units sold and Taylor Hicks’s roughly 600, 000  be that Daughtry’s single “It’s Not Over” is a hit across many genres, and  that a single from Taylor’s  album has not even been  released yet?   I’d say that radio play is  definitely a factor, here.

The rest of the article is good stuff.   Read it, I say.

The New York Times features Idol music director, Rickey Minor in this article.

When Rickey Minor took over as music director at the beginning of the fourth season of …Idol, his job included overseeing the tracks, which the contestants sang to. But after his first episode Mr. Minor persuaded the producers to abandon the karaoke approach, insisting that a live band would give the show more credibility.

This season, a new but equally unpredictable wrinkle will require Mr. Minor skills too: a competition of original songs, with viewers voting for both their favorite singer and tune. It is conceivable that a song could be downloaded by cellphone and a contestant …could have a smash before the show is even over, Mr. Minor said by phone recently from Los Angeles, where he was preparing music for a current concert tour of another pop culture phenomenon, Disney …High School Musical.

When AI introduced live music in Season 4, it made a HUGE difference in the quality and credibility of the show.   AI lost some of its cheese factor when the contestants were backed by real musicians.

Mr. Minor can accent their strengths ‘  or conceal their limitations ‘  sometimes making adjustments on the spot. Another executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, recalled an incident with a young singer last season: …Kellie Pickler started a chorus two bars before she should have, and Rickey kept it solid. The audience probably never knew.

Oh, yes we did…

From the Green Bay Press Gazette,  this article analyzes  the success of Idol:

“On some level, other shows have more entrenched and passionate fans, say ‘Big Brother’ or ‘Project Runway.’ But in terms of audience, and the diversity of that audience, nothing compares to ‘American Idol, ‘” said Andy Dehnart, editor of http://www.realityblurred.com/, one of the most comprehensive reality TV sites on the Internet.

“Granted, plenty of people devote their lives to contestants that they’ve come to know and love. But on ‘Idol, ‘ and Clay Aiken is the best example of this, there’s a response there, a level of engagement, that can’t be rivaled. It almost borders on obsession.”

There is Idol’s success in a nutshell, I believe.   The  show manages to  involve  the  viewer at an intense  level unseen on other programs, reality or otherwise.   The rest of the article explores the specific ways Idol exacts such a high level of engagement from  its audience.

And now, just for FUN.   The New York Post asks 10 former Idol contestants to dish the dirt on living  with their fellow competitors during the Idol season:

Katharine McPhee repeatedly sneaked out to visit her boyfriend. Ryan Starr spied on neighbor Jennifer Lopez’s house. Scott Savol and pals made frequent trips to Hooters. And Bucky Covington says the boys’ rooms were stinking pigsties.

On the other hand, Josh Gracin often cooked breakfast.

Josh Gracin, Party Boy.   Heh.

Jessica Sierra from Season 4 had the juiciest tidbit:

Romance blossomed as Sierra dated fellow contestant Nikko Smith – though “we didn’t get much time together, ” she says. Their relationship continued while on tour after the show, but has since fizzled out.

She says her “Idol” living arrangement was sometimes brutal: “I’m not going to say we all got along, because we didn’t. Constantine [Maroulis] was very competitive and cocky; sometimes that really got on people’s nerves. It’s not all one big family like people say.”

Season 4, NOT the season of puppies, rainbows and unicorns, I take it…

thanks lisab, madaboutu  and little boy blue

About mj santilli 35006 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!