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American Idol 12: Baton Rouge Auditions

In: Donovan, TV Shows

After a trio of two-hour episodes, it was such a nice change of pace to have only an hour of American Idol to deal with. Gone were most of the novelty acts, which is always my least favorite part of the show. Thankfully, the talentless famewhores were bundled up in a montage set to the theme song of True Blood aka “Bad Things” by Jace Everett. Obviously being in Louisiana, referencing the HBO supernatural drama was a no-brainer. Being a fan, I enjoyed this short filler.

Another bonus of having a shorter episode, was the focus on talent and not so much on the judges. With I-would-shoot-you-if-I-had-a-gun-gate over, Nicki and Mariah entered a new phase of playing nice. The two divas must’ve had one serious scolding by producers, management, lawyers and their teams to be this congenial with each other. While not BFFs (yet), Minaj and Carey were quite pleasant with each other and kept things on the professional tip.

The only naughty one in tonight’s episode was Keith Urban for calling the ladies the wrong names. He jokingly said he was doing penance by doing one Hail Mary, which Nicki quickly replied, he should do ten. LOL. Check out my favorite sizzling auditions from the Baton Rouge stop below.

watch my favorite auditions after the jump

Well, that was anti-climatic!!! It’s the episode everyone has been waiting for since TMZ leaked the video of Nicki Minaj tearing a new one into Mariah Carey. Would Nigel Lythgoe air the Jerry Springer-worthy catfight or chicken out? All episode long, Lythgoe teased audiences by building up the tension between the judges. In the end, he pussy’ed out and aired only the PG-rated portions. Perhaps, it was to keep the show more family friendly, or he has a bigger master plan like saving it for the season finale. You never know with him. Whatever his reason, I’m a little bummed. I wanted to see the battle in high-definition and not on some grainy TMZ footage.

Oh well, now that anticipation for the infamous fight is over, we can place our focus back on the contestants. The Charlotte auditions episode is what I hate most about American Idol. The producers focused too much time on the trainwrecks than on the talent. The show began with two back-to-back contestants who were neither good, nor entertaining. Sufficed to say, they aren’t going to Hollywood. That said, there were a couple of standouts, including a 16-year-old bluesy singer and a mother who performed the theme song of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Check out my favorites below, along with Nicki’s tantrum.

PS. While I don’t agree with Nicki walking off the set, I’m totally on her side with her viewpoint regarding the judges’ disagreement. Mariah, Keith and Randy practically brownbeated the contestant until she gave responses they liked. Check out the clip at the very end of the post to see what I’m referring to.

watch my favorite auditions after the jump

It’s week two of American Idol Season 12 and I thought this was a perfect time to post this article. Nothing makes me tune out more than when a contestant reveals they’ve chosen a song that’s been covered to death on Idol. Or even worse, a title so closely associated with another previous contestant, trying to match perfection would be a monumental task. “Alone” by Carrie Underwood, anyone?

Given the show’s long history, fans have been subjected to several songs so overused that the mere sight of them on paper, makes me vomit. You’d think with how much money the FOX singing competition rakes in, they could afford more songs and NOT limit Idol contestants to a rumored small selection list. Hopefully, this year’s crop of wannabe superstars have done their homework and discovered Idol fans don’t want to hear any of the following songs this season or the next.

Note to The X Factor and The Voice producers, this list applies to you as well. Picking fresher songs is one way to steal diehard Idol fans over. Without further ado, check out my Top 10 songs that have been so overplayed, I never want to hear them on Idol ever again. Be sure to post your comments afterward.

check out my picks and the worst performance of each after the jump

Whether you love or hate the addition of Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, the Season 12 makeover of American Idol seems to be working. While the season premiere was down 19% from the previous year, the second telecast gave the veteran reality show some glimmer of hope. When compared to last year’s second episode, last night’s show was only down an astonishing 2%. Truly impressive given the ratings slide the show has experienced the past several years.

Also worth mentioning is the fact the Thursday airing was only off 7% from the Wednesday show. Typically, the second night ratings have dropped at least 20% since Idol’s ratings started plunging in 2008. As a side note, American Idol‘s premiere week numbers in the key demo is besting the recent third season of The Voice by 41%- a 5.8 adults rating vs. a 4.1.

The tension between Carey and Minaj seems to be paying off in stabilizing ratings and generating watercooler buzz. If you’ve read my two recaps, you know I’m still a fan of American Idol and the changes this year, especially Keith Urban’s addition. The true test for Idol’s Thursday night episodes will be when The Big Bang Theory returns next week (last night was a rerun). Lately, the CBS sitcom has been on a ratings tear, achieving series highs the past two weeks. Now onto last night’s highly-anticipated Oprah interview.

check out Lance’s interview ratings after the jump

American Idol 12: Chicago’s Best Auditions

In: Donovan, TV Shows

After taking a bite out of the Big Apple, the American Idol entourage headed off to the Windy City. Will lightning strike twice and will production discover another Jennifer Hudson in Chicago? Perhaps not, but the audition stop gave Nigel Lythgoe a contestant with one of the most touching backstories in Idol history. No lie, but tears came out of this cold heart.

When Seacrest kept hyping Lazaro Arbos as a watercooler performance, I had my doubts. Was this just a case of overpromising and under-delivering? His claims sounded a lot like Chris Harrison’s “most dramatic rose ceremony” empty promises. To my surprise, Seacrest was bang on, Arbos’ audition made me revel at his miraculous voice and gave me my first tears of the season. Yup, I’m a sucker for a touching sob story and this one delivers. You simply have to watch it below.

Before we get to the auditions, I have to quickly comment on Keith Urban’s judging style. Given all the distractions (clowns to the left, and jokers to the right), the Aussie country singer has a knack for delivering concise, intelligent and constructive critics. I think Urban might emerge as the true winner of the season after all is said and done.

Speaking of distractions, was it me or did Nicki’s eyes seemed a little glazed over? Just sayin’. While Minaj and Carey continued to escalate their beef, there actually was a touching moment between them tonight. Nicki gave Mariah a genuine compliment, saying meeting her for the first time was monumental. Hopefully, by the live rounds these two have a détente. I already get my fill of screaming ladies during my Real Housewives fix. Enough about that… let’s get to Chicago’s most memorable auditions, especially the closing one by Lazaro Arbos.

check out the auditions after the jump

Say what you will about American Idol’s relevancy but no other show has produced such a roster of bona fide music superstars. Just watch the first few minutes of the 12th season premiere and you’ll see exactly this in black and white (or should I say in color). Last year’s winner, Phillip Phillips, further punctuates the show’s ability to create stars. His coronation song sold over 3,000,000 million downloads. I’m sure that number is bigger than any of the winners from any other talent show around. Sure, the ratings aren’t nowhere near what they used to be, but it still trounced both The Voice and The X Factor last season. Whether that remains true this season, we’ll have to wait til May. I’m still a fan even though it’s lost its watercooler buzz and has a bunch of haters. I’ll be forever grateful for introducing me to the goddess that is Kelly Clarkson.

The biggest questions going into the new season was how the show was going to handle two bigger-than-life diva attitudes, exactly what Nigel Lythgoe is going to air from that infamous yelling match between the ladies and if it was all real or just drummed up for publicity. Based on last night’s episode, I’d say these ladies truly do not get along. From the slight digs, eye-rolling, and British-off (you have to see it, to believe it), Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj definitely aren’t each other’s in case of emergency contacts. Meanwhile, poor Keith Urban was stuck in the middle. There’s no way in hell he’s getting compensated nearly enough to deal with this headache.

Overall though, individually, they did well with their first outing as judges. Mariah seemed genuinely interested in finding true talent. Because she’s not that great of an actress: Exhibit A Glitter. From the looks of it, she’s taking her new role seriously. Given that she’s known for her divas ways, she was always respectful and friendly to all the contestants. Once Nicki toned down her serious hate for Mariah, she came off playful and fun. The “Superbass” rapper is much more likable when she’s not sparring with Mimi. Keith offered very well-thought out comments and was the voice of reason in this circus. Hopefully, all three continue to get more comfortable with their role as judges and don’t become the next Britney Spears and regurgitate a handful of preplanned critiques. Without further ado, check out my favorite moments from American Idol Season 12’s first episode below.

check out my favorite auditions from New York after the jump

Mariah Carey recently sat down for a one-on-one interview with Barbara Walters where she talked about her experience on American Idol thus far and with that also talked about the Nicki Minaj feud. The two female judges have apparently since reconciled by are rumored to be sitting on opposite sides fo the panel. Barbara also asked if $18 million was in the ballpark for how much she’s getting paid for being a judge and Carey reluctantly answered that yes, that’s in the ballpark.

Aside from American Idol, Walters asked about her relationship with the sexy Nick Cannon and showed some never before seen clips of the two of them in Paris on the Eiffel Tower. She also talked about how it is raising the twins and about her music career.

The season premiere of American Idol takes place on Wednesday, January 16 & Thursday, January 17 at 8/7c on FOX. Check out the Walters / Carey interview below.

Video after the jump…

Making Over American Idol (Again)

In: Donovan, TV Shows

We’re less than two weeks away from the 12th Season of American Idol and I cannot wait. Sure, I’m a little drained from following both The X Factor and The Voice this Fall, but it’s Idol- the granddaddy of them all. It does after all have a track record of making viable artists in the industry. Say what you will, but Phillip Phillips’ “Home” was a huge success and the best-selling coronation song to date. Impressive given that the show is in its second decade.

Even with all that, I have to admit I’m also tuning in to check out Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj’s chemistry during the auditions. I wonder if Nigel Lythgoe will air their infamous diva-off. Don’t let me down Lythgoe. Don’t let me down!!!. Even without the Minaj factor, Mariah is worth tuning in (IMHO) alone. Arguably, she’s the most accomplished singer to ever judge one of these talent shows.

The “Hero” singer along with Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson and Minaj grace the cover of the latest issue of the Hollywood Reporter. Inside the issue the newbies discuss their experience. The producers also reveal what they have in store for the 12th season. Overall, it’s a pretty good piece. Check out a few quotes below along with the cover.

Mariah Carey On Joining Idol

“I was on the fence about the whole thing. I got approached by all the shows. [Husband Nick Cannon] said I should do it because it’s the top, it’s the cream of the crop. And I felt like, ‘Do the show that’s produced massive stars who have had major careers.’”

check out the cover after the jump

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