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The auditions for American Idol Season 13 begin today in Boston. It’s only fitting FOX officially unveil its latest judging panel line-up. Question is… can they save the show?

Initially, music producer Dr. Luke was to fill the third slot, but due to a professional conflict of interest, he had to step down. This sent the show’s producers into a panic trying to find a last-minute replacement. Enter Harry Connick, Jr. Personally, I’m not sure why it took this long to bring him on board. He’s always been a great mentor and never been afraid to mince words with the other judges, but not in a Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj uncomfortable way.

Connick Jr. joins Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban on the panel. Lopez makes a return after a season break, while Urban is the only returning member from last year’s lineup. Randy Jackson also returns, but in a mentor role. He takes over for a departing Jimmy Iovine. Just when I thought I was finally rid of Jackson, he returns. I just hope Idol doesn’t dedicate too much time for his input. I’m so over him. Check out what everyone, including Ryan Seacrest have to say about the upcoming season below.

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Randy Jackson Returns To American Idol (UGH)

In: Donovan, TV Shows

Randy Jackson is the cockroach of reality television. He just won’t go away. Just when I thought he was gone from American Idol for good, the Top Dawg returns. Why??? Dude even had a going away montage during last season’s finale.

Jackson, however, won’t be claiming his seat back on the judging panel. He’s set to replace Jimmy Iovine as the show’s in-house mentor. DOUBLE UGH. Not only is Randy coming back, but Jimmy is leaving. The latter has been my favorite part for the past couple of years. He’s the only one not afraid to say exactly how it is.

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Mariah Carey Dumps Randy Jackson

In: Celeb Gossip & News, Donovan, Music

After spending several months sitting side by side with Randy Jackson on the American Idol judging panel, it appears Mariah Carey is tired of him. The 43-year-old singer is dumping the Dawg as her manager. Carey now jumps into bed with Red Light Management, joining other artists such as Alicia Keys, Faith Hill, Miley Cyrus and the Dave Matthews Band to name a few.

According to Showbiz 411, Carey officially parted ways due to their schedules being “too hectic.” I smell BS. Jackson was reportedly instrumental in brokering her record-setting $18 million deal to join him on the FOX show this season. I wonder how much Randy scored in commission from that deal.

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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

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

It’s a good thing Mario Lopez scored a new hosting gig and Randy Jackson secured his seat on the American Idol judging panel. Otherwise they’d find themselves in the unemployment line like JC Chasez and Lil Mama. After seven seasons, MTV is pulling the plug on its dance competition show, America’s Best Dance Crew. In its hey day, the Jackson-produced reality show topped the 12-34 demo for the network, but eventually declined. With Jersey Shore, The Hills and ABDC all leaving the network in recent years, it’s definitely impressive The Real World is still kicking around. Shocking really.

“We are grateful to Randy Jackson and Warner Horizon for having brought our audience seven amazing seasons of dance with ABDC and look forward to more successful and dynamic entertaining collaborations in the future.” MTV

When it first premiered, I couldn’t get enough of the show, but lost interest. Truth be told, I had no idea it was still on. I definitely zoned out after Season 3. If you’re like me and enjoyed the glory days of ABDC, MTV aired The Top 10 Performances of All Time before the show’s fourth season premiere. Check out what they deemed the best of the best below.

watch the Top 10 performances on the show below

Earlier this week, FOX’s American Idol released a new promo shot of the four judges and Ryan Seacrest in anticipation of Season 12 which debuts this coming January. The new season features Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, and returning Randy Jackson as judges.

In the following promo video, we see various pop-star wanna-bees from different walks of life and in different settings inter-spliced words of inspiration from the judges. “To all the dreamers,” says Mariah. “To everyone that thought they’d never have a chance,” adds Nicki. “It’s almost that time of year America,” Randy. “The time to make dreams come true,” adds Keith Urban. There’s more, but that’s to give you an idea of the magical “dreams can come true” vibe of the commercial.

The promo first ran yesterday during game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers. Check out the new commercial / promo video below!

Watch the video after the jump…

Even though there has been quite a lot of drama reported between two of the new American Idol judges for Season 12, everyone is all smiles in the newly released promo picture of the judges (Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, and returning judge Randy Jackson) and host Ryan Seacrest. The photo was apparently taken only days after the big Minaj/Carey feud.

As you probably noticed, in the header photo I’ve left out their heads so you can check it out after the jump. I’m a tease that way…just like Ryan Seacrest is on the show: “The results…when we come back, after this…” then off to a commercial break.

The exciting two-night premiere takes place Wednesday, January 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, January 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). Check out the full photo below!.

Check out the picture after the jump…

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