Ellen DeGeneres was just announced as Paula Abdul's replacement on "American Idol" starting next season, and I'm excited yet nervous for the choice.
Adding an "Idol" superfan to the panel is a fun idea. I think many of us assumed producers would find a washed-up pop star from a past decade to replace Paula. But going with the diehard fanatic is an interesting twist that threw me for a loop. Congrats to "Idol" for still having tricks up its sleeve.
But three things concern me with their choice of Ellen.
First, Ellen posted a video on her daytime chat show's Web site in which she promises to take the role of the viewer. She said, "I'm the people's point of view 'cause I am just like you. I sit at home and I watch it. I'm not looking at that in a critical way from [a] music producer's mind. I'm looking at it as a person who's going to buy the music and relate to that person. So hopefully I'll be the voice of what we're all doing at home."
But let's be honest. Nine times out of 10, the home viewer is the harshest critic of them all. Admit it: You've sad things about these singers that would make Simon Cowell blush. We rag on contestants left and right. If anything, us "Idol" geeks have been upset that the judges haven't been hard enough on certain contestants. (I know I was harshest on Danny Gokey because I didn't think he received enough criticism from the panel.) This video statement from Ellen worries me because I find it disingenuous and not representative of who she actually is. She's a zillionaire celeb who is likely too afraid to piss anyone off. She'll be more like the "Idol" cheerleader than you or I would ever be. If you're gonna claim to be "the armchair critic," Ellen, you better be prepared to really go there. Join the party. Come to the dark side.
Secondly, Ellen guest-judged this past summer on "So You Think You Can Dance" and her appearance was frustrating to say the least. Read More...
With Paula Abdul currently out of the picture, the producers of "American Idol" are working on beefing up the star power on the show. So far, they've only broken out the big guns: Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige, Shania Twain and Victoria Beckham have all been confirmed for the upcoming season of the show, and two more huge stars are apparently close to confirming their participation. The first, Kelly Clarkson, is an obvious choice. Why wouldn't you want to involve the first (and arguably most successful) "American Idol" winner? The other name is probably bigger and arguably more intriguing than Clarkson, and that's Joe Jonas of those more-famous-than-famous Jonas Brothers.
While Joe doesn't necessarily have the same sort of long career that Blige or Twain or even Clarkson, he's a guy who knows all about singing, performance, songwriting and fame. Since the Jonas Brothers exist in just about every pop music context you can find (pop and rock, kids and teens, dance music and ballads), he should have advice for everybody, not just the contestants who seem to match up with his worldview. (Blige, for example, probably would be no help to anybody with more of a rock background, and Twain will likely only be useful to those finalists interested in country music.)
And since Joe is a pretty playful performer and often game for whatever (he did pour himself into a catsuit to pay homage to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" video after all), he would be ready to banter with Randy, go toe-to-toe with Simon and do whatever it is that Kara does. It'll make for some great television as well as produce good music.
So here's hoping the rumor morphs its way into confirmation. And why stop at just offering him a guest slot? Make him a permanent member of the team! He's probably got a lot of other stuff going on (what with being in one of the biggest bands in the world and all), but even if you don't like the Jonas Brothers, Joe Jonas can only bring awesomeness to the upcoming season of "American Idol."
David Cook has been in the limelight for less than two years, but he's apparently already burned out by reporters asking him the same five questions. Late last week, Cook posted a new episode of his webshow "Pork Beans" in which the singer interviews a rubber chicken (named "Crazy Legs") by regurgitating particularly inane questions he's been asked since winning "American Idol" in 2008.
Among the vapid queries:
"Is Simon really that mean in person?"
"What's the last year of your life been like since I won 'American Idol?'"
"Who do you like better from Season 8, Adam or Kris?"
"What are your thoughts on Paula Abdul leaving 'American Idol?'" (Whoops. I totally asked Kris Allen that question last week. So kill me, I still think it was newsworthy!)
On one hand, I think the video — entitled "A Ficus Flows Between Us" — is a rather sharp satire on the state of music reporting. Bad questions that will make for easy "clickable" headlines? Check. (Although no "Twilight" question, David? Tsk tsk.) Generic responses from the artist/chicken which could all be interchanged with each other? Check! Fake interest from the interviewer after each answer? Yep, he nails that, too. One could even look deeper into the video and note that the chicken can't respond until a hand (or perhaps record label?) squeezes it.
But on the other hand, David Cook should be careful not to come off as a jaded rock star. While I find the clip to be amusing, I could see how others might look at it and go, "Well forget that guy. I won't bother interviewing him when he plays the California State Fair next week."
The interview lasts for about four minutes and then second half is a series of outtakes. (Hmm ... I wonder where he got that idea?) So check it out and let us know what you think! Too funny or too bitter? Also, are there any questions David missed that you hope "Idol" reporters retire from their tired repertoire? I know I could live without the generic "Give advice to future contestant"s line. Yawn!
Move over Alexa Chung. There's a new morning chat show headed to MTV: "Wake Up with Kris and Jim."
Okay, not really.
But "American Idol" winner Kris Allen did express interest in co-hosting a daily talk show with me, provided his music career doesn't pan out. (As if.)
That was just one of the nuggets left on the cutting room floor of our four part "Kris Allen: Raw" interview, which premiered earlier this week. Although we initially posted about eight (super-focused) minutes of our chat, Kris and I gabbed for almost twenty minutes, touching on everything from sex toys to Danny Gokey (two things I never thought I'd see in the same sentence). Read More...
On the same day that Adam Lambert confirmed that he was gay, another "American Idol" looked to jump-start his career. Danny Noriega, a semi-finalist from the seventh season of the show most famous for his bizarre take on "Tainted Love" that got him eliminated from the show, premiered his first video for his single "24/7." It's a remarkable three minutes of entertainment, fueled by a punchy disco beat, '80s special effects technology and guest rapping by somebody called Diamonique. The Auto-Tune assisted song is a little formless, but appears to have a chorus that goes, "Who's gonna buy my drinks?/Who's gonna buy your drinks?/You, b----!" There are also references to Noriega's forgotten catch phrase "TMTH ("Too much to handle") and multiple lyrics about "American Idol" (he sings "I'm no American idol" but also adds "Can I be your idol?" — clearly, he's conflicted).
What must Noriega think of all the adoration being showered upon Lambert? After all, he was the show's gay underdog a year before anybody knew who Lambert was, but despite getting an assist from Rosie O'Donnell (who even had him sing on a cruise she hosted), Noriega remains an independent artist. Though he never officially addressed it on the show, Noriega has fully embraced the gay community and has gotten involved in activism, which should be applauded (we'll have to wait to see if Lambert will get involved in issues like same-sex marriage).
It was a shrewd move to drop this video the same day that Lambert's Rolling Stone article officially broke. Of course, more than a handful of people have pointed out that one of the key differences between Lambert and Noriega is that Lambert has a roundly excellent voice and Noriega benefits from his Auto-Tune assist (not that there's anything wrong with that). Noriega's "24/7" single is supposed to hit iTunes soon, and it'll be interesting to see how it stacks up against forthcoming singles from various Idols (including Lambert, winner Kris Allen and the newly-signed Allison Iraheta). In the meantime, Noriega should lose Diamonique (whatever that is) and stick to what he does best (whatever that is remains entirely up to him).
By Eric Ditzian
"American Idol" veterans are making the transition from amateur sensations to paid professionals. Champ Kris Allen, runner-up Adam Lambert and fourth-place finisher Allison Iraheta have all signed record deals with 19 Recordings. So, which contestant from the show's eighth season will be the next to ink a recording contract? Which highly ranked singer will get left out in the cold? Let's discuss.
Those who play it safe probably have their finger on Danny Gokey. With his velvety singing voice and heartstring-tugging backstory, he was among the front-runners all season. Gokes was never in the bottom three until he got booted off the week before the finals. But I'm not convinced about his viability as a commercial recording artist. A recent conversation I had with producer Howard Benson (who has worked with Kelly Clarkson and Chris Daughtry) only solidified my thinking that Danny's going to struggle in his post-"Idol" career. Will he get signed? Sure, on name recognition, if nothing else.
But I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the next "Idol" crooner to make it big will be fifth-place finisher Matt Giraud. Read More...
By Rya Backer
Kris Allen and Adam Lambert fans, you've outdone yourselves. While I'm nobody's armchair "American Idol" viewer (I regrettably didn't join the office poll — I would've done so well!), I also never realized how dedicated fans can become in such a relatively short time.
By the time we'd arrived at Rockefeller Center for the "Today" show taping at 6:30 a.m. — a really, really ungodly hour — the space was packed. Fans who waited overnight to catch a glimpse of the show's winner and runner-up had been corralled into the audience pit and began flashing their homemade signs. Oh, that's the other thing: Kris and Adam have some really creative fans. The Adam Lambert doll sign rife with pompoms? Incredible. "Range We Can Believe In"? Dazzling. "Grannys for Adam"? Creepy.
By Rya Backer
Last night's "American Idol" left us with a lot to talk about: What was so offensive during the Black Eyed Peas performance that left us with a slate of the show's logo? Why did the camera cut to Janice Dickinson every three seconds? How did Adam Lambert lose? Was that Tatiana Del Toro moment really staged? What in the world was Queen Latifah wearing?
Well, here's the answer to one of those questions:
"This was designed by my designer, my stylist Tim Snow and myself," Queen Latifah explained on the finale's red carpet about her ensemble: a black, close-fitting, one-sleeved jumpsuit, with a zipper that opened across her right side. "We wanted to bring, like, edgy couture funk to the stage — make it a little edgy, put the zippers on it, rock it out but hug the body. Make a girl like me look super sexy." Read More...
And that's a wrap!
Faster than you can say "No Boundaries," a new American Idol has been crowned. The confetti's been swept. The red carpet rolled and tossed in storage. And Paula's battery has been removed so that she can recharge.
But before I say goodbye to this season, I just want to say thanks to all the awesome readers, commenters, bloggers and MTV News staffers who helped make season eight so much flipping fun!
Yesterday, at the "Idol" finale, I got to meet a lot of fans (including Kris Allen!), and it was super cool (and totally surreal) to have random people shout my name when artists like Jason Mraz and the Black Eyed Peas were in the vicinity! All I do is write silly jokes and talk fast. To paraphrase Kris Allen, "I don't deserve this."
So, until we meet again next January (although I'll be doing tons of other stuff for MTV News! Keep watching, kids!), I'll leave you with my final "Idol" video diary. Because every "Idol" adventure should end with a hotel toilet that sounds like Danny Gokey's scream.
By Sabrina Rojas Weiss
While many "American Idol" fans are still reeling from last night's results, some of us aren't so concerned with how America voted. Because for us, the more important aspect of the finale show was its spectacle. Rather, its many spectacles.
In the following list of our 10 favorite insane outfits to grace the Nokia Theatre stage, you'll notice Kris Allen is missing. It takes more than a sweet smile and a black leather jacket to rank #1 here:
1. Adam Lambert attempts to out-glam KISS. I can't be the only one to let out a squeal when I saw those metal shoulder pad/wings, accompanied by jeweled eye-liner and jacket that may or may not have been skinned from a crocodile. I wonder how the Middle America vote would've gone if he'd worn this on Tuesday night? Read More...