The Change I Would Make To American Idol

(A bathrobe J-Lo? Really?)
Like the virus that contaminated numerous contestants this season, I keep coming back for more American Idol. I know, every season since at least three seasons ago, I keep saying I’ll never watch it again, who am I kidding? I think the real reason I keep foolishly tuning in is because the show has become a train wreck and who can turn away from a train wreck. The whole “patient zero” (don’t even get me started on that!) situation last week and part of this week I thought would be my last straw. The show, basically, still has some talent, but if they only focused on the sick people last week and no singing? There’s a problem.
However, as I was watching last night, I had a epiphany. I know what would make the show better: lower the audition cut off age. Looking back at the humble beginnings of the show, the ages to audition for the first three seasons was 16-24, guess what? It should have NEVER been changed. In season 4, the cut off age was raised to 28, which blessed us with Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis, Chris Daughtry, and God have mercy on us…season 6 winner, Taylor Hicks. In short, the older contestants/finalists are not living up to their full potential in the world of Idol. Last season, the younger end of the audtion age scale was lowered to 15, and although I think that’s too young to try and break into the business, I generally don’t have a problem with it. Last season’s winner, Scotty McCreery was 17 and he has since been able to: have a debut album debut at number one and as of last month, his debut album has sold a million copies. Sure, Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers may have faded, but hello? Justin Bieber is almost 18 and he’s a global superstar. Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Kris Allen are NOT global superstars, and they really never had a chance.
In season 11, the case for lowering the higher end of the audition ages could be found in Indianapois cop and bully, 27-year-old Alisha Bernhardt. No wonder no one wanted her in their group, she made Tent Girl aka “Patient Zero” Amy Brumfield actually look good. Here are Bernhardt’s “Road to Hollywood” ramblings:
http://www.americanidol.com/swf/videoPlayer/widget/v2r1/Widget.swf
In the end, her group suffered from a sick guy, and a song, Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” that even SHE couldn’t remember the words to. To put it another way, she sucked! And mostly because she gave up and she had a shitty attitude. I’m not bashing older contestants, hey I’m 36, but I think another singing competition may serve them better; either my personal favorite The Voice or what will be a revamped The X-Factor.
So if any American Idol fans, judges, host, or producers are reading this, see if we can make the original auditioning ages happen, well, let’s say 15-24. Thanks!

Don’t Cry For Me Rachel Crow, Yeah, I Watched X-Factor This Week

**SPOILER ALERT** Cute little Rachel Crow, who needed $5 million dollars for her own bathroom, will not be winning The X-Factor, no, she will be fielding offers from countless kid-friendly studios, so her bathroom dream is still attainable. Especially since TMZ broke a story about a meeting with Disney. I think if we remember Rachel, we’ll remember her personality, and I won’t remember her singing except for her initial audition. I’m not convinced a 13-year-old was ready for a big music career, and Nicole had go and do it and force the “deadlock”. So basically it’s your fault America!

What you’ll see above, if you didn’t see it Thursday night, is what I call a primetime soap opera over acting moment, for both Crow and Scherzinger. I may sound mean, but Crow can act, and yes I know she was actually upset. And when Nicole walked away from host Steve Jones when he asked her for a comment after the whole funeral-like scene went down, she refused to speak. She’s lucky, because now her “Over 30” candidate Josh Krajcik, just might win; I just hope he NEVER covers Rihanna again, what the hell was that? And although Simon is pissed about Rachel Crow, he can almost guarantee Melanie Amaro will make the finals and she will probably win. I’m still not buying her “authentic” accent, because if there’s a better acting job than Rachel, it’s Melanie pulling off her very convincing American accent.

As for LA Reid’s remaining competitors, Marcus Canty impressed me this week and Chris Rene did not. I don’t know why Rene is still there, he had his tiny moment in the auditions, now we all know he’s not any good. Canty is polarizing and he’s been in the bottom the last 3 weeks?!? I’m still of the opinion it’s Amaro’s and Simon’s to lose, we’ll see.

Bonus picture, celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves posted a few pictures of Rachel’s “new hair” on his Facebook wall, she looks pretty happy to me…

Okay X Factor, We’re Not Stupid!: A Commentary

I only saw a little bit of this week’s show and I totally missed the results show, however, when I did the math this afternoon, the finals are almost guaranteed to be Simon vs. L.A.  And that’s exactly what the two judges/mentors/record exes–and producers– wanted.  We all know Paula Abdul’s “groups” didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making the finals, so Lakoda Rayne had to go.  Frankly, I give Nicole Scherzinger credit, Josh Krajcik has the best chance of schooling the big guys’ stars in the competition (sorry LeRoy Bell, you were too milquetoast) and unless one of Simon’s or LA’s frontrunners stumble (We’re all looking at you ASTRO!) Krajcik is next in line to go.  It makes me wonder how accurate the voting is.  Sure, America trusts Cowell, and it’s no surprise all three of his “girls” are still in the running to win. If one of them DOESN’T win, it will certainly be a shock.  And I don’t see Marcus Canty or Chris Rene winning, so Astro, despite the attitude/headphone controversy is all LA’s got and I think he knows it.  Astro could be the next Justin Bieber, whom Reid mentored and signed. 
As far the other contestants, and I include all three of Simon’s, I don’t see a “next” somebody.  It’s safe to say Rachel Crow will go on to an acting career with or without a $5 million dollar contract, Drew? I don’t know, and Melanie Amaro is still my favorite and she could be the next I’m not sure.  I still see Amaro as very tenative, not diva-like at all.  LA has a challenge in Canty and Rene; both are good, but they are not good enough to win, so does Reid really care? No.  I hope Cowell doesn’t suffer the American Idol curse when the winner goes nowhere. Remember Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox, the 2 finalists in Cowell’s last year on Idol? DeWyze was dropped from his label and Bowersox quit to go back the “independent” way of doing things.  I bet they wish they were Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina right about now.  Josh Krajcik is about to be set up for a harsh reality, starting a career over 30 is not the best scenario.  Don’t even make me pull the Susan Boyle card!  UGH!  That’s not a career, that’s a passing fad and if she still succeeds in England, great.  It’s just very difficult for anyone, any age to break into the music business in the 21st century.  I would love to see just once, a singer or a band get signed the way all artists used to be signed, through hard work and dedication and a little creativity.  Lady Gaga is the best example of an artist who paid her dues and she is now one of the biggest pop stars in the world, maybe, of all time. Okay, I won’t go nuts, but there’s my point.  A person can be discovered and be mentored, but is it worth $5 million bucks? 
 (Kadeem Hardison should sue!/tv.com)

Will The Real Stacy Francis Please Stand Up?

This is how we, the unassuming public, were introduced to Stacy Francis on The X-Factor.  Francis claimed to be a 42-year-old single mom who had never been given a chance.  Not so fast whoever you are!  What the streaming tears and the runnning mascara covered up was a singer with quite a diverse and a substantial resume’ in the music business prior to stepping on that stage to land a spot in X-Factor Boot Camp, then land an invitation to be part of the “over 30s” category, and now, she has landed in the finals which officially start tomorrow night. 
Okay, is Stacy Francis the first person to enter a competition and not be honest about her past? No, but it seems everyday lately, a new story surfaces about Francis’ real career path.  I see a bit of a double-standard in Francis’ situation.  Both Javier Colon, who won the first season of The Voice and fellow finalist Dia Frampton both had had record deals prior to the competition, yet the press is continuously crucifying Francis for her past gigs.  Is it because Simon Cowell is involved?  Is it because there is so much at stake? As you are aware, the winner of The X-Factor will receive a $5 million recording contract.  And surely, Francis has never been paid that much money in her professional career, but still, for someone else, like Melanie Amaro for example, this may or may not be her chance of a lifetime. 
So, here is a list of Stacy Francis’ gigs:  she was a member of 90’s R&B girl group, Ex-Girlfriend (I don’t remember them), Francis has done both Broadway and West End musicals (both Footloose and Dreamgirls have been confirmed), the weird one: she was asked to perform at Tom Cruise’s birthday party in 2004, and the fresh rumors allude to Francis may or may not have performed with Whitney Houston, Madonna, Chaka Khan (probably true), and Madonna. 
I’m not sure how upset we should be about this.  I’m a little deceived, but in reality, now that all of this has come out, and since there are more talented folks in the competition, Francis probably won’t win.  The pressure on her to come clean is increasing everyday, it will be interesting to see what factoids will be revealed next.  She probably has a SAG card, so hell, what else can fall out of her closet?  Just stay online and you’ll find something.

The X Factor: Try And Keep An Open Mind (I Will Too!)

Meet 18-year-old Melanie Amaro, who I’m predicting (unless she has a really bad night) will win the first ever US edition of The X FactorBut here’s what happened when the 16 finalists were revealed last night, in one of the first segments, Girls’ mentor and overlord Simon Cowell told Amaro she didn’t make the cut.  When I read that, because I work evening hours and I almost never get to watch any of my shows live (forgive me if I’m repeating myself), I could NOT believe it.  In fact, Cowell realized he “made a mistake” and called Amaro to invite her back into the competition as his FIFTH girl, so we have a total of 17 finalists.  Oh the controversy!  Here’s who Cowell told she did make it when Amaro was told no:
One of the competition’s youngest singers, plucky 13-year-old, Rachel Crow.  I love her, but I don’t think she can win.  At her age, her voice just hasn’t matured into what it could in a little as two years.  But her charm and her personality are priceless.  Maybe she’ll catch the eye an acting scout, because she could definitely lean in that direction.  One other controversial choice got Cowell’s seal of approval.
Justin Bieber lover, 14-year-old Drew Ryniewsicz.  I call a little foul on this choice, simply because Caitlin Koch or Jazzlyn Little both had a better shot. And I’m not thrilled Cowell has given Tiah Tolliver a chance; she’s annoying and she may have divided the judges in the initial auditions, but she doesn’t have it.  I mean would he have eliminated her and then called her back???  I’m not so sure.  Same goes for Simone Battle; too much attitude; as you recall, she proclaimed herself to be “fierce” about a billion times before she actually got on stage at the auditions.  UGH!  Over it.
Here’s another issue I have with the show.  Why is there a “groups” category when we all know a group will not win.  God bless Paula Abdul; I knew she would be assigned to mentor the groups.  Do I sense a little shade?  And out of the groups that made the finals, I don’t see one that has a chance; I mean the Brewer Boys???  And both of the “thrown together” groups, made up of rejects from boot camp both made the finals, hmmmmm?  Producer intervention perhaps?  In short, I don’t like any of the groups!
As far as LA Reid’s Boys finalists, it’s a little shocking that both country singers, Tim Cifers and Skyelor Anderson were not given a pass to the finals.  What is Simon Cowell doing?  I know he’s not on American Idol anymore, but did he notice 2 country singers made the finals and the winner, Scotty McCreery, debuted his album at the top of the charts last week???  I understand Cowell is trying to top his old show, but I think he’s missing out if he doesn’t take country music a little more seriously, and to be honest, he never has, big mistake! 
The “Over 30s” could end up being the most interesting category to watch.  But I admit, it’s another category that could have easily been pushed aside.  I only have one bone to pick, this guy:
I’m not a fan of Dexter Haygood and he’s not even the oldest in the category; Leroy Bell is 60!  I don’t think he gets it.  It can pay off to be yourself, but it doesn’t pay off when you can’t tweak your style to appease a 21st century audience.  I think this is another case of the producers calling the shots, simply because of Haygood’s homeless to Hollywood story. Haygood was once part of the 80’s funk rock group Xavion, I don’t remember them.  Enough said.  But who knows, he may kick it up and he may dazzle America. 
The X Factor live shows begin after the World Series (GO CARDINALS!) on FOX.
(All images courtesy of thehollywoodgossip.com)

My DVR Is Special And She’s(?) Busy!

Ah, a new season of fresh television programming; it’s music to my ears and it’s a feast for my eyes.  Yes, the picture above is the kind I possess, and I think I should name her/him.  I’ll get to thinking on it as I write.  
I already know I’ll have to resort some online viewing to watch every show I like.  The old Motorola is trusty, but she/he can only record two shows at the same time; and when you arrive at a night like Thursday, it’s a bitch to try and decide what to sacrifice for the “catch up online” crowd.  I won’t be able to post fancy graphs or charts but I will try and break down my weekly viewing schedule.  And I will point out a few new shows I think may be worth watching.
Although Sundays are not as crowded now, thanks to True Blood ending, I do have a few I can’t miss, namely the Fox “Animation Domination” line-up.  Say what you will but I still love The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and the fiercely underrated American Dad!  They may all be animated, but they are not for the youngsters and the humor is so inside joke and is so irreverent, I can’t turn away.  I became so obsessed with American Dad! I would stay up to watch nightly reruns on Cartoon Network.  Speaking of Cartoon Network:
 Early Cuyler and the gang are back in a brand new season of Squidbillies.  Now if you thought the Fox animated shows were weird, you ain’t seen nothing ’til you seen squids cooking meth and living in the mountains of North Georgia!  The episodes may only last 10 minutes, but they are worth every second.  (Sundays 10:45p C on Cartoon Network).
Now here’s the deal, I don’t watch Mad Men (which just netted its fourth-straight Emmy for Best Drama Series) yet I’m very interested in seeing another 1960s themed series:
I believe I’ll be able to fit Pan Am into my Sunday night schedule.  It’s getting better reviews than its NBC counterpart, The Playboy Club, and it looks very authentic.  Christina Ricci better deliver! (Sundays 9p C on ABC).  So, since The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network wraps up this Sunday, I should be good to go.
Mondays are where things start to get tricky.  I’m going to do my best to try and not miss Dancing With The StarsTEAM CHAZ!  I made a trip home this past Monday and since we only have one TV at home now, I made Mom and Dad watch it.  I get a break from TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles until it picks back up in November.  The A-List: New York will end soon, but then The A-List: Dallas premieres next month on LOGO.  And there’s the new, controversial season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I know I’m missing something.  It’s the cable shows that will get you. 
Moving on to Tuesdays, I know I might sacrifice the Dancing With The Stars results show in favor of Glee of course (duh!) this show:
Zooey Deschanel’s new sitcom New Girl (Tuesdays 8pm C on Fox) has landed a cake lead-in (Glee, which it beat in the ratings this week?!?) and a good follow-up, season 2 of Raising HopeNew Girl is not resting all on the shoulders of Deschanel, her co-stars/roommates Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, and Damon Wayans Jr (yes, son of that Damon Wayans) play great straight men.  And what Tuesday night wouldn’t be ba-nan-as without a new season of The Rachel Zoe Project; Rachel and Rodger are preparing for the birth of their first child, while as usual, Rachel works her fingers to the bone, only now she’s pregnant.  
Wednesdays may kill my DVR.  Not only does The X-Factor and Survivor both air at the same time, I have another new show to add:
I’m hoping Up All Night stays at 7p C on NBC.  I’ve read it might get moved around and of course, the show was re-tooled to accentuate Maya Rudolph’s role as an Oprah-like talk show hostess.  It’s just good to see Christina Applegate and Will Arnett back on primetime TV as once hard-partiers who now have a baby, hence the name.  I guess I can forgive Arnett for last season’s stinker, Running Wilde.  The show is produced by SNL eternal overlord Lorne Michaels and since 30 Rock won’t be returning until October?!, I expect the funny.   My first priority on Wednesday nights will almost always be the Emmy-winning Modern Family, I just hope it doesn’t run out of gas.  I also throw in Top Chef: Just Desserts to complicate things; I can’t miss them and a new Top Chef (Texas) will premiere in November.  WHEW!
Thursdays may drive me insane.  Apparently, The X-Factor results shows will be on which will trump The Big Bang Theory (watch it! especially now that it’s in syndication) and Parks and Recreation (Amy Poehler’s Emmy stunt for Lead Actress was genius).  As always, I’m as loyal to The Office (season 8) as any other fan would be; no turning the TV at 8pm.  I’m sad to report my first real sacrifice this season will more than likely be…Grey’s Anatomy.  I could catch up online I suppose, but is it worth it anymore?  I only watched for Callie and her many lesbian dramas anyway, yes I said it!  Now, instead of bawling over Meredith Grey’s lisp, I’ll be checking out this lady:
No, Maria Bello will never be Helen Mirren, but an American version of Prime Suspect sounds like it might hit the right notes.  And from all the promos/pictures I’ve seen, Bello dresses like this every week, SCORE! (Thursdays 9p C NBC)  
So what’s leftover, just a new season of Saturday Night Live, which debuts this weekend with Alec Baldwin hosting for a record 16th time with Radiohead as musical guests. 
**and yes, there will be a Project Runway live-ish recap posted in just a few hours, yes, I’m nuts!**

And The Paula Puzzle Piece Fits!

Negotiations went down to the wire, but Paula Abdul will re-join Simon Cowell this fall for Fox’s American version of The X-Factor.  Abdul rounds out the judging panel of Cowell, former Island Def Jam label head/Grammy-winning producer L.A. Reid, and British version judge, Cheryl Cole.  The show finally has announced their hosts as well, former Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger, and British TV host, Steve Jones. 
So what does this all mean?  Nothing really.  Although I do think the final nail in the American Idol coffin may be complete.  The Voice, of course, is outstanding, and who knows what The X-Factor will really be like, but for sure, viewers will be drawn back to the chemistry of Cowell and Abdul.  Seriously, I’ve missed the crazy and I’m still sad Live to Dance didn’t work out for Paula; it ended being too much like the other reality competition shows, totally boring and Fox just does a better job with So You Think You Can Dance? 
Yes, welcome back!…I can’t wait.

My Two Cents: Haley Taking On "You and I"

I don’t know where to start.  Well, first of all, Lady GaGa’s songs aren’t exactly Idol fare, why?  They are complex and they should NEVER ever be sung without Mother Monster’s permission.  Sure, Jimmy Iovine is the head of Universal Records, which GaGa is on the Interscope imprint, Streamline, but I think the big mentor this season dropped the ball in letting Haley sing a GaGa song which is still considered “unreleased” although GaGa herself has been performing it in concert and on TV for several months. Exhibit A:
See, no one else should be singing it, especially an Idol contestant, whom I think could go a little further in the competition, and hell, Haley may win, or at least place 2nd, but hands off Lady GaGa, no matter what Iovine says just because he has access to one of his artists.  That’s the way things are looking right now.  And it’s totally ridiculous; Haley’s voice is not unique and if I hear one of the judges compare her to Janis Joplin again, I’ll puke!  And I was livid when Haley sang Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, however, she didn’t screw it up too bad.  I was searching around on Twitter this morning, and Ms. Reinhart has quite the following, which all the contestants do, but each of them also has several fans who’ve created accounts and each of them begs for you to vote for Haley, Lauren, James, Scotty, and yes, Jacob too.  
I have to say I’ve really been won over by The Voice and I’m counting down the days ’til the American version of Simon Cowell’s other brainchild, The X-Factor premieres in the fall.  It was just announced today, British version judge and Girls Aloud member, Cheryl Cole will indeed join the American judging panel along with Cowell, L.A. Reid, and another judge (please Paula Abdul!) to be named perhaps by tomorrow.  To be continued…

I Pick You?

You may have noticed during the Super Bowl, the first promos ran for the American version of The X-Factor…it’s very dramatic, yet simple:
Cowell is upping the ante with the prize for X-Factor; a $5 million record contract for the winner!  Wow!  I’m guessing several Idol winners would have appreciated that kind of bread.  You know the ones I’m talking about, Taylor Hicks, Reuben Studdard, Kris Allen, etc.  Geez!  Not only is Cowell feeding the piggy, he’s also considering Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, British version judge Cheryl Cole, and…one Paula Abdul as judges.  By the way, is anyone really watching Live to Dance?  Cowell is very clever in possibly bringing back Abdul for a whole new show.  American Idol is doing fine without him, and he’s said, although he hasn’t watched a whole episode, he’s pleased with what he’s seen.  Right.  NOTE: I may blog about Idol once the finalists are set.  I just fear too many golden tickets have been passed out this time.  J-Lo is WAY too much of a pushover and Tyler? well, he’s been the wildcard for sure and that’s what he’s supposed to be.  I’m a little scared for him when the live shows start; Seacrest will need to learn to work a delay button.  I can see it now, a button with Tyler’s face on it, it just might happen.
As for auditions for The X-Factor,  they begin March 27 in LA.  Idol’s Hollywood rounds begin airing tonight….lots of weeding out to do.

(UNOFFICIAL!) J-Lo Will Be An Idol Judge After All????…

Holy crap FOX!…This is getting a little old….and I mark this blog as “unofficial” because who knows if any of this is the truth…according to TMZ, a deal between Fox and Jennifer Lopez for Lopez to become a judge on American Idol is “imminent”…this after Lopez was said to be out of control with her diva demands and the network was tired of negoiating…well, all of that?…not true!…the network is said to be in “typical negoiations” with J-Lo…and the kicker?…the deal could be announced as early as next week!…right….and apparently another source is reporting a deal that would’ve brought Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler to the show as a judge has fallen through..again, all of this is unofficial…of course, Randy Jackson is definitely coming back, which was recently confirmed…I just happened to catch Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul chatting on the Emmy red carpet the other night…they were going to have lunch soon…LMAO!…Paula had to move on and that’s okay…I guess if an annnouncement about judges is going to be made, Seacrest will be all over it….ass!
Also on the judging front, the following lady is said to be in the running to be on the new US version of The X Factor, debuting next fall:
KATY PERRY!…She’s been one of the better audition judges Idol has ever had and now, she might be rewarded for it by Simon Cowell himself…once again, all of this is very unofficial…one source is even saying Perry will be paid $300,000 a week for her services…however, since Perry is hot right now, who knows what will transpire in a year’s time…
If and when this big American Idol judge announcement takes place, don’t worry, a blog will be written…HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND!