I hesitate to write anything on an American Idol after wondering aloud last week how Taylor Hicks was doing. From the many responses, it seems Taylor has a book, a hit record, and the greatest live performance you’ve ever seen. That is unless you’ve seen Michael McDonald in concert. I’m kidding!
So I hope this story doesn’t upset the claymates out there, but it seems your boy got in a scuffle on an airplane while en route to Tulsa International Airport. The dispute on a Continental Airlines flight took place between Clay Aiken, who was traveling Saturday morning to a performance at the Brady Theater, and a woman, the Tulsa World reported for Sunday’s editions.
Concertgoers who attended the former ”American Idol” singer’s show said afterward that Aiken joked on-stage about being beaten up by a girl earlier in the day.
FBI Special Agent Gary Johnson said there was a dispute between a male passenger and a woman on the flight but could not confirm the passenger was Aiken. He said the dispute was over the male passenger’s foot resting on the woman’s armrest. He said there was an allegation the woman gave the male passenger a ”minor shove” during the argument.
”At that point the flight crew was able to resolve the situation,” Johnson said.
Tulsa Airport Authority spokeswoman Alexis Higgins said the passengers were held until FBI agents arrived to interview them. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made.
Wait ’til Kathy Griffin gets a hold of this story.
UPDATE (Allie): The blogger from under the stairs had a reader send in a couple of cell phone pictures, taken during Clay’s questioning.
Apparently, the elderly woman in the first picture, is the push and shover.
American Idol rocker Chris Daughtry has scored the biggest-selling record in America of 2007 after sailing past the three million sales mark with his debut, Daughtry. The success also gives Daughtry the fastest-selling rock debut in the 16-year history of the Billboard album chart’s sales tracking system.
The album has also been certified triple platinum and is the fifth best-selling digital release of all time.
Daughtry admits he has been struggling to come to terms with his success since the album hit the one million sales mark.
He says, “Sometimes it never really sinks in where you’re at in your career. It seemed so unreal when I found out that we were platinum. I was just at home, doing normal everyday stuff at home, taking out the trash, dishes and whatnot, and I found out we’re selling over a million albums… It just felt so unreal. It’s kind of hard to grasp sometimes.”
How’s Taylor Hicks doing these days?
For the last few years, three-quarters of the network television executives in Hollywood have tried to figure out how to derail “American Idol,” the Fox juggernaut that dominates the prime-time ratings.
Now Howard Stern, of all people, says he has found the way.
For the last two weeks, Mr. Stern has been promoting a Web site created by a 24-year-old “American Idol” fan that encourages people to support the worst performer on the popular talent show. Their candidate has been Sanjaya Malakar, the off-key, lyric-fumbling, elaborately coiffed teenager who is perhaps the most talked-about “Idol” contestant ever.
“We’re corrupting the entire thing,” Mr. Stern said on his Sirius Satellite Radio show Thursday, the day after Mr. Malakar secured a place in the top nine finalists. “All of us are routing ‘American Idol.’ It’s so great. The No. 1 show in television and it’s getting ruined.”
By promoting Mr. Malakar, Mr. Stern says, he hopes to turn the talent competition into a farce and destroy its popularity.
The stakes of the battle are not insignificant, either for Fox or for the contestants. In its sixth season, “American Idol” has drawn an average of 32 million viewers each week, nearly 50 percent more than the next highest-rated show and better than the show has measured in any previous season.
Mr. Malakar, who at 17 looks like a 1970s pop star of the David Cassidy/Bobby Sherman/Andy Gibb variety, had been among the lowest two or three vote-getters in the first weeks of the season. But after Dave Della Terza, the founder of a Web site called votefortheworst.com, first appeared on Mr. Stern’s radio show on March 20, Mr. Malakar has not been among the lowest vote-getters. (“Idol” does not release total vote tallies, but each week reveals which performers are in the bottom slots.)
A number of those voting for Mr. Malakar may be genuine fans, many of them in the pre- and early-teenage brackets, to judge from posts on a number of Internet bulletin boards dedicated to the show.
But the fans also include older women and Indian-Americans, and Mr. Malakar’s progress is being tracked voraciously by Indian newspapers in both the United States and India. And they probably include executives at Fox, the television network that is riding “American Idol” to the top of the ratings.
A Fox spokeswoman said, efforts like Mr. Stern’s do not affect the results. “With 30 million votes every week, and hundreds of millions of votes over the season, the power of true fans of ‘American Idol’ dwarfs any attempt of people trying to gain notoriety,” the statement said. “Despite the press coverage, these campaigns don’t affect who moves forward in the competition.”
Mr. Stern, through a spokesman, declined to be interviewed for this article. Unlike Mr. Stern, Mr. Della Terza, a community college teacher near Chicago, said he did not want to destroy “Idol.”
“We’re not out to take the show down,” Mr. Della Terza said in a telephone interview. “We like the show. We want to keep around the guy we think is funny and corny.” His aim, he said, was simply to spice up the show by toying with the results, keeping what he calls the “cheesiest” contestants on for as long as possible.
In a recent interview on Mr. Stern’s radio show, Mr. Della Terza said he understood that his efforts might be affecting contestants who are better singers. “Everyone tries to say we’re crushing dreams with what we’re doing, but we’re trying to help Sanjaya’s dreams,” he said. “He wants to be the American Idol too.”
Ms. Hudson, coincidentally, was the first contestant to be recommended for support on votefortheworst.com, something that is not lost on Mr. Della Terza.
“We picked her the first week because of her crazy outfits and over-the-top singing,” he recalled. But she improved, and the site switched its recommendation to another contestant. Last year the site also picked Taylor Hicks, the eventual winner, as the worst performer when five competitors were left.
“If we had not recommended him, maybe he wouldn’t have won,” Mr. Della Terza said. It is unclear how many voters have been influenced either by Mr. Stern or the Web site.
Sirius has six million subscribers but does not release listener figures for its individual shows. According to Mr. Della Terza, votefortheworst.com had been receiving a million or so hits per “Idol” show this season; that number jumped to more than three million after his first appearance on Mr. Stern’s show.
FAVORITE MALE REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Will Kirby (Big Brother: All Stars) â€“ 37.93%
Yul (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 20.69%
BJ & Tyler (Amazing Race) â€“ 17.24%
Ozzy (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 10.34%
Michael (Project Runway) â€“ 6.90%
Elliot Yamin (American Idol) â€“ 3.45%
Kaysar (Big Brother) â€“ 3.45%
Taylor Hicks (American Idol) â€“ 0.00%
FAVORITE FEMALE REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Janelle (Big Brother) â€“ 35.71%
Katharine McPhee (American Idol) â€“ 14.29%
Mary (The Amazing Race) â€“ 14.29%
Cirie (Survivor: Exile Island) â€“ 10.71%
Melrose (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 10.71%
Becky (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 7.14%
Donyelle (So You Think You Can Dance) â€“ 3.57%
Eva Avila (Canadian Idol) â€“ 3.57%
LEAST FAVORITE MALE REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Mike Boogie (Big Brother)- 53.13%
Vincent (Project Runway) â€“ 15.63%
Chris Daughtry (American Idol) â€“ 12.50%
Peter (The Amazing Race) â€“ 9.38%
Joseph (The Amazing Race) â€“ 6.25%
Nathan (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 3.13%
Ace Young (American Idol) – 0.00%
Aras (Survivor: Exile Island) â€“ 0.00%
LEAST FAVORITE FEMALE REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Kellie Pickler (American Idol) â€“ 34.48%
Erika (Big Brother)- 22.58%
Erica (The Bachelor) â€“ 9.68%
Lyn & Karlyn (The Amazing Race) â€“ 9.68%
Angela (Project Runway) â€“ 6.45%
Jade (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 6.45%
Monique (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 6.45%
Candice (Survivor: Cook Island) â€“ 3.23%
BEST LOOKING MALE REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Toby Rand (Rockstar: Supernova) â€“ 25.00%
Tarek (The Apprentice) â€“ 17.86%
Tyler & James (The Amazing Race )- 14.29%
Yul (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 14.29%
Aras (Survivor: Exile Island) â€“ 10.71%
Ozzy (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 10.71%
Jonathan (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 7.14%
Ryan Star (Rockstar: Supernova) â€“ 0.00%
BEST LOOKING FEMALE REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Brittany (Beauty and the Geek)- 20.69%
Janelle (Big Brother) â€“ 17.24%
Katharine McPhee (American Idol) â€“ 17.24%
Pavarti (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 17.24%
Aubrey (Making the Band) â€“ 10.34%
Dustin & Kandace (The Amazing Race) â€“ 10.34%
Becky (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 3.45%
Eva Avila (Canadian Idol) – 3.45%
BEST CELEBRITY REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT (COMPETITION)
Stacey Keibler (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 39.13%
Monique Coleman (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 17.39%
Mario Lopez (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 13.04%
Alfonso Ribeiro (Celebrity Duets) â€“ 8.70%
Drew Lachey (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 8.70%
Joey Lawrence (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 8.70%
Emmitt Smith (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 3.45%
Jillian Barberie (Skating with Celebrities) â€“ 0.00%
MOST DOMINENT REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Janelle (Big Brother)- 43.33%
Ozzy (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 26.67%
Melrose (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 10.00%
Terry (Survivor: Exile Island) â€“ 10.00%
Will Kirby (Big Brother: All Stars) â€“ 6.67%
Yul (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 3.33%
Mario Lopez (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 0.00%
Tyler & James (The Amazing Race) â€“ 0.00%
MOST ANNOYING REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
Mike Boogie (Big Brother)- 41.38%
Peter (The Amazing Race) â€“ 17.24%
Allie (The Apprentice) â€“ 10.34%
Cao Boi (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 10.34%
Brent (The Apprentice) â€“ 6.90%
Erika (Big Brother) â€“ 6.90%
Kai (The Biggest Loser) â€“ 3.45%
Nathan (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 3.45%
PARTICIPANT(S) THAT PLAYED BETTER THAN EXPECTED
Cirie (Survivor: Exile Island) â€“ 35.71%
Emmitt Smith (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 21.43%
Wes & Casey (Fresh Meat) â€“ 17.86%
David & Mary (The Amazing Race) â€“ 10.71%
Lyn & Karlyn (The Amazing Race) â€“ 7.14%
George (Big Brother) â€“ 3.57%
Mike Boogie (Big Brother) â€“ 3.57%
Jerry Springer (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 0.00%
PARTICIPANT(S) THAT DIDN’T PLAY AS WELL AS THEY SHOULD HAVE
Kaysar (Big Brother) â€“ 43.33%
Erwin & Godwin (The Amazing Race) â€“ 16.67%
Becky (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 13.33%
Danielle (Big Brother) â€“ 13.33%
Alison (Big Brother) â€“ 6.67%
Roz (Last Comic Standing) â€“ 3.33%
Will Kirby (Big Brother: All Stars) â€“ 3.33%
Janelle (Big Brother) â€“ 0.00%
MOST DESERVING WINNER(S)
Yul (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 46.88%
Aubrey (Making the Band) â€“ 25.00%
Bianca Ryan (America’s Got Talent) â€“ 15.63%
BJ & Tyler (Amazing Race) â€“ 12.50%
Emmitt Smith (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 0.00%
Heather (Hell’s Kitchen) â€“ 0.00%
Taylor Hicks (American Idol) â€“ 0.00%
Tyler & James (The Amazing Race) â€“ 0.00%
LEAST DESERVING WINNER(S)
Mike Boogie (Big Brother) â€“ 39.39%
Taylor Hicks (American Idol) â€“ 36.36%
Sean (The Apprentice) â€“ 9.09%
Aras (Survivor: Exile Island) – 6.06%
Caridee (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 3.03%
Jeffrey (Project Runway) â€“ 3.03%
Josh Blue (Last Comic Standing) â€“ 3.03%
Cher & Josh (Beauty and the Geek) â€“ 0.00%
Chris Daughtry is Eliminated (American Idol) – 25.81%
Becky & Sundra Not Being Able to Start a Fire (Survivor: Cook Islands) – 22.58%
Pumkin Spits in New York’s Face (Flavor of Love) â€“ 16.13%
Janelle Votes Out Will (Big Brother) â€“ 9.68%
All Aitu Final 4 (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 9.68%
Kim Gets Pelted with Tomatos (The Amazing Race) â€“ 6.45%
Candice and Jonathan Flip Tribes (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 3.23%
Erik Losing 214 Pounds (The Biggest Loser) â€“ 3.23%
Jonathan Baker & Joe Rogan Fight (Fear Factor) â€“ 3.23%
Billy Declaring his Love for Candice (Survivor: Cook Island) â€“ 0.00%
Dustin & Kandice Get Last After Yielding Lyn & Karlyn (The Amazing Race) – 0.00%
Marcellas (Big Brother) â€“ 32.14%
James (Big Brother) â€“ 25.00%
Candice (Survivor: Cook Island) â€“ 17.86%
Anchal (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 10.71%
Monica (The Amazing Race) â€“ 7.14%
Jaeda (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 3.57%
Monique (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 3.57%
Heather (The Biggest Loser) â€“ 0.00%
New York (Flavor of Love) â€“ 40.68%
Monique (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 18.75%
Andrea (The Apprentice) â€“ 12.50%
Beth (The Duel) â€“ 6.25%
Candice (Survivor: Cook Island) â€“ 6.25%
Coral (Fresh Meat) â€“ 6.25%
Jade (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 6.25%
Monica (The Amazing Race) â€“ 3.13%
MOST OVER THE TOP REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANT
New York (Flavor of Love) â€“ 32.14%
Howie (Big Brother) â€“ 21.43%
Jade (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 14.29%
Erica (The Bachelor) â€“ 10.71%
Melrose (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 7.14%
Shane (Survivor: Exile Island) â€“ 7.14%
Cao Boi (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 3.57%
Zayra Alvarez (Rockstar: Supernova) â€“ 3.57%
THE “WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND” AWARD
Candice (Survivor: Cook Island)- 50.00%
Dustin & Kandice (The Amazing Race) â€“ 12.50%
Will Kirby (Big Brother: All Stars) â€“ 12.50%
Jonathan (Survivor: Cook Islands) â€“ 9.38%
Erica (The Bachelor) â€“ 6.25%
Melrose (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 6.25%
Keith (Hell’s Kitchen) â€“ 3.13%
Joseph & Monica (The Amazing Race) â€“ 0.00%
FAVORITE REALITY SHOW
Survivor â€“ 31.25%
The Amazing Race â€“ 18.75%
America’s Next Top Model â€“ 12.88%
So You Think You Can Dance â€“ 12.50%
Big Brother: All Stars â€“ 6.25%
The Apprentice – 3.13%
Project Runway â€“ 3.13%
Rockstar: Supernova â€“ 3.13%
American Idol â€“ 0.00%
The Bachelor â€“ 0.00%
Beauty and the Geek â€“ 0.00%
Dancing with the Stars â€“ 0.00%
Flavor of Love â€“ 0.00%
LEAST FAVORITE REALITY SHOW
Treasure Hunters â€“ 22.22%
Celebrity Cooking Showdown â€“ 18.52%
Unan1mous â€“ 18.52%
American Inventor â€“ 14.81%
The One: Making A Music Star â€“ 11.11%
Skating with Celebrities â€“ 7.41%
The Biggest Loser â€“ 3.70%
Flavor of Love â€“ 3.70%
Celebrity Duets – 0.00%
FAVORITE REALITY SHOW HOST
Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race) â€“ 34.38%
Tyra Banks (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 25.00%
Julie Chen (Big Brother)- 15.63%
Jeff Probst (Survivor) â€“ 12.50%
Heidi Klum (Project Runway) â€“ 9.38%
Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) â€“ 3.13%
Brooke Burke (Rockstar: Supernova) â€“ 0.00%
Donald Trump (The Apprentice) â€“ 0.00%
LEAST FAVORITE REALITY SHOW HOST
Laird McIntosh (Treasure Hunters) â€“ 40.00%
Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) â€“ 13.33%
TJ Lavin (The Duel) â€“ 13.33%
Tyra Banks (America’s Next Top Model) â€“ 13.33%
Donald Trump (The Apprentice) â€“ 10.00%
Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) â€“ 6.67%
Diddy (Making the Band) â€“ 3.33%
Caroline Rhea (The Biggest Loser) â€“ 0.00%
BEST REALITY SHOW BASED ON CELEBRITIES (NON-COMPETITION)
The Simple Life â€“ 32.35%
The Surreal Life â€“ 17.65%
The Girls Next Door â€“ 16.65%
Flavor of Love â€“ 14.71%
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List â€“ 11.76%
Gene Simmons Family Jewels â€“ 2.94%
Hogan Knows Best â€“ 2.94%
Breaking Bonaduce â€“ 0.00%
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It’s finally here! Taylor Hicks‘ NEW CD press and promotional cover artwork. The new CD is due out in December, 2006. Um… doesn’t he look a little like George Clooney‘s long lost distant cousin?
Taylor Hicks has won round one of his legal effort to stop a producer from selling songs he recorded before his American Idol victory.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins issued a ruling temporarily barring Nashville producer William Smith from selling songs written and sung by Hicks after two of them appeared on the iTunes Web site, the Associated Press reports.
Smith told the AP on Thursday that the songs are no longer for sale. An Aug. 30 hearing is scheduled to determine whether the order will be made permanent.
In his legal filing, Hicks claimed that Smith tried to profit by selling three songs that Hicks wrote and recorded with Smith: “The Fall,” “Son of a Carpenter” and “In Your Time.” Hicks said Smith lacks the rights to the music.
Now Smith is back-peddling, trying to get himself out of hot water, claiming that he was only selling the songs to help fight bad reviews of Hicks new song, “Do I Make You Proud”. What a crock!
The state of Alabama is using its success in producing ‘American Idol’ winners as a promotional tool.
The state Bureau of Tourism and Travel isn’t missing a beat when it comes to “American Idol” winners Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard and finalist Bo Bice. The agency released artwork Wednesday for billboards featuring the singers from Alabama who became nationally known on the Fox talent competition. The billboards will show photos of the three over the headline, “Where America finds its voice. Alabama.”
Tourism director Lee Sentell said six billboards will be displayed for four months before being moved out of state. “The boards will go up shortly before the `American Idol’ auditions begin in Birmingham on Aug. 21,” Sentell said
I’m not sure anyone is going to go visit Alabama because some good singers have come from there–and, certainly, these guys are pretty low on the list of musical greats from Alabama–but it’s a clever promotion.
“American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks and BeyoncÃ© Knowles, who has a large butt and apparently sings too, are will be performing live at the Wal-Mart annual shareholders meeting in Arkansas as I type.
One wonders if any of the board members have ever watched “American Idol,” let alone would recognize BeyoncÃ© even if she walked up to them in her Foxxy Cleopatra outfit from the third Austin Powers flick?
I sorta doubt it.
At any rate, the video will be available online at 2:00 Eastern, according to an email sent by the Wal-Mart PR department.
New American Idol Taylor Hicks, from Birmingham, Ala., left, reacts as he is congratulated by Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” tonight.
Now the truth comes out, it was all a big conspiracy. Somewhere in a dark bar in North Hollywood there are two TV execs getting drunk together, celebrating the bet they won to have the guy who MOST resembles Jay Leno to actually win American Idol. Hollywood is so fake!
Whatever, congrats to Hicks. This is a sure fire bet that American Idol is on its way down. Does anybody think this guy is going to come out with a record that actually sells? Kelly Clarkson is barely hanging on to little fame she’s got left, and she was the original winner! AI is proof that being talented AND hot is something that is very, very, very rare. I mean, is this guy the best America could do? Why not just get into Tom Jones agian?
Taylor Hicks has won the fifth installment of “American Idol.”
Taylor Hicks, the mop-topped manic dancer who wooed TV audiences with his raw singing style and boisterous personality, was named the new “American Idol” Wednesday in a pop star-filled finale that included Prince and Mary J. Blige. Hicks, 29, of Birmingham, Ala., became the latest in a string of Southern and Midwestern contestants to win the Fox talent contest after collecting more viewer votes than runner-up Katharine McPhee, 22, of Los Angeles.
Hicks leaned over, overcome by host Ryan Seacrest’s announcement. “Soul Patrol!” he shouted, acknowledging his avid fans by their nickname. “I’m living the American dream,” he added as he closed out the show with a performance of “Do I Make You Proud.”
It was Katharine vs. Taylor, McPheever vs. the Soul Patrol, with a recording contract and the fifth “Idol” title up for grabs. More than 63 million votes were cast, “more than any president in the history of our country has received,” Seacrest said. Fans picked the raw sound and footloose moves of Hicks, who made his mark on Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” on Tuesday’s show. The sultry McPhee’s well-trained voice was shown to perfection on the standard “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Last season’s victor, Carrie Underwood of Checotah, Okla., opened the finale, joining Hicks and McPhee on “I Made it Through the Rain” and later soloing on “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” On Tuesday, Underwood won two trophies at the Academy of Country Music Awards, underscoring how much an “Idol” victory can mean. She was named top new female artist and won best single for “Jesus Take the Wheel.”
Other pairings of contestants and stars included Paris Bennett and Al Jarreau; McPhee and Meat Loaf; Chris Daughtry and Live; Elliott Yamin and Blige; Hicks and Toni Braxton, and the dozen finalists with Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick. Prince was a surprise final performer, taking the stage for two songs, including “Satisfied” â€” and without an “Idol” contestant alongside. Asked backstage if he had any advice for contestants, Meat Loaf replied: “If you want to do this, you’re gonna go up and down, and up and down, and people are going to love you and hate you … Just stick with it,” he said.
With two hours to fill the show also tossed in some comedy. Contestant Kellie Pickler was seen trying gourmet dining and dumping her escargot â€” snail â€” under her chair, while “Golden Idols” were awarded to also-rans who flopped in their auditions. Second-season runner-up Clay Aiken, with a slick new look, performed a “duet” on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with his alter ego, a wannabe “American Idol” contestant who evoked the originally geeky Aiken.
Hicks and McPhee weren’t as odd a finals pairing as second-second finalists Ruben Studdard and Aiken, but close. McPhee was the first Los Angeles native to make it big on “American Idol.” With a singer-vocal coach mom behind her and a starlet’s beauty, McPhee looked and sounded groomed for success. Hicks, whose thatch of prematurely gray hair helped him stand out from the pack, had barely survived the first audition at which judge Simon Cowell warned he didn’t have a chance of advancing in the contest. McPhee attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory for a semester; Hicks has been a fixture on honky-tonk stages. McPhee skillfully played to the cameras, all calculated seduction; Hicks stomped across the set, with Cowell once comparing him to a drunken dad at a wedding.
The finale closed out a relatively tame contest compared to seasons past, when jammed phone lines, technical glitches and annoyingly untalented singers drew complaints from fans. Last year, judge Paula Abdul denied an ex-competitor’s claims of an affair in 2003. This season’s biggest jolt came when rocker Chris Daughtry of McLeansville, N.C., was voted out before the finale. Many observers had predicted he would win the contest after routinely drawing praise from the judges and online support.
Despite the lack of offstage drama, or because of it, this edition of “American Idol” was the most-watched yet. Compared to last year, the show was up 14 percent in total viewers with an average weekly audience of 30.3 million â€” impressive growth for an established program. The Tuesday and Wednesday episodes routinely ranked as the top-rated TV shows, drawing 28 million or more viewers. The series also is seen via delayed broadcast or satellite delivery in more than 150 other countries.
I’m amazed the show has continued to get more popular after five seasons.
Elliott Yamin has been voted off “American Idol,” leaving the show with finalists Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee.
In a close vote, Abdul’s favorite finalist, Elliott Yamin â€” an “Idol” underdog and blue-eyed soul singer â€” was bounced off the Fox talent contest during Wednesday’s elimination show. The exit of the 27-year-old Richmond, Va., resident cleared the path for a final showdown between gray-haired Taylor Hicks and sultry Katharine McPhee. The winner will be crowned May 24.
During Wednesday’s program, Yamin told host Ryan Seacrest he felt “truly blessed.” “I hope it doesn’t stop here,” he said of his music career.
Yamin, who is 90 percent deaf in his right ear, was considered the show’s best â€” and most sensitive â€” male singer. When “Idol” featured a segment on Wednesday documenting his return home to greet fans in Virginia, he broke down in tears. Abdul also wept.
Judge Simon Cowell seemed to sense Yamin’s impending departure on Tuesday’s program. “Your songs are not going to carry you through to next week â€” that’s the problem,” Cowell told Yamin, who had performed a cover of Ray Charles’ “I Believe To My Soul.” “However, you are a great guy. You are a great singer. And whatever happens, you will make your mom very proud for what you’ve achieved for this competition.”
The nature of the competition is that someone who is a great genre singer–think Josh Grasin–can not win. The show rewards versatility and the ability to do at least reasonably well in a wide variety of formats. That has very little to do with actual musical stardom, where few artists stray too far from their comfort zone. The true greats like Ray Charles and Elvis Presley, are rare exceptions.
John Podhoretz has a fascinating piece on the parallel voting dynamics between “American Idol” and U.S. presidential elections. He argues that the surprise loss of Chris Daughtry to the uneven Katharine McPhee is perfectly understandable if one understands how people vote.
If you want to understand “Idol,” you need to understand American politics. And if you want to understand the workings of American politics, “Idol” isn’t a bad introduction to the way political coalitions are formed and elections are won.
After the “American Idol” field narrows to 12 finalists, the show kicks one contestant off every week – the one who gets the lowest number of votes. The number of votes seems to remain remarkably constant (this year, somewhere north of 40 million) week to week. This indicates the same people continue to vote each week. It also means that the people who voted for the contestant who was kicked off go ahead and just choose somebody new to vote for.
This is a direct parallel to the presidential primary process. In the early primaries, candidates who do poorly usually drop out of the race, leaving those who would have supported them in other states high and dry. Those supporters then have to pick somebody else among the surviving candidates to vote for. This winnowing process allows the most appealing candidates to pick up steam by adding new voters to their cadre of supporters. And as they do so, the field continues to be winnowed, until finally there are only one or two candidates left standing. The single-issue candidate, the flash-in-the-pan, the guy who has one fantastic debate – they may all have their moments, but in the end, the candidate with the most broad-based appeal will usually win.
And this is what explains Chris Daughtry’s stunning loss this week on “American Idol.” He has a distinctive voice and distinctive appeal. The problem is that he never broadened his base very much. If you liked him from the start, you stayed with him – which is why he remained solidly among the top contenders through most of the show’s run. But if you didn’t much like his sound when there were still 9 contestants remaining, you weren’t suddenly going to decide you liked his sound when there were only 4 remaining.
The key to winning “American Idol” isn’t being overwhelmingly popular in the early stages. The key is having a sound that makes it possible for you to pick up votes from people whose favorites have gotten booted off the show. Because if you don’t get those votes, somebody else is going to get them.
That is almost certainly what happened on Wednesday night. Chris Daughtry lost out to Katharine McPhee because the young female singer Paris Bennett was sent home the previous week. If you loved Paris, you probably weren’t going to move into Chris’s camp. It’s likely that the Paris voters went both to McPhee and to underdog Elliot Yamin, the sweet-sounding guy with the odd teeth who is a balladeer like Paris.
Elliot has been gaining strength both because his performances have been good, and because he’s clearly picked up support from the fans of eliminated contestants Paris, Kellie Pickler and Ace Young. So where does this leave the final three in “American Idol”? It’s likely that McPhee will be the odd person out next week, leaving front-runner Taylor Hicks and under-the-radar Elliot left to duke it out for the title. Taylor Hicks has a distinctive sound and style that are clearly very pleasing to millions. But I think he’s a little like Daughtry. If he’s your favorite, he’s been your favorite for a long time – and he needs to be the second favorite for McPhee’s fans to win. But McPhee’s sound is probably closer to Elliot Yamin’s. Thus, according to the logic of coalition-building that is at the heart of both American politics and Fox’s pop-culture phenomenon, Elliot Yamin will be the next “American Idol.”
It’s just good politics.
That makes perfect sense, actually.
Chris Daughtry, widely expected to win this year’s “American Idol” competition, was unceremoniously voted off last night. He’s reportedly going to be added to the band Fuel on tonight’s “Extra.”
In a shocking turn, American Idol frontrunner Chris Daughtry was voted off the show Wednesday night. As the audience gasped and shouted no, host Ryan Seacrest asked a shell-shocked-looking Daughtry, “Surprised?” “A little bit,” he answered. Judge Paula Abdul grew tearful. The other contestants â€“ Elliott Yamin, Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks â€“ also looked stunned.
Tuesday night, Daughtry’s rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” drew unanimous praise from the three judges, prompting Abdul to tell the 26-year-old from McLeansville, N.C.,: “See ya in the finals.”
Especially odd given that McPhee actually forgot the words to her song. Still, there may be a huge upside, according to TMZ:
The multi-platinum rock band Fuel has offered ‘American Idol’s’ Chris Daughtry a gig with the band. TMZ has learned that Fuel will make the offer in an exclusive interview on the television show ‘EXTRA’ tonight.
In a stunning turn of events, Daughtry, who was the odds-on favorite to win the ‘Idol’ competition, was booted last night. Daughtry was on Ryan Seacrest’s KIIS FM radio show in Los Angeles this morning, where the ‘A.I.’ host, who is in on the secret, urged the singer to watch ‘EXTRA’ tonight.
Quite a two night turn of events.
Update: Wizbang Pop! and Defamer both wonder whether Fuel is a major band. Well, they’re certainly not the Rolling Stones or Aerosmith; I’ve heard of them.
Meanwhile, Pretend Pundit offers a gender-based theory on why Daughtry lost on “Idol.”