American Idol

"Idol" is back -- Simon-free, good-hearted and still kind of fun

The first "American Idol" was a phenomenon -- sometimes nasty, always interesting. The new version -- starting Sunday and Monday (March 11 and 12) on ABC -- has lost its venom, but not its entertainment value. I found the opener -- click "TV column" above -- to be breezy and fun; here's the story I sent to papers.

By Mike Hughes

“American Idol”
is back – sort of.

"The Four" searches for a star ... or, at least, a ratings hit

Do we really need another music-reality show? Well, Fox needs one ... and it's the network that started it all. So "The Four" starts Thursday (Jan. 4); here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

music-competition show is upon us..

The new idols channel the old sound of Motown

By Mike Hughes

For two young
singers – the final finalists from “American Idol” -- an old
record label looms large.

That's Motown. Now
that “Idol” has finished its 15th and last season:

Fox's new season: Lots if flash ... but only one more year of "Idol"

As the “American
Idol” finale nears, fans have received a sudden jolt: Next season
will be the last.

It will be “a
season-long celebration,” insisted Gary Newman, the Fox Network
co-chairman. It will try for visits by past stars and past judges; it
could even invite the original co-host.

It's slow-build Urban on fast-track "Idol"

Is it still possible to get excited about "American Idol"? Yes, actually, because many of the young singers are good, a few have been great and these three judges -- Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. -- really know what they're talking about. The season starts Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 7-8), here's the story I sent to papers about Urban and "Idol":


For the "American Idol" finalists, there's been basement magic


The "American Idol" finalists will soon be working to arena audiences. Some of their big moments, however, also came in basements, to audiences of one or so. Here's the story I sent to papers:  


This "Idol" finale was easy to predict ... or maybe not

If you like epic rock -- the sort that digs deep and pushes hard -- this is your week. Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene provide a powerhouse pair on Tuesday and Wednesday; then the winner will sing at the National Memorial Day Concert (see previous blog) on Sunday. Here's the story I sent to papers:

"Idol" returns, putting on a fresh accent

"American Idol" returns tonight (Wednesday), freshening a form that already works. Here's the story I sent to papers:


How to politely lose on "American Idol"

This may have taken Southern manners to
an extreme:

Twice lately, an “American Idol”
finalist handed a big advantage to a competitor. In 2011, Scotty
McCreery survived the gesture; this year, Kree Harrison didn't.

Angie Miller: Family permanence is tattooed

We've heard that the family that prays
together stays together, but here's one step further:

Angie Miller, just departed from
“American Idol,” has a praying family that tattooed together. “My
whole family surprised me and they all got tattooed …. It's so
permanent,” Miller said.

That involved the slogan (“Dream
Big”) that she'd already had as her own tattoo.