American Idol

"Idol" is back; the bland-white-boy era may be ending

"American Idol" is back, again seizing the spotlight. Here's the mainbar I sent to papers; next, I'll send a box and a sidebar.


A dozen years ago, Mariah Carey – a
big deal in the music world – was chatting with her friend Randy
Jackson, a middlin' deal.

"Idol" has Mariah, a small-town bus and questions

OK, I'm still not a fan of superstars as judges. Unless they're all Blake Shelton (which would be a good thing), they spend too much time censoring themselves and worrying about what people will think.

Still, I have to admit "American Idol" hit the jackpot with Mariah Carey. Here's the story I sent to papers:


Tyler and J-Lo leave; "Idol" will be fine

After all that speculation on whether Jennifer Lopez is leaving "American Idol," there was a different matter first:

Steven Tyler has just announced he won't be back. He'll return his focus to Aerosmith, making sure he'll keep rocking while he's still young. (Well, while he's still 64.)

Afterward, news came that Lopez won't be back either.

OK, we're sort of happy for Phillip

It wasn't the ending I wanted, but it was the one I expected. And in its final moments, when Phillip Phillips was too emotional to sing his own song, "American Idol" had achieved one of its goals: A true unknown, a talented rustic, had come from nowhere to win.

I prefered Joshua Ledet or Jessica Sanchez, who finished third and second. With the exception of Adam Lambert (another runner-up) and maybe Carrie Underwood, they are the best "Idol" singers ever.

For a while there, Jessica had a victory

For two-thirds of Tuesday's "American Idol," I really thought Jessica Sanchez could pull an upset. Then, alas, the final song changed everything. A few comments:

1) Randy Jackson's rule used to make sense: Never sing Whitney or Mariah or Celine; the comparison will hurt you. Then came Sanchez tonight, tackling the work of three great voices -- Whitney Houston, then Celine Dion, then Jessica Sanchez.

"Idol" finale: Quiet kids seek loud success

OK, by now I'm reasonably excited about the "American Idol" finale, Tuesday and Wednesday. My original bitterness -- Joshua Ledet, maybe the best "Idol" singer ever, is gone -- is subsiding; this will still be fun.

I've sent papers two versions of an "Idol"-finale story, the second one adding comments from Jimmy Iovine, the show's mentor. Here's that version:


Joshua leaves; despair arrives

What is true stardom like? How should an "American Idol" winner sound and feel?

Tonight, we saw two splendid examples. Alas, neither will be an "Idol" champion.

First was Adam Lambert, the most talented male the show has ever had. He finished second (to Kris Allen, likable and forgettable) in 2009. His guest performance tonight was sensational, as usual.

Then was Joshua Ledet, the second-most-talented male the show has had. We now learn that he's merely finishing third to Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips.

A quick look at CBS and Idol

This has been a busy day, so let me rush through  two things:

-- After some bold moves by the other networks (see previous blogs), CBS had only a couple surprises.

-- And for "American Idol," I see a Joshua-Phillip finale. Details:

1) CBS' big surprise involves nudging "Two and a Half Men" over to Thursdays, where a better show ("Big Bang Theory") can boost it. That makes room for one new comedy (from the "Will & Grace" guys) on Mondays, with "2 Broke Girls" at th crucial 9 p.m. slot.

Britney and a "stoked" Demi join Fox

OK, now it's official that Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will be the new "X Factor" judges. In the previous blog, the network people wouldn't confirm or deny it; now, however, they've had their presentation to advertisers. Here's the brief I sent to papers:


Simon Cowell and Fox have finally made
it official: Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will be the new “X
Factor” judges this fall.

"Idol" finalists: Swinging kids in a grown-up world

Amid the multi-million-dollar glare of
“American Idol,” it's easy to forget the basics: These are kids –
teens, often – in a grown-up business.

Listen to Hollie Cavanagh – who made
the final four before being eliminated Thursday – talk about
Wednesday, when she and Jessica Sanchez were singing while on swings:
“We had fun with those swings during rehearsals,” she said. “We
were trying to swing higher.”