Entertainment Weekly had three former Idol finalists (whose first names, coincidentally, all start with "A") -- Anthony Fedorov (Season 4), Ace Young (Season 5) and Amy Adams (Season 3) -- judge the judges, commenting on remarks and critiques by Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. This also meant they made their own comments on some of last week's performances ...
Amy Adams on Chris Richardson: Oh, I'm a huge Jason Mraz fan, so when Randy was like, ''Yeah, that's better than Jason Mraz'': No, no no, and no. Honestly, Chris Richardson is good, but vocally I don't think he can really touch Jason Mraz.
Anthony Fedorov on Chris Richardson: I think it was just as good [as Jason]. I just don't want to say that somebody did a better job [singing a song] than somebody else. I couldn't sing that, to be honest with you. The phrasing there was sick, absolutely sick.
Ace Young on Chris Richardson: [Chris Richardson's performance] was definitely one that got everybody up and moving around, so I was really impressed. With a song like that, I don't think you can ever compare to the original artist. Jason's the one who sang it to begin with, so he's the inspiration for Chris to even do it. So if you try to compare it, then what do you compare it to? The recorded track? Some footage of [Mraz] performing it live? It's too complicated to even try.
Amy Adams on Stephanie Edwards: Yes, I almost thought Stephanie was trying to copy even Beyoncé's runs. There were parts in the song where she was falling behind [the music]; Beyoncé never falls behind. It's Beyoncé's song. She was trying too hard to be Beyoncé and not trying hard enough to be herself.
Anthony Fedorov on Stephanie Edwards: I would have to disagree with [Randy]. Although she does sound like Beyoncé, I think she brought her own style to it. My whole life, I've always been compared [vocally] to Marc Anthony. At a point, I did [sound like him], but I've really gotten away from him at this point, and I know how it feels to be compared to [a famous singer] all the time. I think she did a phenomenal job with the song. I actually liked that she was Beyoncé-ish-ish, but not Beyoncé-ish.
Amy Adams on Antonella Barba: She needs to just go home and keep singing in her shower. It's really bad. I'm sorry.
Anthony Fedorov on Antonella Barba: There are certain singers you don't touch unless you're truly capable of performing that kind of music. No knock on Antonella — I think she has a really sweet voice — but you can't choose songs like that if you know you're not going to do as good of a job or better. And you can't sing better than Celine Dion, bottom line.
Ace Young on Antonella Barba: Antonella's still around, so she's got the American public behind her. As long as she feels good about it, that's all that matters.
Amy Adams on Paula Abdul and Jared Cotter: I liked it when she [Paula Abdul] said to Jared Cotter that ''you don't have to push,'' and then she was like, ''No pun intended.'' She was a bit more connected [this week].
Anthony Fedorov on Chris Sligh and Jared Cotter: He [Sligh] was phrasing it in a very interesting way, and I actually feel he was right on point ... He's [Cotter] got a really sweet voice, that soulful Brian McKnight kind of voice. Probably his nerves got to him. If he would relax a little bit and get into it with a little more fluidity, he wouldn't have pushed himself as much, I think.
Ace Young on Paula's critiques of Jared Cotter and Chris Sligh: With [Jared], she also got a little caught off guard, and she was blushing. I think she definitely went to the emotion of the song, so props for Jared. [With Chris Sligh,] she's been doing major choreography for years on end, so she definitely knows how timing and phrasing are supposed to be delivered.
Amy Adams on Paula's critiques of Antonella Barba and Haley Scarnato: She kept saying ''leaps and bounds,'' like when she was talking about Antonella and Haley Scarnato, that they were both different and having more fun and better than last week. But I think ''better than last week'' is a nice way of saying, ''You didn't suck as bad as you did before.'' You know what I mean?
Amy Adams on Simon's critique of Blake Lewis: Well, I think [Simon] clarified, actually, that [Blake] made the middle original with the beatboxing, and then he lost it at the end. Yeah, I think [Simon] was right on there, really.
Anthony Fedorov on Blake Lewis: ... I think he killed it. There was nothing, like, bad copycat about it.
Ace Young on Blake Lewis: I thought he did a great job. I'm a huge Jamiroquai fan. I put "Virtual Insanity," the whole disc, in my car, and I don't think I've taken it out in years. If you copycat Jamiroquai, I think you do it justice.
Amy Adams on Brandon Rogers: [Brandon] may not have been happy with his own performance, and that might have been his excuse. I think any time you veer from yourself or what you are or what you do, and then someone criticizes you, the best thing to do is fix it. You can't be all over the board.
Anthony Fedorov on Brandon Rogers: It may have been wrong song choice, but I strongly disagreed with Simon on this. One of the biggest misconceptions that singers tend to learn while they're on Idol is that it's all about hitting high notes and singing as high and as loud as you can. It's not. I actually struggled for quite some time after I got off Idol to really put a lot of emotion into my singing. As I'm coming into my own and recording original material, I'm starting to get an identity, putting my heart and soul into songs. I thought Brandon did the right thing; maybe his diction wasn't all there, and he wasn't pronouncing certain things, but I really felt what he was singing.
Ace Young on Brandon Rogers: I think Brandon's an old soul, and we've just gotta let him know that he can celebrate on that stage, pick some songs that are a lot of fun. Because he can sing anything. I think Simon, just like myself, was waiting to see him just go free and let it all out. I'm excited to see what he does next week.
Anthony Fedorov on Phil Stacey: I thought he did a great job with the song, and Phil has a very commercial voice.
Ace Young on Simon's critique of Phil Stacey: That's what the whole show is, karaoke. You're singing other people's songs. So I think Phil understood that and he related it to his family and his new baby. I thought it was perfect to compare that to his life right now. Simon wanted to go for a ride that was different than the original. Simon really likes it when you change up the song just to make it your own.
Donna Reynolds reports on Foxes on Idol that Daughtry was #2 on the Billboard 200, selling an additional 85,000 copies. The CD was #8 on the Internet Album sales chart, #3 on the Digital chart, and #1 on Top Rock Albums. And that’s not all. Daughtry’s AOL Music Sessions EP, which features four tracks, including "Home," "Used To," "It's Not Over" and "There and Back Again" entered the Digital Album Sales chart at #14.
Here’s how the rest of the Idol-related albums charted this week: Katharine McPhee was #39 on the Billboard 200, the only chart on which it appeared; Taylor Hicks was #138 on the Billboard 200; Fantasia was #109 on the Billboard 200 and #21 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart; Kellie Pickler’s Small Town Girl was #100 on the Billboard 200 and #16 on the Country chart. Ruben Studdard’s The Return was #72 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
This Week’s Idols’ Singles’ Charts
Chris Daughtry’s “Home” made its first appearance on the charts this week, charting at #19 on the Bubbling Under (the Hot 100) chart. Daughtry’s “It’s Not Over” appeared on eight major charts this week. It was #7 on the Hot 100, #10 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #6 on the Pop 100, #3 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, #76 on Hot Digital Tracks, #7 on Hot Digital Sales, and #1 on the Adult Top 40 listing. It entered the Adult Contemporary chart at #29; Ruben Studdard’s latest single, “Make Ya Feel Beautiful,” is moving up the charts. It was #73 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles, #72 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart, and #18 on the R&B Adult airplay list. His single, “Change Me,” was #27 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles, #27 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart, and #5 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Taylor Hicks’ “Just to Feel That Way” remained #26 on the Adult Contemporary chart; Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” was #41 on the Hot 100, #40 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #39 on the Pop 100, #36 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, #27 on Hot Digital Tracks, #38 on Hot Digital Sales, and #26 on the Adult Top 40. Her latest single, “Wasted,” was #67 on the Hot 100 and #50 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. It was #8 on the Country chart; Katharine McPhee’s “Over It” was #57 on the Hot 100, #42 on the Pop 100, #35 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart , #39 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart, and #46 on the Hot Digital Songs list.
Kellie Pickler’s “I Wonder” was #42 on the Country chart; Bucky Covington’s “A Different World” was #34 on the Country chart; Kimberley Locke’s “Change” was #19 on the Adult Contemporary chart; Fantasia’s “Hood Boy” was #68 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, #67 on the R&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;B Airplay chart; Jennifer Hudson’s “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” was #66 on the Hot 100, #60 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #85 on the Pop 100, # 18 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, #18 on the R&B Airplay chart, and #4 on the R&B Adult airplay list; Josh Gracin’s “I Keep Coming Back” was #28 on the Country chart.
Every year, artists whose songs are used on Idol get a little boost of their own. The week after a song is featured on the show, downloads for the original seem to spike. This week, Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” re-entered the Hot Digital Tracks chart at #19 and the Hot Digital Songs at #26 thanks to Blake Lewis’ performance of the song last week.
Next week Chris Sligh’s band Half Past Forever’s "Take a Chance On Something Beautiful" will be released.
MORE IDOL MERCHANDISING
How much Idol is too much Idol? Apparently there is no such thing, so the merchandising just continues to roll out. Latest to hop on the Idol train is McDonald's according to The Hollywood Reporter. It is the first season that "Idol," known for its prominent on-air integrations and sponsorships, has launched a major off-air promotional program with advertisers. A spokeswoman for McDonald's confirmed that the "Idol" promotion involves Happy Meals and will involve the usual Happy Meal media mix. McDonald's is close to finalizing the deal with "Idol" co-producer and licenser FremantleMedia and "Idol" creator 19 Entertainment, she said.
Also on board is Pringles, whose promotion with "Idol" is the brand's first long-term partnership with an entertainment property in its 37-year history. The Procter & Gamble property said it will feature limited edition "Idol"-branded cans, an "Idol"-themed 15-second spot that will run during broadcasts of the show and a national sweepstakes offering one winner a trip to Los Angeles for the "Idol" finale. Pringles also will launch the first Jingles for Pringles contest, a nationwide online search for unique expressions about the stacked potato crisps. Twelve finalists who submit videos of themselves performing jingles about the brand will receive an "Idol" digital video camera. The winner, chosen by a nationwide consumer vote, will receive VIP ticket packages to the "Idol" finale in Los Angeles, including hotel and transportation.
And Samsung will be the featured handset in all of "Idol" integration partner Cingular's advertising around "Idol."
Already announced are the five new "Idol"-themed flavors -- Choc 'N' Roll Caramel, Hollywood Cheesecake, Soulful Sundae Cone, Triple Talent and Take the Cake -- of Dreyer's Slow Churned ice cream. The company is asking "Idol" fans and ice cream lovers to vote on their favorite flavor at Slowchurned.com. The winning flavor will become a permanent offering in the Show Churned ice cream lineup. Fans who cast their votes also will be entered for a chance to win prizes including a 50-inch HDTV wide screen plasma TV, an "Idol" ice cream party for up to 75 guests and a grand prize trip to the "Idol" finale. Season 5 finalist Ace Young will surprise 11 consumers participating in the online voting by showing up at their homes where he will serenade their guests at Dreyer's-sponsored ice cream parties.
As part of Nestle's promotion, specially marked packages of Nestle chocolate bars will include one of eight letters, and the five fans who collect the series of wrappers that spell the phrase "Go to Hollywood" will win the grand prize package of a trip for two to Hollywood including tickets to the "Idol" performance and results finales." The Nestle promotion will feature "Idol" branding on more than 70 million candy bars and involve print and online ads as well as in-store displays.
TOP 12 PARTY
TV Guide Channel will celebrate the Top 12 contestants with exclusive footage live from the red carpet celebration on March 10 at 8 p.m. Kimberly Caldwell, Rosanna Tavarez and Justin Guarini host the one-hour behind-the-scenes special. Included will be glimpses of the revelers and contestants, as well as and interviews.
Nicole Tranquillo and Paul Kim were interviewed on Fox's "The Morning Show With Mike & Juliet" after they were eliminated. The show's hosts remarked that many are calling this season American Idull. Paris Bennett also appeared. You can watch it here.
e-mail Idol Addict