Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Judging the Judges - Finale

One last time, formal Idol finalists Kimberley Locke (Season 2), Ace Young (Season 5), Anthony Fedorov (Season 4) and Amy Adams (Season 3) rate how the judges did this year for EW.

RANDY JACKSON: Blake got a 10 out of 10 on his ''You Give Love a Bad Name'' beat-boxing from Randy, but only an ''a'ight'' on the singing.

Kimberley: Across the board his singing was off — I thought Randy was being nice. [Blake's beat-boxing] is great, because that within itself is a talent. Not going to discredit him there, but I don't think that's what this competition is about. When I watched Blake last night it was almost like he was singing one or two notes the whole time.

Ace: It's like Taylor playing the harmonica -- It's something that's another craft on top of singing that he taught himself how to do. Whatever you put out on that stage, they can judge.

Anthony: Well, I wouldn't agree 101 percent. He did a really good job. When singing, he did a little bit better than just okay. But I definitely give him 10 out of 10 on the beat-boxing.

Amy: I think he was kind of right, but if you look at the overall performance of it, yeah, [Blake] gave a show. And sometimes you compromise sound for, you know, visuals.

According to Randy, Jordin is the most talented 17-year-old singer ever, and her ''A Broken Wing'' is better than the Martina McBride original.

Kimberley: When he said that [about the song], I kind of raised my eyebrow, but I have to say she was pretty spot-on. So I can't say that I disagree with him on that, unfortunately. When you find somebody that is that young and so in tune with their skill and their craft, you realize what a gift it is. Also it makes a difference in this industry, because look how much longer she has to work. She has a long career ahead of her.

Ace: Christina [Aguilera] came out pretty early and showed that she had a lot of vocal flexibility.... To have the courage to want to be in front of everybody where they can critique you, that's hard to find at a young age.

Anthony: The original was pretty good. There's a lot of talented 17-year-olds out there. Take Diana DeGarmo, for example — she was, I think 16 or 17 when she did the show, and she was pretty up there too. I think [Jordin's] definitely one of the most talented 17-year-olds we have ever seen.

Amy: I don't think it was better than the original — I think it's different than the original. But she is one of the most talented 17-year-olds I've ever seen as well.

Overall, for season 6, how would you rate the Dawg?

Kimberley: I think Randy has been a little tougher this season. Normally he's really nice and really, you know, calculated. He always prefaces his negative comments with, you know, ''Hey, how are you doing? Did you have fun?'' I think this year he kind of just really got to the point: ''I didn't like it.'' Grade: A-

Ace: Overall, I miss the dawg pound. He hasn't called on his dawg pound since our season. And I don't know if he lost his bark, or he's sticking to bite, but I miss the dawg pound. Grade: A

Anthony: As far as the clothes, I mean, Randy has always been dressing well. Since my season he has made more of an effort to be more constructively supportive. Grade: B+

Amy: The clothes he was wearing [all season], they were a little bit theatrical — [on the finale] especially. But overall I think he did a great job this year. He has gotten a little bit sharper tongue; he is more free to say what he's feeling. He didn't say ''dawg'' as much — or maybe we're just getting used to it. Grade: A-

PAULA ABDUL: Paula believed this was one of the best finales in Idol history, and Jordin and Blake's opening songs proved it.

Kimberley: Are you joking? I think it was probably one of the most uneventful finales that we've ever had. You've got a guy who has got a lot of style and is, you know, beat-boxing, competing against a singer. It would have been a much better finale had it been with Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks. It would have been like watching a professional boxing match. Instead it was like watching a rottweiler fight a kitten.

Ace: I think it gets better every year, primarily because more and more acts that were closed off to Idol are open to it now. Maroon 5 wouldn't have done this show last year, and now they're all over it. Gwen Stefani. There's a lot of people that might have had a different opinion about it, and now we're looking at Bette Midler and some major people on stage that have been doing it their whole life. So it's totally crazy.

Anthony: I don't think it's the best final at all. I think we have had some better finalists as far as the finals are concerned. You take Clay Aiken-Ruben Studdard— that was a really close final. Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice, I thought that was an incredibly close final. So my favorite two finals would be Clay and Ruben and Carrie and Bo.

Amy: I am going to agree, yeah, but it was just a different energy all around. What I noticed is that the [finalists] were more hip to pop culture than revising old, you know, '60s-through-'80s songs. They had a tendency to go more toward what was popular today. That was the difference in the show.

Paula told both finalists that they were ''in great voice.'' Accounting for her recent injury, what did she mean?

Kimberley: I don't know what the hell she meant by that, because Blake was off. He sang flat notes and everything. Maybe what she's talking about is normally at this stage in the game, the contestants have no voice.

Ace: It just means they're tired from all the interviews. Like vocally, their voice is tired. If you're in great voice that means that you're actually doing well. If you're not in great voice, that means your voice is raspy or getting tired or beat up.

Anthony: Well, she just meant that they're in good vocal shape. They sound good.

Amy: I was challenged by that comment, because I am a singer, and I think I hope to be in great voice. But what it means to me is that you were very aware of your voice and you were very aware of how to use it.

Overall, for Season 6, how would you rate Ms. Abdul?

Kimberley: At the beginning of the season I thought that she was pulling it together, but then she got lost again in the middle, and she just said things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. She can't make up her mind. She's always trying to straddle the fence. She wants to be very politically correct and very fair, and I get that. But you know, the kids really need to hear the truth. [The finale] was a perfect example — she was afraid to just even speak her mind. Grade: D

Ace: She's had to overcome some different things this season. Instead of everybody asking about if she and I are going on a date, people are asking if she's okay with missing her dog and breaking her nose. Grade: A

Anthony: She's always been supportive, so that's something that hasn't changed. She's always looked great. I think she tried to be a little bit more technical this season — I'd give her A for effort. Grade: B

Amy: She had her ups and downs throughout the year. In the past seasons she would just say something nice regardless, like, you know, ''You look beautiful,'' and this season I noticed that she would say, ''You had a bit of a challenge here,'' and then she would taper off. She wouldn't necessarily finish it with a positive, which I appreciated. Grade: B+

SIMON COWELL: For round one, Simon rated Blake's entertainment factor stronger than Jordin's vocal prowess, which he found shrieky.

Kimberley: You know what, I would have to say I kind of agree, because I don't think it was about Blake's vocal talent. It was about his presentation. It was a little uncomfortable watching her sing Christina Aguilera's ''Fighter,'' because I couldn't understand the words. The song has a great energy, and I understand why she would do something like that to show a different side of her, but it wasn't her best performance.

Ace: I thought it was split in round 1. I really liked what Jordin brought in the first performance and I really enjoyed what Blake brought to his song. So I disagree with Simon.

Anthony: Maybe she was nervous, but her voice sounded shaky.

Amy: I think Jordin could have done more visually with [her song], instead of hugging the microphone.

Simon thought Blake's decision to sing ''She Will Be Loved'' was way too low-key for the final.

Kimberley: Because there's probably two notes in that song. That's why he chose that song. It's like I said, Blake hasn't really done anything [vocally] to wow us, so if he was going to wow us, he needed to do it [on the finale].

Ace: I think Simon was looking for something new out of Blake. But I thought ''She Will Be Loved'' was perfect because it broke it down to singing and it actually made him use his falsetto. I thought it was very touching. I loved that performance.

Anthony: I disagree. He chose a song that's good for his voice. There's only so much he can do because he doesn't have an unlimited range, so I thought that he made a really good choice.

Amy: I don't know if it was way too low-key. I mean, you have to look at this season. I don't think that overall this season has had the best talent to choose from. You didn't have star singers like Kelly Clarkson. You had Jordin, and then you had Melinda, but there's not those people that were like Jennifer Hudson — you know what I mean? Blake is not a singer like that. To expect something bigger from him vocally, I don't know.

Simon said Jordin ''wiped the floor with Blake'' on the final song. Was that a bit unfair, seeing as Simon had only just pointed out that the song was a terrible fit for Blake's style?

Kimberley: That's happened before. American Idol is about being versatile and about seeing how dynamic you are as an artist. So that's Blake's problem. It just shows once again that as an artist Blake is one-dimensional. It wouldn't be fair to ask LaKisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle to sing country music. That's not their style, but they killed it.

Ace: I thought Blake did a really good job; I liked how he was sitting up in the big TV, then he came out. Jordin hit that one part of her voice — it's called the ''ping'' — where you get those chills if you're paying attention. And the song didn't give Blake the opportunity to use the ping in his voice.

Anthony: That was a little unnecessary, but that's Simon. It's not [Blake's] song, and you know, you're stuck in the machine of the show, so you're never going to hear him belt out a song. It is what it is, so you make the best of it and you move on.

Amy: That was completely unfair. Those are overall statements at the end. That is what's going to grab your general public. ''Blake, that probably wasn't for you, it's not in your genre'' — maybe people will remember that, but overall they're going to remember, ''Yeah, she did wipe the floor with him.''

Overall, for season 6, how would you rate Simon?

Kimberley: Over the seasons Simon has become more apologetic, which I think is huge for him. Simon has become a little more — I'm going to say thoughtful, but not thoughtful in like ''Oh, I'm thinking of you,'' but more thoughtful toward the artist, trying to understand why they did things a certain way or why they chose that song. Instead of just jumping straight out there with his comments, I think he actually tries to understand. And we know most of the time he's right. Grade: A

Ace: Simon was actually nice this season. I remember him being a lot more negative than he has been this year. Grade: A

Anthony: Season 6, I would give him a B++. It's a new mark that I just invented. The reason I'm not giving him an A is because of [the finale] comment [about] Blake [being outsung by Jordin on the final song]. I would have given him an A otherwise, because all of it his comments were pretty much on point. But it was unnecessary for him to say that she wiped the floor with him, because [Simon] knew that wasn't his kind of song. Grade: B++

Amy: I think he was pretty consistent. Even [Tuesday] night when he was like, ''I know you're going to boo,'' he still stayed true to saying what he felt. Grade: A


US magazine reports that at the finale, Jordin Sparks knew how to deliver the entire package, from voice to clothing.

Up until the show’s finale episodes, Sparks and her fellow Idols were afforded a $400 weekly budget to shop with stylist Miles Siggins for performance duds, but when the spotlights went up Tuesday at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, Sparks and Blake Lewis pulled out all the stops and called in a few fashion favors.

Having dressed former Idols like Carrie Underwood, the design team of Mark Badgley and James Mischka, the masterminds behind the luxe line Badgley Mischka, were eager to dress America's newest sweetheart. Living every girl's dream when sifting through hundreds of designer duds, the 17-year-old selected their copper brocade cocktail dress for one of the evening's many performances.

"We are big fans of the show and have been watching it since the first season," Mischka said. "Jordin’s beautiful and we thought it would be great to dress her, bring glamour to American Idol and up the bar a bit."

And up the bar they did. Badgley said the star's style is young, fresh and fun. "It all came together last week. She was really spontaneous and fun [during the fitting]," he said, "She broke out in song and her voice is to die for! Jordin is so cute and talented, which makes it that much more fun!"

His design partner couldn't agree more. "Jordin's very statuesque and looks great in clothes! She's very confident even though she’s only 17," Mischka explains.

Although the dress, which is commercially available at Bloomingdale's, exceeded the normal wardrobe budget, Badgley Mischka stepped in to help the star shine.

"We really wanted to work with her on this project," Badgley says. "A lot of times when we work with celebrities, cost doesn't really become an issue. We wanted her to have the dress and it didn't fit in the show’s budget so we stepped in."

While the dress was not specifically commissioned for the performer, the designers have since gifted Sparks with the gown to commemorate her Idol experience.

"We definitely let her keep it," Badgley confirms with excitement. "It's a once in a lifetime thing and we want her to have that memory."


Not that it'll make you feel any better if you recorded the "American Idol" finales on Tuesday and Wednesday to watch at another time, only to discover that you missed Daughtry on Tuesday, or the big announcement on Wednesday, but according to Broadcasting & Cable Fox has apologized for running over the allotted two-hour time slot on Wednesday's "American Idol" finale. [What about Tuesday?]

The show was scheduled to end at 10:00 PM, however, the winner was announced at 10:03 PM, and the show ended at 10:09 PM. As a result of the mistake, many viewers who recorded the show on their DVR’s missed the announcement of the winner.

"We're sorry that DVR users may have missed the conclusion of the 'American Idol' broadcast. It was always our intention to bring the show in on time, but just as with any live sports, variety, awards or entertainment event, there is no way to absolutely guarantee that the show will end exactly on the hour. Fox and the producers apologize to those viewers who were inconvenienced," said a spokesperson for the company. [Uh-huh]

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that TiVo -- one of the more popular providers of DVR systems in the U.S. -- got complaints from "disgruntled subscribers" following the Idol 6 finale and issued a statement that basically warned viewers to learn from Fox's mistake.

"At TiVo we're huge 'American Idol' fans too [we bet you are], and some of us also missed the last few minutes," TiVo spokeswoman Katie Ho wrote in an e-mail, according to The Times. "Had we known the program would run over the allotted time, we definitely would have alerted our subscribers to pad a few extra minutes of recording time, as insurance [funny, we knew to do that without being told, so how come TiVo didn't?] ... Be it the Oscars, the Grammys, assorted sporting events, or 'American Idol,' some events run long [exactly, so what's your excuse?]."

During NBC's Thursday night broadcast of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," show host Jay Leno revealed that he was one of the many TiVo subscribers that missed out on seeing Sparks' Idol crowning.

"You know what happened to a lot of people like me, I TiVo'd it but when I got home the show ran over so I didn't know who won," Leno told Jordin Sparks, who made a guest appearance on the show. "I had to go on the Internet because if you taped it stopped -- right, anyone else have this [happen to them] -- it stopped right at 10 o'clock and you missed it so you had to go on the Internet to find out!"

Although she obviously had no control over the overrun, Sparks attempted to apologize for Leno's inconvenience. "Oh, I'm sorry," she told Leno.

"That's OK, it's not your fault!," Leno responded.

This is not the first time Idol's live finale has overrun it's scheduled broadcast. Last year's fifth season Idol finale that saw Taylor Hicks take home the crown also ran over by four minutes and the show's fourth and third season finales also ran over slightly [our point exactly], according to The Times.


Reuters reports that "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul has slammed reports that a furious fit of anger was to blame for her nose injury.

Abdul was left bruised and with a fractured toe and broken nose after she tripped over her Chihuahua, Tulip.

Some media outlets and fans have questioned Abdul's unusual explanation for her injuries, with some sources claiming she injured herself while throwing a tantrum.

A source said, "Paula did not break her nose. She had pitched a fit, threw something into a mirror or glass object, and a shard of glass struck her in the face, which explains why Paula's nose didn't seem swollen."

However, the former pop star's spokesperson says the report is "absolutely, categorically untrue."


People magazine was on the red carpet on Wednesday night to capture the glamour and to get the scoop from stars like Simon Cowell, Paris Bennett, Peter Noone and Cat Deely. Plus, celebs answered the burning question: Which Idol star is the sexiest?

You can watch the People magazine video here.

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© 2007

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