According to MSNBC, Ryan Seacrest says he knows why "American Idol" took a ratings hit this season. He says it's Simon Cowell’s fault.
When asked about the decline, reports Canada's Globe and Mail, Seacrest replied, "Well, the knee-jerk reaction would be Simon."
Seacrest says there's just too much of the acid-tongued judge: "Clearly there's an over saturation of his character." Seacrest pointed out that the ratings are still high, and addressed buzz that bosses want to change some of the "Idol" judges. "That's clearly rumor," he said. "I'm positive you can't recreate the chemistry that we have with the group on 'American Idol.' "
Clearly the reporter missed that Seacrest was being tongue in cheek. Seacrest, of course, eggs Cowell on constantly, so if that were the real cause, Seacrest would be at fault as well.
Us? We think the ratings drop was due to a dull season resulting from a lot of generally weak contestants. This was especially true coming off of Season 5, which had a particularly strong group, especially Chris Daughtry, and in which eight (Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee, Paris Bennett, Elliott Yamin, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, Mandisa) of the Top 12 have already released CD's, a ninth (Ace Young) is in the works; one semi-finalist (Ayla Brown) has released a CD as well.
McPHEE REALLY HURT
US magazine says that although fellow Season 5 competitors Elliot Yamin, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry all returned for guest spots of "American Idol's" sixth season, noticeably absent from the rundown was Katharine McPhee, 23 – and it was not by choice.
"Katharine called them herself, trying to get on the [finale]," a source close to the singer told Us. "She's really hurt." The finale featured performances by original Idol champion Kelly Clarkson, second-season Idol winner Ruben Studdard and fourth-season Idol winner Carrie Underwood and last season's champ Taylor Hicks, along with appearances by numerous non-Idol artists, including Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Gwen Stefani, Tony Bennett, Green Day, Bette Midler, Joe Perry, and Bebe and Cece Winans.
But she wasn't the only former Idol who got dissed. When Sony/BMG president Clive Davis addressed the TV audience, he made sure to plug Taylor Hicks' new single, but failed to mention Kelly Clarkson's latest single or her forthcoming CD, "My December," over which the two have reportedly butted heads.
McPhee's rep could not be reached, and Fox had no comment.
Meanwhile, MSNBC reports that Katharine McPhee's fans are outraged that the former contestant was treated rudely on a Washington D.C. radio station. Now the show’s DJ, Kane, is hitting back.
As we reported last week, McPhee was interviewed by an intern named Ally on Hot 99.5’s "The Kane Morning Show." The interview was supposed to be in the studio and the station had agreed that McPhee wouldn't be asked any personal questions. But McPhee didn't show up at the studio — handlers explained that her flight had been delayed — and one of the first questions the intern asked the 23-year-old singer was about her 42-year-old boyfriend. The intern asked if having a boyfriend who was so much older hurt or helped the relationship. An obviously irritated McPhee said she didn't want to discuss her private life and the interview went downhill from there.
Angry fans deluged Kane with hate mail. "Maybe she should have been nicer and been live as she promised," Kane replied to some of them.
The angry calls and e-mails kept coming, and Kane shot back a lengthy response. "I'm getting increasingly frustrated by e-mails from McPhee fans that don't know the whole story and are writing me angry e-mails," Kane wrote to them, scolding, "It makes Kat look bad when every other word in your e-mail about how you thought we didn't handle the interview professionally starts with an f---."
He went on to describe in detail a scenario in which he said McPhee was pitched to the radio show on the condition that she appear live, that the appearance be pre-promoted, and that there would be no personal questions. He also challenged the excuses he was given for her failing to appear live — pointing out, for example, that the flights from L.A. to Washington weren't delayed that morning.
"Slam us, go-head," Kane wrote. "We agreed to have her on; we followed the rules. They didn't tell the truth. Kat could have had a little more fun with Ally. She could have said, 'You guys know you're not supposed to ask me personal questions. What's wrong with you?' Rather, she just got mad."
COWELL 'SICK WITH ENVY' OVER DWTS' SUCCESS
FemaleFirst, a UK Web site, says that Simon Cowell confesses he is jealous of friends who taste success -- but insists it is healthy to be competitive. But the music mogul also admits he is 'sick with envy' that he wasn't the brainchild behind hit U.S. TV show "Dancing with the Stars," and secretly wanted the program to flop.
"If someone I know is doing better than me I get incredibly miserable," Cowell said, adding "A lot of my friends are extremely wealthy, but I'm not envious of their money, however, I'm never pleased if they have a hit show. I don't go to bed thinking, 'I'm really happy their show is doing so well'. It annoys me that it wasn't my idea.
"When I watch 'Dancing with the Stars' in America it makes me sick with envy because I didn't think if the idea myself. But that's how it should be -- when you lose your competitive edge, you're over."
Meanwhile its been revealed that the music mogul follows a superstitious ritual before appearing on TV -- he "worships" his hair dryer, according to his "Britain's Got Talent co-judge Amanda Holden.
The actress explains, "He has a little routine before every show, with his hair dryer, but it's pointless -- he looks exactly the same afterwards. I can only assume it has become a sort of superstitious ritual. Just as Madonna prays before a performance, Simon worships at the alter of his Babyliss hair dryer. He likes to be assured he looks good and we always tell him he does."
BOSTON PICKS PICKLER
Kellie Pickler, travelling with the Brad Paisley tour, got a great review in Boston Herald yesterday. Of her performance on Saturday at the Tweeter Center, the paper's critic said:
"With all the sticky sweet gloss now coating commercial country, it’s easy to forget the earnestness that once defined the genre.
But at a nearly full Tweeter Center last night, Brad Paisley's Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour confirmed that not only is quality country being made, its performers are charismatic and charming.
With Taylor Swift apparently ill, "American Idol" Season 5 top-six contestant Kellie Pickler opened in a sexy red top and skin-tight jeans.
In addition to selections from her impressive "Small Town Girl," Pickler served up a slow, saucy cover of Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight" and a hammed-up version of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5."
During "I Wonder," a song about being estranged from her mother, she began to cry; a well-deserved standing ovation followed.
Hook-laden tunes such as "Red High Heels" are proof that Pickler's career is just getting started.
FULLER REASSEMBLING THE SPICE GIRLS?
On Friday, People magazine reported that the Spice Girls are preparing for a Christmas reunion tour. "It should be happening in December," a source told People. "Geri [Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice] and Emma ["Baby Spice" Bunton] have been in the studio writing new material and they want to do a worldwide tour."
Rumors have circulated recently that the band would reunite for the Princess Diana memorial concert that is to be held on Diana's birthday, July 1, to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.
"They definitely won't be performing at the Diana show. It is too soon and Emma is pregnant," says another band insider. "But plans are afoot for later in the year. It all depends on Simon Fuller. He is the mastermind."
Fuller, 47, the creator of "American Idol," was also the Svengali manager who turned the five-woman group into the most successful female act of the 1990s.
The group plans to release a greatest hits album that will include several new songs, sources tell People. "They have a couple of new songs and one in particular is fantastic," says one recording-studio source. "It's hard to get something as pop-laden as their first hit, 'Wannabe,' but one of the new songs is heading that way and it has far more funk in it than the ballads before the band split."
Until recently, it seemed there was no hope for a reunion. "There are no plans for it at all with or without me," Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm, 33, told People in March.
The band insider confirms that Chisholm was reluctant at first. "It's been a long time coming and the negotiations have been going on for a while," says the source. "Mel C. was the last one to come onboard as she has been pushing her solo career."
The first hint of a possible reunion came on April 22 at the baptism service for 34-year-old Halliwell's 11-month-old daughter, Bluebell Madonna. Only L.A.-based Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown, 32, who welcomed a daughter of her own on April 3, was absent.
Sources tell People that Fuller returned to London from Los Angeles earlier this week and is expected to craft an announcement of the reunion. Meanwhile, Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham has returned to California to finalize her family's move.
However, a day later, on June 9th, Access Hollywood reported that while at least one of the girls confirms the multi-platinum fab five have been speaking about getting back together as a tour de force, don’t set aside your ticket money just yet.
"There has been discussions," Melanie Chisholm told the BBC's "Something for the Weekend" recently, "but nothing's been agreed at the moment."
While the girls may be talking, some UK newspapers have said Chisholm who is currently promoting her fourth solo album "This Time" in the UK, is the lone hold out of the bunch. Mel C furthered those rumors during her appearance on the weekend program.
"I really, really like my life the way it is. I've got my record out and it's very special to me," she said. "I've always said I don't want to do it and in my heart of hearts I'd rather leave it really but if the other four girls wanna do it, then I don't wanna be the one who stops it from being the complete five."
Though she offers some hopeful sentiments that the world could see the first reunion of all five girls in nearly a decade (Geri Halliwell left in 1998), Chisholm rules out anything more than new versions of their hits during potential performances.
"I absolutely don't want to do new material 'cause I think that time has passed," she stated. "If we're gonna do it, it should be for nostalgia and it should be all the old stuff, everyone have a great time, put it to bed, finish it and then everyone stop asking me about it!"
YAMIN BACKS OBAMA
Sen. Barack Obama's Web site says that Elliott Yamin will appear at a fundraiser for the presidential hopeful tomorrow in San Francisco from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Ruby Skye, 420 Mason Street. Admission is $250. You can RSVP online. Email for more information.
BILLBOARD CHART NEWS
After reading this week's Idol Chart Watch by Donna Reynolds, we again we have to ask whether the right person was selected as the new American Idol. The EPs for both Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis are in freefall on the Billboard Comprehensive Chart this week (hers went from No. 22 to No. 45; his dove from No. 30 to No. 49. But more interesting, Lewis' "You Give Love a Bad Name" is doing better on Billboard's Hot 100 and Pop 100 than is the new (bleech) Idol Anthem song, "This Is My Now," by Sparks. They stand (on both charts) at Nos. 21 and 25, respectively. Last week, Sparks was at No. 15 and Lewis at No. 18.
Other chart news: Fantasia's eponymous CD rose from No. 85 to No. 65 on The Billboard 200.
Daughtry's self-titled CD landed at No. 5 on this week's Billboard 100.
Bucky Covington's eponymous CD (152,719 copies sold) jumps to No. 51 on the Billboard 200 and is also up to No. 10 on the Country Albums list.
Carrie Underwood 's "Some Hearts," which has sold 5,579,325 copies, drops one spot to No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and is No. 2 on the Country chart.
Elliott Yamin's eponymous CD has sold nearly 251,000 copies to date. The album drops to No. 41 on the Billboard 200 and is No. 27 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Katharine McPhee has dropped off the charts.
Paris Bennett's "Princess P" is No. 93 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums listing
Kellie Pickler's "Small Town Girl" has sold 546,698 copies and is up six spots to No. 103 on the Billboard 200 and is No. 25 on the Country listing.
This Week’s Idols’ Singles Charts
Mandisa's first single, "Only the World," remains No. 2 on the Single Sales chart. The single is also on the Hot Christian Adult Contemporary chart (No. 15).
Daughtry's "Home" hit the No. 1 position on the Hot Adult Top 40 chart and drops to No. 7 on the Hot 100; "It’s Not Over" drops to No. 35 on the Hot 100 and is No. 31 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart; Chris’ single, "What I Want," is No. 11 on the Rock chart.
Bucky Covington's single "A Different World" landed at No. 15 on the Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart.
Elliott Yamin's "Wait for You" continues moves up to No. 32 on the Hot 100, No. 57 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart and No. 22 on the Pop 100.
Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" is No. 14 on the Adult Contemporary chart, No. 10 on the Hot 100, No. 11 on the Pop 100, and No. 5 on the Adult Top 40; "I'll Stand by You" is No. 42 on the Country chart; "Wasted" is No. 64 on the Hot 100 and No. 73 on the Pop 100.
Fantasia's "When I See You" is No. 55 on the Hot 100, No. 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart and No. 8 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Kelly Clarkson's "Never Again" is No. 11 on the Hot 100, No. 13 on the Pop 100, No. 13 on the Adult Top 40.
Kimberley Locke's "Change" dropped from No. 19 on the Hot Dance Club.
Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder" is No. 2 on the Bubbling Under (the Hot 100) chart and No. 18 on the Country chart.
Katharine McPhee's "Over It" is No. 89 on the Pop 100; "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" / "My Destiny" is No. 24 on the Single Sales list.
Taylor Hicks' "Just to Feel That Way" is No. 27 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Ruben Studdard's "Make Ya Feel Beautiful" is No. 33 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart and No. 8 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Fantasia performing at the Tony Awards last night:
Katharine McPhee interview at the Special Olympics on "The View From the Bay":
Chris Daughtry singing "Home" at Riverfest 2007 III:
Chris Daughtry singing "It's Not Over" at Riverfest 2007 III:
Chris Daughtry singing "It's Not Over" at Riverfest 2007 III:
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