Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Season 7 Rumors Begin Already

Wow! The memory of Idol's Season 6 isn't even cold yet -- the tour just began for gawd's sake -- and already the rumors for Season 7 have begun, perhaps because auditions are looming. To wit: The they're getting rid of loopy Paula Abdul favorite has been reactivated. This time she's not being replaced by Courtney Love or even Britney Spears (why replace one incoherent idiot with another?), but by Sharon Osbourne!

True or not, Mike (Mr. Rumors While U Wait) Walker of the The National Enquirer -- that pillar of accurate journalism -- is reporting that due to prompting by none other than Paula's alleged BFF Simon Cowell.

The Enquirer says that the producers are tired of Abdul's bizarre behavior on the show and are planning to replace her with Sharon Osbourne. Abdul recently sparked rumors she was drinking or on drugs after she appeared on interviews talking incoherently and looking rough. Producers reportedly think Abdul is hurting the show with her unprofessional appearances.

"They're looking to give 'Idol' a face-lift, and they think Sharon -- who's rated highly with viewers on Simon's other show, 'America's Got Talent' - will bring a fresher look. And they're sure Sharon will play will off Simon’s sharp tongue," one of those (made up?) anonymous sources said.

Abdul allegedly promised she would clean up her behavior but evidence of that has yet to be seen. Producers are reportedly ready to make the deal with Osbourne, but no plans have been finalized yet.

Well, of course they haven't, as the whole thing is either a trial balloon by the producers (unlikely) or created out of whole cloth (very likely) by the tab during the dull Idol off-season.

BTW, only a month ago Walker reported that not only was Abdul being replaced by Britney Spears, but that Randy Jackson was getting the boot as well. Uh-huh.


A posting in yesterday's San Jose Mercury News:

Can you look like "American Idol" contestant Sanjaya [Malakar]? If you can, the Mercury News wants to take your picture to honor the "American Idol Tour" visit to San Jose.

We are scheduling photo studio time on Saturday for the first 20 Sanjaya look-alikes who respond to our call. The photo shoot will be at the Mercury News offices. For more information, send an e-mail to features@mercurynews.com.


CMT revealed that Carrie Underwood's new album is officially set for Oct. 23 release. The title is still to be determined for the project, and recording sessions are still underway with producer Mark Bright, who produced seven tracks on Underwood's 2005 debut album, "Some Hearts." Having co-written one song on "Some Hearts," the new album is expected to showcase more of Underwood's songwriting. "Some Hearts" has sold almost 6 million copies and sold almost 1,095,000 copies since January to remain the best-selling country album so far in 2007.

Before she repeats, however, Underwood can be heard on Brad Paisley's latest album, "5th Gear," on the tune "Oh Love," and she's set to help kick off New York's Fall Fashion Week by performing Sept. 6 at the fourth annual Fashion Rocks! gala at Radio City Music Hall.


Playbill reports that the cast is now complete for the Hartford Stage presentation of "Mahalia – A Gospel Musical," starring former "American Idol" contestant and Broadway "Rent" star Frenchie Davis.

Part of the 2007 SummerStage season, the show will take the stage Aug. 2 for a run through Aug. 19.

Hartford Stage associate artistic director Jeremy Cohen directs the work written by Tom Stolz that centers on music star Mahalia Jackson. Billed as "equal parts gospel musical, biography, and revival meeting," Mahalia takes a "look at the music and Civil Rights pioneer and is guaranteed to lift audiences out of their seats with such songs as 'His Eye is on the Sparrow,' 'How I Got Over,' 'Deep River' and 'Move On Up a Little Higher.'"

Davis was a part of the second season of FOX's "American Idol" and has gone on to earn the VH1 Diva Award, star in a national tour of "Dreamgirls" and a European tour of "Little Shop of Horrors" and perform on Broadway in "Rent."

Joining Davis in the cast will be Miche Braden and JMichael. Braden has appeared at Hartford Stage in "The Devil's Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith." Newcomer JMichael made his acting debut in August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson."

The design team features Jeff Cowie (scenic), Dan Covey (lighting), Reggie Ray (costumes) and Michael Miceli (sound).

Tickets for Mahalia at Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street in downtown Hartford, CT, are available by calling (860) 527-5151 or click here for more information.


PR.com reports that Jewelry Sprout is sponsoring the Proud of Our Troops drive by asking the public to support and uplift U.S. troops by sending them "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks's inspirational book "Heart Full Of Soul." Jewelry Sprout is accepting both the hardcover and the audio versions of the book.

The Proud of Our Troops drive started on June 26, 2006. Part 1 of the drive ran for 21 weeks. 3,157 "Do I Make You Proud" CD's by Taylor Hicks were sent to our men and women overseas. Part 2 of the drive ran for 27 weeks. 2,751 Taylor Hicks CDs were sent to U.S. troops.

www.soldiersangels.org Soldiers' Angels will be distributing the books to U.S. soldiers in each branch of the Armed Forces who are overseas and to soldiers who were wounded in active duty and are recuperating in hospitals. Click here for more information.


According to Island Packet, more than 300,000 cats have been adopted from shelters across American since Morris the Cat (from 9Lives cat food) and Randy Jackson (from "American Idol") kicked off the Million Cat Rescue last September.

"Dawg, I'm telling you, dude, this is a crisis. Too many cats need homes," Jackson said by phone. "The good news is that many have been adopted as Morris [and his trainers] travel around the country promoting adoption."

In fact, Jackson put his own paw where his mouth is, adopting the first cat in the march toward 1 million adopted cats. He named the cat Dawg, of course.

On "American Idol," that's how he speaks -- in "Randy-eze." Asked about his own version of English, Jackson chuckles. "Man, that's been my thing for as long as I've been doing it," he says.

Translated, Jackson's been using his own "speak" since launching his long career in the music biz. He's done it all, from playing bass with the '70s rock band Journey to performing alongside such stars as Herbie Hancock and Elton John. He's a Grammy award-winning producer who's worked on more than 1,000 gold and multi-platinum albums. Still, Jackson was pretty much unknown outside the industry until "Idol" began in 2002.

The show was an instant success. "It's very predictable, really," he says. "I can predict that every season there will be surprises. Man, this past season had so many surprises. I was surprised myself. I never would have predicted a 17-year-old girl could win the whole thing. Then came Jordin Sparks. I knew this poised girl with the curly hair and the big natural gift was something special immediately. I can't say I knew she'd win."

"Once we got into the season it clearly became our craziest," Jackson recalls. There was Sanjaya [Malakar] who kept advancing, although it seemed clear all the judges -- even the usually gleeful Paul Abdul -- cringed after his performances. "He had Swaggerdom," explains Jackson.

When it came down to the final three, Jackson said he thought Melinda Doolittle would advance. "She was certainly the steadiest performer week in and week out. For sure, I thought Melinda would duke it out with Jordin. That would have been amazing."

Instead, beat-boxer Blake Lewis landed in the finals with Sparks. As he said repeatedly on "Idol," Jackson is amazed by Sparks' poise. "Listen, man, she has the talent, the potential to be the biggest Idol ever."

When he's not working on "Idol" or promoting pet adoption, Jackson still produces. He recently produced a CD by Sam Moore (half of the vintage Sam and Dave duo), and enlisted stars like Mariah Carey, Vince Gill, Bon Jovi and Eric Clapton to participate. In September, he has a solo CD scheduled for release. "It's a kind of Quincy [Jones] thing, where others participate, too," Jackson hints. "But that's all I can say now."

Click here to learn more about the Million Cat Rescue and when Morris may be visiting your town.


If you can stomach it, here are more of Paula Abdul's "adventures" on her reality series, "Hey Paula":

Episode 4, Part 1

Episode 4, Part 2

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© 2007

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