Thursday, May 31, 2007

Taylor Hicks' New Honey?

On May 25th, reported that Taylor Hicks was cavorting on the beach in Hawaii with a mystery blonde. Yesterday, the Web site revealed that it had solved the mystery.

So who was that blonde in the Hawaiian sand with the Season 5 "Idol" winner? If you live in Milwaukee, you know spritely Caroline Lyders from WISN-TV.

According to, Lyders, the co-anchor of the weekday edition of WISN "12 News This Morning," has been romantically linked to singer Taylor Hicks. The entertainment blogosphere was abuzz after what appeared to be photos of Lyders and Hicks lounging and canoodling on a beach in Hawaii showed up on various Web sites. And it didn't take long for Hicks' fans to identify the bikini-clad woman in the photos as Lyders.

Lyders says she and Hicks are "friends," but won't say anymore. "Yes, Taylor and I are friends, and as a journalist I respect your asking. But beyond that, I'd rather not comment on my personal life."

"I do not comment on my client's personal life," said Liz Morentin of Hicks' J Records label via e-mail., which contacted for more clarification about a story that ran Wednesday afternoon, quoted an unnamed "friend" of Hicks' as saying, "I don't know about any new girlfriend. But I'm not surprised. Taylor always had girls following him even before he ever became famous. ... He is a romantic when it comes to women, and he treats them with respect. So to be seen out in public with this girl makes me know that he likes her, because that's just how he is."

You can see more picture of Hicks and Lyders here.


Peter Noone played in Atlantic City last weekend. This season's American Idol mentor for the guys on British Invasion Week told the The Herald of New Jersey that although he was thrilled when he was asked to coach this season's contestants, he wouldn't want his daughter an aspiring singer, to go the Idol route.

Noone, the "Herman" in the 1960s English pop band Herman's Hermits, believes the show doesn't do fledgling performers any favors by catapulting them from anonymity to fame in a matter of months. "They're taking people who have mostly been singing karaoke in bars and then throwing them in front of millions of people," he says. The show is shortcutting the time-honored process of coming up through the ranks and learning how to be a performer.

The singer considers himself lucky he came up through the business the hard way. He believes the "American Idol" contestants are missing the kind of mentoring he received. "They're not learning how to work in front of a smaller audience," he says. "They're not learning simple things, like how to talk [to the audience] between songs. It may not sound important, but these are all important lessons they're missing."

Because "American Idol" requires contestants to cover songs popularized by other artists, Noone said the show doesn't encourage originality. For that reason alone, his daughter, Natalie Noone, 20, an aspiring singer, songwriter and musician, has no desire to audition for the show. "She's a country and rock singer, and she says she'd never go on that show if she couldn't perform her own music," Noone says as a touch of fatherly pride creeps into his voice.

Noone said he was glad he paid his dues more than 40 years ago and didn't need the show as a vehicle to launch his career. "If I had to sing in front of 38 million people when I was first coming up, I'd have quit the business and become a doctor," said Noone, adding "I would have never had the [guts] to do that," he adds. "I'd have rather eaten a can of worms or done a play with 30 pages of dialogue."

Noone, 59, is as outspoken during a chat from his Santa Barbara, Calif., home as he was on "American Idol," when he bluntly told acerbic judge Simon Cowell that the show was a voting competition and not a singing competition. That comment earned him a disgusted look from Cowell.

Things were different when Noone was a 16-year-old actor and singer trying to make it with a band in Manchester, England, in 1963. The group was playing small clubs with rowdy crowds that thought nothing about chuckling at Herman's Hermits when they began performing "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" long before it became one of the group's biggest hits.

"They laughed in our faces," Noone remembers. "And we learned to deal with that. That's something ['American Idol' contestants] won't experience because every move they make is controlled."

Noone also remembers being mentored by John Lennon in the early days. The Beatles had already made their mark on America when Lennon saw Herman's Hermits performing in a small club. "I told John, 'I think we're gonna make it; look at all those screaming kids in the front row,' " Noone recalls. Lennon told him he was making a mistake singing to the band's fans.

"He told me never to sing to the people in the front row," he says. "He said I should sing to the people in the back, the ones who don't like you and don't really care. And that message stayed with me."


The New York Post reports that Ozzy Osbourne pulled out of an appearance on the "American Idol" finale. The Black Sabbath star was slated to duet with Sanjaya Malakar, but cancelled at the last minute. A source told the Post's Page Six column, "When he learned he would have to do a duet with Sanjaya, Ozzie said he didn't want to be onstage with that idiot." Osbourne is also reported to have called Malakar "a hairstyle-challenged idiot." Aerosmith star Joe Perry was called up as Osbourne's replacement.

Meanwhile, the Bangalore Times reports that Perry said he played The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" with Sanjaya "just for fun."

"They [the producers] asked me to play backup with Sanjaya and I agreed," Perry said. "Fans love the show. It's big, the second biggest in the U.S. after the Superbowl in terms of the number of viewers.

"I did it for fun — it was a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing. I also wanted to play with Kelly Clarkson [he accompanied her for "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"]. She's got a fantastic voice."

Of controversial Sanjaya, Perry said, "Sanjaya's so young. I don't think he's had time to develop as a singer. Sometimes that happens naturally — Michael Jackson was a natural at five — at other times it takes years. Sanjaya has a lot going for him — he's got rhythm and timing. It's a matter of putting in the hours. Even The Beatles spent years playing at clubs. You have to rehearse and rehearse, play and play. In his case it may be too much too soon. Now even the show's runners-up get record deals. You have to see whether or not he's got it in him to keep it going. Sanjaya's a really nice guy. He could have been all blown up with the fame he's got, but he knows his limitations. He listens — he went along with all the suggestions I gave him. I found the experience interesting. For me, it was a piece of cake."


Two recent appearances by Blake Lewis you might have missed, but can catch here!

Blake on "Live With Regis and Kelly" (Blake backs himself with beat-boxing while singing "She Will Be Loved", very cool):

Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks on MTV's TRL (at the end Jordin sings to Blake's beat-boxing):

And, finally, America's Idol winner and America's favorite beat-boxer made separate visits to New York's Fox/5 studios to talk about "American Idol," and answer questions. Blake Lewis on "Good Day New York" and Jordin Sparks on "Good Day New York."


You've read snippets for days here and other places, but here is the complete transcript of QNAs between Blake Lewis and the press during a conference call this past Friday. (Salutations and congratulations eliminated for the sake of brevity): Looking back on it now is there anything – do you have any sort of regrets, or is there anything you would have done differently?

Oh, never. I never have regrets. I had so much fun on this experience. The journey’s been amazing, and each week was a different experience, and it - ended it with a bang with Doug E. Fresh. Were you nervous at all about that?

Oh, no, not at all. The most calm I’ve been on this whole entire season was playing the Kodak Theater both nights, so. What can we expect from you after the tour? Is anything falling into place? Are you getting any ideas about an album or who you might work?

Definitely an album will be in the works, not exactly sure who yet, but little talk about it when I - I’ll be going to New York here and be talking to the right people to get that underway.

Us Weekly Online: So you’ve made it this far, and I know Jordin has her “This is My Now” song to kind of describe her Idol experience. What would yours be?

Well, the most work I have put into any song was definitely the Bon Jovi, “You Give Love a Bad Name.” That one best – not necessarily vocally, but like for performance, that represents me and “Keep Me Hanging On, and “This is Where I Came In,” the Bee Gees. Those are the three songs that I arranged, pretty much, the most, and I put a lot of work into them.

Us Weekly Online: I’m very familiar with your charitable efforts with Seattle Children’s and your whole initiative as far as that is concerned. Have you given any thought to how you’re going to expand upon that now that your notoriety is very much out there?

Not yet. I haven’t had a lot of time to think until I get all this press done and everything. So I’ll be talking with my best friend, Kristi, head of the Blaker Girls, and we’ll come up with something unique, to give back.

Wireless Flash News: Going back to the performance with Doug E. Fresh, how exactly did you feel doing that? Like, did you ever think you’d get to the point where you’d be on stage with him?

You know, I met him a month and a half before when he came out with – he came out to support Akon and Gwen Stefani, so he was behind the stage at that. And I went up to him, and I just asked if he wanted to cipher after the show or something, so we went back in the hallway, and we did some question and answering back and forth with the beatbox. And it was a real magical moment, and I asked him if there was any chance that he could come on the show, and we can perform, even after American Idol in the…term. Let’s do it. He was all for it. And then flash forward to the finale, and I get to rock the show his ’86 classic beatbox song that inspired me, and it was just a real magical moment. So I was more excited than anything to end the finale and end my run as an American Idol with Doug E. Fresh, one of my main inspirations as a beatboxer.
Wireless Flash News: Do you think American Idol will be more hip, more contemporary because of what you brought to it, singing real current songs and beatboxing and all that?

Yes. I can only hope that it keeps a contemporary edge, getting more contemporary acts on the show, with the shows that they do have that people come and play or as a mentorship. There’s definitely a lot of classic stuff going on this year. I don’t know. I think if the show wants to have a continued success, I think they need to play more in favor to what’s out there, what’s current.

Soap Opera Weekly: During the finale on Tuesday, how did you feel about the judges discussing who won each round and calling you “The Desperate Farmer”?

Oh, man, since the beginning of the competition, I honestly - it’s hard to hear them in the first place, and I just bite my tongue, and I say thank you. It’s just three people’s opinion in that I really don’t like the criticism right after you sing a song. In any other circumstance…and being on stage, that would never happen, so I took it for what it is. I always just say, “Thank you,” and I go to the next song and sing my song, do the same thing over and over again. So it doesn’t really ever get to me. It’s nice when they say positive things, and when they say negative things, I just…my shoulders off.

Soap Opera Weekly: What was your smartest song choice and why?

Smartest song choice - it really depends on the week. I was scared for country week, and I was lucky to sing, “When the Stars go Blue.” I think Bon Jovi, from the response, was probably the most successful song choice. I really loved the fact that I got to sing, “Keep Me Hanging On,” and remix that. Honestly, it really depends on the week. I think I had a smart song choice every week, but I do think coming out the gate singing, “Somewhere Only We Know,” and everyone thought I was just a beatboxer was a smart move on my part. That was the only part where I was like, I guess, strategical, using my strategery as good George Bush would say.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution: How come we haven’t seen the return of your character, Jimmy Walker Blue?

There hasn’t been a lot of opportunities for Jimmy Walker Blue. It was – that’s just another part of me that I dove in, in more character acting, character, I think, spots. If I ever get to play Saturday Night Live, man, I do a lot of character work and a lot of voiceovers. I’m very into improv comedy and just comedy on the whole. So if there’s any part where I could go, like David Alan Grier has his improv show. I’d love to go on that. Anytime that I could do something like that and just – I feed off the live – that’s why I think I love performing, and that’s why I’ve had such a blast on this show is because I can – since it’s live, I can really feed off that energy. Back home, I had a character, Charles Siegfried. I was the host of a burlesque show and very British egocentric character where he loves the ladies, and he thinks the world loves him, and then Jimmy Walker Blue is just like a hip-hop hick, someone that would listen to Kid Rock 24 hours a day, so just weird, wacky characters. I grew up on a lot of Robin Williams, Mork & Mindy, a lot of Jim Carey movies.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution: Do you do any celebrity impersonations?

Not really. I was more into impressions when I was, like, in junior high and high school, and then I, that’s when I also started becoming more of the musician. And so just recently, probably in the last two years, I got more into the characters working with my friends. There’s an amazing improv. My friend’s duo called Cupcake, up in Seattle, that I get to feed off them and ride their coattails and get to do neat little character stuff that’s all YouTube. So if you go to, there’s probably like six videos that I’m on in different characters.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution: - I’ll remember that.

B. Lewis It’s an improv that my friend, Ethan and Justin – their duo show. They do an hour and half of improv, and I get to be the Flava Flave, if you will, the hot guy in different characters and stuff. So I’m honored to work with those – my friends, and have real opportunities where I can be a goof.

The Houston Chronicle: What would you say is probably the best thing about actually not winning the title, if there indeed is one for you.

Oh, man, you know, I never thought I’d get to this moment ever. So that’s a tough question to answer because I picked Jordin to be the winner in the top 24, like as soon as I met her, I picked her to be the winner. I’m so completely satisfied coming second on this show. I would have been completely satisfied coming in fourth or fifth or fifth or sixth. I always felt that my art wasn’t as mainstream as most people, so just me coming out of Seattle, kind of being more of an eclectic artist and into definitely more independent and underground music, so just coming on this show, I just gave it my all, and I wound up at two. And that’s huge. I really wanted to just get into the top ten, so I could go on tour and actually show people what I do on tour, and hopefully, they like that. So – I’m terrible at answering questions.

The Houston Chronicle: Tell me a little bit about what it was like to have the constant daily support from Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell.

Well, that’s amazing. I don’t watch a lot of TV, and I’m lucky that I have amazing friends that keep me sane, and they let me know what’s going on because I never have time for anything, especially with the show. We were doing like 16 hour days. So my good friend, Kristi, she’s the head of the Blaker Girls; she’s my best friend. She keeps me informed of everything. So she told me about that, and I actually watched The View one day, and they were wearing like a Blaker Girl shirt. I’d love to go on that show. I love Rosie O’Donnell. I love – she just says whatever she wants. And that’s usually how I am. I’m kind of like Simon’s sense where I just – I’m pretty honest and blunt, and sometimes a little tactless. ….

People Magazine: Do you wish you could possibly have had a song that suited you better rather than “This is My Now,” and did it possibly kind of do you in, in the end?

You know, that’s what a lot of people are asking, and I definitely say, yes. “This is My Now” is definitely not my style. It’s a song I would never sing if I didn’t have to, so it was definitely – it fit her, like, perfectly. And honestly, they should have had two songs, one that was tailored to both of us, but I’m so happy with being second place. I never thought I’d get here in the first place, so. But yes, it’s just definitely not my style. I would have rather had something like blues-oriented, jazzy. I think there could be like an uplifting song that’s not so linear. That one’s not very melodic, and I’m very all about melody, going around melodies and stuff, so.

People Magazine: You said you’re comfortable with second place or getting into the top ten. With giving up the coin toss, picking Jordin to win, I think even some of your friends said in The Seattle Times they prefer you didn’t win. Did you in a sense, thought it was better, maybe didn’t unconsciously want to win the competition?

Gee, I never looked at it as winning and losing. I just tried going out and performing really well each day. But in the sense that I’m kind of glad I didn’t win just for like contractual reasons. I think if you’re first, you might have to come back for like three years or something and do stuff, which is great, though, at the same time because American Idol is such an amazing show and an experience, so I honestly didn’t care one bit of winning or losing because I thought – I called myself a winner just by getting in the top ten.

The Detroit Free Press: Could you tell us a little bit about what you were like, what activities you were involved in and so on when you were in middle school and high school.

Okay. Well, middle school, I was in choir. I was pretty much in choir, like elementary, anything with performing, in junior high. And after junior high, that’s when I really got into performance art and singing and art and anything that had to do with creating. I love anything that has to do with creation, whether it’s building with your hands or doing pottery or photography.

But as far as on the music side of things, high school was really good because I got to take acting, do some acting, and I had a performance class and then choir. And then the one real neat thing that was really good about the live art form and my experiences is once a month we had like an open mic, and that was where I really – I first started beatboxing. My first time performing beatboxing in front of a crowd was at open mic during lunch at my high school. And I think that was a really good moment for me that I can always – I can always look back on that moment, and that’s where it all started for me as far as being a musician on a stage because it was the first – you could do anything in an open mic. You can read poetry. You could play the bongos. It didn’t really matter. The nice thing about that is because open mic, they can like it. They don’t have to like it. It’s just kind of one of those moments. And if these high schools had, I think, more open rights during lunch, like once a week, I think it would be really cool once a week, and I’m definitely in support of that because me going after high school I played this open mic all the time, all amazing musicians that I’ll always be playing with for the rest of my life.

I did this open mic at this bar for – I don’t know – like a year and a half, called The Jet Deck. I met so many amazing musicians that I’m still playing with today.

The Detroit Free Press: You have a hip personal style, and you mentioned that you used to make your own pants, and I know you like vintage clothes and stuff. Could you tell us, did you shop at vintage places, or did you work with a stylist for your Idol look?

Through the Idol experiences - they have stylists for us, but coming into the show, they told me they liked everything. They loved my style. So Miles Higgins was the stylist for the guys and stuff, and him and I hit it off really great because he already knew that I had my sense of style. He just – he’d come with me or not, and we’d – it only takes me like ten minutes to shop because I instantly know. I know who I am, so I can just go pick it out right away. Make sure – the thing for him is he knows whether it’s going to look good on camera, so it was really good to have that eye as well.

And then the last thing, the finale, the last couple shows, I met Ashton Michaels on one of our Ford video shoots, and he turned to me, and he’s like, “Wow, we have like the same style.” And I was like, “Wow, what are you wearing? That’s amazing.” He’s like, “I made it.” So we hit it off right away, and I went to his shop, his boutique, and he started making clothes for me.

It was out of context when I said I made my own pants. I said I started to try to make my own pants. I don’t have a complete pair that I have made yet. I’m still working on it. And now that I met Ashton, hopefully, he’s going to – we’re going to get the right pattern, and he’s going to show me how to make my own pants, so.

The Detroit Free Press: And you got an allowance each week, right? The contestants get an allowance to buy their outfits.

Yes, depending on the week.

The Seattle Times: You went from B-Shorty and Bothell, you know, like this - at Toast and Nectar and all these places, this authentic struggling artist, and now, you’re the crown prince of pop karaoke. A lot of people are going to say you sold out. Did you?

Definitely not. I represented myself and stayed true to myself through this whole entire process. So selling out is definitely not – I love the term though. I never had a huge fan base, so I don’t think you can sell out until you even have a fan base. I don’t think you can sell out until you start going off in directions that you wouldn’t normally do and sacrificing some of your integrity as an artist. As soon as you hear me start singing like more songs like “This is My Now,” then you can say I sold out.

The Seattle Times: Sir Mix-A lot who proclaimed you the kind of Sea-Town. When are you going to be back to visit all of us, come survey your kingdom?

Oh, man, hopefully, soon. I hope – it’s beginning of June I get to come back, I think, for a week maybe. I don’t know. On the schedule here with press and everything is really tight, not as busy as the show, but I’m still trying to get home for at least a couple days before I have to come right back here to start tour rehearsals. Which American Idol contestant’s career, winner or not, you wanted to emulate.

None of them. I want to set my own path. Yes, pretty much that. And what kind of music do you want to do?

I guess my music. I’ve been making – been doing it for seven years. I have an album that I’m hopefully going to try and get out here. And it’s very – electro-pop, good pop music in the sense of Duran Duran, Michael Jackson. I’m very a child of the ‘80s, so it’s definitely going to have more of a dance theme to it with a little bit of more melodic jazzy like Maroon 5, Jamiroquai, but definitely more on the hip-hop and electronic side of things.

In Touch Weekly: Are you planning on moving to L.A., or what would you – or do you plan on still saying in the Seattle area?

Well, I think I’m going to move to LA for awhile when I – so I can be around the label and all my management and just – and some good friends out here for a little bit. I’ve been meaning to move to LA for about five years. I’ve always wanted to come to California and move here. Sorry. Wanted to come here just for the new experience, the new environment change. But I’ll probably only live here for maybe like a year or two because Seattle’s my home, and I don’t think I can be away from all my friends and the musicians that I play with and my family.

In Touch Weekly: Because you were talking about the acting thing before, is that something that you want to do equally with music after you get your first album done?

I don’t think equally. If opportunities arise, and it allows me to do some character work or something, I think it would be fantastic. I would love to, but I want to put my heart and soul into my music and into my art form as a vocalist, a beatboxer. So that’s –

In Touch Weekly: Is there any sort of actor or comedian/singer that you sort of like the career?

B. Lewis Well, not actor/singer. I mean, Jim Carrey’s a huge inspiration to me. And he’s very – he’s just so much a performer as a comedian, and he’s – I think his serious acting is amazing. He can sing. He sang on like three or four of his movies. He’s just very talented, and I just hope my career as a musician and as a singer/songwriter can keep going strong for a very long time. If acting comes calling, and I get the right opportunity, the right script, or even just do voiceover work for maybe like a Pixar movie or a DreamWorks movie, I think that’d be a blast. I love being goofy and love doing different voices, and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, so.

In Touch Weekly: You said earlier that there was an improv show that you’d love to be on, but I couldn’t hear what you said. Can you just tell me again what that was?

Oh, well, the David Alan Grier’s…show, and "Saturday Night Live" has been my favorite show since I was kid, since "In Living Color" came off the air.

Starry Constellation Magazine: You seem like quite the ladies’ man. Is that charm something you’ve always had, or did it grow onto you as an adult?

Definitely not the ladies’ man. I’ve been in some very serious relationships, and I think that’s pretty funny. No, I was definitely like a nerdy kind of a loner in high school, and I didn’t really have that many relationships. So I think – I’ve gotten more confident in my relationships or in my journey in finding the right woman.

Starry Constellation Magazine: Are there any song choices you wanted to sing, but you couldn’t get clearance for?

Oh, yes, this whole entire time on the show. I didn’t get to sing some of the inspirations that have made me the musician today. I wanted to sing some U2. I got Maroon 5 at the last minute because they hooked me up. They gave me a solid, so that was cool. Yes, no, I finally did at the end of the season, like I got to sing Thicke, Maroon 5, and Sting is a huge influence in my music, so The Police.

Moderator: Okay, thank you. Did you have any closing remarks then, Blake?

B. Lewis Oh, no, thanks. Yes, just I’m very overwhelmed by all this. So yes, just tell all my fans and all your magazines that I loved all the support and the energy that I’ve gotten from this whole entire experience and just thank you very much.

e-mail Idol Addict
© 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Simon Cowell, This Is Your Life

Simon Cowell, in the words of, was reportedly left gobsmacked when broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald entered the live finale of American Idol to announce: "Simon, This Is Your Life" and give him the famous red book. McDonad jetted all the way to Los Angeles to present Cowell with the book, which chronicles his whole life.

British viewers will be able to see the one-off episode of "This Is Your Life" on June 2, after it is recorded in London with the music mogul's friends and family in attendance.

Simon took it in good spirits and gave Sir Trevor a hug, while his fellow talent-show judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson looked on in amusement.

Celebs attending the recording include fellow "X Factor" judge Sharon Osbourne, Cowell's ex-girlfriend singer Sinitta and TV duo Ant and Dec. "X Factor" winner Leona Lewis and Simon's proteges Il Divo performed. Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Lopez were slated to record messages for the multi-millionaire.

Even pop manager Louis Walsh appeared to show there were no hard feelings after being axed from Cowell's UK talent show "The X Factor."

Before hugging Walsh, according to RTE Entertainment, Cowell said, "I humbly offer a grovelling apology Louis." Walsh then said, "Listen, honestly, he's the best. He's a really good guy and we've had amazing success with our artists [including Westlife and Shayne Ward] so far. And we're going to have a lot more with our records."

Walsh later said, "All is forgiven. Forgiven but not forgotten", but Cowell insisted, "Let's just say forgiven, alright?" Walsh replied, "Whatever."

Apparently Paula Abdul got the upper hand with Cowell for a change. The Post Chronicle reports that during the show's taping Cowell was left red-faced after his "sex secrets" were "exposed."

Abdul joked about the music mogul's performance in the bedroom while recording her contribution for the British show. Abdul, 44, quipped: "Simon is an egomaniac. He's the only man I know who screams his own name when having sex. And his idea of foreplay is staring at himself in the mirror." [Nothing she hasn't said in "American Idol" film parodies.]

The incident was made even more embarrassing for Cowell, 47, as Abdul made the comments in front of an audience including his 80-year-old mother, Julie Cowell.

Cowell's older brother Tony Cowell, 55, also let slip the music mogul would wear makeup to feign illness to get out of going to school. He said: "He used to wear pale makeup to look ill so he could get out of going to school."

After filming, Cowell's girlfriend, "Extra" correspondent Terri Seymour, threw a lavish bash for the star and all his friends and family.


In case you missed the 17-year-old (yup, she is) on "Live With Regis and Kelly" yesterday, you can watch it right here! Regis Philbin says that Jordin was his pick. She, of course, sang "This Is My Now" before an audience that appeared to be largely soldiers and sailors. She also looked slimmer already and towered over both Regis and Kelly. Blake Lewis appears on the show today; Melinda Doolittle is on tomorrow and Fantasia on Friday.

Watch video of Jordin Sparks on "Live With Regis and Kelly":


FemaleFirst reports that in an interview with OK! magazine, Paula Abdul says she has to endure specialized massages and takes arthritis medication and painkillers to help control her Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).

"I have four titanium plates in my neck," she says. "I've had 14 surgeries over the years. It can come and go at any time, but I no longer have the intense nerve pain that is associated with RSD, thank God." One of the operations was performed the same evening as the first season finale of "American Idol."

Abdul reveals she lives her life in pain following two near-death accidents in the past decade -- a car collision and a plane accident, telling the publication "I have a lot of sleepless nights because I am in so much pain."

ETOnline says that the 1993 plane crash almost ended her career. "The right wing caught fire, I broke through the seatbelt and hit my head," she says. "We came down in a cornfield in Iowa. I quit my career. For the next six years, I spent 75 percent of my time in the hospital."

Abdul says "Idol" is her third shot at superstardom, and her most profound. Being a judge on the show "overshadows being a Grammy Award winner and selling millions of records," she says. "I didn't figure out my purpose in life until 'American Idol.' I knew since I was a little girl that I had profound way of touching people. My purpose is bringing out everybody's best and being that cheerleader to other people's success."

As for her so-called goofy behavior on the show, she is adamant that reports about her being under the influence are false, adding that she has never been drunk. She says Simon Cowell made a "funny accusation that something was in my Coca-Cola cup" that started all the rumors flying.

Though she's a good sport about Simon's jokes, she says the innuendo in the press about her strange behavior has gotten out of hand. "I'm sick of it," she says. "It's defamation of character."

She also blasts plastic surgery rumors, saying, "Check behind my ears! I haven't had one ounce of work done, contrary to what every plastic surgeon may believe." However, Paula does admit to trying Botox, adding with a wink that "Simon doesn't have any wrinkles."

As for her well-publicized battle with anorexia, she's "in a really good place, having had many years in recovery. I refuse to entertain something that will lead to the anorexic behavior that I used to have."

Through it all, Paula has overcome many battles and learned to be happy with herself. "I'm proud of who I am," she says.


reports that Fantasia Barrino, the former American Idol champion who has earned rave reviews for her portrayal of Celie in the Broadway musical "The Color Purple," will perform at the 61st annual Tony Awards ceremony, to be held at 8pm on Sunday, June 10 at Radio City Music Hall and broadcast live on CBS Television.

The show's producers have announced that the ceremony will feature musical numbers from the four nominees for Best Musical and the three currently running nominees for Best Revival of a Musical: "Curtains," "Grey Gardens," "Mary Poppins," "Spring Awakening," "A Chorus Line," "Company," and "110 in the Shade." The fourth Best Revival nominee, The Apple Tree, will not perform on the telecast, nor will the shows not nominated for Best Musical.

Presenters will include Harry Connick, Jr., Kevin Spacey, Usher, Vanessa Williams, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Brian Dennehy, Carla Gugino, Neil Patrick Harris, Anne Heche, Marg Helgenberger, Judd Hirsch, Felicity Huffman, Melina Kanakaredes, Eddie Izzard, Jane Krakowski, Angela Lansbury, Robert Sean Leonard, Audra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, Bernadette Peters, William Petersen, David Hyde Pierce, Liev Schreiber, John Turturro, Sam Waterston, Rainn Wilson, Patrick Wilson, and the leads of Jersey Boys: Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer, and John Lloyd Young. No host has been announced at this time.

Click here for tickets to the Tony Awards, a complete list of nominees, or other information.

And though her surprisingly exceptional performance as the faith-depraved lead character Celie isn't eligible for a coveted Tony Award, according to AOL'S BlackVoices blog, the High Point, N.C., native will be receiving another prestigious honor.

She's the recipient of a 2006-07 Theatre World Award, which honors performers making their first major New York stage appearance (Broadway or Off-Broadway debuts). Fantasia joins other theater world newcomers Bill Nighy ("The Vertical Hour"), Nilaja Sun ("No Child... ") and Lin-Manuel Miranda ("In the Heights") for their respective works.

The 63rd annual awards ceremony will be held at an invitation-only event at New World Stages in New York City on June 5.

Among Fantasia's rave reviews:

The New York Times' Charles Isherwood called Fantasia "so terrific that this earnest but mechanical musical is more effective and affecting than it was when it yawned open a year and a half ago at the Broadway Theater."

Associated Press drama critic Michael Kuchwara said her portrayal of Celie gives the production "new heart, soul and star power."

"And Fantasia knows how to let loose, particularly in her final number of affirmation, 'I'm Here.' It pretty much brings down the house, earning cheers and a few tears," he continued.

In his review for the New York Daily News, Joe Dziemianowicz, said "Fantasia gives such a powerful performance in her Broadway debut that it's almost, to borrow a lyric from the show, 'too beautiful for words.'"

There is a special offer to encourage interested theatergoers to experience Fantasia in the Oprah Winfrey-produced "The Color Purple." When you buy two tickets to see the performance now through June 30, you will receive a $50 gift certificate to some of Harlem's most popular restaurants including the black-owned Amy Ruth's, new hot-spot Melba's, and the legendary Sylvia's.

By mentioning special promotional codes CP8DINE (through Telecharge at 212-947-8844) or promotional code CP82DINE (through this Web site), customers can enjoy a great meal in the historical cultural mecca. Click here for more information.


You've read snippets for days here and other places, but here is the complete transcript of QNAs between Jordin Sparks and the press during a conference call this past Friday. Tomorrow we'll post Blake Lewis' interview transcript. (Salutations and congratulations eliminated for the sake of brevity):

US Weekly online: Being the newest Idol, what's one thing that you've gleaned from the other Idols' careers that you'll use to your advantage in your own career? Perhaps maybe from the female Idols: Kelly, Fantasia, Carrie.

I'm not sure. I look up to them; I know I do, because I've been watching them for the past couple years in their career and have their records. But I would love to model my career after theirs, because they've been so successful, so I would love to have a career like theirs.

US Weekly online: I was recently speaking with the two guys who penned your "This Is Your Now" tune, and they were so excited to have you sing it. What does that song mean to you?

It's actually so perfect, because I remember sitting down when we got the song, and I was listening to it and I couldn't believe how perfect it was for just this whole process in general, because it totally relates to what I've been dreaming about and just everything about it. It was so perfect, and I love singing it because it spoke to me that way.

Wireless Flash News: You got quite the nice Mustang on the finale. So do you actually have your driver's license and are you a good driver?

Yes, I have my driver's license. I actually got it I think July of last year, so it was about before I went and auditioned. I think I'm okay; I haven't gotten any tickets or anything yet. So I think I'm all right.

Wireless Flash News: Can you disclose how many you actually got wrong on your driver's test? Or did you get anything wrong on your driver's test?

Well my driver's test I think I did pretty well. The permit test I kind of had a problem with, but then I went and studied and then I passed, so it was good.

Soap Opera Weekly: How did you emotionally handle the shows' various pressures throughout the season?

It's cool, because since I am a minor I have a guardian with me. And so I had my mom or my nana, because they would switch off, I would have them with me throughout the season. So it was cool to have them to lean on. … everything like that, so it was really cool to have everybody and …

[Moderator cuts in to tell Jordin they're having trouble with the phone lines and she's cutting in and out]

Soap Opera Weekly: And when during the season did you first feel that you could win?

I don't know, I guess when I made the top 12 I was like, "Wow, I have a one in 12 chance of actually winning this thing." Because it's better than one out of 15,000 at the Key Arena. So I don’t know, I guess …

[Moderator: We've lost you again. Okay. Now you’re back. Did you want to repeat your question? I don't think you got your answer, did you?]

Soap Opera Weekly: When during the season did you first feel you could win?

I felt like I could win, I guess, at top 12. Your chances improve as you keep going through the competition, and it's better than one out of 15,000 at the Key Arena, so when I got to the top 12 I was like, "Hey, I have a one in 12 chance of winning." It turned out pretty well.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: What would like to sing on the American Idol Tour? Do you have any thoughts on what you're going to sing?

I have no idea what I'm going to do on it. Everything is happening so fast that I haven't even had really a chance to think about it. But it's going to be cool, because it's going to be a different show and everybody is going to sing what is geared towards them and what suits their voice the best. So I have no idea; I haven't really thought about it yet. I'm sorry.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Has Blake taught you any beat-boxing at all?

He's tried to teach me, but I'm really horrible at it. I try, and sometimes I entertain myself by trying to do it, but I can't do it.

Houston Chronicle: Throughout the course of, specifically I guess the top 12, different contestants go attention for so many different things, Melinda and LaKisha consistently for their terrific voices, Blake for his originality and then Sanjaya for just sort of being himself. Tell me what you think it was that eventually, finally put you over the top despite all the other attention everyone else was getting.

I don’t know; I guess it's just want America liked and they loved seeing it. It's cool to have different story lines, and that's what makes this show so great is because everybody is so different. I don't know, I tried to top myself every week and I guess I just stayed the same. I'm just a quirky 17-year old … I don't know, I guess people just started to see that.

Houston Chronicle: What did Blake say to you immediately after the win?

Well he just said, "Congratulations, honey." He's been so great; he's been one of my biggest supporters since the beginning, I guess, and I've been one of his. So it was really cool that I got to share the stage with him. I felt very honored.

US Weekly: You sound like you're losing your voice. Have you been constantly—?

I am a little bit. Just — I don't know.

US Weekly: So what has your schedule been like since you won?

It's been pretty crazy. The day before yesterday, the night of, I did a ton of press until about 11:45, and then didn't really get home or to bed until 1:30, and then I had to wake up at 4:00. So I was running on two hours of sleep yesterday.

It's been pretty crazy, but it was actually pretty easy yesterday. We did some affiliate stuff and we did Leno and Ellen, and it was really fun. I had a good time. And now I'm up talking to you guys.

US Weekly: And have you spoken to your best friend from school yet? The one we saw in your tape of going home?

Yes, yes, I have actually. 'Yes, I did, I talked to her. She was telling me how proud she was of me, and that she was sad because she probably won't see me as much anymore. I told her not to worry, because even though I am busy it will be okay and I still love her. We've been keeping in contact, and I've been talking to her all the time, so it's good.

People Magazine: You're going to be thrust even more into the spotlight as the winner. How have you prepared yourself for all of it?

I don't think you can prepare yourself for it. I'm kind of just taking it one step at a time and rolling with the punches and kind of just going with the flow.

People Magazine: Now that you are in the spotlight there are going to be a lot of pressures out there. How do you think you will keep yourself grounded? Like there are a lot of pressures to be super thin in Hollywood, there are a lot of pressures to do certain things, go out all the time; how will you keep yourself grounded from these types of—?

Oh, that super thin stuff, Hollywood needs to get over it. I don't know, I have a really good family around me and I love the people that I have around me. I'm pretty sure they'll keep me grounded; I know they will, because they are always like, "Don’t let it go to your head, Jordin." I'm like, "Okay." I know that my mom and my dad and my grandparents, I'll just keep them with me. As long as I have them with me I think I'll be okay.

Gannett News Service: They showed a red one [Mustang] and blue one. Which one did you pick? And then did you actually get out and get to drive it at all yesterday?

The night we got it I talked to Blake and I was like, "Blake, what color do you want?" because I wanted the red one and he was, "I want blue," And that's the first thing that came out of his mouth and I said, "Yes," because I got the red one. So he took the blue and I got the red, but I haven't seen it yet and I haven't been able to drive it yet. It's been kind of crazy.

Gannett News Service: Have you finished your schooling for your junior year? And for senior year, since you're going to be so busy, are you going to do something else like tutor or test out or something?

I actually had my last block of school yesterday, so now I'm on summer break so I'm really excited about that. But for my senior year I want to graduate, but I've been home schooling for about two years now, so I think I'm going to keep doing that. And they brought a tutor for me during the season, so it was really cool. But I would love to graduate. I don't know. I have to take each day by day, because I don't know because I've been so busy. I would love to finish though.

Life and Style: What female pop star would you most like to collaborate with?

Oh my goodness. Whoa, that's a good question. There are so many; I have such a broad taste that there are so many that I would love to work with. I love Christina Aguilera and I love Martina McBride. I don't know; there are so many. Those few I guess; I guess those were the first ones that popped into my head. I would love to work with them.

Life and Style: And have you ever thought about Broadway?

Yes, I have actually. When my dad was playing football, since we lived really close, we would go to Broadway plays a lot. We saw "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast" and "Smokey Joe's Café" -- one of may favorites. I don't know, I love musical theater and I love the performance aspect of it. Singing will always be my number one, but on the side or maybe some day I'll be able to do it. I don't know yet.

Life and Style: And what are you planning to do when you get home?

I think I want to sleep in my own bed and I want to play with my puppies and spend time with my best friends and read a book.

Bloomberg News: Could you explain to those of us who don't know how the mechanism of your record contract works? In other words, now that you're the winner how does the arrangement with the record company work, and if you could explain some of the logistics of that?

I don't think I really even know that much. I guess Blake and I got the same contract. I don't really know. We have the same contract and we get to put an album out and we get to tour; I don't really know much more than that.

Bloomberg News: Do you have representation and have you contemplated what your earning power may be?

Yes, I do. I don't know. I'm just looking forward to doing the best that I can do.

Bloomberg News: You do have representation?


Bloomberg News: And can you say what agency you’re with?

[Moderator: She can’t answer that question at this point; can I follow-up with you with that information after the call? Reporter answers affirmatively]

Digital Spy: What sort of album would you like to make now?

I love all different types of genre of music, so I would love to infuse everything into one. I love country and I love pop, I love R&B and I love rock and roll, so I would love to do just a little bit of each, but still make it so that people can enjoy it. I hope they enjoy that with my little Jordin flair added to it.

Digital Spy: And are there any particular songwriters or producers you'd like to work with?

Wow. There are a lot. I can't think of any right now. I guess whoever is willing to work with me.

In Touch Weekly: How much has your life changed from before the show started to now?

It's changed so much. When I was in high school I don't know, I'd hang out with my friends and sometimes I had drama club. We had rehearsals because we did "A Christmas Carol" and "Footloose," so we would do that, and that was, I think, my freshman year. I was just a normal kid.

I was excited to get my driver's license, but I was way more excited to do "American Idol." I talked about it all the time; I am a die-hard fan of the show. I was just normal; I think I'm still pretty much that way. I'm still a die-hard fan and I still keep in touch with my friends and stuff.

In Touch Weekly: Would you say that you were popular in high school? Did you hang out mostly with the drama club people?

I was kind of a floater; I hung out with pretty much everybody, because I had so many different friends. It was really cool. I wasn't like in one sort of clique. The drama club was always fun; that was like the after school, extra curricular thing that I would do, and I made tons of great friends in there. Then I have my basketball friends. I liked everybody.

In Touch Weekly: Was there anyone, and you don't have to name names specifically, but now that you've made it you kind of are like, "Ha ha," like that kind of thing?

Not that I know of. I tried to make friends with everybody, and if there was I'm sorry that they felt that way. I don't know.

BBC News: You're the youngest ever person to win "American Idol," and you're being compared to Leona Lewis, who won the version in this country. Are you aware of Leona? Do you have plans to come over here?

I actually heard that the other day; I think my mom was telling me about her the other day. But I would love to come over there. It would be really cool.

BBC News: Who are your kind of inspirations? Who made you want to sing in the first place?

I guess I've always loved to sing, but I remember watching an award show, and I think it was Mariah Carey performing. I remember watching her and I was like, "Oh my gosh, she looks so beautiful and I want to do that, mom. I want to do that." I don't even remember the exact year, I just remember seeing her and wanting to perform.

Star Magazine: Would you have been more nervous if you had been competing against Melinda [Doolittle] in the final?

I don't know. Actually I thought it was going to be Blake and Melinda, so I was just like, "Whoa. Cool." Melinda is one of my best friends ever, and I love her to death. If I would have been up against her I would have been so happy if she won, because she is just so amazing and I just love her. I don't know if I would have been nervous.

Star Magazine: Would you still be confident that you could have won against her?

It would have been anybody's game I guess, because I guess we both kind of have the powerful voices. But I think we reach out to different people, so it could have been anybody's game.

Star Magazine: Who is your celebrity crush?

I'm going to have to say Brad Pitt.

Star Magazine: Why Brad? It's quite obvious, really, but—

I don't know, he's just really cute. I don't know him, so I don't know anything else except he's just really good looking.

Starry Constellation Magazine: When is your song, "This Is My Now," to be released? And what is it about the song that will resonate with the fans?

It's already out, actually, on iTunes and, so it's already out. Did you ask what my plans are?

Starry Constellation Magazine: What’s going to resonate with the fans? What about the song?

Oh, I'm so sorry; I couldn't understand. For me the song is just so perfect, speaking to everything that I've dreamed about. It so crazy just talking about there was a time when you didn’t feel like you could do it and now you can. It's so amazing and I love the song so much. And hopefully they like it.

Starry Constellation Magazine: How are you handling all this sudden fame and what are the good and the bad parts?

I don't think anything can really prepare you for it, so it's still kind of weird to me. It's crazy. I don't know, I'm just taking it step-by-step and being careful. I don't know about any good and bad parts yet, because I've only been doing this for one day, so I'm still getting used to it.

CanWest News Service: What is the greatest lesson you learned from the "American Idol" experience?

I don't know, this whole process has kind of made me a better person and everything. I've loved everything about it. It's taught me how to emote better and it's taught me to be a better performer and it's definitely taught me how crazy a week's schedule can be. It's made me a better person, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

CanWest News Service: Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

I guess that would definitely have to be my family. They all are just so amazing and they've been so encouraging, and have been supporting me since I told them that I wanted to sing. It was so awesome seeing them in the audience that night. They deserve all the credit, because they've been there pushing behind me 100%.

New York Daily News: What do you remember about your dad being a New York Giant and growing up and spending time in New Jersey and in the City of New York?

I remember it pretty well. I loved that he was playing football, because I love the sport myself. When he was playing it was really cool because we would go to the games and we would watch. It was just so amazing, because my dad, he's such a people person and he's so nice. Afterwards we'd have to walk around and he would sign autographs and stuff. He was just one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and so I really looked up to him for that.

He actually told me the other day how weird it was that he was watching me sign autographs, because I used to watch him do the same thing. So … kind of came full circle.

New York Daily News: How many times did you come into the city itself? Did you used to come and spend the weekends in the city? Were there favorite spots you had that you used to go hang out in?

We lived pretty close, like a 20-minute drive from Manhattan, so we were there quite a lot. We went to Broadway, obviously, and we love the All Star Café. That was an awesome place to eat; oh my gosh, I love that place. I think when I go out there hopefully I'll get to stop by; I would love to.

Sweet Sixteen: What were the pinnacles of your life before Idol? What were the greatest moments before this?

You're going to laugh at me, but getting my braces off. I'm just a quirky 17-year old girl, and getting my braces off was awesome. I did get my license, and that was cool eventually. And then just making it through the first round of the auditions, it amazed me because I didn't think I had a chance because so many people auditioned. But just the normal things -- braces and getting my license.

Sweet Sixteen: And other than the minute you were declared the winner, what was the most memorable American Idol moment for you?

Singing with Gladys Knight was just so amazing; I can't even put into words how amazing that was. I remember she walked out on the stage during rehearsal and I couldn't believe that I was going to be singing with her. When she came out that night me and Melinda just looked at each other like oh my goodness, I can't believe this is happening. It was so amazing.

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© 2007

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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