Monday, August 25, 2008

Kara DioGuardi Named New American Idol Fourth Judge

Fox Television has just released this information:

Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi has joined AMERICAN IDOL as a fourth judge. She will sit alongside Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson at the judges’ table and use her background as an award-winning songwriter and producer to praise or critique the wannabe hopefuls throughout the competition. The eighth season of AMERICAN IDOL premieres January, 2009, on FOX.

“We are turning the heat up on ‘Idol’ this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “She is a smart, sassy lady, and one of America 's most successful songwriters. We know she will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the show.”

“We had originally intended for AMERICAN IDOL to have four judges,” said executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “We’ve seen from our international series that having a fourth judge creates a dynamic that benefits both the contestants and the viewers.”

Mike Darnell, President, Alternative Programming of FOX, added “For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges’ table. She’s been as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon, offering her invaluable expertise as a performer and No. 1 artist to the thousands who have competed on AMERICAN IDOL. With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some back-up and now there is going to be a lot more ‘girl power’ on the show.”

One of the industry’s most sought after songwriters and producers, DioGuardi’s songs have appeared on more than 100 million records. Her songs have been recorded by Grammy award-winning artists including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Santana, and Pink. Scores of major recording artists including Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Pussycat Dolls, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Natasha Bedingfield, Jewel, Ashley Tisdale, Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, Bo Bice, Clay Aiken, Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff, Jessica Simpson, Kylie Minogue, Enrique Iglesias, Nick Lachey and Marc Anthony have also released DioGuardi’s songs.

Over the last four years, she has been awarded 10 BMI Pop Awards for having written the most performed songs on radio. From her catalog of several hundred songs, over 264 have been released on major labels worldwide; and over 165 have appeared on multi-platinum selling albums. DioGuardi co-owns Arthouse Entertainment, where she develops and mentors fellow hit writers, producers and artists.

Learn more about her at Kara DioGuardi's Official Web Site.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Listen to the First Idol 7 Releases and a New MAVID Video

No, we don't have them, but we know who does. David Archuleta has officially dropped the first single from this year's group of finalists. We confirmed it with his dad, Jeff Archuleta when we met him at the Idols Tour Monday night. Z-100 played it first this past Friday. It's a OneRepublic-ish type tune called "Crush," and we think he's going to score nicely with it. You can find it here (listen or DL).

Kristy Lee Cook's first single is *no surprise* a country tune called "15 Minutes of Shame," and we predict she will do well with it. It's almost as good as Kellie Pickler's first, "Red High Heels," and has the same theme -- getting back at a cheating boyfriend. What Kellie has that Kristy doesn't is a massively infectious personality. Still, you can never really predict the public on these things. At the very least, we think Kristy Lee will have modest hit. You can find her song here (listen) or here (DL).

And here's a new release from Season 6 finalist LaKisha Jones called "So Glad I'm Here." You can find it here (listen) and here (DL)

Watch David Cook and Michael Johns getting *ahem* up close and personal in a Titanic pose during the closing number at last night's second show at the Nassau Coliseum in NY:

And here is a hilarious video chronicling different MAVID dances throughout the current Idol tour (note the night we were there, we got punked with nuttin') ...

Enjoy and let us know what you think about any of these by commenting.

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© 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Idols on Tour and in Person

Well, we thought we wouldn't be updating this blog again until January when Season 8 debuts, but we attended our first Idols Live Tour and post-show Meet and Greet, where we met all the finalists except Chikezie Eze, who didn't attend.

The show was a mixed bag. David Cook wanted it to be a rock show, but it wasn't. When someone else from our group got up during Jason Castro's set to go to the bathroom, we told her, "Good choice."

The show ran in the order of contestant elimination, with each of the Top 10 doing a three-song set, except David Archuleta who got four songs and Cook who sang five. Chikezie opened, was very personable and better than expected. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand, that is until Ramiele Malubay followed and almost literally sucked the air right out of the room. Her set was a disaster. Could this be the same little girl who blew us away with "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" on the first week of the AI semis? Thank god Michael Johns was up next. He had everyone going IN-SANE with his Queen set. He got a huge ovation and lotsa love from the mostly female house. At the M&G, he probably had nearly as many people in line to see him as David Cook. Kristy Lee Cook? Much better than on AI. We could have lived without the gratuitous repeat of "God Bless the USA," the anthem that saved her ass on Idol, but loved her opening number. Carly Smithson and Brooke White deserved and received nice receptions. Jason Castro, well, sorry, we weren't impressed and again wondered why he and Syesha Mercado were in those prized fourth and third positions, when it became abundantly clear by their performances that it should have been Michael finishing third, followed by either Carly or Brooke.

Our ears are still buzzing from all the shrieking the 8-year-olds did when David Archuleta took the stage. He was more poised than on AI (saying the same patter at each concert seems to make him a more confident public speaker, though in person at the M&G he was just as giggly as we've come to expect). And though we're not really an Archuleta fan, his set was OK. Our favorite number of his was OneRepublic's "Apologize." As we expected, at the M&G we spotted daddy Jeff Archuleta lurking nearby and asked if we could take a photo with him. After a bit a hesitation, he graciously agreed. That's one for our digital scrapbook, LOL!

The house, of course, went crazy when David Cook took the stage, and he didn't disappoint, performing "Hello," "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," "The Time of My Life," "My Hero" (performed in tribute to his brother Adam) and "Billie Jean." He had the crowd screaming and on their feet by the closing number, a group repeat of Rhianna's "Please Don't Stop the Music," the number the remaining finalists performed on "Idol Gives Back" with the "So You Think You Can Dance" dancers. It was a satisfying ending to the show.

Some Meet & Greet notes: Not that it matters to you guys, but David Cook remembered us from our previous meeting in May. He's remained as nice and down-to-earth as he was then. He not only signed for anyone who asked, but carried on differently -- making funny poses, faces, etc. -- with each fan when he took photos with them. He's a real crowd-pleaser whose mom really brought him up right!

Carly and Brooke's husbands both attended the M&G. Brooke's husband is a handsome hottie who totally mingled with the fans, while Brooke was as sweet as a homemade apple pie and loved posing with the kids. Cute couple. Carly was much smaller and prettier than she appeared on TV and has a beautiful smile. Her illustrated man mostly stayed in the background, but you couldn't miss ID'ing him if you saw him. Jeff Archuleta also stayed on the sidelines, but his ubiquitous white cap gave him away. For someone who generated so much (bad) publicity while AI was running, we were surprised to find he is even shorter than his young son and was also a bit shy (or was that cautious?) when approached.

Michael Johns is a tall, handsome cut-up, joking around with his fans and even got on a friend's cell phone when requested and talked to her daughter. Jason was Jason, that is laid back and friendly, as were Ramiele and Kristy. They were a trio of nice, good-looking kids who fled the M&G earlier than the rest of the finalists after running out of fans interested in meeting them. Syesha? Well, some felt she was nice, others not-so-much, with one friend swearing that her "girls," which were well-displayed during her set, were hard-as-rock and obviously not real. She is a looker, though.

Our camera was acting balky, but we've posted a few photos from the M&G. We'll post more when our friends e-mail the ones they've taken.

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© 2008