The articles are hot & heavy today. Must mean the show begins TONIGHT!!!
The 'idol' Effect
Thanks to TV, young singers want coaching in showy pop techniques. And they expect to be judged.
By Mark Caro
Tribune entertainment reporter
Published January 16, 2007
Here would be one way to measure the "American Idol" effect on our collective singing culture: Watch the first-ever episode, then check out Tuesday's Season 6 premiere (WFLD-Ch. 32, 7 p.m.) and compare the would-be singing stars from then and now.
OK, we may never get around to doing that, but we can get expert testimony elsewhere. As more and more shower singers harbor dreams of becoming the next Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Hicks, voice teachers have reported increased demand and notice some changes in what their students want and how they behave.
When I started out, everyone was rock," said Tamara Anderson, who began teaching voice in the Chicago area in 1990. "There were very few pop singers."
Now, she said, "I have more pop singers, and that really seems to be what's taken over, and that's really what 'American Idol' embraces."
In past decades amateur singers sought to emulate the muscular clarity of Elvis Presley, the gritty power of John Lennon, the soul wail of Aretha Franklin, the confessional delivery of Carole King, the messianic call of Bono, the pained-wolf emoting of Kurt Cobain. In the early 1960s, the Beatles, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan (the last of whom is scorned by "Idol" judge/producer Simon Cowell in the current issue of Playboy) ushered in an era that viewed singing your own songs as the apex of personal expression.
Rock singing is far from dead -- and Jennifer Hudson of "American Idol" and "Dreamgirls" fame certainly is boosting the soul tradition -- but pop has become dominant on the charts and elsewhere, with showy vocalists such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion paving the way and "American Idol" institutionalizing the trend.
It's all about the voice.
Anderson, who has sung her share of rock over the years, doesn't necessarily see this development as a bad thing. "People are tending to their craft a little more," she said. "They realize you can't just be pretty and sing. You do have to have a better voice now.
"Really, on `American Idol' none of the singers are godawful. They're all pretty talented. A Hilary Duff wouldn't have made it or a Paris Hilton wouldn't have made it through all of `American Idol' because they just don't have the chops. Your Carrie Underwoods and your Kelly Clarksons, they have the chops."
Likewise, Richard Drews, a Northwestern University music professor who teaches operatic singing, said that although his students are far removed from the "American Idol" set, the two disciplines are connected. "The common denominator is a beautiful voice," Drews said. "I happen to be a fan of `American Idol,' and I think the reality is people respond to beautiful voices."
One key difference is that "American Idol" eschews classical training for "raw natural talent that is oftentimes self-taught and oftentimes learned from mimicking," said Drews, who has taught for 10 years after singing opera for 10 years. Yet those who succeed on the show must share some skills with classically trained vocalists.
"They're put on a very difficult schedule of learning new music, of rehearsing -- I'm not even mentioning the outside pressures involved and the pressures they put on themselves -- and that all affects the throat," Drews said. "That's where it's the same as an operatic singer. It all comes down to how their throat can respond to the rigors of the competition."
At the Old Town School of Folk Music, education coordinator and voice teacher Robert Tenges said enrollment is up for private and group voice lessons. Over his 15 years of teaching, he has noticed less of a change in his students' musical tastes than in the way they perform and respond to criticism.
For instance, there's the phenomenon of singers -- no doubt inspired by Hicks and other showboaty performers -- who sing with ants in their pants. "Sometimes you have to tone down the gyrating and the jumping around, but that's pretty easy to do," Tenges said.
More striking is seeing students take a crack at a song and then expect the teacher to lower a Cowell-like boom on them.
"What I've certainly noticed is people expect to be criticized in a much different way now," Tenges said. "Young singers are paraded across television and belittled for the sake of entertainment, and this goes completely against what I set out to do in the studio.
"As somebody who's trained in pedagogy, it's a very hard show to sit through. Some of [the `Idol' singers] aren't that bad. All they need is a little instruction and time, and they're basically raked through the coals. Usually people are very pleasantly surprised when they emerge from a first voice lesson that they are not being criticized so harshly."
Drews agreed that "there's a distinct difference between constructive criticism and sensationalism," but added: "Probably nine times out of 10, I will agree with Simon Cowell -- not necessarily in his manner, in which he's so blunt and bottom-line, but the gist of what he says is usually point on."
- - -
RANKING THEIR VOICES
Richard Drews, who teaches voice at Northwestern University, may specialize in operatic singing, but he's also a devoted "American Idol" watcher. Here's how he breaks down the five winners and most successful also-ran:
Kelly Clarkson(Season 1 winner)
"Staying power and tremendous performer. Very popular. I think she does have a beautiful voice."
(Season 2 winner)
"Great personality. Charismatic. OK voice."
(Season 3 winner)
"Still cooking. I think she's a tremendous talent but still unproven."
(Season 3 seventh-place finisher, "Dreamgirls" star)
"She's hit her stride. She's just tremendous. Great charisma, beautiful voice."
(Season 4 winner)
"Beautiful voice, great song stylist and an amazing addition to country music."
(Season 5 winner)
"He's a showstopper. He knows his musicianship, and he's a very charismatic performer. I don't think he has a classically beautiful voice. He just uses it so effectively in the right style and the right songs."
Looks like critics are agreeing with those of us that watched the show last night:
'IDOL' OPENER A CRYIN' SHAME January 17, 2007 -- CALL it American Agony!
What in hell happened to the best show on TV? If last night was any indication of what was to come, Lucy, they got some 'splainin' to do.
What a disappointment! "American Idol" was for the most part sad and painful - and it was like laughing at the handicapped.
In case you missed it, the biggest show on TV returned last night with 10,000 hopefuls showing up in Minneapolis to audition for the chance of a lifetime.
I filled my living room with my biggest "Idol" fanatics - and we breathlessly anticipated the return of everyone's favorite talent show. By the end of the night, there wasn't a dry eye or a happy face in the crowd. Good thing I had brownies.
Sorry to report, but the show went from a high-note finale last season to a very sour-note season premiere.
Look, it's one thing to laugh at (yes, at) the talentless yet hopelessly arrogant. It's another thing to laugh at hopefuls who are just hopelessly sad.
The show began with an endless cry-fest from a girl named Jessica, who was so bad and so sad and so hopeful that she was heartbreaking.
Then there was the idiot dressed like Apollo Creed making my living-room "judges" snort in disgust. Was this "The Gong Show" or "The Price is Right?"
There were two military auditions, which you knew from the outset were going to make it - I mean, they showed up in their uniforms! Seriously, and the Army woman was only a reservist.
I'm surprised a blind nun didn't show up to sing "Over the Rainbow."
The rest of the night was just as sad, with contestants breaking down in real tears of despair. Hello! That's entertainment? Why not take us to the real dawg pound and watch the dogs get ready for euthanasia.
What always made "Idol" so fantastic was its blend of pathos and laughs, real talent and raw nerve.
Last night, we just had terrible voices, mostly personality-deprived contestants, and judges who may have been doing this too long.
Singer Jewel, the hot-shot guest, was lovely, but added nothing to the mix. Simon spent most of the evening making his shocked face, and Randy gave up the Dawg Pound and went straight for the rabid-dog act, biting jugular after jugular and leaving his helpless victims bleeding on the floor.
And Paula? Dear God. She managed to come out of her coma after each audition long enough to mumble a word or two before the glaze replaced the gaze. Get this woman some help.
In fact, get the whole show some help. I want my "American Idol" back.
Alot of repeat information, for the most part, but this tidbit I found interesting...
Chris Daughtry’s “Home” is also in contention to replace Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” as the show’s unofficial elimination song, although producers are also looking at a number from Will Young, the original “Pop Idol” winner in England. “We’re trying to keep it in the family,” Frot-Coutaz said.
Diana Ross to mentor American Idol
January 17, 2007
NEW YORK – Diana Ross says she's a busy woman these days. So busy, in fact, that she hasn't had time to see the hit film Dreamgirls, which is loosely based on her life as a Motown starlet.
The singer told CBS Late Show host David Letterman on Tuesday that she is going to be a mentor on Fox's American Idol and is planning a world tour in March to promote her new album, I Love You.
Ross said she didn't see the musical version of Dreamgirls, either.
When Letterman asked her if she was curious about the film, Ross joked: "Yes, I've heard a lot about it. I'm going to see it with my lawyers."
The film, which won a Golden Globe for best musical or comedy at the awards show Monday, tells the story of a Motown trio similar to the Supremes and their rise to fame. Eddie Murphy won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor, and newcomer Jennifer Hudson, a former American Idol contestant, won for best supporting actress.
Ross went on to say that she's heard there is a lot of her image and likeness in the movie. (Beyonce Knowles' character, Deena Jones, looks a lot like Ross during her early solo days.)
"What I would like to do is to be able to see it," Ross said. "I like to inspire the talent that it is out there today."
I'm not really sure where to put this, but I guess here is as good as any. Some of you have asked about your favorites & where they stack up, so here you go.
This is the most up to date album sales data for all the Idols. This includes sales through Sunday the 14th.
Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway - 5,608,668 (thru 12/17/06)
Carrie Underwood - Some Hearts - 4,723,956 (thru 1/14/07)
Clay Aiken - Measure of a Man - 2,742,989 (thru 4/23/06)
Kelly Clarkson - Thankful - 2,510,720 (thru 5/14/06)
Ruben Studdard - Soulful - 1,780,823 (thru 4/23/06)
Fantasia - Free Yourself - 1,687,346 (thru 4/23/06)
Clay Aiken - Merry Christmas With Love - 1,292,998 (thru 12/17/06)
Chris Daughtry - Daughtry - 1,227,332 (thru 1/14/07)
Josh Gracin - Josh Gracin - 660,000 (thru 5/7/06)
Bo Bice - The Real Thing - 625,867 (thru 5/28/06)
Taylor Hicks - Taylor Hicks - 572,475 (thru 1/14/07)
Clay Aiken - Thousand Different Ways - 482,964 (thru 12/24/06)
Ruben Studdard - I Need an Angel - 437,114 (thru 4/23/06)
Kellie Pickler - Small Town Girl - 372,090 (thru 1/14/07)
Fantasia - Fantasia - 242,193 (thru 1/14/07)
Kimberly Locke - One Love - 210,000 (thru 5/7/06)
William Hung - Inspiration - 194,000 (thru 2/19/06)
Ruben Studdard - The Return - 166,478 (thru 12/17/06)
Diana Degarmo - Blue Skies - 163,857 (thru 4/23/06)
Justin Guarini - Justin Guarini - 142,455 (thru 4/23/06)
Tamyra Gray - Dreamer - 122,000 (thru 5/7/06)
Latoya London - Love & Life - 51,000 (thru 5/7/06)
William Hung - Hung for the Holidays – 29,189 (thru 7/3/05)
R J Helton - Real Life - 21,227 (thru 11/27/05)
John Stevens - Red - 20,000 (thru 5/7/06)
Mario Vazquez - Mario Vazquez - 18,602 (thru 10/8/06)
George Huff - Christmas EP - 16,278 (thru 11/27/05)
Jasmine Trias - Jasmine Trias - 12,025 (thru 11/27/05)
George Huff - Miracles - 8,264 (thru 11/27/05)
Jim Verraros - Rollercoster - 2,680 (thru 11/27/05)
Corey Clark - Corey Clark - 2,400 (thru 2/19/06)
Is it just me, or is that a pretty weird thing to say? "Hey, I'll go watch a movie with my lawyer?" It's almost like she wants to sue. (No offense intended, of course, to all Forters of the legal profession).
Originally Posted by Diana Ross
American Idol Wannabe Already Has a Record
Posted Jan 18th 2007 3:49PM by TMZ Staff
Before he wowed Simon, Paula and Randy during last night's "American Idol," Thomas Daniels took his fair share of punishment from real judges over several criminal charges, including drunk driving.
TMZ has unearthed legal documents which reveal that in 2004, Daniels was convicted of DUI in Clackamas, Oregon. The 21-year-old, who was the first wannabe to get the green light from the "AI" crew on last night's show, pled guilty and was sentenced to a one-year alcohol diversion program and a $680 fine. Daniels also attended eight AA meetings and saw a counselor once a week for two months. After the completing his DUI sentence, the incident was wiped from Daniels' record.
TMZ spoke exclusively with Daniels who said, in reference to his DUI, "I was young and dumb and drinking and driving."
In December 2005, Daniels was arrested again; this time for hit and run. He failed to appear in court for the arraignment for the hit and run, so Daniels was arrested again. TMZ could not find the disposition of the hit and run. Daniels called the incident "another young and dumb situation."
When asked if he disclosed his criminal past to "American Idol" producers, Daniels had no comment.
Madison teen, self-described "crack baby," part of American Idol
MADISON, Wis. - Denise Jackson describes herself as a "crack baby," but the 16-year-old junior is now one of 17 contestants chosen in the Midwest to go to the semifinals for a chance to be the next "American Idol."
"There's a lot of controversy about what I said on 'American Idol.' Some people asked me, Why would you say that?'" Jackson said of her description of her upbringing. "It's the truth. I'm not ashamed of what I am. I'm a young lady."
Jackson, who goes to La Follette High School, has spent a chunk of her time with TV camera crews and answering phone calls about her success after being plucked out of more than 18,000 who auditioned. The show aired Tuesday in front of 30 million viewers, and she'll return to Los Angeles on Feb. 14 for the semifinals.
Jackson credits her brother, 28-year-old Rafael Jackson, as being instrumental in her decision to audition.
"She's been telling me since she was 11 she wanted to do it," he said. "I told her I'd take her when she turned 16."
Rafael Jackson took his little sister to Minneapolis for the regional auditions. He'll also take her to Los Angeles.
"This is her dream," he said.
Denise started singing as a 4-year-old in church in Chicago, and moved to Madison five years later to live with her grandmother.
"My grandmother can barely walk. But she struggles to do everything for us. She's more important to me than anything in the whole wide world," she said.
Denise said that her mother is recovering from her problems with drugs and she doesn't know her father. Still, she said she wasn't alone because of the rest of her family.
"I was born with a blessing," she said.
She has big plans for her future, too. She plans to release an R&B album on Feb. 7 and wants to study music at the Juilliard School in New York City after she graduates next year.
"Music is poetry. I write about what I know: boys I like, being a teenager in a rough place, a lot of stuff," she said.
Jeanne Erickson, spokeswoman for a local teen TV show called "Club TNT" that Jackson has hosted and performed on since 2003, said that people are drawn to Jackson.
"When she sings, she lets her whole being, her spirit come out through her voice," Erickson said.
As for talking about personal issues on national television, Jackson has a little advice.
"When you have to stand for yourself, you get stronger automatically," she said. "You have to be on your Ps and Qs. It's your story; you got to tell it."
Originally Posted by Leo;2208415;
I watched that episode of Letterman and Diana Ross has a problem with the movie because she feels it's the story of her life and subsequent success in the Supremes.
The Movie producers etc have apparently denied that it's her story and continue to claim that it's about a similar type Motown trio based very loosely on the Supremes but not specifically Ross etc.
She ain't buying that and wants to go see the movie with her lawyers because they're going to scrutinize it for similarities and see what grounds she may have for a law suit.
I guess we'll have to wait and see :)
See ... this is why they show so many gawd-awful auditions. We knew what was gonna' happen and we watched anyway ! :lol
Another huge ratings success for `American Idol' auditions
- By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
Thursday, January 18, 2007
(01-18) 17:51 PST Pasadena, Calif. (AP) --
The parade of awful amateurs on "American Idol" attracted viewers in staggering numbers this week as the series continues to grow in popularity.
An estimated 36.9 million people watched the two-hour special on Fox Wednesday night, only slightly down from the 37.3 million who tuned in for Tuesday's two-hour season premiere, according to Nielsen Media Research.
They were the two biggest nights of prime-time entertainment on Fox since it came onto the air nearly two decades ago.
"We're fortunate it's on our air and we take good care of it and it rewards us with good ratings," said Preston Beckman, Fox's executive vice president for strategic planning.
The audience for what host Ryan Seacrest dubbed "the weirdest turnout in history" on Wednesday was 17 percent bigger than the corresponding night a year ago, Nielsen said.
To put the numbers into perspective, the most popular show on TV so far this season, ABC's "Desperate Housewives," averages 20.7 million viewers a week — or a little more than half of what "Idol" delivered upon its return.
Wednesday's edition featured hopefuls from Seattle, one of seven cities where auditions were held last summer. And it provided plenty of fodder for cantankerous judge Simon Cowell.
"What the bloody hell was that?" judge Simon Cowell said after enduring a unique version of "Unchained Melody," adding, "It was almost non-human."
To another woman who insisted a drink of water would smooth her delivery, Cowell replied: "You could lie in a bath with your mouth open and you couldn't sing."
The ratings performance of "American Idol" defies traditional television rules, where series in their sixth season would normally see a slip in popularity.
But "American Idol" can legitimately claim to mint new pop stars, like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken and "Golden Globes" winner Jennifer Hudson. Keeping it as a once-a-year event has ratcheted up anticipation, Beckman said. Since the ill-fated "American Juniors" contest after the first season, Fox hasn't tried spinoffs, either.
"In some ways it's become like a sporting event," he said. "There's baseball season, basketball season, football season and `American Idol' season."
As gleeful as `Idol' makes the people at Fox, it depresses their network rivals.
"There's always that hope that the next iteration of `American Idol,' will show some weakness," said Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network, "and clearly it hasn't."
Fox's rivals jokingly — it appears — refer to "American Idol" as the death star. NBC entertainment president Kevin Reilly said he was ready to declare the television season over on Tuesday, before Fox storms past everyone in the ratings.
Reilly said a network has to "rope-a-dope a little bit" to get through the "American Idol" onslaught. CBS has tended to have the most success, where a show like "NCIS" appeals to a different audience.
"Our shows hang in there OK," said CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl. "The other guys kind of get vaporized."
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.