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Entries in american idol (148)

Friday
May242013

Randy Jackson: Why He’s Leaving “American Idol”

Warwick Saint / FOX(TAMPA, Fla.) -- After 12 seasons of countless auditions, performances and lots of drama involving the judges themselves, American Idol judge Randy Jackson is leaving the show, saying his long stint had run its course.

When the longest-tenured judge announced his departure from America’s stage earlier this month, rumors rapidly ran wild. But Jackson confirms to ABC News’ Bianna Golodryga that he was not forced out, nor was he kicked off the show.

Golodryga caught up with Jackson at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., where he’s meeting the troops and donating guitars from his home shopping network guitar collection.

“You know, a bit of what I’ve done on Idol for 12 seasons is that same sort of thing. I love inspiring people,” said Jackson.

His response begged the question of why, then, Jackson would give up being on the show now.
“I don’t think it’s a ‘Why give it up now?” Jackson said. “I just think that I’ve been through a lot of iterations of the show.”

“If you think back 12 seasons ago when it was you, Paula, Simon, did you ever think that that sort of bond and chemistry was possible on television?” Golodryga asked.

Jackson’s answer was simple: “We got so lucky. Anybody that says that they knew that this show was going to be a hit, knew that we were going to gel together is lying. None of us really knew. We hit the jackpot.”

He added, “It was definitely a little hard to take” when the original judging group disbanded, “Because we rode to the dance together. And we made the dance what the dance was.”

He also avoiding the question of whether Abdul and Simon were ever anything more than friends.

“Paula and Simon, you must be getting ready for the book I’m planning to write,” Jackson joked. “Listen, I think Paula and Simon, it was never anything there. But you know, we often had fun. It was almost, like, I call Idol a romper room for adults.”

It was that early romper that helped make the show the most-watched program on television week after week. But in recent seasons, the Idol ratings have dropped by double digits.

Over the 12-year span, Jackson has shared the panel with a total of nine different judges.

“I really have always felt that people made too much of the judges and not enough of the talent,” said Jackson.

And as for what’s next for “The Dog,” he said, “I may be on some other shows. You never know.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar072013

'American Idol' Reveals This Season's Top 10

Michael Becker / FOX(LAS VEGAS) -- This season's top 10 American Idol contestants were revealed Thursday night based on America's votes from Tuesday and Wednesday night's shows. They are Paul Jolley, Burnell Taylor, Curtis Finch, Jr., Devin Velez, Lazaro Arbos, Janelle Arthur, Candice Glover, Angie Miller, Amber Holcomb and Kree Harrison.

Thirty-nine million votes came in to determine this year's top 10. They have now secured a spot on American Idol's summer tour and will compete for the Idol crown over the coming weeks.

Each contestant sang a victory song as they made the top 10, starting with the top five guys. Paul kicked it off with Heart's "Alone," and Burnell was next, singing India.Arie's "Ready for Love." Curtis took the stage to sing "So High" by John Legend. Devin went the gospel route with "The Power of One (Change the World)" by Israel Houghton, and judge Nicki Minaj looked forward to hearing Devin mix English and Spanish-language performances on future shows. Lazaro had to quickly conference with the band before he went on stage to sing his original audition song, Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Tennessee native Janelle was the first girl on stage, and she chose Dierks Bentley's country hit "Home" for her victory song. R&B powerhouse Candice sang Mary J. Blige's version of Rose Royce's "I'm Going Down," and Angie's performance of Beyoncé's "I Was Here" left judge Keith Urban in tears. Amber was up next with Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman," and Kree closed out the night singing Susan Tedeschi's "Evidence."

American Idol's
top 10 returns Wednesday night to perform for America's vote live on Fox.

And, in a special twist, the show next week will have a sing-off between the guy and the girl who just missed the top ten.  Viewers will choose the winner, who will then get to join the top 10 on the American Idols Live summer tour.  At this point, we don't know who those contestants will be.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar072013

Top 10 Men Perform for America's Votes on 'American Idol' 

Michael Becker / FOX(LAS VEGAS) -- American Idol's top 10 guys sang for America’s votes Wednesday night, with live performances at the Beatles Love Theater at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

The top 10 girls performed Tuesday night. The results will be announced on Thursday, with five male contestants and five female contestants advancing.

Judges Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban were on hand for the men's performances to offer their critiques. Here's what happened:

Elijah Liu got things under way with a soulful version of Rihanna’s “Stay.” Keith liked Elijah's control and thought that the song suited his voice. Nicki offered that she’d “be willing to stay,” adding that Elijah was marketable. Randy thought Elijah had improved on last week’s performance, but it “laid flat.” Mariah thought it was one of the 18-year-old’s better efforts.

Taking last week’s judges' feedback to heart, Cortez Shaw livened up his act with a take on the Bruno Mars hit “Locked Out of Heaven.” Keith liked the spirit of the delivery but was not sure it was a good song choice. Nicki loved to see the charisma on display but thought the Dallas native was straining with some of the notes. Randy seemed to agree. Mariah noted Cortez’s high register might have been a little too high.

Wild kid Charlie Askew has a very unique style. He chose to cover the Genesis song “Mama.” He squeaked and screeched his way through it, bringing an ironic smile to all of the judges' faces except for Nicki, who had a deadpan expression. Keith thought Charlie might be better suited to fronting a band, and that he gave a disconnected performance.  Nicki simply asked “What happened?” She was shocked to see the change from the “cuddly Charlie” she loves. Randy didn’t appreciate the screaming and didn’t get it. Mariah tried to be kind but Charlie was already showing signs of tears. Charlie broke down in his interview with Ryan Seacrest and tearfully said that he only "smiled all the time" because he felt "he had to." Seacrest told Charlie that he was brave and said, "You have friends here."

The judges recently told Nick Boddington that they liked to see him perform at the piano. He obliged and sang a slowed-down version of “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls. Keith loved the perfect song choice but noted some pitch issues, which added to the vulnerability. Nicki thought the performance was pretty and said the song was true to Nick. Randy called it a "good, solid” performance. Mariah was glad that Nick “kicked in” toward the end after a sleepy start.

Burnell Taylor, a Hurricane Katrina survivor, sang “I’m Here,” from the musical The Color Purple. It was a repeat of his original audition song. Keith gave him a standing ovation. The country star said he always believes what Burnell sings. Nicki loves Burnell and appreciated the struggle and pain in Burnell’s voice. Randy said it was “great.” Mariah said she had shed a tear and told him she was proud.

Paul Jolley had survived last week’s sudden-death round by way of a save from music mogul Jimmy Iovine. He sang the Christina Aguilera/Blake Shelton song “Just a Fool.” Keith was unsure what kind of artist Paul wants to be and told Paul to believe in himself more. Nicki thought it was a solid performance. Randy thought he detected a change in tone halfway through the performance, a change for the worse. Mariah also seemed confused as to where Paul was heading with his style.

Overcoming his stutter when he sings, Lazaro Arbos has proven extremely likeable so far this season. He took on “Feeling Good,” originally by Nina Simone. He got an extended round of applause from the live audience, along with plenty of "whoops" from the girls. Keith said that the audience always connects with Lazaro. Nicki loved the performance and called it a strong vocal with attitude. Randy unleashed his catchphrase and said the 21-year-old was “in it to win it.” Mariah advised him to stick with songs that suit his register.

After what he calls an “epic” sudden-death round, Curtis Finch Jr. had all of the judges on their feet. Keith called Curtis' version of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" “a sermon in Vegas.” Nicki said Curtis had pushed the bar higher again and that he had a calling "from above" to sing. Randy said the competition started with this performance. Mariah was moved by the St. Louis singer and praised him on high.

In some of his previous performances, Devin Velez mixed English with Spanish. He repeated the model again with a version of "Somos Novios,” made famous as “It's Impossible" by Perry Como. Keith called him a "good, good singer" and loved his vocal runs. Nicki called it a “perfecto” performance. Randy liked Devin’s tone and called him effortless. Mariah called the 18-year-old’s performance incredible and powerful.

Another strong performer from sudden-death week was Vincent Powell. He tried to bring his “A” game again for a run-through of “End of the Road,” by Boyz II Men. Keith saw some nerves in the performance, and Nicki said he "wasn’t on it" this week. Randy said Vince “overshot it” a little bit. Mariah seemed to agree that there were just a few moments of brilliance from the oldest of the male contestants.

American Idol returns to Fox on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time with a live results show.
 
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar012013

"American Idol" Ratings Continue to Sink

Michael Becker / FOX(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol is still a hit, but there's no question that its popularity is on the decline.

Wednesday's episode of the Fox competition, featuring 10 women performing during the sudden-death Las Vegas round, was seen by 13.1 million viewers, according to Entertainment Weekly.  That's the smallest Wednesday audience for the show since it premiered in 2002.

Also cause for concern for Fox: for the first time, Idol drew fewer viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic than ABC's Modern Family.

On Thursday nights, Idol is usually defeated in the ratings by the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

This is the first season of Idol with new judges Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan242013

"American Idol" Recap: Nicki Minaj's On-Set Meltdown During NC Auditions

Brad Barket/PictureGroup(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Nicki Minaj's rant on the set of American Idol made headlines this past summer, and Wednesday night's Idol broadcast from the Charlotte, N.C., auditions revealed what got Minaj so upset.

It all started as the judges were listening to Idol hopeful Summer Cunningham try out with Bill Withers' "Lean On Me."  The judges all liked the performance, and judge Randy Jackson told her she should sing country.

Cunningham told the judges she'd "tried the country thing" and was now trying to go more R&B.  Country star judge Keith Urban didn't know what to make of her statement about trying out country, and fellow judge Mariah Carey thought Cunningham had a good country voice too.

Minaj clearly didn't like all the debate about where Cunningham's voice fell in the spectrum between R&B and country.  She accused Jackson and Carey of trying to put the singers in specific genres, and everyone in the panel started talking over each other, defending their positions.  Urban interrupted and confirmed that Cunningham was going to Hollywood, but the argument was far from over.

After Jackson brought up his 30 years experience in the music industry, Minaj took offense and said, "I'm sorry.  I can't help her.  Let me get off the f***ing panel."  She then walked off the set.

The specific footage shown on the leaked tape of Minaj's full-on meltdown that set the Internet on fire this past summer was not shown on Wednesday night's show though.  The rest of the auditions weren't nearly as dramatic either.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan182013

"American Idol" Ratings Down 19 Percent

Michael Becker/FOX(LOS ANGELES) -- Despite the headline-grabbing "feud" between new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, audience totals for the 12th season premiere of American Idol Wednesday night were down 19 percent compared with last year's premiere.

Wednesday's show attracted 17.8 million total viewers compared to the 21.9 million who tuned in to watch the 2011 premiere, according to Variety.  In comparison, the January 2007 premiere of American Idol attracted 37.4 million viewers.

Despite the lower ratings, the Idol premiere still beat its Wednesday night competition on ABC, CBS and NBC.

Even though viewer totals for Idol premieres are not what they once were, Wednesday's debut still topped the most recent premieres of other music competition shows.  Last September's premiere of The Voice attracted 12.2 million while the fall debut of The X Factor drew 8.7 million viewers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan172013

"American Idol" Auditions Continue in Chicago with Less Drama from Mariah and Nicki

George Holz / FOX(NEW YORK) -- American Idol auditions continued Thursday night in Chicago, and judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj seemed to be getting along a little better. There were a few dustups though, and poor Keith Urban found himself in the middle of the two divas' arguments. At one point, Keith said he felt like a scratching post between Mariah and Nicki.

Thankfully, Idol has gotten back to focusing on the contestants auditioning to be on the show. Here's what judges Mariah, Nicki, Keith and Randy Jackson found in Chicago:

The Good


Mackenzie Wasner is the daughter of country star Vince Gill's piano player Pete Wasner, so she grew up performing onstage with Vince. The 17-year-old singer tried out with Vince's hit 'Whenever You Come Around," and Mariah said Mackenzie's performance was "awesome" and "gorgeous." Nicki said it sounded like Mackenzie was singing on her first single, and Randy said she had a huge road ahead of her. Keith compared Mackenzie to Dolly Parton and Lee Ann Womack. Of course, Mackenzie made it to Hollywood.

Kiara Lanier recently sang for President Obama for his birthday fundraiser, and hoped that presidential mojo would help pave her way to Hollywood. Kiara sang Celine Dion's "The Prayer," and all of the judges smiled as she finessed the notes with vocal runs. Nicki loved Kiara's vocal control, and Randy was impressed. Mariah thought Kiara had big potential, and Keith loved her funky look. Kiara is on her way west for the next round of competition.

Stephanie Schimel sang the standard "Dream a Little Dream of Me," and Keith said she sounded like a blend of Carrie Underwood and Gwen Stefani. Nicki thought Stephanie and her voice were both pretty, but she didn't think Stephanie felt like a star. Randy and Mariah both liked her, so Stephanie made it through despite Nicki's protest.

Gabe Brown brought sweet cookies he made himself for the judges, but he later assaulted them with a screeching take on The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." Mariah asked him to sing something softer and more mellow, so he went with Steel Dragon's "We All Die Young." Randy liked Gabe's rock edge, and Nicki said she really believed him when he sang rock. Keith was a fan too, and all four judges put Gabe through to Hollywood.

Isabelle Parell recruited Keith to help her sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and her smoky delivery had Keith snapping his fingers and Mariah singing along. Keith liked her song choice, and Mariah thought Isabelle had a sweet quality about her. Nicki loved her tone and poise, but Randy gave her a no. Her three yes votes gave her the go-ahead to Hollywood.

Griffin Peterson sang Needtobreathe's "Washed by the Water" after Nicki made it clear she thought Griffin was a hottie. She later told him he looked and felt like a star, but Randy wasn't feeling it on the vocals. Mariah thought Griffin had what it takes in the looks department, and she saw some potential in him. Mariah and Nicki said yes and granted the girls in TV land at least one more week with Griffin on their screen.

Curtis Finch Jr. from St. Louis sang gospel star Smokie Norful's song "God Is Able" and put some really intricate and impressive vocal runs in it. All the judges applauded Curtis's performance, and he went straight to Hollywood.

Mariah Pulice teared up in the audition room talking about her battle with anorexia, and she credited music and singing with helping her recover. Mariah sang the Beatles' "Let It Be" for her audition, and she had the famous Mariah in tears. Nicki really felt the song come from the young singer, and the contestant Mariah is going to Hollywood.

Brandy Neelly was adopted by her aunt as a child and was a little star struck singing in front of Keith. Brandy gave a really powerful performance of the Hank Williams classic "Your Cheatin' Heart." Keith loved her song choice, and Nicki was really impressed. Mariah gave her an A+, so it's on to Hollywood for Brandy.

Josh Holiday chose to sing "Back at One" by Brian McKnight for his audition, and Mariah clapped when he hit the falsetto part. Nicki said Josh had an exciting sound, and he's going to Hollywood.

Clifton Duffin's parents never heard him sing growing up, so they were curious to hear their son sing in the audition.  He chose to sing Luther Vandross's version of "Superstar," and Clifton actually did a good job on it. His mother was in tears as they entered the judges' room, and Mariah and Keith ended up crying too as they praised Clifton's vocal performance. His parents will get to see him compete in the Hollywood round.

Johnny Keyser has already made it to Hollywood and gotten cut, so he was hoping for another shot at it with his take on Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." Keith liked Johnny's performance and style, and Randy liked seeing Johnny back for another shot. Mariah thought Johnny had star quality, and Nicki liked the twinkle in his eye. Johnny's got another shot at Hollywood.

Kez Ban is an up-and-coming fire performer and balloon animal artist who admits to not being interested in winning American Idol. Ban's dream is to simply make it to Hollywood. Ban, whose gender was unstated, auditioned singing "I've Got No Strings" from Pinocchio, and then sang a funky, original song with a guitar. Mariah loved the performance, and Nicki thought Kez Ban was captivating. Kez Ban's Hollywood dreams are now a reality.

Lazaro Arbos has a severe stutter that started at age six and has become worse over time. The speech impediment kept him isolated growing up, but it wasn't an issue when he sang. Lazaro tried out with Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and it was absolutely beautiful. Keith said he had a beautiful voice with a great tone, and Nicki said his story was really inspiring. Lazaro got four yeses, and he's headed to Hollywood.

The Bad


Ieisha (Eye-e -sha) Cotton was a professional dancer, and she broke out a few moves before her audition with Ashanti's "Thank You." Unfortunately Ieisha's vocal skills weren't as on point as her popping and locking. Mariah suggested she stick with dancing, and Randy said she was tone deaf.

Ashley Curry is a musical theater major in college, but we're thinking she should find a new field of study quickly. Her performance of Jessie J's "Mamma Knows Best" was absolutely terrible. It was so bad Mariah actually got up from the desk and walked away. Randy said it was "shocking" in its badness.

Are You Kidding?


Student and massage therapist Melissa Bush wore a far-out, shiny, bejeweled pantsuit and presented Randy with a shirt that said "Get Down Dawg." Melissa delivered a very awkward performance of Petula Clark's "Downtown" that had Keith asking, "Check please." Nicki said, "Bush, you'll always be my bush, but the answer is no." As Melissa walked out the door, Mariah said she wasn't going to tolerate the other judges' vulgarity much longer.

Kevin Nabity seemed a little off as he showed off his spastic dance moves inspired by the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles. He tried out with "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies, and he went so fast with the lyrics, Randy said he felt like he was at a bad auction. His second selection, Styx's "Come Sail Away," was equally bad. Mariah told him it wasn't for him, and Keith suggested he stick to dancing.

Forty-six people made it to Hollywood in the Chicago auditions. American Idol returns with auditions from Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Fox.
 
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan172013

"American Idol": 12th Season Kicks Off with Tense Moments

George Holz / FOX(NEW YORK) -- All eyes were on American Idol's season 12 premiere Wednesday night hoping to see fireworks between new judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, and they definitely delivered the drama.

Carey and Minaj started the night off with a little tiff over Minaj's feathered hat sitting on the judges' table.  It got worse from there when one of the contestants told Carey "All I Want for Christmas Is You" is the best modern-day Christmas song. 

As Carey noted the song went back to number one again last year, Minaj started calling Carey a bitch to the camera.  Carey shot back, "If she's calling me something that begins with a b, I rebuke it."

More disagreements between Carey and Minaj were featured on the Idol season premiere, but there were actual auditions happening in between the fighting.  Fellow newbie Keith Urban and veteran judge Randy Jackson sat in between the dueling divas as the panel listened to Idol hopefuls in New York City.

Here's a sample of what they heard:

The Good

Carey super-fan Teena Torres actually went to the diva's youth camp when she was 13.  Torres sang a song by one of Carey's own idols -- Carole King's "You've Got a Friend."  Carey and Minaj actually agreed on it, and all four judges gave Torres the go-ahead to Hollywood.

Christina "Isabelle" Pasqualone put a smile on Urban's face with her take on "Summertime" from Porgy & Bess.  Minaj said she saw Pasqualone going very far this season.  Urban thought she was a natural singer, and he loved Pasqualone's vulnerability.  Carey loved her song choice, and Pasqualone made it to Hollywood.

Shira Gavrielov has already scored a number one hit in her native Israel, and she's hoping for a shot at the American charts.  Minaj called Gavrielov a "superstar" after her tryout with Amy Winehouse's "Valerie."  The judges all voted to send her through to Hollywood.

Frankie Ford sings for tips on the subway in Manhattan, and he's hoping to take his act above ground to the Idol stage.  He started off singing Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," but stopped after two lines due to nerves.  Once he started again, Ford had the judges smiling with delight.  Urban loved Ford's big voice and personality.  Carey said Ford had an "inner glow," and he promised to work hard after the judges sent him on to Hollywood.

Seventeen-year-old Sarah Restuccio had a country flair even though she comes from New Jersey.  Minaj liked her tone on Carrie Underwood's "Mama's Song," and Carey said she saw a complete package in Restuccio.  Things took a left turn as Restuccio delivered a spot-on rendition of Minaj's hit "Super Bass."  Urban and Carey didn't quite get who Restuccio was as an artist, but Minaj defended her.  In the end, the judges all sent her on to Hollywood.

Angela Miller suffers from hearing loss, but you couldn't tell it from her rendition of Jessie J's "Mama Knows Best."  Minaj said she felt Miller's performance in her soul, and Carey loved her soulful tone.  Miller is headed to Hollywood.

Gurpreet Sangh Sarin matches his turban with every outfit and told the judges he sometimes goes by "The Turbanator."  He sang Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning" for his audition, and Jackson had him sing some Indian scales before he left.  The judges thought Sarin's voice was pretty, but they thought it might be a little too light for the competition.  Jackson and Carey gave him a yes, but Urban passed on him.  Minaj ultimately gave Sarin the ticket to Hollywood.

Ashley Feliciano tried out with Corrine Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On," and Minaj called the performance inspiring.  Carey thought Feliciano had big potential, and Urban complimented her tone.  Feliciano comes from a big family that adopts kids with medical issues.  The entire clan came in to hear that Feliciano made it to Hollywood.

The Bad

Evan Ruggierio started off as a singer and dancer with dreams of going to Broadway, but his dreams got derailed a few years back when a battle with cancer forced doctors to amputate his leg.  Ruggierio hoped a spot on Idol would help revive his dreams of stardom.  He tried out first with Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours," but he was a little stronger singing and playing Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive."  Urban liked Ruggierio's voice.  Minaj didn't think Ruggierio was strong enough for Hollywood.  The judges all said no, but Carey and Minaj both said he'd encouraged them being there.

Jessica Kartalis from Long Island actually got a visit from Jackson inviting her to come audition, and she tried out singing an original song.  She had a little trouble playing guitar, and Minaj thought Kartalis needed to come back next year.  The rest of the judges agreed with Minaj but encouraged Kartalis to not give up.

Rozanna Shindelman sang the Teddy Bears' 1958 hit "To Know Him Is To Love Him," and she admitted it was a last minute song choice.  Before her audition, Shindelman told the judges she only sang at home in front of her parents, and it was a performance only a mother could love.  Jackson said, "Dude, it was bad."  Urban agreed, and it was a no for Shindelman.

Brett Holt tried out for American Idol for a seventh time this year, and he was hopeful this was his time to make it to Hollywood.  After his off-pitch performance of the standard "When I Fall in Love," it was obvious Holt will never make it to Tinseltown.

The Really Bad

Michael Buonopane came into the audition room singing a version of Queen's "We Will Rock You" with rewritten lyrics geared towards the judges.  He then attempted to recreate turning the dial on a radio station singing different styles of music.  He was clearly in his own little world as the judges started telling him it was a definite no.

Fifteen-year-old James Bae hopes to become the next Justin Bieber, and he tried out with a tone-deaf, mostly spoken take on Bieber's "One Less Lonely Girl."  It was so bad, Jackson actually commented on how nice it was outside in Manhattan that day.  Carey suggested James might want to look into DJing, and Jackson asked James to never sing again.  Minaj gave James a kiss on the cheek before he left, so at least he'll have that to hold on to.

Benjamin Gaisey showed up in a ridiculous curly wig and a red, plastic suit he wore a few Halloweens ago.  Benjamin sang a lackluster medley of Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You" and Babyface's "Every Time I Close My Eyes" addressing the lyrics to Minaj and Carey.  He continued with Mario's "Let Me Love You," and accentuated the song with pelvic thrust.  Urban hid under the desk after the thrust saying, "It's not safe up there."  The judges tried to let Benjamin down easy, but Jackson finally told Benjamin his voice was terrible.

Albert Chang didn't seem quite sure where he was before entering the judges' room.  His pitiful rendition of "Phantom of the Opera" had Minaj giggling and Jackson throwing up his hands.

Forty-one contestants from New York City made it to Hollywood.  Idol auditions continue in Chicago Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Fox.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan082013

Mariah & Nicki Address 'Distracting' "American Idol" Feud; First Episode Airs in Theaters Wednesday

Michael Becker / FOX(NEW YORK) -- With all the reports of feuding and fighting on the set of American Idol, will viewers see something that looks more like an ultimate fighting match than a reality show when the new season of the show premieres?  We'll find out Wednesday, when the first episode of season 12 premieres in movie theaters in 11 cities nationwide, followed by a live Q&A at 8:30 p.m. ET with all the judges and Ryan Seacrest on AmericanIdol.com and LiveStream.com.

"I think it was a good [decision] for us to do it like a big Hollywood premiere and get a chance to show it off," Ryan tells ABC News Radio. "You know, they do it all the time with movies.  Why can't we do it for TV?"

Meanwhile, judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj addressed their feud, speaking with reporters during a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday that also included the show's executive producers.   While executive producer Nigel Lythgoe insisted that the feuds were "genuine," and not manufactured for press reasons, Mariah labeled them "a distraction."

"The fighting is what it is," Mariah told reporters.  "This is American Idol.  It's bigger than all that. It's bigger than some stupid, you know, trumped up thing.  I think that it's about the next huge talent, superstar that will come from this show."  Calling the reports of her and Nicki's fight "convoluted," the exasperated diva said, "You know what it is?  It's a distraction from the show and it's a distraction from the contestants and I think it's, like, unfair to them."

"We're professionals," added Nicki. "Have you ever had an argument with someone you worked with?"

"This is a very passionate panel," Mariah continued.  "I think there are a lot of strong personalities and, starting this process, I felt like it was a possibility that there could be...differences of opinions.  But one thing I think is great is that...it's such a diverse group of people."

In fact, American Idol executive producer Trish Kinane said that was exactly what they were going for when they cast the judges, because the audience demanded it.  

"One of the things they told us that was that on the judging panel, they wanted people who were experts in their own right, they had talent and they had a right to be here and they also told us that they wanted honesty," Kinane told reporters.  "We very much took that into consideration when we were talking to Mariah and Nicki and Keith [Urban] and Randy [Jackson], and I think we've got it.  You know, they're not shrinking violets.  They say what they think and we encourage that."

Meanwhile, one reporter attempted to force Nicki and Mariah to get along by asking each to say something nice about the other.  "I say nice things about Mariah all the time," retorted Nicki, "and I even tell her all the time how much of a fan I am of her.  She's one of my favorite artists of all times."

She added, "I think she's really shaped a generation of singers and to be on a panel with her...it's kind of crazy, because, all these singers that come in, they aspire to be a Mariah Carey in terms of their talent...and so I feel excited to see them see someone who they look up to so much, and to be given a chance to sing in front of her, and hear her critique."

Mariah said Nicki's comments were "a very sweet thing to say."  As for her "nice thing" about Nicki, Mariah recalled working with the rapper early on in her career, on a remix of Mariah's song "Up Out My Face."  She told reporters, "I did feel that she was going to go very far, and still have that feeling, and am grateful for anything nice that she or anyone were to say about me."

But leave it to Nicki to get the biggest laugh.  When when reporter asked how Mariah and Nicki managed to bury the hatchet, Nicki said, "I put out my sex tape."  As the flustered reporter replied, "You did what?" and everyone cracked up, Nicki repeated, "I put out my sex tape.  I'm serious.  You didn't see it?"

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec182012

Steven Tyler Blasts Former Managers in "American Idol" Pay Raise Lawsuit

Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Steven Tyler has come to the defense of his lawyer, who's being sued by the Aerosmith singer’s former management group for allegedly ruining the rocker’s chances at scoring a big pay raise for being a judge on American Idol.

Kovac Media Group/Tenth Street Entertainment filed a lawsuit in October against attorney Dina LaPolt, claiming her negotiating strategy cost Tyler a $6 million to $8 million pay raise in 2011 in his contract for a second season with American Idol, and as a result cost them commissions.  Tyler was an Idol judge for two seasons.

Tyler and American Idol are not named as defendants in the lawsuit, but that hasn’t stopped the singer from blasting the former managers.

Deadline.com reports that in a legal response on Monday, Tyler stated, “It is an understatement to say that I was very unhappy with the services and conduct of Allen Kovac. Among other things, he was disrespectful and rude to my business associates, insulted and verbally abused my fiancée, my lawyer, my family, my assistants, and my accountants.”

Tyler added, “This lawsuit is nothing more than Kovac’s desperate attempt to exact revenge for his loss of one valuable management client, mega famous rock star and television personality Steven Tallarico p/k/a Steven Tyler...”

LaPolt’s lawyers are seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed.

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