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Author: Michael Slezak (1-10 of 2403)

'American Idol': Would you be happy with fewer 'train-wreck' auditions?

My least favorite part of American Idol — aside from the wonky song lists, the aggressive product placement, and the judges’ bouts of blatant favoritism, of course — are the “bad auditions.” Seriously, after nine years of watching the sad, the deluded, and the emotionally damaged have the tar taken out of ‘em by Simon Cowell (while Randy Jackson & Co. hide behind their hands and snicker with laughter), I can’t say I’d be unhappy if the show took a less point-and-laugh approach to the opening rounds for the show’s upcoming tenth season. And a couple of new Idol promos (embedded after the jump) that focus on big, booming voices and the smiling reactions of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson indicate that the show may indeed be accentuating the positive when it returns to the airwaves in 2011.

My only caveat about a “kinder, gentler Idol“? READ FULL STORY

Under-appreciated Entertainer of the Year is...Thomas Gibson of 'Criminal Minds'!

Thomas-GibsonImage Credit: CBS/LandovQuick! What do American Idol graduate Allison Iraheta, So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley, Sons of Anarchy star Katey Sagal, The Vampire Diaries hottie Paul Wesley, Fringe scene-stealer John Noble, and House sidekick Robert Sean Leonard have in common? Aside from the fact that their copious talents don’t get as much recognition as they should, the sextet of entertainers all share the distinction of having been steamrolled by Thomas Gibson, star of CBS’ chilling procedural Criminal Minds, in EW.com’s Under-appreciated Entertainer of the Year bracket tournament.

Yes, folks, after a month of intense voting, fanbase lobbying, and crushed dreams, Gibson stands alone at the end of a competition that began with 64 players under-appreciated by the world, but beloved among EW readers. READ FULL STORY

'American Idol': New promo accurately reflects my anticipation for Season 10 premiere!

What can I say? I’m starting to get a case of the tinglies (mixed with an equal dose of the nameless dreads) about American Idol‘s upcoming tenth season. THE PREMIERE IS ONLY 55 DAYS AWAY. And Fox’s brand-new 30-second promo — featuring several aspiring singers who now have an approximately 1-in-500 chance of being played on my iPod on repeat loop before the end of 2011 — is contributing to my excitement. Oddly enough, all five quotes here from said prospective Idols (I’m not counting the one from a contestant’s mom) accurately reflect my feelings about the season 10 premiere*. I am being totally serious. You know I don’t joke about Idol. Let’s review: “It really does mean everything to me.” “I need this so bad.” “I have to really make sure that I’m on my game.” “No matter what happens today, it’s the biggest day of my life.” “This is it.”

See what I mean? After the jump, check out the promo for yourself, then take our handy PopWatch poll and tell us which contestant sentiment best sums up your feelings about season 10.

(*These statements could also be coming from A) participants in The Hunger Games; B) Powerball ticket-holders; C) My ravenous family, wondering who’s going to quit pretending to be polite and make the first move on this year’s Thanksgiving feast. READ FULL STORY

Adam Lambert's 'E! True Hollywood Story': The 10 best quotes/moments

Last night’s premiere of E! True Hollywood Story: Adam Lambert wasn’t exactly bursting with new information about the American Idol season 8 runner-up/glittery, octave-scaling entertainer. But it did have its share of entertaining moments. My personal top 10:

10. Neil Lambert recounting that growing up, his now-famous older brother’s giant costume box meant Halloween “could happen any time of year.”
9. Footage of Adam in his Zodiac Show days, dressed in feathery regalia and sporting bright blue hair, belting “A Change Is Gonna Come.” I suspect anyone who saw that performance live and in-person wasn’t terribly surprised when Adam nailed the civil rights anthem again on the Idol stage.
8. The visual splendor of the turquoise, red, yellow, and black blouse worn during confessional interviews by Adam’s pal Scarlett Cherry. (Note how the colors were picked up by Cherry’s turquoise necklace and violet-red locks.) Fab! READ FULL STORY

'American Idol': New night, music videos, no semifinals, one-hour results shows. Which changes will do us good?

Tuesday, your “journey” has come to an end — at least with regard to American Idol.

Yes indeed, in a move that may have rival networks reexamining their own 2011 programming rosters, Fox revealed yesterday that Idol is shifting to a Wednesday-Thursday schedule, abandoning the Tuesday-Wednesday timetable around which the Idoloonie nation has built its entire life its TV viewing calendar for the last nine seasons. The late Friday announcement capped a week of carefully leaked tidbits about the remodeling that the long-running ratings juggernaut will undergo when it returns to the airwaves in January; that’s when new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler will join “barnacle” Randy Jackson on a ship that, for the first time, won’t have Simon Cowell hurling insults from the lido deck. And while it’s pure speculation to say whether these tweaks big and small will translate into smooth sailing or sinking fortunes for Idol‘s tenth season, when has that ever stopped me in the past? Let’s take a critical look at each one of the recently revealed changes for season 10: READ FULL STORY

Under-appreciated Entertainer of the Year: Round 1 rages on with players from 'Parenthood,' 'Grey's,' 'Top Chef,' 'Runway,' etc.

Underappreciated-Entertainers-6BImage Credit: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Rahim, Anderson, Derry, Guerra) Roger Arpajou; Saeed Adyani; Lifetime Netowrk; David Geisbrecht/BravoI feel under-appreciated. Now girls, help me out, if you know what I’m talkin’ about,” sang Christina Aguilera on the aptly titled “Underappreciated,” a terrific but lesser-known cut from 2002’s underrated Stripped CD. And sadly, that’s a sentiment familiar to the 64 participants in EW.com’s first annual Under-appreciated Entertainer of the Year single-elimination bracket tournament.

As Day 6 of our first-round matchups continue, you’re going to have some brutal choices to make: Project Runway‘s Mondo Guerra and Top Chef‘s Tiffany Derry already got robbed on their respective reality series this year, yet one won’t even survive the initial duel of this bracket game. Parenthood‘s Peter Krause has done incredible work on a show that’s struggling in the ratings, while Sara Ramirez somehow fails to get the same awards-season love as many of her colleagues on ABC’s hit Grey’s Anatomy. Alas, you can only vote for one of ‘em.

We’re also showing mad love to some musicians and movie actors who deserve bigger commercial and/or critical success than they currently receive. In the former category, we’ve got Ray LaMontagne facing off against The Gaslight Anthem, and in the latter, it’s Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) taking on Joe Anderson (The Crazies).

Click here to check out our entire bracket of 64 reader-picked competitors, then cast your ballot on Round 1, Day 6’s match-ups in our highly scientific polls after the jump.Underappreciated-Entertainers-6AImage Credit: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Krause, Ramirez, Gaslight Anthem, LaMontagne) Chris Haston/NBC; Adam Taylor/ABC; Ashley Maile Record 20875480 READ FULL STORY

Exclusive: Kara DioGuardi and Jewel headlining new singer-songwriter competition for Bravo

Kara-DioGuardi-JewelImage Credit: Bob Charlotte/PR Photos; PRN/PR PhotosBravo has greenlit Going Platinum, a 10-episode reality competition for singer-songwriters that’s set to premiere in 2011, EW has learned exclusively. And if you think the concept sounds a bit like American Idol, wait until you hear who they’ve cast! Kara DioGuardi (who sat alongside Simon Cowell in seasons 8 and 9) will be head judge, while songstress Jewel (a guest judge on Idol’s season-6 auditions, as well as a former Nashville Star emcee) will host and provide feedback to contestants, too.

But before you dismiss Going Platinum as a knockoff, consider this: READ FULL STORY

EW Exclusive: Kris Allen brainstorms tabloid-esque scandals to promote his new single

It’s the third and final day of Kris-mas here at EW.com. Yes, folks, after the acoustic performance of Kris Allen’s third single, “Alright With Me,” that we posted Wednesday, and the reggae rendition of “No Boundaries” that we premiered yesterday, tonight we’ve got a brief but jaunty interview with the American Idol season 8 champ. Press play below as Kris discusses the writing and recording process for “Alright With Me,” his excitement over getting a chance to release it to radio, and his thoughts on creating a TMZ-worthy scandal to promote it. And for all my Idol news and musings, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak. READ FULL STORY

EW Exclusive: Kris Allen performs a 'reggae' acoustic 'No Boundaries'

Kris-Allen-song-videoTo paraphrase the legendary disco act Andrea True Connection — as I am regularly inclined to do —  sometimes you’ve got to “Get the cameras rolling/ Get the action going.” Or, perhaps more importantly, you’ve got to keep the cameras rolling. Which is exactly what I did earlier this week after taping American Idol season 8 champ Kris Allen’s acoustic performance of his new single “Alright With Me” at the Room Mate Grace Hotel in Manhattan. Lucky for me (and for all of us, really), Kris and his buddy Cale Mills started noodling around on their guitars, and before I knew it, they’d begun an acoustic-reggae rendition of the much maligned Idol victory anthem “No Boundaries.” Yeah, there’s still that line about weathering the hurricane, but — and I am shocked to say this in public — the Kara DioGuardi-penned ditty doesn’t sound too bad! Ch-ch-check it out, and click here if you missed the aforementioned (and totally legendary) Idolatry rendition of “Alright With Me.” (Oh, and for all my Idoloonie news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak!) READ FULL STORY

'No Ordinary Family' recap: Clear eyes, heavy hand(ed), can't lose?

no-ordinary-familyImage Credit: Michael Desmond/ABCIs it just me, or are any of you worried that No Ordinary Family wants to be the Grey’s Anatomy of superhero shows? (I’m filling in for Jeff Jensen this week, so you’ll have to settle for soapy medial drama references instead of comic-book ones.)

Think about it, though: In the halls of Seattle Grace, it seems like no medical case exists that doesn’t shed introspective light into the dark corners of the protagonist physicians’ minds. Similarly, last night’s “criminal of the week” story arc on No Ordinary Family was nothing more than an extended riff to drive home the Very Special Message to Jim that “family > work/hobbies/extracurricular crime-solving activities.” During Jim’s two conversations with the prime suspect, Tortured Vigilante Guy didn’t talk about his shooting crimes in Franklin Park, but rather, discussed his crimes of poor parenting against his late son:

* “One day you’re their hero, the next they want nothing to do with you.” (Get it? “Hero?” The subtlety didn’t slip past anyone, right?)
* “I lost him because I was so busy with work.”
* “I was his father, and I should’ve been there.”
* “I did it. I killed my son.” (Metaphorically, obvs.)
* “You love your kid so much, what the hell are you doing here with me?”

Cue lightbulb over Jim’s head: D’oh! I shouldn’t have canceled my Friday night camping trip with pint-sized, troubled, and curiously coiffed 14-year-old J.J.! (And then he wouldn’t have ended up at a boozy party for high school seniors!) READ FULL STORY

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