Stay Tuned
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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Idol Update: Just Seven More Days!

When Daughtry started its performance last night on “The Tonight Show,” I thought they were doing a new song, since I didn’t recognize it. But it was indeed “It’s Not Over”—just a version with an extremely overbearing guitar. Somebody needs to tell that guy he’s not the star of the band. Maybe he was trying to impress Kiefer…

It’s hard to believe there are just seven more days until the return of “American Idol.” It seems like we’ve waited forever, doesn’t it?

This week’s “Entertainment Weekly” gives us a little more insight as to what to expect. Here are some highlights…

1) Simon Cowell has not singled out a frontrunner.
You may remember that in season four he had Carrie Underwood pegged from the beginning. He says this year it’s “not as obvious.”

2) Ryan Seacrest says this is a “very intense year.”
Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe says that the contestants are using Simon’s dislike of Taylor (at his audition) against him.

3) Simon rebelled against the guest judges (Olivia Newton-John, Jewel and Carole Bayer Sager) during the auditions.
Executive Producer Ken Warwick says that things were so awkward that Bayer Sager may have most of her critiques edited out.

4) The details of the songwriting competition for the winner’s single are still being worked out.
The competition will be open to anyone—signed or unsigned—who submits a song to a special website. A short list of songs will be chosen by the judges and the producers. Lythgoe would like to do two or three shows with past contestants singing the songs, and then let America vote; but FOX hasn’t confirmed that yet.

5) The judges are not entirely happy about not having a say in the final selection of the winner’s single.
Paula Abdul says it’s weird that they have “everything to do with the rest of the season and nothing to do with the final song.” Interestingly, the most popular finale song, “A Moment Like This,” was the only one personally commissioned by Simon (who’s releasing it again with this year’s “The X Factor” winner).

6) There’s a chance the Idols could work with Paul McCartney this season, according to Simon.
Randy Jackson says he may call in some favors (like Mariah Carey) as well.

7) Producers say that many big names in music were turned down last year because they refused to work with the contestants.
Warwick said record labels will “try to get some of these arrogant stars to work with the kids, and we just say no.”

8) Ryan says that Simon is “more testy than ever before.”
Ryan blames it on his heavy workload, which includes executive producing “The X Factor,” developing season two of “America’s Got Talent” and overseeing his music projects like Il Divo.

As if I have to remind you, “American Idol” premieres Tuesday, January 16th at 8 p.m. on FOX…