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American Idol Last week Becky...

Lake, The Amazing Race

American Idol Last week Becky went back to the pages of Maxim, and Stevie? Nixed. The top 10 were a bit disappointing tonight. The ladies made some bad song choices, and almost every one of them attempted to sing too low for her range. Katharine combined both mistakes by kicking things off with Stevie Wonder's "All in Love Is Fair." How many times have I asked you people to please leave Stevie Wonder alone? Katharine was much more impressive last week, so hopefully she'll wow us again. Two people who may not have that chance are Brenna and Heather. Heather, there is a reason nobody has performed Mariah Carey's "Hero" on American Idol. The woman's voice goes from gutter growl to dog whistle at the spee read more

American Idol "Find out... after...

Sasha Cohen

American Idol "Find out... after the break." Haven't heard those smug little words from Ryan Seacrest in a while, but the first live results show of American Idol 5 brought out that tried-and-true phrase, as well as some Paula Abdul tears, if only in a glistening eye this time. Just wait: When/if Ace gets the boot, Paula's rush of tears will wash Seacrest right off the stage. Hmmm... I really enjoyed the vision in my head just now. All in all, not very surprising, with the exception of Becky (I guess Maxim readers were just too, um, busy to vote). Simon Cowell's backhanded compliment was actually great career advice for Becky; the girl is beautiful, and the camera loves her almost as much as Simon loves himself. Th read more

American Idol "Find out... after...

Sasha Cohen

American Idol "Find out... after the break." Haven't heard those smug little words from Ryan Seacrest in a while, but the first live results show of American Idol 5 brought out that tried-and-true phrase, as well as some Paula Abdul tears, if only in a glistening eye this time. Just wait: When/if Ace gets the boot, Paula's rush of tears will wash Seacrest right off the stage. Hmmm... I really enjoyed the vision in my head just now. All in all, not very surprising, with the exception of Becky (I guess Maxim readers were just too, um, busy to vote). Simon Cowell's backhanded compliment was actually great career advice for Becky; the girl is beautiful, and the camera loves her almost as much as Simon loves himself. Th read more

American Idol Song choice presented...

Taylor Hicks, American Idol

American Idol Song choice presented major problems for the first two guys, Patrick Hall and David Radford. Patrick's nerves were too obvious; he could've used some of Melissa Etheridge's bravado and grit to get through "Come to My Window." Meanwhile David picked "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" to get away from the crooner label and then proceeded to "Sinatra" his way through a Vegas-style version. Not the best start for either guy. Bucky Covington used his growling vocals to full advantage on "Simple Man." Ryan Seacrest contrasted his own potential song title with Bucky's by calling himself a "Shallow Hollywood Talking Head," which may be the most accurate judgment anyone has ever made on American Idol. Young Will Makar read more

American Idol Mandisa got the...

Brenna Gethers, American Idol

American Idol Mandisa got the crowd on their feet with an incredible version of Heart's "Never." It could have been risky, but she pulled it off with strong and confident vocals. I noticed the same Burger King-inspired flame graphic on the screen behind her that Kimberly Locke had during 2003's "Heat Wave." Idol rakes in so much cash; can't they get some new backdrops? Though the judges had mixed things to say about Kellie Pickler's performance, they loved her sincerity and "aw-shucks" demeanor. That kind of humility can make up for a few bad notes, so you might want to take note, Brenna. Paula Abdul got a few boos for correctly critiquing Becky — or maybe the crowd was rebelling against Paula's read more

American Idol Both Terrell and...

Hugh Laurie, House

American Idol Both Terrell and Brenna had a bit of trouble with the "group" aspect of group night. I can't blame them — I did as well, and I'm sure Simon Cowell was not enjoying himself either. Except when he made Derrell sweat out his foot-stomping Mario Vazquez-inspired quitting decision. Now that was probably a delicious moment for the devious Mr. Cowell. "Hissy attitude" indeed, something Simon knows all about. Alas, Derrell, with his "broken spirit," and his brother Terrell, the Cindy Brady tattletale twin, were both allowed to stay. Terrell's group performance was hysterical. He did an OK job, but Elliot looked like he was in pain during the song. I think I saw Terrell sticking pins in a voodoo doll downstage while singing back read more

American Idol Overall, this was...

Percy Daggs III, Veronica Mars

American IdolOverall, this was not the most exciting edition of American Idol this season. The audition process is going into overdrive with the cutesy montages, and I think the "zombie" one finally pushed me over the edge. I wonder if the judges regret giving Alison Schoening a second chance — I guess a near-death experience is a good reason for double audition time. The panel was a bit too lenient in Austin, letting "fit model" Ashley Jackson through to Hollywood. She sounded better singing with her mouth closed and she really needs to look into a career in ventriloquism. I'm also not too sure about Ronnie "RJ" Norman; his "Ain't No Sunshine" was competent but much less spectacular than he thought i read more

American Idol Just when you think...

American IdolJust when you think you've got Idol all figured out, they go and shake things up. My whole theory on performers with backstories failed during the Las Vegas auditions, as Jason, Anthony and the Pearson twins were all nixed from the competition. What'll they do to throw us off next? Will Simon Cowell be kind to the wannabes? Will Paula Abdul be coherent? And will Randy Jackson manage to criticize without using the word "pitchy"? I actually disagreed with the judges getting rid of Jason the gondolier. Yes, his "Pepe" shtick was annoying, but his boy-bandish take on "Stand by Me" wasn't completely awful and probably would have been just fine with the trio of terror last year. read more

MADGE TO OPEN GRAMMYS

Madonna, performing live with the animated band the Gorillaz, will open this year's Grammy Awards, airing Feb. 8 on CBS, it was announced on Access Hollywood. Paula Abdul and MC Skat Cat, meanwhile, are available for bar mitzvahs. read more

American Idol Kellie Pickler ("pick...

American IdolKellie Pickler ("pick Pickler!") belted out Kelly Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone" like a champ, but her hard-luck backstory got the lion's share of attention. You've probably noticed that as soon as a contestant has his or her story told, he/she is pretty much guaranteed to move on to Hollywood. And when your father is in prison and your mother abandoned you at age 2, you are definitely making it to the next round. Kendra Winston's tale of growing up in orphanages and becoming a young mother was equally poignant, and call me a sucker, but I hope the woman Simon called a "young Whitney Houston" goes very far in this competition. I would have been annoyed if anyone other than Paris got so dramatic after read more

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