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American Idol: What You Must Know About Season 6!

American Idol

Are the words "This is American Idol" music to your ears? Then brace yourself: Fox's unstoppable ratings juggernaut returns this week — the first auditions unspool Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 pm/ET — for a sixth season of off-key wannabes and future chart-toppers. We tracked down the show's three judges, two producers and one excitable host and got them to reveal exclusive scoop on what just might be Idol's most unpredictable year yet. Missing the early episodes would be a huge mistake. There are generally two reasons to sit through Idol's initial auditions: to catch the drama created by those who are A) tone-deaf or B) have Lifetime-movie sob stories (such as Kellie Pickler, who revealed at her audition last year that Mom had read more

Coming soon! American Idol Season 6

We're just two short weeks away from the double-night season premiere of American Idol Season 6. Tune in Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 16 and 17 for the two-night event! Join Simon, Paula and Randy as they take the show to a whole 'nother level. read more

Ryan Seacrest Rocks New Year's — and the New American Idol

Ryan Seacrest

Whether in a celebration at home with family and friends or a crowded club in the heart of the city, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (starting Sunday at 10 pm/ET, on ABC) has for the past 35 years been the No. 1 choice to usher in the next 365 days. No matter the sometimes deafening background noise, it's all about the biggest party in the country, says cohost Ryan Seacrest, who came on board last year as Clark, still recovering from a stroke, needed an extra voice to keep the bash bumpin'. Seacrest — who sometimes worries that he scares the 77-year-old Clark with his overzealous attitude — says working on the program is surreal, as the energy and enthusiasm of the night unfold. "It's electrifying to be in the center of Times Square," the read more

Dreamgirls Comes True for American Idol Alum Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

With her star-making turn in Dreamgirls, American Idol also-ran Jennifer Hudson bests Fantasia, makes Simon eat crow and stirs up some Oscar buzz. Here, her Q&A with TV Guide. TV Guide: You play Effie in Dreamgirls, based on the story of Florence Ballard, who was overshadowed by Diana Ross and pushed out of the Supremes. You were the first of American Idol 3's "Three Divas" to go. Do you see a parallel? Hudson: Between Fantasia Barrino, LaToya London and me, I was the biggest girl. The one who doesn't have the "image" alwa read more

Simon Spills Talent 2's Secrets

In a Monday teleconference with reporters, producer Simon Cowell revealed that a big tweak for the new round of America's Got Talent is that in order to level the playing field a bit, nonsingers will be sent to a mid-season "boot camp." "For a two-week period, we'll bring in experts ? vocal coaches, stylists, people from Vegas ? to work with these acts and find out how good they really are," he explains. Season 1's 12-year-old champ, Bianca Ryan, has signed a deal with Cowell's recording label and has her first album due out Nov. 14. read more

Celebrity Duets: An Inside Look

Hal Sparks, Wayne Brady, Lucy Lawless and Carly Patterson, Celebrity Duets

You've seen them dance. You've seen them lose weight. You've even seen them ice-skate. Now it's time for celebrities to grab a mike and start singing. The contestants on Fox's Celebrity Duets will have a little help from well-known recording artists such as Clint Black, Macy Gray and Chaka Khan, so we're hoping the audience will be spared the torture of another William Hung. But with Simon Cowell wearing the executive-producer hat, anything is possible. The show (premiering Aug. 29) is hosted by Wayne Brady and features eight celebrity "nonsingers" — wrestling champion Chris Jericho, actress Lea Thompson, Queer Eye lifestyle expert Jai Rodriguez, Xena's Lucy Lawless, actor Cheech Marin, Olympian gymnast Carly Patterson, Fresh Prince's Alfonso Ribeiro and comedian Hal Sparks. The warbling wannabes will be competing for $100,000, to be donated to the read more

An open letter to Simon ...

Question: An open letter to Simon Cowell: All right, after watching your show, it may be debatable whether America's Got Talent, but I feel it's safe to say (to use one of your favorite superlatives) that you, Mr. Cowell, have absolutely no talent whatsoever at producing an intelligent, entertaining show. You have so far taken two excellent concepts (American Inventor and America's Got Talent) and managed to trivialize them, in addition to boring the pants off us with mundane music, endless repetition, uninteresting judges and irritating hosts. (Am I the only one in America who finds Regis Philbin as welcome as a cheese grater on raw knuckles?) The finale of America's Got Talent was not only excruciating, but embarrassing as well (e.g., Regis "singing" and Bianca Ryan in shock once she was named the winner). Simon, either stop underestimating the intelligence of the American audience or overestimating our tolerance for crap, or you will be voted off the island! Answer: But what do you ... read more

Simon Spills Celebrity Duets' Secrets

Little Richard is a big get for Simon's Celebrity Duets.

As reported earlier this week, Lucy Lawless, Cheech Marin, WWE champ Chris Jericho, Olympian Carly Patterson, Fresh Prince's Alfonso Ribeiro, Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez, Hal Sparks and Back to the Future's read more

What's the Buzz?
In its second year, Weeds grows on you

If I ever hear that anyone in the sunny suburb of Agrestic is hiding a stranger in the basement, I'm done with Weeds (Mondays at 10 pm/ET on Showtime). But somehow I doubt that will happen. While the higher-profile Desperate Housewives stumbled creatively, its thematic sibling on pay cable has become a sharper, darker, funnier satire in its sophomore go-round. Weeds' greatest asset remains Mary-Louise Parker as the alluringly dazed-and-confused widow Nancy Botwin, who provides for her kids by distributing marijuana to seemingly upstanding townsfolk (including Kevin Nealon as a carefree CPA and city c read more

Think You Can Dance: Burning Questions!

So You Think You Can Dance's resilient Musa Cooper.

What makes So You Think You Can Dance's Nigel Lythgoe so mean? Why can't a break-dancer catch a break? TV Guide presents a step-by-step guide to American Idol's sister show. Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET and Thursdays at 9 pm/ET) started the day after American Idol ended. Why the rush? Producers wanted to capitalize on Idol's tidal wave of momentum to launch Dance's second season. A solid performer in Season 1, Dance's summer audience — eight million last season, 10 million now — still doesn't compare with the 30-plus million who regularly watched Idol. Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of b read more

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