Friday, May 26, 2006

friday news and notes (and awards!)...

Any of y'all suffering an American Idol hangover? For me it was like Christmas, all the planning and anticipation, only for the day to arrive, followed by the inevitable letdown and exhaustion.

But I'm over that, thanks to about 12 hours of sleep and the magic of instant replay.

Taylor was a hoot on Jay Leno, and it's just the beginning for the Idol winner. He, along with Katharine McPhee, is scheduled to appear with Ryan Seacrest on Larry King tonight on CNN. His scheduled appearances next week include a stop by Regis and Kelly next Tuesday. Then he (again with Katharine) will perform live on the plaza on Thursday's Today Show. (Katharine will be chatting with Regis and Kelly next Wednesday and Elliott Yamin will be there next Thursday, so set your recordings!)


I've noticed that people are still buzzing about the finale extravanga from Wednesday. Nice to hear. I was going to give out my own "Junkie Awards" in a separate entry, but I think this entry will do.

Junkie Award
Best Duet
Ace Young and Melissa McGhee (The Look of Love). It's really too bad Melissa didn't get more of an opportunity to show us her stuff during the competition, leaving first in the finals after a disasterous Stevie Wonder performance and being completely overshadowed by many of the other girls in the semis, but I think people sat up and took notice Wednesday, especially when she paired with the just-as-lovely-to-look-at Ace on this Bacharach classic.

Honorable Mention
Paris Bennett and Al Jarreau. What a true gentleman Al Jarreau is, not only reminding us why we love his music but making the gesture to allow his 17-year-old companion to shine alongside him. Their pairing comes close to the Vonzell Solomon/Billy Preston duet from last season, and I'm going to make the same suggestion now that I did then: get them both into the studio for a do-over. It would sell.


Chris Daughtry's track on the compilation CD is still downloading well in iTunes, but he's getting a run for his money by Taylor Hicks. Chris' track, Wanted Dead or Alive, is at #11 on the overall top 100, followed by Taylor's Takin' It to the Streets at #17. The only other two tracks still on the top 100 are Elliott's Moody's Mood for Love at #38 and Katharine's Think at #59.

But on the Pop Top 100 list, Chris and Taylor have both cracked the top ten. Chris is at #5 and Taylor is at #7. (And how nice it is that iTunes has finally stopped calling each of them "Various Artists.") In fact, 11 of the 12 tracks have found their way to the top 100 pop list. Only Kevin Covais' track When I Fall in Love is missing from the rankings.


Junkie Award
Best Big Brother
Ace, Bucky, Chris, Elliott. It was never so obvious how really out of place Kevin was in the field of six guys before Wednesday, primarily because we had been so robbed of group numbers while he was a contestant, and in the only group sings we got to enjoy before his ejection, there were so dang many people on the stage it was easy for him to get lost. But rather than pretend that the little dude wasn't there, the four guys made a concerted effort to make him a part of the guys' medley and later the Bacharach number, when it would have been so easy simply not to. No wonder I have come to love this group of men.

Junkie Award
Best Sport
Clay Aiken and Michael Sandecki. This was one of the most priceless reactions I've ever seen on any television at any time anywhere. And I can't stop watching it. Some have speculated that the entire segment was staged, but Sandecki was on the Today show this morning, still in shock and awe, and assuring viewers that he, indeed, did believe that the gigantic cheers that arose from the audience were in fact for him, that he had rehearsed the song on stage alone and that, although running into all of the Idol finalists, each of whom knew Clay was in the building, he was totally clueless about the surprise that was awaiting him. And, by the way, since he had rehearsed the song, he was determined to perform it alongside his idol. (Honorable mention to the sound guy who turned down his microphone!) And Clay needed, new hairstyle notwithstanding, to re-emerge from the shadows, and what a better place and time than on the Idol stage, where he will always be safe. The buzz surrounding the classic moment has made fans out of non-fans and, hopefully, gone a long way in healing the rift between the show and one of its most popular alumni. You rock, Clay.

Honorable mention
Taylor Hicks. I don't think Toni Braxton was probably high on Taylor's list of ideal stage companions (and if she was, I doubt she is anymore) but managing to not only compensate for Braxton's a.) non-functioning mic; b.) impaired state; c.) lack of lyric knowledge or d.) all of the above, but also his swift and tactful managing to fend off her attempts to lap dance her way into an FCC fine, truly proved what a mature and masterful performer the man is.

Honorable mention II
Me. For avoiding completely the cheap use of any Braxton-Hicks remarks.


Elliott Yamin has been in the news. His partnership with Mary J. Blige has been considered one of the highlights of Wednesday's show. But not all of the press has been complimentary. Initially I was not thrilled with the duet, considering it came off at first as more of a star/backup singer performance. But after watching it more than once, (actually a lot more than once) I don't think the criticism of Mary J. Blige is warranted. After all, she's Mary J. Blige. And, aside from Prince, who didn't pair with anybody but a couple of unnamed dancers, she really was the most prominent of the guests from today's music scene. And she's Mary J. Blige. Anyone who's ever seen her perform, solo or not, knows she's an over-the-top performer. Elliott certainly knew this, and the joy on his face of being on stage with her was evident. And in comparison to the scary and out-of-tune Meatloaf duet that Katharine had to save and the In The Ghetto sexed-up remix that Taylor had to endure, Elliott won the lottery.

Seems the initial Stevie Wonder/Elliott duet rumor was correct, though. That was the plan from the beginning, but, according to Elliott, Stevie found himself unavailable after agreeing to perform. Plan B was an Elliott duet with Lenny Kravitz, but
"that didn't work out." So Mary J. Blige agreed to step in at the last minute.

And while we're on the E-train of thought (sorry, couldn't help it) seems the kid has done more than just karaoke nights at the local bar. Apparently, Elliott spent some studio time on a CD entitled
Sound Doctrine, a gospel/hip hop by somebody named Big Planz, who is proudly now advertising the disc as one featuring "up and newcomer and 2006 AI Finalist" Elliott Yamin. Smart move! Yesterday the CD was #560,505 in sales at Today? It's #7,037 #4,860 #3412 #1584 and climbing hourly. (And Clive Davis is gonna take a pass on this boy?) I can't tell exactly which tracks Elliott participated on, but my money is definitely on at least tracks seven and nine.


Junkie Award
Most Improved Player
Bucky Covington. I've not read a single review, blogger or message board diatribe that didn't praise Bucky's vocal performances. And he looked hot too.

Honorable Mention
Kellie Pickler. It's amazing how many people love her now that she spent most of her time not singing. Including me. Gurl, get an agent and get into speaking roles. If those Puck and Pickler moments were spontaneous, she's a gem. If they were scripted, then she's even better.


The official site already has a finale
recap video up, as well as a comprehensive recap of the entire season. And Nigel is speaking out here.

And if I learn of television appearances, scandals or other fun stuff, I'll let you know!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jennier. Hangover - yes, but at the same time I have been suffering withdrawl.

I like the protected and polite world of your blog. It's vicious out there in Blogdom! I am new to Idol and never knew that favorites can be the cause of civil wars!

The photo you posted of the trio exactly following the victory of Taylor is priceless.

Thank you again and again.

I <3 Idol

2:29 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

The civil wars between fan groups is a staple of this show. There is still unbelievable hatred (and I mean that literally) between the Ruben/Clay fans from season two. Season three was somewhat tame after John Stevens left. (He actually got death threats - no joke.) Season four was the worst, though and made what looked to be warfare this season seem like child's play.

I [heart] this show!

2:43 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger tracyintpa said...

Jennifer... thank you for the awards. They are great! And so are you. You are so clever and witty, no wonder we all heart your blog! Thanks for keeping us connected during this let down period. Man, we all love this show don't we? What a phenomenon indeed. Looking forward to seeing Taylor in the coming weeks.... he was absolutely darling on Leno, and especially since he had been up for over 36 hours straight. (gotta love a man with stamina!)

2:58 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

Can I just say that until you mentioned the Braxton-Hicks honorable mention for you, that I hadn't even thought of that. That is why you will be sorely missed if you choose not to post.
Everything else in the web about idol pales in comparison.

Thank you!!!!!!!!!

3:00 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

i just saw on ellen degeneres show that taylor will be on next friday.

jennifer let me add my name to the list of those above who think you are great. best recaps of anywhere. here's an award to you! BEST BLOGGER!!!

3:12 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

abd that was a terrific photo. downloaded that one. where did you find it? any others like that?

3:13 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

I'm not sure which photo you're talking about, but I'm finding them in various places. Some are screencaps, some are official photos (like the Elliott/MJB one - a scene we didn't see on camera. (I'm still looking for the perfect Taylor/Kat stage photo to replace the canned one in the sidebar.) But everyone's welcome to whatever I put up here. And thanks for the nice words. :D

3:24 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

it's the top won of taylor, kat and ryan. that was not shown on the show and it really is a tender moment.

3:32 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

I meant to ask, do we know why Bo wasn't there? If you have already answered this I'm sorry, but there are sooooooooooooooooo many responses to go thru.

3:38 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a great pic of Taylor and Elliot...

3:41 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

interesting tidbit about prince:

from: in..._producers_gues

"Pop superstar Prince kept tense producers of American Idol guessing after failing to show for his surprise performance during the talent show's finale on Wednesday until the last minute.

Show host Ryan Seacrest feared he'd have to fill in for the pop star when he still hadn't arrived at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood for his live performance as the big reveal started.

The US TV personality even stated, "No more surprises," just in case Prince failed to show - but then the singer walked onto the stage and wowed the crowd and millions of TV viewers.

Seacrest recalls, "We're in a commercial break just before the surprise of Prince and he wasn't at the Kodak Theatre, so what do we do?

"He walked on the stage 30 seconds before he was to go live, sings and was in his car before I toss to the next commercial break. He was there for a total of five-and-a-half minutes.""

3:46 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

I haven't heard word one why Bo wasn't there.

And Yes, there are many great Taylor photos in graycharles' flikr account. I just love the ones of the guys. They really have become true friends.

LOL @ Prince. Now THAT'S a diva.

3:56 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Prince is really a Queen!

4:36 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Update: Los Amgeles

Cedars Sinai Hospital has reported that Ace Young has been admitted for emergency surgery to remove his lips which had become affixed to a mirror. Fans are said to be lining up outside. Stay tuned

5:00 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

Well the Diva act is probably one of the reasons it was a total surprise. No way of leaking it, if the producers didn't even know if he was going to show.

5:01 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

nigel's comments on the finale are up.

5:03 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prince only showed up to claim the purple jacket he lent to Taylor, no one can wear that queenly purple like Prince. He just gets uglier as the years go by.....

5:04 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

Does anyone have video of Michael Sandecki's appearance on the Today show? I would LOVE to see it

Your awards are the best, Jennifer! Braxton Hicks! roflmao!
Love ya!

5:11 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

ROFL. Good point Julie. Their surprise was REALLY their surprise. Don't get any better than that.

I hope somebody did record Clay-lite today. He just popped by in a crowd segment, so it took me by surprise.

5:15 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

So, was that rumor about the duets being recorded just a rumor? I have listened several times to Elliott and Mary J. Blige. It gives me chills. I love it.

That Prince stuff is priceless...the "surprise" surprise. And that anonymous comment about prince coming for his purple jacket is a riot!

5:35 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there!

You can find the Michael Sandecki link up at Idol Review, here:

5:35 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

Thanks so much for the link, but I was looking for one of his appearance this morning on the Today show. I went and watched that one again for about the fifth time today, anyway!!!

6:18 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Michael was just on Inside Edition. They gave him a mic and camera and sent him to NYC. Very funny.

I just read somebody's account of the show, who was there seated in the nosebleed section. They said they could see the kid shaking from way up there and that's when Ryan brought him out the stool and asked him if he was okay.

7:13 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

I apparently just don't watch enough TV! I'm missing it all! I love this guy getting his fifteen minutes of fame!

7:25 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

I'm such a kook. I just watched that video three more times. I think it's my inner nerd (maybe not as inner as I'd like to think)identifying with this guy's big moment. I think I'm imagining myself as Michael and Paul McCartney walking out. I would faint though.

7:41 PM, May 26, 2006  
Anonymous Maggie said...

Hi Jennifer great entry, I agree whole heartedly with your awards... I was wondering if you/anyone know(s) why Elliott was missing from the gig the contestants did on Entertainment Tonight. I tuned in a bit late, I'm sure they must have said something.

9:14 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

No word on where's Elliott, but a "friend" of his posted on a fan forum that he had a "prior commitment." Other than that, no clue.

9:25 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger Nelle said...

Thanks for the heads up about the TV appearances. Because of your mention of it we caught Larry King hosted by Ryan last night. Nice clips they showed. I loved hearing Randy's comments. You do such a great job of keeping us updated on what's going on. Thanks. :)

4:39 PM, May 27, 2006  
Anonymous Tanya said...

omg, i missed that Michael Sandecki guy the other night,when clay came out..i just seen it for the first time..its to funny..thanks for posting the link..i cant stop watching it ..its soooo funny ..

11:18 PM, May 27, 2006  
Anonymous Getting Curious said...

jennifer - what is this rift you are talking about between Clay and AI?? I never heard anything about it before...

11:21 PM, May 27, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Clay sued to break his contact with 19E and won, Kelly then followed suit and also won, and there has been no love lost there for a couple of years. In fact, Simon was pretty candid (and still is) about his dislike for him.

7:47 AM, May 28, 2006  
Blogger Vivian said...


If the people at Idol/Fox knew what we know, then surely there would have been a 'Golden Idol' award for you for this awesome blog! Maybe I'm a little partial, but I think it's the best one out there in terms of content, how well it is written **and** it's certainly the most visually appealing (you know how visual I am).

You have a fan base as big as an idol contestant and it is well deserved. If your students get half as much from your lectures as we get from your blog(s), then I know they're learning a lot!

I certainly feel very fortunate to have known you from your blogging beginnings....before your first Idol blog on AOL. You are da bomb! Here's wishing you a wonderful summer. Hopefully you'll make appearances here periodically so we won't have such severe withdrawal symptoms!


3:12 PM, May 28, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Aw shucks, Vivian. You make me cry. LOL

Seems like those AOL days are forever ago, but I'm grateful to them, to you, and to everyone who made this such a fun season to rant about.

I'll be keeping track of them through these next weeks, the release of the singles, the tour (let's hope nobody breaks a leg or has to have emergency surgery!).

Withdrawal is tough, especially this season that I really grew to love. Of course, I'm gonna say I'm not gonna like next season as well - I say that every year - but I will. It's tradition!


6:32 PM, May 28, 2006  
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12:05 PM, May 29, 2006  
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10:33 AM, July 19, 2006  
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