But 'Idol' has always had a knack for uncovering fresh-faced talent, as evidenced by these 10 young superstars who've proven that you're never too young to start wailing on a little 'Dreamgirls.' (We're looking at you, David Archuleta!)
Here are our picks for 'American Idol''s 10 freshest faces and a look back at their places in 'Idol' history.
Forget Academy politics and catering to the foreign press. The annual award show allows fans to vote on categories that include include staples like favorite TV actress (Selena Gomez took the orange blimp this year) and demo-specific verticals like cutest couple ('New Moon''s fictional Jacob and Bella [Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart] beat out the Obamas) and favorite voice from an animated movie (Jim Carrey). Comedian Kevin James hosted the event, which featured performances from tween phenom Justin Bieber and Rihanna, plus the requisite celeb-sliming.
Sweltering afternoon heat didn't stop the likes of Rihanna, Will Smith and his family, the Jonas Brothers and more from swarming the orange carpet ahead of the show. While the KCAs is familiar turf for some, others were taking it all in for the first time.
It's the first elimination show of the year! Generally, it feels like a huge loss when four contestants are eliminated all at once, but based on the lackluster performances by both the girls and the guys, I have a feeling that unless there's some huge shakeup, few tears will be shed.
But before we get to all that, we have a (lip-synced?) Top 24 performance, and 'Idol' winner Kris Allen makes an appearance, along with runner-up Allison Iraheta. We also get to see Kara's husband and one of the contestants in a bathrobe, so let's get started!
Iraheta won't be going it alone either, as season eight winner Kris Allen is also schedule to perform and share footage of his trip to Haiti on the special Thursday night results show. The episode will be a de facto benefit drive for Haiti through an 'Idol Gives Back' supported charity: the UN Foundation.
Tuesday night features the Top Twelve Girls singing a Top Ten Hit from the Hot 100 chart, with the boys following suit on Wednesday. Now by my math, that's 24 different songs, which doesn't fit into any Top Ten. Maybe most of them will just join forces and recreate 'We are the World 25: For Haiti' (currently sitting at number two on the chart).
They've decided to air an encore of the Michael Jackson themed episode of American Idol from this past season. In it, the Top 13 contestants performed from Jackson's catalogue. It's a bizarre choice, because despite a few good performances, notably from Kris Allen, Alexis Grace and Allison Iraheta, most of the performances were either okay or downright terrible. I'd think you'd want some good singing of perhaps some of his better known works to honor the man.
At long last, the season 8 finale of American Idol has arrived! It's been fun watching all of the Idols grow in their musical prowess (that's a Paula word), especially Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, the final two performers who couldn't be more different, but are both awesome in their own way.
Ryan started things off by introducing the judges, along with a funny video clip for each of them -- Randy Jackson saying "For Me" throughout the season; Kara DioGuardi saying "sweetie" and "honey" to people who didn't make it past the audition process; Paula's round-up of colorful adjectives (vocal prowess, masterful and effortless, palette, etc.); and Simon's issues with hearing what people say (as in, he could probably use a hearing aid!).
It was really nice of you guys not to write scathing shout-downs in the comments of my story about how Kris Allen was going to be sent home from American Idol the other day when it turned out I was wrong. Well, thanks for that, everyone, but I'm here to tell you that I was wrong. America voted and they want the cute guy to be in the finals. It didn't matter that he didn't rock out with the Beatle song that would have shown him off better.
What did matter is that at this stage in the competition, Allison Iraheta had impressed with her voice but not her personality. Ultimately, that seems to be what we've got with the three finalists -- Kris, Adam and Danny.
Yet another results show has come around, and Ryan starts things off by asking, "Who will graduate from the Idol school of rock, and who will just get schooled?" You know, Ryan, I'm available if your writers are on strike. Call me.
Anyway, sounds like it was a dramatic week on American Idol - a large column collapsed and in a separate incident, a staffer was injured on a stair mishap. Whew. But the show must go on, and we'll find out tonight whether Allison, Danny, Adam or Kris will be going home. The other three get to go home, too, but for a big hometown parade with cheerleaders and town leaders gushing praise on them.
With this particular final 4, you know that Rock Night is going to be interesting -- and they don't disappoint. Adam and Allison are definitely suited for this, while Kris and especially Danny have a bit of an uphill battle. Slash is the mentor, which sounds exciting, but we don't really see a whole lot of him. I have no idea if this is what actually happened or not, but we definitely get the impression that he didn't work with the contestants as much as some of the other mentors did.
Also this week we have something new: duets. Frankly, I thought the idea was going to be kind of a train wreck, but they turned out to be really interesting. Pairing Allison and Adam together makes sense, but it left the odd couple of Danny and Kris. It was really kind of hilarious, and I'm sad that they won't be able to do it again this season (unless they do it tomorrow during the results show), because it was a lot of fun.
My dad, however, thinks that Adam is in a class of his own and no one can touch him. That he'll win and nobody else even deserves to be in the competition. I pointed out the fact that he scream-sings all of his songs, but my dad was hearing none of it. My father is also tone-deaf -- not that that means anything.
Anyway, since we couldn't talk last night, I had to get that all off of my chest before we get into the Taylor Hicks and the Jaime Foxx and the elimination in tonight's show. Regardless of who leaves tonight, Adam's going to win and I'm going to be sad. Everything leading up to that is just going to be vague disappointments. Let's get started!
Kris Allen starts things off with "The Way You Look Tonight," one of my favorite songs from that era. It's really nice having Ricky Miner and the band onstage, because it helps to put you in that era. The tune starts off slow, then picks up with a jazzy beat in the middle. Really, really nice.
The Judges: Randy says it's his best performance to date; Kris took his time, told a story, and added some R&B stylings. Kara agrees, saying Kris set the technical standard high for the evening. "You are truly a dark horse in this competition," says Kara. Paula says he's made an amazing transition from boy-next-door to sophisticated gentleman. Simon isn't quite as enthusiastic, saying it's "wet" and like "taking a well-trained spaniel for a walk." He doesn't feel like Kris can win the competition.
After all these weeks, there should have been a performance from almost everyone that forced me to back up the DVR and experience it at least once more. It hasn't happened.
Two of the seven remaining contestants on American Idol went home this week. And this time, they actually did go home. It seems like the producers have been trying to psych us out all season, throwing as many surprises as they can to keep the show fresh. Not so tonight. Two went home, and it was no surprise to me who those two were.
But first, we got to see some behind-the-scenes stuff as the Idols prepared for their group number. When Ryan said they called on a huge name in the choreography world for this week's group number, I was pleasantly shocked to see that it was Paula.
It was nice to see her dance again. Makes me want to go back and watch some of her vintage music videos. Thinking about it also took my mind off the goofy disco outfits the Idols were wearing. Anoop had quite the George Michael look going.
Well, the judges finally used their save last week somewhat confusingly on Matt Giraud. The good news is now that the save has been used, we don't have to endure any more of the awkward begging from the contestants at the end of the show. The bad news is that two people are getting eliminated this week. The worse news is that it's disco night.
In all fairness, though, this group is unlike most Idol groups in that they seem to do better with the more well-defined themes. When it's a free-for-all, like with the Billboard night, they lose their way and everything dissolves into chaos. Disco night just further proves this theory. With a few exceptions, the group manages to turn in vocally solid, interesting and original performances.
I love the movie Flashdance, so I got all excited when the Idols started singing "Maniac" for their group number. But then I quickly deflated when I realized their version is nothing like the movie version with Jennifer Beals doing her butt dance. I'm not a lesbian, but watching that scene always makes me wish I was. Bring on the leg warmers and ripped sweatshirt.
After that, we had some footage of the Idols attending the red carpet premiere of 17 Again and getting to meet Zac Efron, Leslie Mann and the other stars of the film. Zac was in the Idol audience, too, wearing some goofy ski hat and looking like nine miles of bad road, but whatever.
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