It was only the second year of the fan-voted country music competition, but the stars weren't shy at showing up to the sophomore event. Fan support certainly helped former 'American Idol' contestants from the first season to now.
After all the upheaval surrounding Season 10 after the departure of Simon Cowell and the most of the judging panel, Lythgoe says he's done changing the show around. He told the AP "I think we made a lot of tweaks last year. I'm not sure that we want to make too many more tweaks this year."
Lythgoe acknowledged that the biggest change he made to the show in Season 10, which was to stop making contestants sing in styles other than their own, had been a game-changer. It produced the first country winner since 2005, and made it possible for contestants like Casey Abrams to go further in the competition than they might have done otherwise.
An estimated 50 million viewers were watching as country crooner McCreery was revealed to be lip-syncing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
Meanwhile, Alaina can now join the pantheon of singers -- yes, we mean you Christina Aguilera, Cyndia Lauper and ... um ... Scotty McCreery -- who've flubbed the national anthem on live TV.
If you're going so far as to have a former 'American Idol' alum write a song for her, you want her to be able to remember it. Or at least stick in the DVD and rewatch it.
Taylor seemed to enjoy Ace Young's presence at the festivities even more than she loves his song -- and she cried the first time she heard that. "If you were any cuter," she started. "You're killing me right now!"
"You've got to find somebody and you've gotta show how you can turn them into a real winner in the real world. Not within a competition, 'cuz someone's always going to win a show, somebody you can say ... we helped make this person into a star," he explained.
In the next few months, McCreery will be singing the National Anthem at Game 1 of the World Series and going on the road with Brad Paisley. Five days after his CD comes out, he turns 18. "We're actually going to have a big concert, CD release birthday bash," he told Ann Curry.
'American Idol' fan favorite Casey Abrams checked in with 'Good Day LA' (weekdays, 9AM PT on Fox) to talk about the 'Idols Summer Tour' and perform a very 'Casey' interpretation of the Rob Thomas/Santana song 'Smooth.'
He reported that all of the former 'Idol' contestants were getting along well on the tour. "More than you'd imagine," he said. "James Durbin got us into wrestling ... watching it, we weren't doing it."
Casey's eclectic style, which is a little rock and a lot of jazz, got him all the way to the Top 6 in Season 10, but he didn't connect with everyone. When Dorothy Lucey asked him if he thought he was too weird for 'Idol,' he concurred. "I feel ... yes, yeah. A little too much, you know?"
Toscano said she and Ballas were busy, and just friends. "I'm on tour right now, he's starting his season, we're both very supportive of each other, he's got a wonderful album out," she said. "We're just doing out thing, we're focusing on our careers and we're good friends."
Though a track list has not yet been revealed, we do know that Scotty's breakout hit, 'I Love You This Big,' will be on the album. The tune made Billboard history earlier this year, leaving the North Carolina native pleasantly shocked.
"That's very humbling for me," he told The Boot. "Just a week after 'Idol,' I heard about it in an interview and I was taken aback. I'm looking forward to what else I can do, if I can work my tail off to get there! If I can break another record, we'll see, but I've gotta just work, work work."
After this year's 'American Idol' finalists Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery made the top two, life has changed for the teenagers in the last few months. Scotty was named this year's 'American Idol' winner, and Lauren the runner-up, and both have been focusing entirely on their careers ever since. First, they kicked off the American Idols LIVE! Tour with fellow finalists from the year, and now they're working on their debut albums. AOL TV's friends at The Boot sat down with both Scotty and Lauren before the Nashville stop of the trek to get the scoop on their rapid rise to fame, along with Lauren's recovery from her big fall.
Where were you this time last year?
Scotty: At this time last year, I would have been on the baseball field. We have spring ball for the school, and summer ball, getting ready for the school. So, I would have been on the baseball field pitching away.
And where are you a year later?
Scotty: Yesterday, I was in the studio, working away and recording some songs for the new album. We've got two or three done. I've definitely been writing. For this album, I don't think any of my original stuff will be on it, because it's happened so quick for me, and it's rapid-fire. We're definitely still writing and jamming out on the bus.
"It seems like forever, but at the same time, it seems like only yesterday," she said. "And I think about it and it's like, almost five years, and I'm just like, I can't believe it." Sparks said she loved working on Broadway and would do it again if the right project popped up. Of course, she'd have to fit that in between tours to support her music. "I just finished in July, but it's like, I'm just like the Energizer bunny," she said, "I just keep going and going and going and going and going. It's insane."
Grayson and Kim were suspicious when they interviewed Tyler, finding out that he left Irina on good terms. She didn't max out his credit cards and returned the engagement ring. "I felt terrible, but after a couple of months I just realized she wasn't right for me," said Tyler.
According to 'The Wall Street Journal,' Lopez is close to signing a deal that will bring her back to the 'American Idol' judging panel for at least one more season.
When Lopez's original one-year contract -- estimated at $12 million -- expired back in May she said she was "on the fence" about committing to the series for another season, and she's been pitching her own TV talent show to networks.
'Idol' execs, in return, then let it be known that they were lining up possible replacements should they be unable to lure her back.
"Today Simon Fuller filed a legal complaint against Fox Broadcasting Company and Fremantle in the State of California over their refusal to honor a 2005 contract that granted Mr. Fuller an executive producer credit and fees on the 'X Factor' television program in the US. Mr. Fuller has prudently attempted to settle this matter privately but the other parties have refused to honor the original contract leaving him no other choice but to pursue legal action," Fuller's publicist said in a statement to Deadline.
"If I sing in the house he gets upset and tells me to be quiet," said Aiken. "Or if I sing along with the TV, 'Don't sing.'" The odd part is, when they get into the car, Parker loves to hear his dad's CD. "Which is so much more miserable for me," said Aiken. "I would rather sing than have to hear myself. I don't want to listen to myself. But he's very insistent, so I listen to myself a lot more in the car than I care to."
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