Since Leno and Eubanks teamed up in 1992, the ante has been upped tremendously for late-night musicians, with Conan O'Brien first bringing in E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg to head his band. And then Jimmy Fallon found the best part of his show, convincing revered hip-hop group the Roots to be the house group.
More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about a major category that came of age in the aughts: Reality shows.
While I would never call myself a reality TV junkie, it really bugs me when people make blanket statements like, "I hate reality TV," or, "Reality TV is the bane of my existence." The genre has grown so much in the past decade that it has become just like scripted television, in that there's good and there's bad. Even though we're splitting this up into two lists, "Reality," and "Trashy Reality," you won't see a single show that starts with, "Who Wants to Marry" on either list.
This list is dedicated not to the guilty pleasures, but to the shows that you wouldn't be embarrassed for your neighbors to know you watch: the classy reality, if you will. So without further ado, here is TV Squad's list of the best reality shows of the decade.
He once saved a crowded school bus from falling off of a cliff ... using only a scarf.
Firefighters blamed him for the Laguna Wildfire when his Aviator sunglasses came in contact with the sun.
People stop and stare at every word he writes, particularly when he writes "boobs."
He is the most interesting man in the world. And his name is Charles Nelson Reilly. The actor, comedian, director and Match Game fixture has been posthumously immortalized by comedy musician "Weird Al" Yankovic in a new hilarious online single called "CNR".
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!
We open up with a really weird slow-motion retrospective of notable past auditions to "It's a Wonderful World." I always forget how skinny and young Clay was. Seacrest has changed a lot too-- and informs us that "THIS is American Idol" from what looks to be a perch on the edge of the Grand Canyon.
Oh my God. They're showing that amazing video of those little girls completely losing it over David Archuleta not winning last season. I am laughing so hard right now. This is officially the best episode of American Idol ever.
Welcome to the final installment of "AI Aftermath," where we explore Idol's past. Each installment, as one more American Idol hopeful is eliminated from the competition, we take a look back at contestants past who were eliminated at the same point. We'll examine how they did on the show and what they've been up to since their eliminations. In honor of David Cook's crowning as your American Idol, we will look back at other winners.
This week: The Winners, featuring Kelly Clarkson (Season One), Ruben Studdard (Season Two), Fantasia Barrino (Season Three), Carrie Underwood (Season Four), Taylor Hicks (Season Five) and Jordin Sparks (Season Six).
Anyway, last night's epic battle got me thinking about past American Idol finales and whether any of them were this much of a contest. It seems like we've gone into most of the American Idol finales with obvious winners. Here's a breakdown of the past American Idol finales, and whether they stack up to last night's performances:
With Clay Aiken having wrapped up his run as Sir Robin in Spamalot, the Idol quotient on Broadway was down. Fortunately for theatergoers, it's Taylor Hicks to the rescue. Kind of. He's a bit of a step down from Clay Aiken, isn't he? I mean, Clay's new album debuted at number four, and Taylor was dropped from his label.
Whichever way you see it, Hicks will be joining the cast of Grease to take on the role of Teen Angel. Should you be in the area, you can head over to the Brooks Atkinson Theater and hear his version of "Beauty School Dropout." An interesting TV side-note, this production of Grease stars Laura Osnes and Max Crumm. You may remember them as being the winners of the ill-fated NBC show, You're The One That I Want.
And yet, I don't get nearly as annoyed when Jeff Probst yells "Come on in guys. [Team A] getting their first look at the new [Team B]. [Contestant Name] voted out at the last tribal council," even though he does it every single week. "[Team members], you're the last team to arrive. I'm sorry to tell you that you've both been eliminated from The Amazing Race." No big deal. So why do Ryan, Simon and the gang at American Idol drive us so crazy week after week?
How much cooler would it be to send your stalker letter to Kelly Clarkson with a Kelly Clarkson stamp? As Ryan Seacrest announced on last night's American Idol "Idol Gives Back" special, PhotoStamps has inked a deal with the show to produce commemorative stamps featuring the likenesses of each of the Idol winners so far, including this year's winner. In fact, Kelly Clarkson's PhotoStamp is already available, with subsequent stamps released each Tuesday.
So if you're planning to kidnap one of Kelly's hats and send her a ransom note with cut-out letters from various newspaper articles about her, demanding that she go out on a date with you if she ever wants to see it again, go that extra mile and show her you really care in that extra-special creepy way by using a Kelly Clarkson PhotoStamp! Remember, net proceeds from the sales of these stamps go to charity. And while you may be crazy, that doesn't mean you don't care!
But MJ's Big Blog has what you need. No more aimless driving around America shouting "Can anyone tell me where Gina Glocksen is performing tonight?" or "Has anyone seen Jessica Sierra, she still owes me bail money?" Now you can go to one place and plan your journey like the Deadheads before you. Now you can follow Ace Young as he travels around various Borders signing Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul, and you can catch Diana DeGarmo at the Braves opener. Oh, and if you're in Atlanta at Kroger tonight, look up Melinda Doolittle, buy some ice cream and tell her I said "Hi."
It's a no-brainer really. Last year's American Idol charity-special, "Idol Gives Back," racked up killer ratings for FOX and raised $75 million for charities in the U.S. and Africa. And more importantly it brought in killer ratings for FOX (did I say that already)! Of course they're going to do it again this year, and now according to Variety, they've set the date for "Idol Gives Back 2008." April 9, 8/7c the two-hour star-studded extravaganza will once again bombard our retinas.
But everything between 8:00 and 10:05 was just filler or commercials. We came here tonight to crown the next American Idol. The judges give their final thoughts. Randy says, "It's Jordin, baby." Paula is just proud of everyone. She congratulates them both. Simon congratulates Jordin (his pick based on the last song Tuesday night).
74 million votes were cast Tuesday night (for a combined total of 609 million votes cast over the season) and this year's American Idol is ...
And neither does Simon Cowell. Mr. Opinionated was uncharacteristically at a loss for a definitive prediction, telling reporters: "I can't call it at this stage. For Blake, he's a brilliant entertainer, but the negative is he's not a fantastic singer. The advantage for Jordin is she is a great singer and the negative is she hasn't done one performance yet which I can remember as a 'wow."'
Several weeks ago, I decided that Jordin Sparks was definitely a shoo-in as this year's winner. And both Ryan Seacrest and the odds makers agreed with me, making me that much more confident in my pick. But after last week's results, I'm no longer so sure.
Odds makers are also predicting a final showdown between Jordin and Blake, leaving Melinda as a third place finisher. But we all know that anything can happen - and it ain't over until Seacrest is out.
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