None of them knew exactly how badly injured Medina's fiancée was until she was brought into the audition room in a wheelchair. "It just broke our hearts," said Lopez, "and she was a huge Steven Tyler fan. She was so overwhelmed when she saw Steven. This is the great thing about this show. It's about the people, it's about human experience and dreams."
Oprah agreed, saying what motivates people at home to vote is identifying with the different contestants. "They see a little bit of themselves," she said.
17,000 people in Nashville lined up for their shot at auditioning for 'American Idol.' And they quite possibly found the biggest BS'er we can find in America.
...and Randy Jackson is not about to have it.
Randy is hardly the Simon Cowell substitute this season, but something about those who don't take their 'American Idol' audition seriously just ruffles this usually jovial judge the wrong way.
Christine McCaffrey might want to take a stab at stand-up comedy by making her audition a joke, but she's definitely not going to Hollywood.
'American Idol' airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8PM ET on Fox
Jimmy Kimmel asked him to rate Jennifer Lopez as a singer on a scale of 1 to 10. "I think Jennifer would definitely get a 7."
Kimmel was flabbergasted. "If I was in front of Jennifer Lopez and she said, 'You can't sing,' I'd go, 'Neither can you!'"
The two agreed, though, that it's more about the package with most singers these days. "You look at Britney, you look at Kesha, you look at Gaga," Jackson said. "You look at these people and they're not like my girl Mariah Carey with this unbelievable [voice]."
Jay Leno apparently ran sort on the tough questions, because after asking the gimme question f what they're looking for in talent this year, he resorted to asking which of them took the longest to get ready for a taping.
After pointing at one another, Jackson set the record straight about Lopez. "Honestly, we don't know about Jennifer ... Somehow she gets ready at home or somewhere."
(So, this means Steven Tyler is the new Randy? Wonder what "dawg" will be replaced by?)
'Idol sources told E! that Jackson "has stepped up his game and is being more blunt and bottom line. He's definitely not wishy-washy. He's, like, rebranded himself a little."
Meanwhile, other sources told PopEater's Rob Shuter that Lopez can't remember Jackson's name.
Try, no more guest judges or mentors. And no more forcing everyone to sing disco.
Here's the top tidbits TV Squad learned at this morning's press conference.
Who's the new Simon Cowell?
"We're not looking to replace Simon," insisted Fox executive Mike Darnell. 'Idol' producer Nigel Lythgoe added, "It isn't about role playing. It's about being yourself. That was Simon's character and [the new judges] are going to stay true to their characters."
Without further ado, here is a random sampling of the some of the stuff that Ms. DeGeneres has been thinking about lately. The full list covered such important topics as Oprah Winfrey, 'The View,' and the new iPod, but after the jump, we have some of the other highlights ...
What, you need more proof that Hamm has the live comedy chops? Check out his solid hosting gig on 'Saturday Night Live' last season and the opening performance at the 2010 Emmy Awards.
Also on tap for '30 Rock' season 5 is Emmy winner Paul Giamatti. He'll play a grouchy editor in the second episode.
In other TV news ...
• Brad Pitt is lending his voice to a documentary about the New Orleans Saints and their Super Bowl win last year. The film will air on the NFL Network on Sept. 8 at 9PM. [Perez Hilton]
• Randy Jackson will officially return to 'American Idol' next season. Nigel Lythgoe confirmed Jackson will have a seat on the panel, but the other judges are still a mystery. Lythgoe told reporters Elton John will probably not be joining the Fox reality series. [Zap2It]
• The first 'Modern Family' gay kiss has been filmed. Yes, it's going to happen after months of buzz and unnecessary controversy. "It's a very organic kiss. People are going to be very surprised when they see it." [E! Online]
Well, fortunately, on 'The Kilborn File' (weeknights, 7PM ET on Fox), host Craig Kilborn swooped in to save the day. During his 'Power Panel,' Craig had several guest comedians suggest possible new alternate judges. Among their suggestions? Mel Gibson and Christopher Walken. (Mel was mentioned because the show needs someone "foreign ... and mean.")
Cool! Mel and Walken! Sort of pretty terrifying. That sounds like the worst/best series ever, but we would definitely at least check it out. Also, during the suggestion phase of the show, comic Kevin Pollak did his Christopher Walken impersonation, which was pretty good. ... But for the record, we still think that this is the best Walken impersonation of all time. We're just saying.*
E! News caught up with Randy Jackson last night, and while he's toeing the FOX party line of ignorance when it comes to possible judge casting, he did admit that he would happily sit next to J. Lo come January. "If Jennifer Lopez is a judge I would be very happy," he said. "I love her."
However, the Dawg wouldn't comment any further, saying, "The only thing that's for sure is Ryan [Seacrest]. Nothing has been decided."
This means that there's no deal for Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler to be judges, no deal for Nigel Lythgoe to return as executive producer. Rice and FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly both deflected questions from the gathered critics about the 'Idol' judging panel, including the status of Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson. Rice would not get into speculating about the judges because "it's not fair to those being speculated about."
All he would really say is that some of the speculation around who the new names are going to be is close to true, and a lot of it is wildly false. One thing Reilly did say in the reporter's scrum after the panel is that the goal is to announce all the changes at once. Whether they'll be able to do that or not is obviously going to be determined on when they get the deals done.
More on the FOX exec panel after the jump...
In every interview the judges gave before the season started, 'American Idol' season 9 was heralded as a girls' year. And for a while, it seemed as if the most talented female, Crystal Bowersox, would win this season handily. But the last few weeks have seen contender, Lee DeWyze coming up in her rear-view mirror, and he may have overtaken her tonight.
Of course, Lee had a little help from his mentor this week, Simon Cowell, who picked Lee's song for the Judges' Choice round.
Here's my deal: We need to have a Crystal/Casey finale, and Siobhan needs to go tonight. While the judges loved her, my ears told me that she sounded like a cat being mauled to death last night. I honestly do not understand the praise that is being heaped upon her. I'd be just as happy if Aaron the wedding singer left, but even I can admit that he hasn't had a bad performance in several weeks.
But no matter who actually goes tonight, one thing's for certain: there's going to be about 50 minutes of filler leading up to it. Tonight, we get Rascal Flatts, Shakira, vampires, emo violinists, and a whole lot of other things that only the evil geniuses behind 'Idol' can dream up in an effort to stretch 5 minutes of show into an hour.
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