America’s Got Stern!

Howard Stern – who’s barely safe for radio – may be appearing as a judge on America’s Got Talent. The shock jock is apparently in negotiations to replace Piers Morgan who’s leaving the show, according to a source close to the deal. It seems an unlikely pair – the radio host who’s known for his racy, freewheeling style, and a network show that has a wide range of viewers including a younger fan base as well as families.

It might be an interesting counterpart to what American Idol had going for it with Simon Cowell, but Stern would still have to keep himself a bit in check even using Cowell as a comparison! Then again, maybe NBC is thinking that even if some debacle does ensue, bad press is better than no press.

Meanwhile, Morgan announced that he would be leaving the show to focus on his CNN talk show “Piers Morgan Tonight,” and the upcoming presidential election year.


No X Factor for Cheryl Cole on Either Continent

British singer Cheryl Cole will not be appearing on any version of X Factor after being allegedly sacked from the U.S. version and missing out on the U.K. version as well.

Simon Cowell & Cheryl Cole -- Source: Wikimedia Commons

Reports last week claimed former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole had been dumped from the U.S. version of X-Factor on Fox, possibly because of her strong accent which might be hard for American viewers to understand. Cole is reportedly very angry over being ditched, especially since she ‘trusted Simon [Cowell]’.

“I had so many reservations. But he pushed me into doing it,” News of the World claims Cole said about doing the U.S. X Factor. “And then he didn’t even give me a chance to prove myself. I was gone after four days. I’ve been used.”

Of course, we all know how reliable News of the World is… but still, we’re betting Cole is pretty pissed over the whole thing. Especially since her name did not show up on the roster for the U.K. version of the show either. Cole had reportedly been offered an “olive branch” to return to the British edition of the show. Rumor claims she was insulted by the offer after being booted from the U.S. version but we don’t know if she just refused it or they took back the offer after she got nasty about it.

Producers of both version’s of the show have refused to comment about Cole. In the U.S., former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger is set to replace Cole to sit alongside Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. In the British version, Take That lead singer Gary Barlow, hip hop singer Tulisa Contostavlos and Destiny’s Child founding member Kelly Rowland will join music producer Louis Walsh.

Simon Cowell talks about X Factor and Idol

Simon Cowell has been promoting his upcoming show, The X Factor, and as you can imagine, he’s having to answer to all sorts of comparisons with his former show, American Idol.  Cowell recently said that the current judges on Idol are putting up with performances that never would have made the cut in previous seasons, and that he’s hoping The X Factor will bring back a certain strict standard to the talent show format.

Cowell went on to say that although Idol contestants tend to be formulaic, he wants people to know that contestants on the X Factor could be more distinctive, more out-there, and that artists of all kinds are encouraged to audition.  Bring on the crazies!

Simon Cowell talks about X-Factor

Simon Cowell recently discussed the names of who is and isn’t being considered as judges for his new X-Factor show, and he seems surprised about the rumors that are going around.  Most recently, the buzz has been all about Taylor Momsen, but not only does Simon say that she’s not being considered, he doesn’t even know who she is.  So that’s a no.

Apparently the potential candidates are Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Jessica Simpson.  I’m not sure if any of those people sound particularly exciting, but then again I didn’t think Jennifer Lopez would be anything special on American Idol, and she’s turned out to be a pretty good judge, if not a little boring.  Maybe Jessica could bring a little of the ditziness we loved when she was on TV a few years ago.  That was pretty entertaining.

X Factor considering options for host and judges

Simon Cowell‘s latest project, a US version of the hit UK talent show X Factor, has been feverishly looking for the right combination of a host and judges to get the show started on the right foot.  There have been a lot of rumors that ended up being not true, but now it seems that after LA Reid was signed to be the first judge, now Enrique Iglesias has been approached to take on the role of host.

It’s curious that they’ve chosen a musician to be the host and not a judge. I wonder how Enrique feels about that?  Not that his career has been going so well of late – it might be the best offer he’s had in a while.

American Idol – first season without Simon Cowell

Well, the official ratings for the premiere of season 10 of American Idol were down from last year’s numbers, and most are speculating that it’s due to the departure of the man we all loved to hate, Simon Cowell. Having said that, I did watch both shows, and I have to say that the new set of judges really works for me.

I like Steven Tyler’s energy, and Jennifer Lopez comes across as much less of an a-hole than I’m used to.  Hopefully when word gets around about how well these three work together, the ratings will go back up again, because I think the facelift actually did the show some good.

American Idol Last Night: The Final Performances

American Idol this season has often been lackluster, boring and sometimes downright painful to watch. Hands down, we think it is one of the worst seasons ever. Fully half of the contestants probably should have never stepped on the Idol stage. Too many of them lingered far too long after proving they had no business singing outside of a karaoke bar. We aren’t even going to talk about how lousy the ‘theme’ selections were from the producers this year.

Crystal Bowersox on 'American Idol' (FOX)
Crystal Bowersox on 'American Idol' (FOX)

In the end, however, we did at least manage to keep the best of the bunch for the American Idol finale. Oh, and Lee DeWyze wasn’t that bad either. While frankly we never felt DeWyze could measure up against Crystal Bowersox‘s powerhouse voice, he at least gave it everything he had last night. Head to head against Mama Sox, however, DeWyze just couldn’t compete.

For the first song, Lee DeWyze pulled out Simon & Garfunkel‘s “The Boxer”. While it wasn’t a terrible song choice, it lacked the power and passion that propelled him to possible winner status in his recent “Hallelujah” performance.

Crystal Bowersox wisely bowed to Janis Joplin for her first song choice, reprising one of her best performances of the season with “Me and Bobby McGee”. Personally, we felt this performance was even better than the first time around. It may have been a bit less ‘wow’ to listen to, but it was pure Bowersox – simple, genuine and packing a serious punch.

We don’t know what American Idol producer Simon Fuller was thinking when he picked R.E.M.‘s “Everybody Hurts” for DeWyze’s second song. He struggled for the notes and clearly lacked the vocal prowess to make the song anything but a sad shadow of the original. Then again, we firmly believe that no one but Michael Stipe should ever sing that song.

While we wouldn’t have chosen Alannah Myles‘ “Black Velvet” for Crystal Bowersox’s second performance either, we still loved it – despite a few shaky moments. Mostly we think those slightly sketchy notes were due more to the heels and tight dress Bowersox was tottering around in than any inherent flaw in her vocals.

If anyone had any doubts about who should take home the American Idol winner title this season, it should have been put to rest with the last two performances of the night. Lee DeWyze unfortunately took on Bono’s “Beautiful Day” – a song that he should probably never even sing in the shower. You never want to cringe during a performance on the American Idol finale and we did during this song, several times.

For Crystal Bowersox, however, the final song was that cathartic moment of awe we were waiting for all night long. Bowersox sang Patty Griffin‘s “Up to the Mountain” and we wanted nothing more than to climb up there to that mountain with her every step of the way. When a song literally brings a hint of tears to your eyes in the final notes, you know you’ve just been witness to greatness.

Tonight the final two will take to the American Idol stage to face the voters. Will it be Adam Lambert falling to Kris Allen all over again? Or will America choose the right American Idol winner this time?

>> Previously:  Who Will Win American Idol 2010? Our Pick