February 10th, 2010
09:39 AM ET

Hollywood week kicks off on 'Idol'

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The first day of Hollywood week was brutal.

Folks were getting cut left and right. Some like Antonio “Skiiboski” Wheeler were not completely unexpected. Others who you had high hopes for that didn’t make it like Amedeo DiRocco were more surprising.

Then there were just the downright sad ones like the quaint Vanessa Wolfe whose back story included how it sucked to be stuck in her hometown, how it sucked to be her, how it sucked that she couldn’t even go to the local mall, etc. (you get the picture).

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January 13th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

'Idol' premiere No. 1 in ratings

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Some “Idol” fans may be wringing their hands over the loss of Paula Adbul and the impending exit of Simon Cowell, but that apparently didn’t stop folks from tuning in to the premiere.

The most successful show on television scored big Tuesday night with 29.8 million viewers and a first place showing in the Nielsen ratings.

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October 14th, 2009
02:50 PM ET

The new troika: Paula Abdul, Adam Lambert and Snoop

Paula Abdul sported a black church lady hat and Adam Lambert rocked a skinny bow tie, but it was Snoop Dogg who elicited catcalls from the media when he strolled into the Beverly Hills press conference to announce nominees for the 2009 American Music Awards. The rapper had traded in his signature football jersey and braids for a vest, a velvet blazer, a slicked-back ponytail and a pair of nerd glasses. "This is about me stepping up and becoming a bigger, better person and becoming a business," he confided after the presser. "I'm the new President/Creative Director of Priority Records." Does this mean the iconic hip-hop star has turned over a new leaf, so to speak? Well, judge for yourself. When we asked him if marijuana should be legalized, he had this to say: "You know how I stand. I stand very high on that!"

Lambert tells us he's been buried in a studio, working on his new album - which he described as "glam rock packaged in a pop sensibility." He gave a thumbs-up to the gay rights rally that took place in D.C. over the weekend, saying "I think it's great. I think it's a civil rights issue, and I think people deserve to be heard on it. I believe in equal rights for everybody." He said his Rolling Stone cover story was liberating. "To really sit down with a reporter and talk about me from the ground up was really, really great, and I feel like we got a lot of stuff out of the closet - literally cleaned out that closet - so hopefully people can focus on the music." His debut CD hits stores November 24th - two days after he performs on the AMAs.

As for Ms. Paula Abdul... she gave us this Sarah Palin-esque answer when we asked if a show in Vegas was in the cards as part of her post-"Idol" life. "I have many different opportunities in Las Vegas, which I've been offered for years, but the timing is right because I have TV projects that I'm doing - a lot of different things that are very exciting that I get to continue to live my dream now."

However, she was much more succinct when discussing frustration that the "Idol" women have been pitted against each other in the media. "No one ever said anything about the guys, and I know for a fact there was jealousy going around with the guys - bigger dressing rooms, trailers, someone buys a house for X amount of millions, and the other one says, 'Well, I bought the whole land.' And then somebody got J. Lo's interior designer. 'Well, I bought J. Lo!' That's how it would work, you know."

September 16th, 2009
02:06 PM ET

An open letter to Paula Abdul

Dear Paula,

First off, we're really sorry to see you leave "American Idol." Even though we don't quite understand why the reported $3 million you were making on the show wasn't enough, we respect your decision. And yes, we are looking forward to seeing you host the return of “VH1 Divas" on Thursday night. Because we really do love you.

And it's because we love you that we feel it's time for some tough love and blunt advice: Fire your team. Whether it was your PR people, manager, agent, or gardener who advised you during your "American Idol" contract talks, someone clearly and repeatedly dropped the ball. And as your business-minded ex-colleague Simon Cowell would agree, somebody on Team Paula deserves to get sent packing. Need convincing? We count at least three colossal goofs that were made on your behalf in recent weeks:

1.) In July, presumably during the height of your salary talks with "American Idol," your manager told the Los Angeles Times that you might not return to the show. If that was a ploy to rally the American people into a "Save Paula" frenzy that would have folks jamming phone lines, taking to the streets and packing town hall meetings until "Idol's" producers showed you the money, then it backfired big time. Instead, that defiant public statement during what had been private salary talks probably made both sides dig in their heels. Your fate on "American Idol" likely was sealed right there and then. Strike One.

2.) To announce your departure from "American Idol," you opted not to work with your former employers to issue the standard "Paula-has-decided-to-pursue-other-opportunities" press release. No, that would have just let everyone save face - and left open the door for you to come back later. Instead, you blindsided your "Idol" colleagues (and closed, barricaded and nailed shut the door to your return) by announcing your "Idol" departure in a short Twitter post. Now, Paula, this one was mostly your bad. But it was your team's job to save you from yourself - even if it had meant hiding your BlackBerry. Strike Two.

3.) The day Ellen DeGeneres was announced as your replacement, "Showbiz Tonight" asked your publicists for a comment. Their response: "No statement from Paula. She has moved on." This was the most baffling mistake yet! A warm statement of congratulations and best wishes would have made you look classy and cost you nothing. Instead, you looked petty. Yes, your people eventually did release a more gracious statement. But a star of your caliber needs a team that gets it right the first time. Strike Three.

We know that you're an incredibly sweet person. So if you find it hard to summon the ruthlessness to fire your team and save your career, just re-read this letter. And then ask yourself one simple question: what would Simon do?

To paraphrase one of our favorite songs of yours: "We're Forever Your Fans."

September 10th, 2009
10:07 AM ET

And Ellen DeGeneres was chosen because?

I’m going to try real hard not to incur the wrath of Ellen DeGeneres fans here. The announcement that Ellen will replace Paula Abdul as a judge on “American Idol” this coming season left me cold.

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Sure, I know Ellen loves the show and appreciates music. For that matter, so do I.

But, in my opinion, that hardly qualifies one to be a judge on “Idol.”

It reminds me of last season when Quentin Tarantino served as a coach. He too has a love of music and all things “Idol,” but watching him try to guide contestants through their rehearsals was just plain painful.

For all of her bucket of crazy, Paula at least brought the perspective of a performer. She knew what it was like to face an audience on your best – and worst – days and I believe that contributed to her desire to always try and find the positive.

Perhaps if there weren’t going to be four judges (which felt bloated and unnecessary to me last season), I might be more enthusiastic. With Paula, Randy, and Simon there was balance. With the addition of Kara DioGuardi things just felt out of whack to me and a strong judge is needed to counterbalance it all.

I imagine Ellen will provide more than a few laughs, but I am trying to envision what else she will bring other than the enthusiasm of a super fan.

What do you think? Was Ellen DeGeneres a good choice for a fourth judge?

August 10th, 2009
03:18 PM ET

Outpouring of support for Paula Abdul

A few weeks ago I posted a blog where I said that I wouldn’t mind if Paula Abdul left American Idol for greener pastures. At the time, I never thought in a million years that she wouldn’t come back to Idol, I just was voicing my opinion that I wouldn’t be devastated if she didn’t. For all of the flack that Paula gets, I didn’t think I would be the only one that felt that way.  Boy was I wrong! 

Ever since Paula sent out her bombshell tweets, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for her. I have to tell you that I honestly didn’t know how many people liked her on the show. It seemed to me that Paula was constantly the butt of every American Idol joke that was made- so how is it that so many people are threatening to boycott the show now that she is gone? I don’t understand it!

I think it is wonderful to be supportive of someone; I am truly touched by how much people seem to care about Paula and her future.  My question is simply this: where were these people when she was on Idol? When she had a hard time stumbling through her sentences and at times was a little bit of a national joke? Remember when she couldn’t remember if a contestant had sung once or twice? People were saying that it was time for her to leave the show. So why the public outrage now? What changed?

What do you think? Will you watch American Idol without Paula?

For all of the latest details on the Great Paula Abdul American Idol Debate, be sure to watch Showbiz Tonight at 11pm ET/PT on HLN- don’t miss it!

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