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Entertainment behind the scenes

“American Idol” gets personal with top 13

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USA/Now that “American Idol” has eliminated the dross, it has 13 top contestants and the reality singing competition is in full swing.

What that means is the judges get more hyperbolic about how seriously everyone has to take the competition, and the video packages on the contestants get more personal, taking viewers into their homes and giving mini biographies on each one.

Tonight, viewers learned that blind contestant Scott MacIntyre has been that way since birth, and that his sister is also visually impaired. Lil Rounds was once forced out of her home by a tornado. Oil industry roughneck Michael Sarver was revealed to have grown up without a father. Jorge Nunez told the camera that since his grandfather died, his large family has drifted apart (even though all 40 of them still pack into the same house) and that his run on “Idol” has brought everyone together.

Because a lot of the competition on “Idol” revolves around contestants’ “likeability,” the video packages play an important part, especially if a singer has a sympathetic story.

Is four a crowd on “American Idol”?

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paula-abdul1“American Idol” judges Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi appear to have a difference of opinion. Abdul, an original member of the reality talent show’s judging panel, was quoted by OK! magazine as saying that having four judges instead of three is not the best fit for the show.

“It takes up so much time for each of us to give our opinion that it slows down the pace of the show,” Abdul told the magazine.

“American Idol” nixes nine

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The Fox television show “American Idol” eliminated nine contestants on Wednesday night, allowing single mother Alexis Grace, widower Danny Gokey and oil rig worker Michael Sarver to advance.paula-abdul

A lot of contestants went home unhappy in the show’s first voter-driven elimination round. In past seasons, 24 contestants competed for votes. But the cast was expanded to 36 this season with nine contestants eliminated in each of three opening rounds of 12 contestants. Then, another three contestants will be brought back to the show as wildcards. Aside from some complicated math, the show’s new format also means numerous contestants are eliminated early on, just as viewers are starting to get to know them. 

Who will survive “Idol’s” opening round?

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The judges on ”American Idol” broke down many of the first 12 competitors to take the cowellstage Tuesday night, saving their praise for a widower and a 21-year-old mom. Who will survive and who will go down on Wednesday night’s results show?

If “Idol” voters take their cue from the judges, the three competitors who will make it through will be Alexis Grace, Danny Gokey and either Anoop Desai, Rick Braddy, Michael Sarver or Tatiana Del Toro. The judges had very little good to say about the rest of the contestants.

“Bikini Girl,” new judge heat up “Idol” season premiere

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idol_cast1The eighth season of “American Idol” kicked off on Tuesday night, bringing back all the hijinks viewers have come to expect from the world’s most popular reality talent show.

The huddled masses of singers yearning to be the next Kelly Clarkson or Chris Daughtry came out to a sweltering Phoenix, Arizona, where the now four celebrity judges either cooed over or mocked them as only “Idol” judges can.

New “Idol” judge brings girl power challenge “bully brother” Simon

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Simon Cowell may have the casting vote in early audition rounds of “American Idol” but it sounds like new judge Kara DioGuardi and Paula Abdul bring some girl power of their own to the tart-tongued British judge they call a ‘”bully”FASHION/LEISURE.

“He’s the bully brother!. Sometimes we love each other, and sometimes I try to change seats. He’s annoying sometimes. I have to reel him in.  Kara finally sees what it’s like for me –  my own private hell,” Abdul told reporters of her love-hate relationship with Cowell.

New “Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi brings feisty opinion to show

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LEISURESongwriter and producer Kara DioGuardi joins the “American Idol” judging line-up when the talent show returns for an 8th season this coming Tuesday, adding a fascinating twist to the Paula-Randy-Simon dynamic that has been as much a part of the TV’ show’s attraction as the contestants themselves.

But how will she fit in?  DioGuardi, who has worked with former Idol Kelly Clarkson and written songs for Carrie Underwood,  described her own persona on the panel as  “pretty feisty and opinionated but  also coming from a good place and who is trying to help the contestants.”

“American Idol” — time to stop the laughter?

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USA/“American Idol” returns in January with a few tweaks but broadly the same mix of  tone-deaf singers and potential gems among the thousands trying out in the early audition rounds.

Snarky comments, and sometime helpless laughter from the judges, about the hopeless singers have always been a big part of the show’s appeal.

Paula puts nail in Syesha’s coffin as “Idol” heads to finish

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syesha.jpgNot many “American Idol” viewers expected to see Syesha Mercado make it past this week. Let’s face it, a face-off between the two Davids, Archuleta and Cook, has been considered a foregone conclusion for weeks now.

But notwithstanding the near certainty of a David showdown, it was still a shock to see Paula Abdul administer Mercado’s death sentence on Tuesday night’s episode.

Mercado likens her “Idol” run to Civil Rights Movement

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mercado.jpgThere’s no question that Syesha Mercado is one tough “American Idol” contestant.

Week after week, the 21-year-old beauty from Sarasota, Florida, has stepped up her game, delivering performances in recent episodes that many thought she wasn’t capable of. Now, despite having been among the lowest three vote-getters a whopping five times, Mercado is the only woman to have made it to the show’s Top 4.

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