Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

X Factor dictates UK charts … again

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coleThere appears to be one factor and one factor only in dictating chart success in Britain at the moment, and that factor is X.

Alexandra Burke, last year’s winner of the talent TV contest, performed her new song “Bad Boys” recently on the popular show and stormed to the top of the UK charts with the fastest-selling single so far this year. The 185,000 copies sold was more than twice the total shifted by Robbie Williams, who is making his long-awaited comeback.

Williams also showcased his new song “Bodies” on the X Factor, but the magic failed to rub off after a disjointed performance during which the former Take That singer appeared nervous. Still, one of British pop’s biggest names clearly felt the need to appear on the programme in order to reach an audience that can peak at nearly 15 million viewers.

And now there is Cheryl Cole, a judge on the contest and member of girl band “Girls Aloud” who is launching her solo career. Needless to say, she was invited to perform her new single “Fight For This Love” on the show, and, despite a performance many viewers would describe as mediocre at best and possibly something much worse, looks set to top the charts when they are announced on Sunday.

Ryan Seacrest looks for “sexual tension” from new “American Idol” judge Ellen DeGeneres

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 ryan-seacrestThe stars of Fox’s “American Idol” expect great things from new judge Ellen DeGeneres , but they are all saying something different about her addition to the judging panel of Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi, and her replacement of songstress Paula Abdul.

Host Ryan Seacrest told Fox News at the Primetime Emmy awards on Sunday that DeGeneres, a comedian with her own daytime chat show, is a “superstar.”

Can Ellen fill Paula’s shoes on “American Idol”?

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“American Idol” producers moved swiftly to replace Paula Abdul with comedian and TV chat show host Ellen DeGeneres  as the new judge on the show which starts again in January.

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But is Ellen the right fit for the show?

Fans are split and even media watchers were stunned by the move, which serves the dual function of closing the door permanently on Paula, and making the show talked about all over again after a summer of shock announcements.

Susan Boyle – Let the blame game commence

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boyleSusan Boyle has been admitted to a private clinic in London after suffering from exhaustion, and, according to the Sun tabloid, an “emotional breakdown”. After capturing people’s imagination the world over in April with her singing performance on “Britain’s Got Talent”, the 48-year-old Scot’s travails are headline news once again, at least in her home country. Predictably, the blame game has already begun, and following is a list of the main culprits in the whole saga, if press reports, commentators and pundits are to be believed:

1. The press: Some sections of the media, which had a big part in Boyle’s meteoric rise to fame, have apparently relished the chance to knock her off her perch. Those blaming the press point to reports late last week of Boyle throwing tantrums, of her threats to quit the show ahead of Saturday’s final and more generally of her inability to cope with the pressure.

She lost! So what now for Susan Boyle?

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boyleSo Susan Boyle DIDN’T win “Britain’s Got Talent”. After the show turned her into a household name in more countries than I could list, the 48-year-old came second in Saturday’s final, surprisingly losing out to street dancers Diversity. Now don’t get me wrong. Diversity were impressive, and the choreography was as good as the execution on the night. It’s just that the momentum behind Boyle, one of the biggest Internet stars in history, was so great that it had been widely assumed she would walk off with the cheque for 100,000 pounds and the headlines on Sunday.

It was not to be, but this is unlikely to be the end of the road for Boyle. A lucrative recording contract is surely only days away as labels, notably Simon Cowell’s very own Syco, seek to trade in on her global fame, fine voice and anti-celebrity appeal. Some might feel that losing out to Diversity could be a blessing in disguise for a woman who has struggled to cope with the demands her instant celebrity has brought. She threatened to walk out of the show, had an altercation with journalists and reports said she had to be taken to a “safe house” in the days leading to the final to escape the limelight. Perhaps coming second will give her a little space and time to recover from what judge Cowell rightly called “a weird seven weeks”.

“Idol” singers have “chill” attitudes ahead of finale

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They went head-to-head in the final showdown of “American Idol” on Tuesday night, but if any animosity exists between finalists Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, it was not apparent when they spoke to reporters backstage after the show.

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The only moment of friction, and it was all a joke, came when Lambert, the taller contestant between the two, lowered the microphone for the shorter Allen after the two stepped onto a speakers’ podium. Allen laughed at the gesture.

Is Kris Allen really a dark horse going into “Idol” finale?

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USA/“American Idol” on Tuesday entered the last week of competition before the finale, and we at “Fan Fare” had the good fortune to land second-row seats in the talent show’s live studio audience. (For the record, this twist of fate had nothing to do with our coverage of the show — it was good old-fashioned standing in line combined with almost two years of being on a waiting list.)

Watching “Idol” in its natural habitat revealed dozens of quirks imperceptible to the 25 million or so viewers who tune in at home. First off, the studio was smaller than expected — even more intimate than watching a live show in a theater. One audience member in our row even remarked that it was smaller than her college lecture hall.

“Idol” judges throw stones on Rock Week

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In contrast to last week on “American Idol” when it seemed the contestants could do no wrong, the judges found plenty of stones to throw at the Top 4 on Rock Week. Except for Adam Lambert, who as usual thrilled the panelists.allison-iraheta

Lambert, coming off his shocking first trip to the Bottom Three last week, sang British supergroup Led Zeppelin’s hit “Whole Lotta Love” and struck all the high notes, jerking his head to the side in rhythm with the band and glowering with an expression Elvis Presley might have worn if he was fused with John Travolta. The judges loved it. 

“Idol” judge Paul Abdul details painkiller dependency

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paula-abdul“American Idol” judge Paula Abdul has opened up about the effect her dependence on painkillers had on her life, after her sometimes erratic behavior on the show and in television interviews has caused many commentators to say she at times appeared to be under the influence.

In an interview with Ladies Home Journal posted on the magazine’s Web site on Tuesday, Abdul said that for the first time in a dozen years she is no longer dependent on medication, after checking into a California resort last fall to wean herself of the medication.

“American Idol” David Cook’s brother dies of cancer

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david-cook“American Idol” has experienced a death in the family, as the 37-year-old brother of the show’s 2008 winner David Cook died of brain cancer on Saturday, media outlets reported.

Adam Cook had suffered from brain cancer for years, and when David Cook competed on “American Idol” last year, Adam was there to cheer him on.

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