American Idol

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Sad news for American Idol fans as Simon Cowell has confirmed he will be leaving the hit show when his contract ends after the 2010 season.

This comes weeks after numerous reports speculated the AI ‘mean’ judge would be exiting the show.  Simon will judge and produce an American version of his British hit music show, The X Factor. His new show is set to debut on Fox in Fall 2011.

“Because of that this will be my last season on American Idol,” he announced Monday.  “I felt like doing something different,” he explained. “I want to leave Idol this year bigger and better than it’s been before.”

In an interview with Extra, Simon says money was not a factor in his quiting the show. He said he simply wanted and needed a new challenge. The Today Show reported Simon was offered 144 million dollars to do both American Idol and The X Factor, an offer he declined.

There are also rumors that Simon is courting former AI judge Paula Abdul to become one of the judges on the X Factor. When asked about those Paula rumors, he said: “I adore Paula. Whatever happens with her, I will be working with her in some capacity because I miss her.”

Simon was reportedly earning 34 millions a year as an AI judge.

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Ellen DeGeneres is opening up about her new role as a judge on Fox’s hit show - American Idol. The latest season of AI, set to premier Tuesday, January 12th, will feature Ellen replacing Paula Abdul as one of the judges.

When asked about fellow judge Simon Cowell, Ellen had the following to say: “We both like each other and accept one another,” DeGeneres tells Wall Street Journal. “At the same time I think he’s mean and I think he says things in an insensitive way and I don’t think that’s the way to get a point across. I’ve called him on it to his face. I’ll do the same thing to him (on Idol).”

Ellen goes on to discuss the type of judge she aims to be.  The talk show host promises to be opinionated, but can’t promise she’ll be as warm and fuzzy as her predecessor Paula.  “I don’t know if I’ll be as nurturing as she is. She always found a positive thing to say instead of attacking,” says Ellen. “I’ll probably try to be somewhat encouraging. … But I’ll be honest. I don’t think it helps anybody to be encouraged and not told the truth.”

The first couple of weeks of AI will feature guest judges. Ellen will come on the show alongside Simon, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi later on in the season.

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The newest season of American Idol is set to premier January 12th on the FOX network, and the new photos of all the judges have now been released!

TV Host Ellen DeGeneres will be taking the place of Paula Abdul in the 9th season of the hit show, but don’t expect to see Ellen anytime soon on your Television as she did not take part in the audtion part of the show. Celebrity guest judges such as Mary J. Blidge, Shania Twain, and Victoria Beckham will be the ones deciding which contestants make it to Hollywood.

“I’m very excited to be on the show,” Ellen has said of joining the show. “I will tell you that right now. I just continue to be excited every single day.”

There are also those pesky rumors that Simon Cowell will be leaving the show after this season, after his brother Tony Cowell announced on his British show that Simon plans to leave AI “at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of The X Factor to U.S. TV in 2011.” However, fellow judge Randy Jackson puts those rumors to rest by telling TMZ Simon isn’t leaving.

Only time will tell whether or not Simon will be leaving the show.

TELL US: CAN AMERICAN IDOL SURVIVE WITHOUT SIMON COWELL?

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Fox has now released the schedule for the ninth season of American Idol. They have however made some changes to the show. Returning will be the old format of 24 semifinalists, while the Wild Card round is being eliminated.

The ninth season is set to premiere over the course of two consecutive nights with a two-hour broadcast on Tuesday, January 12 and a 75-minute broadcast on Wednesday, January 13, both beginning at 8pm ET.

Not returning for the 9th season is judge Paula Abdul, who abruptly quit because she was reportedly not happy with the amount of money offered to her. Replacing Paula in the season’s auditions will be a series of guest judges which includes: Victoria Beckham (Denver and Boston), Mary J. Blige (Atlanta), Joe Jonas and Neil Patrick Harris (Dallas), Kristin Chenoweth (Orlando), Shania Twain (Chicago), and Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne (Los Angeles).

The Upcoming schedule for the 9th season is below -

  • Tuesday, Jan. 12: Boston Auditions
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13: Atlanta Auditions
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19: Chicago Auditions
  • Wednesday, Jan. 20 Orlando Auditions Episode
  • Tuesday, Jan. 26: Dallas Auditions
  • Wednesday, Jan. 27: Los Angeles Auditions
  • Tuesday, Feb. 2: Denver Auditions
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3: “The Road to Hollywood” Auditions (Ellen DeGeneres debuts)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9: Hollywood Round, Part 1
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: Hollywood Round, Part 2
  • Tuesday, Feb. 16: Hollywood Round, Part 3
  • Wednesday, Feb. 17: Hollywood Round, Part 4 (Semifinalists Announced)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23: Top 12 Women Perform
  • Wednesday, Feb. 24: Top 12 Men Perform
  • Thursday, Feb. 25: First Results Show
  • Tuesday, March 2: Top 10 Women Perform
  • Wednesday, March 3: Top 10 Men Perform
  • Thursday, March 4: Results Show
  • Tuesday, March 9: Top 8 Women Perform
  • Wednesday, March 10: Top 8 Men Perform
  • Thursday, March 11: Results Show (Finalists revealed)

fantasia

American Idol Winner and platinum-selling R&B artist, Fantasia Barino will soon join the list of celebrities turned reality star as she will star in her own VH1 reality show.

The 8 episode, 30 minute docu-series will focus on Fantasia juggling her career as a single mother. Fantasia, a young single mother found fame after winning the 3rd season of American Idol. In addition to staring in her own reality show, she is working on her most anticipated album. Fantasia for Real will premiere January 11, 2010 at 10pm on VH1.

Below is the press release:

VH1 will give viewers a close-up view into the complex, touching and surprisingly relatable life of recording artist, actress and American Idol winner Fantasia. The series follows Fantasia as she juggles her career and single-motherhood while devoting her energy into recording her highly anticipated third album. The 8 episode, 30-minute docu-series Fantasia For Real is slated to premiere January 11, 2010 at 10PM on VH1.

Six years ago, Fantasia was a young single mother from High Point, North Carolina singing in her church choir and struggling to raise her daughter, Zion. On a whim, she tried out for the third season of American Idol, and seemingly overnight the world discovered Fantasia’s tremendous voice. Five years and 8 Grammy® Award nominations later, life couldn’t look more different for Fantasia. Her first album, Free Yourself, was a platinum-selling, chart-topping success, bringing her wealth, fame, and recognition as an accomplished artist. Fantasia has worked with many music industry legends, including Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Missy Elliot. In 2007 Fantasia was chosen to star as Celie in the acclaimed Broadway musical The Color Purple. Her book Life is Not a Fairy Tale made the New York Times bestseller list, and she also starred in a made-for-television movie based on her life.

As Fantasia’s fame has grown, her personal life has increasingly become more complicated. The sole breadwinner for her large family, Fantasia struggles to balance career, family, and the demanding life of a highly successful performing artist. Fantasia’s VH1 series delves into how she has dealt with the seismic aftershocks of fame, all while managing the daily demands of life on the road and writing and recording new music that will connect with her fans.

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Fox recently announced the ninth season of America Idol will premiere on Tuesday, January 12 at 8pm ET/PT. The season will premiere for two consecutive nights with a two-hour broadcast on Tuesday and a one-hour broadcast on Wednesday, January 13 at 8PM ET/PT.

The new season will feature the addition of Ellen DeGeneres as a replacement for Paula Abdul. Paula served as AI judge since the show began in 2002 and reportedly rejected a $5 million per year income and later announced her exit from Idol in August. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi will be returning as judges while Ryan Seacrest will continue as host.

The auditions for American Idol took place over the summer and featured several guest judges in Paula’s spot including Victoria Beckham in Denver and Boston, Mary J. Blige in Atlanta, Joe Jonas and Neil Patrick Harris in Dallas, Kristin Chenoweth in Orlando, Shania Twain in Chicago, and Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne in Los Angeles.

In other Idol news, Kris Allen’s self titled album dropped at No. 11 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart after selling only 80,000 copies during its week of release, according to Nielsen Soundscan data. This is the lowest of any idol winner ever recorded. Before Kris, Jordin Sparks, sixth season winner previously held the record for lowest album sales and sold 119,000 copies in first week release in November 2007.

Those figures are especially low compared to the 198,000 albums sold by runner up, Adam Lambert, who has remained in the headlines due to his recent raunchy performance at the American Music Awards.

Jennifer Hudson baby

Jennifer Hudson is introducing the world to her new born son. Jennifer gave birth to her first child, David – named after her fiancé, David Otunga (Punk from I Love New York 2) – on Aug. 10.

“I love being nurturing and caring because I love to see other people happy,” says the American Idol alum. “Who better to devote my time to than my own child?”

Below are excerpts from her interview with PEOPLE -

How hard was it keeping your pregnancy under wraps?
“David and I were the only people who knew for a long time. I would forget I was pregnant, it was so easy. I didn’t have any morning sickness, no cravings either. I just thought, ‘Oh, well, we’ll wait until it’ll tell on itself.’ I didn’t show until I was seven months so that made it easy right there.”

Has his personality emerged yet?

“He has a lot of personality, like David. He’s always been a good sleeper. His favorite time to smile now is diaper changes. Or when he spits up on you – he just cracks up like he thinks it’s the funniest thing. And his bottle is his pacifier. With a pacifier, it’s like he knows, ‘Ain’t nothing come out of here. No, I don’t want that. Where’s the real deal?’ His best friend is that bottle; that’s all he wants.”

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Justin Guarini, runner-up to Kelly Clarkson in the first season of American Idol, is getting married this weekend.

The 30-year-old singer will tie the knot with fiancee, Reina Capodici this Saturday on a private estate along the Delaware River near both their families’ homes in Pennsylvania, Usmagazine.com has learned.

Though Justin and Reina dated for a few years, they’ve known each other since they were teens. Justin will become a stepfather to Reina’s 4-year-old daughter Lola, from a previous relationship.

A female minister from the Universal Church will preside over the ceremony and the couple intend to recite vows they’ve written themselves.

Last weekend, Justin covered the Emmy Awards for the TV Guide Channel. He also plans to return to the studio to record his third CD.

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