Tag Archives: American Idol

“American Idol” reaches a new low…

First “American Idol” producers refused to do right by their long-suffering workers by going union, then they dumped Paula Abdul when she asked for like, a third of what Seacrest makes, and now, “Idol” producers have made the biggest mistake of all by hiring Ellen Degeneres as the fourth judge.

Ellen as fourth "Idol" judge mock up from BestWeekEver.TV

I mean, really? Ellen?! What was Tyra too busy running her media empire to take the gig? Jeez, what the hell does a self-absorbed union-busting scab like Ellen know about judging singing competitions? And if America thought Paula was too nice to the contestants, just imagine how much the “queen of nice” will pander to the worst singers in the bunch?

Urgh..if I wanted to see Ellen’s manufactured brand of “aw shucks folks” sweetness I’d watch her daytime show. The fact that she’ll be inflicted on my “Idol” viewing time each week might just be enough to break me of my “Idol” habit for good. On the upside, not watching “Idol” will free up a lot of Tivo time come January…so, hmmm…maybe I should be thanking Ellen.

Nah, I still hate her phony ass…

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Paula Abdul quits “American Idol”

According to the Los Angeles Times (and her own rambling Twitter feed) Paula Abdul announced this evening that she is not, I repeat, not returning to “American Idol” next season. Whoa…big mistake, FOX! I mean, love her or hate her, losing Paula is the beginning of the end for “Idol” in my book.

Paula Abdul hiding her tears with crazy shades...

Sure, Abdul is straight-up insane most of the time, and her comments as a judge literally make no sense, but I firmly believe that Paula’s brand of Coked-out crazy is a vital component of “American Idol’s” success. And with “Idol” glut sullying the pop landscape, does anyone really watch that show for the singing anymore? Hell, no! For me, “Idol” is and always will be, Simon, Paula and Randy talking trash. Oh, and Kara’s a’ight too.

I don’t know what the execs at FOX are smoking…but letting Paula slip away over money is just plain stupid. It’s even more insulting when you consider the fact that Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest just got gignormous raises. Cowell I understand…he is the show, but Seacrest? Please, anyone could do that job. And yeah, I’m talking to you, Brian Dunkleman!

But Paula’s brand of bat-shit crazy is one of a kind, man. You simply cannot replicate it, and all the new judges in the world won’t be able to replace the whacky little gem you’re losing today. So, for the love of all that is holy in reality TV, pay the woman what she wants and get Paula back to the “Idol” judging table where she belongs!

Long live Paula Abdul, and more importantly, long live the crazy!

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Quentin Tarantino on “Idol”

The cheesy, Brian-Adams-heavy song selections aside, this week’s “American Idol” kinda rocked…and with the exception of Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds, it had nothing to do with the show, and everything to do with our favorite guest judge in recent memory…Quentin Tarantino!

Yep, the badass filmmaker was back for another visit to “Idol”, and even though he didn’t get much screen time — neither did the judges in that horribly misguided effort to streamline the show, yikes! — QT did seem to have a blast “tutoring” the contestants. So, yay for that.

Tarantino on AMERICAN IDOL 8

And though the show was just as gloriously over-the-top as any true Tarantino fan could have hoped for, our biggest gripe with this week’s “Idol” is that they didn’t show a trailer for QT’s upcoming flick, “Inglorious Basterds”. Huh?

I mean, hello, why else was he there if not to promote his new movie? I don’t know if it’s because the movie is rated R and might offend the delicate sensibilities of the “Idol” audience or whatever, but I know we wanted to see a new frigging trailer! Man alive, you missed the boat again FOX

So, until a longer trailer pops up online, you can check out the rocking teaser spot for “Basterds” here. Enjoy!

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The “American Idol” Truth Tour

This Wednesday, the Writer’s Guild of America launched its first ever “American Idol Truth Tour” with a fiery press conference at WGA headquarters in the Fairfax district. Designed to promote awareness of the gross mistreatment of workers on Fremantle Media’s top-rated “American Idol”, the Truth Tour will follow this year’s “Idol” auditions from city to city to promote the cause.

And what a cause it is. Since “Idol” is a defiantly non-union show, the producers routinely break California and Federal labor laws by forcing many of their workers to pull 36 hour shifts with no breaks, no overtime and worst of all, no health benefits or residuals for the work they do on the show.

One former “Idol” production assistant revealed to the crowd on Wednesday that after factoring in all his time spent working on the show, he averaged about $4 an hour. That’s less than half the California minimum wage!

And as several of the Teamsters in the crowd pointed out, “Idol” is also one of the only shows in Hollywood to use non-union drivers. I think WGA Vice President David Weiss said it best when he scolded Fremantle for preying on the starry-eyed new-to-Hollywood crowd when hiring and then systematically using these people up and spitting them out at the end of each season.

Not only is this practice morally wrong, but it’s also illegal and with scores of pending lawsuits and labor board cases against Fremantle and several other producers of so-called “reality shows”, the heat in this kitchen is about to get pretty damn unbearable.

I guess the thing that really galls me — and I am a huge “Idol” fan by the way — is the fact that Fox and Fremantle spend so much time and money touting their massive “Idol Gives Back” charity each year, while at the same time denying their own workers the most basic of benefits. It’s just kind of mind-boggling that the same people that raise millions of dollars every year for charity could be so goddamn greedy when it comes to paying their own workers. Insanity!

So, though I did not get my act together in time to get on the Truth Tour bus to San Francisco — the site of this year’s first round of “Idol” auditions — my friend Patty and I did attend the early-morning press conference on Wednesday to show our support for our WGA brethren.

And I mean to tell ya, that crowd was fired up, baby! Slipping on our new Truth Tour t-shirts, swapping war stories with my fellow WGA strike veterans…man, it was like old home week at the WGA. And even though I didn’t bring much more than a camera with me to the press conference, I have to admit, I was pretty tempted to jump on that bus at the last minute and call it a day.

But to the hardy souls who did get on the bus and staged a rowdy protest at the “Idol” auditions yesterday at the Cow Palace, I say, rock on, writerly soldiers! Here’s to showing the world what really happens behind the scenes at the top-rated show in America!

All we can hope for now is that the press actually covers the Truth Tour events — stories about the press conference were virtually non-existent on the local news last night — and that maybe, just maybe, the soulless bastards at Fremantle will do the right thing and go union.

I know it’s a tall order, but hey, sometimes a little bad publicity is all it takes to make these corporate robots quake in their boots…so, for now, que viva la WGA Truth Tour!

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