Posted: 8:39 am Monday, May 12th, 2014

‘American Idol’ bits: judges and Seacrest likely to be back season 14 with fewer hours; top 3 rankings; Clay Aiken 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: L-R: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr, on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Thursday, April 24 (9:00-9:30 PM ET / PT) on FOX.  CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: L-R: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr, on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Thursday, April 24 (9:00-9:30 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

“American Idol” is close to bringing back the current three judges and has already signed Ryan Seacrest for season 14, Deadline.com reports.

Given how much money the show is probably costing Fox this year with its alarmingly sinking ratings, this is a bit surprising.

Not so surprising: Fox plans to cut back hours. Most notably, the results show is likely a goner. I’m not sure this is the worst thing in the world. Both “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing With the Stars” have survived life without a results show.

The show has aired about 55 hours a year for awhile. That will be scaled by a third to an estimated 37 hours. Auditions will continue to run twice a week in January. But if they cut, say, the top 13 to top 10 and nix the results, they could easily get down to 37 hours.

During a press conference this morning, Fox president Kevin Reilly refused to admit any tangible problems with this season and said there are “good indications” the judges will return. “It’s not about turning it around,” he said, paraphrasing the question by a reporter. “It’s about making a good show for many years to come.” He noted that “Survivor” has not be a huge ratings winner for years but has managed to survive. He wants “Idol” to be like that as well.

Theories on how Fox may be able to afford the three judges plus Seacrest:

- Seacrest has stated in the past that he plans to stick with the show to the bitter end. I feel the show need him more than the other way around but he’s a true loyalist since “Idol” helped propel him to what he is today: an entrepreneur/TV producer/mogul whose net worth is probably now in excess of $100 million. I’m not sure if he was willing to take a big pay cut but if it’s less work, he’d probably agree to less pay.

As for the three judges, it’s clear they are enjoying the camaraderie so much, they too may be willing to take a pay cut, with awareness the work load will be reduced.

That’s good news for the few of us who are still watching the show because the general consensus is this is the best judges’ crew since the original three and arguably is better than the original three in many ways.

***
Scotty McCreery performs during the results show Thursday.

***

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Top Three: L-R: Alex Preston, Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Top Three: L-R: Alex Preston, Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX.

My Power rankings for this week make it clear this is going to be a tough call. Often at this point, it’s easy to say who the final two are going to be. But I’m not so sure right now. It’s anybody’s call.

1. Jena. I realize sometimes the most divisive person can win the competition. Think Fantasia and Taylor Hicks. They had plenty of foes. Jena has spirit, she’s teachable, she loves being on stage. She can work the piano or just romp around. She has also has a unique voice, whether you like it or not. Her fans could potentially carry her to the top and not make this an obvious dude win, as many had anticipated earlier. (2)

2. Alex. He is WGWG personified. He is distinctive and particular and “Alex-cizes” anything that is thrown at him. He is also a bit predictable at times. But that means his fans probably vote for him week in, week out, without failure. So he is a likely finalist. (1)

3. Caleb. I had him at the top for weeks. Even separate from the “retards” comment controversy that barely was, he has been the most consistent, the most seasoned, and almost always entertaining. He’s also a throwback (like Taylor Hicks) with no real connection to modern-day pop or rock music. That could hurt or help him. Given the shrunken pool of voters and the ease in which folks can vote as well, I can’t tell if that will make any difference this week. Just because he’s third, doesn’t mean I don’t think he can win. Any of these three could pull a victory out. (3)

***

The theme this week is pretty traditional at this stage: judge’s pick, Randy’s pick and a favorite song from the past (though the pick will be made by the public).

***

Ratings: “Idol” ratings were down again for the performance show, up slightly for the results show.

Wednesday: 7.97 million 1.8 18-49 rating (year ago: 11.26 million 2.9/9). That’s a drop from a week earlier of 8.79 million and a 1.9 18-49. Again, it’s a series low for a performance show. Which shows did better that night? “Survivor” (9.9 million 2.4), “Modern Family” (8.85 million, 2.9), “Criminal Minds” (10.52 million, 2.3) and the ancient “CSI” (10.01 million, 1.9). In other words, two shows that are older than “Idol” beat “Idol.” Also, one of the NBA playoff games on TNT beat “Idol” as well.

Thursday: 7.18 million viewers 1.6 18-49 (year ago: 11.27 million, 2.6 rating 18-49). That’s up from 7.03 million and a 1.5 18-49 a week earlier. It’s the third worst results show performance to date.  Among broadcast shows, “Idol” was beaten by “The Big Bang Theory” (14.42 million 3.8), “The Millers” (8.96 million, 1.9), “Grey’s Anatomy” (7.95 million 2.5/7), “Two and a Half Men” (8.35 million 2.1) and in total viewers “Elementary” (7.35 million). Among cable shows, ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft drew 9.94 viewers and a dominant 4.6 18-49).

***

It looks like Clay Aiken will be the  candidate for the Democratic slot in a North Carolina house race. He is clinging to a 369 vote lead before absentee ballots are counted. Odds are solid he will win to compete against the Republican but his odds of winning in November are slim to none, based on how conservative his district is.

The Washington Post wrote a fun piece about him here, noting that he’s big on education (of course, being a former special ed teacher), a defense hawk and not making a big deal about being gay. Also, Ruben Studdard endorsed him!  Plus, he is on a “singing sabbatical.”

UPDATE: 6:17 p.m. Weirdest thing ever: Aiken’s Democratic opponent Keith Crisco died last night! That kind of simplifies things but wow.

Clay Aiken is the likely winner getting the Democratic seat in a North Carolina district that is heavily Republican. CREDIT: AP

Clay Aiken is the likely winner getting the Democratic seat in a North Carolina district that is heavily Republican. CREDIT: AP

***
EW interviews Jessica Meuse, who sounds sweet and quite normal. I hope she has a shot at something in Nashville.

119 comments
Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Pretty much don't know any of tonight's songs - even the 'repeats' - don't recognize them by the titles. I long for oldies nights where there are "sing along" type songs that I know if they're sounding like they were meant to be sung!

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

RE: MS top performances: Kelly, Clay, Michael J and Adam  - the right songs. A few other performers, but the wrong song choices, for me at least. And not in my particular order either.

MoSchreibman
MoSchreibman

The girl with the hair like a box of Crayons was the best singer by far for sure but because she does not dance or wear dresses up to her batookus she was disqualified from the contest?

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

SPOILER ALERT....SONG SPOILERS!

Never Tear Us Apart by INXS

Pompeii by Bastile

Titanium by Davis Guette

Demons by Imagine Dragon

Stay by Rihanna

Heart Attack by Demi Lovato

and the 3 reprise songs:

Dazed and Confused by Led Zepplin sung by Caleb

Story of My Life by One Direction sung by Alex

Creep by Radiohead sung by Jena

I think we might be able to pretty much guess who sings each of the other songs

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

HCJ has announced that he WILL return to American Idol for Season 14.........yay!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Also related to Idol news, CBS has moved Big Bang Theory to Monday nights in the Fall.  After conquering Idol on Thursday night this season, forcing the show to move its results time to 9pm, BBT will now set its sights on The Voice.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

In former Idol news, Katharine McPhee will be gracing the CBS Fall line-up with a new series called Scorpion.  It's about a group of genius misfits who solve crimes.  Kat plays a waitress with a gifted son who helps the antisocial geeks deal with the real world. Congrats to Kat!

Negativo
Negativo

So excited for the Bruins/Canadiens, Kings/Ducks NHL playoffs doubleheader tonight. Will mix in the Heat/Nets between commercials. Idol will be on DVR if I ever am motivated to watch it, but odds are I won't bother.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Let's hope Caleb  didn't graduate from the "Justin Beiber School of Immaturity"!

MercedesS
MercedesS

Almost forgot it's Wednesday!  Miss Jess, but will still watch.  Sneaky suspicion occurred when I read that the original songs from last week's performances were scratched at the last minute: could it be because the songs from the judges' declared favorites, Jena and Caleb, were not ... up to snuff?


I can't get Jena's Blue Eyed Lie out of my head.  

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

I too am looking forward to hearing the three.  I really hope they all do well, (for the entertainment factor, of course).  Go Caleb !

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Morning good people!

Tonight is top 3 night and although we are now missing one of my favorite singers, I am looking forward to hearing what Caleb, Alex and Jena have in store for us.

Negativo
Negativo

If there has ever been a better original performed on Idol than Blue Eyed Lie I haven't seen it. Absolutely love that song. Such a badaas jam, and she crushed it on Kelly & Michael.

MercedesS
MercedesS

No longer Is Caleb's bad boy behavior restricted to the blogosphere - TV Guide has him prominently displayed under JEERS "to American Idol's Caleb Johnson for dissing his Twitter followers. Yeah, the aspiring rock star can sing the hell out of Whitesnake's 'Still of the Night,' but that doesn't give him the right to call the fans he's lucky to have in the first place a pejorative for the mentally disabled.  He apologized, but he sure hit a sour note."

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Thanks. As it's an island, I'm hoping there are NO SNAKES! Wish you were gonna be next door just in case.

And another BOO to the cxl of Revolution. It wasn't a 'great' show, but interesting enough to keep my attention. I guess we'll have to switch our attention to "Under the Dome" - it'll be back on some time in June, I think. And thank goodness "Falling Skies" will be back in a few weeks. I sadly said good bye for the next few months to "Castle" last night, and of course it went out with a terrible 'bang'. Will have to get my "Nathan Fix" with the TNT reruns thru the summer, I guess.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

We get all kinds of calls right at dinnertime. Some political, some charities (bogus I am sure), some that never make a sound. The 'no call list' is failing me more and more.

I'll be gone Thur/Fri from office (getting the floors repaired), then off to St George Island Sat am, back Wed pm - will miss all the chatter! I'll take my tablet and try to check in every now and then.

Everyone stay safe, and hope the bad boy wins (is next week the end?)

PS to Deirdre: did you hear that Revolution has been cxld?

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

I just need to get this off my chest....is anyone else completely and totally sick of the phone calls with fake caller IDs like "Seattle" or "Michael" and a recording comes on telling us who we should be voting for?  Most infuriating thing ever, especially when the phone rings 5 times while I'm eating.  

Jenny11
Jenny11

I will miss Jessica even more on Wednesday.  I read that she was going to perform "Rhiannon", Carrie's "Before He Cheats", and Lady Antebellum's "Love Don't Live Here Any More".  Those would have been fun to see.  

But on the bright side, I'll have three opportunities for power-naps during the show, when Alex sings... ;-)

Negativo
Negativo

Loved Jessica's interview with Slezak. What a sweet, down-to-earth, real person she is. How could he forget her flowers, tho!! You can really feel her determination. I have no doubt she'll have a successful indie career along the lines of Crystal Bowersox, i.e. a prolific writing, recording and touring artist. She'll be a great catch for a smaller label.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Sam-A1 Demons and Story of my life are pretty good - Alex both?

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC Kat is playing a mom? Dang I'm getting old.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  Let's hope he's learned something...unlike the Biebs.

MercedesS
MercedesS

THis is so embarrassing. Rodney, can you please erase my erroneous credit here?

wreckedpizza
wreckedpizza

@MercedesS  Hey Mercedes, a friendly correction for you: "Blue Eyed Lie"  is Jessica's song!  Jena wishes she had an original that awesome! :-)

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

@MercedesS   I agree Mercedes, he is a great entertainer but has a LOT to learn !!!!

JTesla
JTesla

@Sam-1 Enjoy the island!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  Yes, next week is the finale.

Boo to Revolution being canceled!

MercedesS
MercedesS

@DeirdreC I don't even answer the phone these days before looking at display. Any call from the West Coast means a political robocall.  Even names are suspicious. One more week and then election and peace. For a while.


Sam, enjoy your beach vacation!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@jnewlin  Thanks, jnewlin...you have become a welcome addition to our little group!

Jenny11
Jenny11

And before I get yelled at, I do think Alex is quite talented.  He's a much, much better singer than some of the other WGWG winners have been.  

I think for me, it's his song choices that I haven't liked, more so than *him*.  (Though I absolutely love both "Always On My Mind" and "I'm Yours", but didn't care for his performances of either.... hmmm, there went that theory.)

But overall, I just don't really enjoy his style or the types of songs he usually chooses.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo  He didn't forget the flowers, Neg, he just ran out of time to get them.  I really enjoyed the interview, too

Jenny11
Jenny11

@Negativo - I'm right with you.  I think she'll do well.  I've so enjoyed watching her on the show, and would've loved to hear one last Stevie Nicks song... :-(

JTesla
JTesla

@G_ That's what die hard Idol fans said last year.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@wreckedpizza @MercedesS TRIED to correct it right away, OF COURSE I KNOW IT'S JESSICA'S SONG.  Have a very difficult time posting today and once I do I get it wrong, Have already signed in seven times.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Woodpappy @MercedesS You can only blame it so much on questionable parenting, lack of education,  and/or bad company - at some point, when a person becomes a public commodity, he/she has to bring himself/herself up to certain standards.

Negativo
Negativo

She's so natural in interviews. Fellow small town southerner Phillip Phillips, who to me is the best Idol artist of all time, really struggled with nerves early on. Could barely get words out. Now he's loosened up, but if took awhile.

Not Jess, she's as smooth and relaxed as they come. That skill will serve her well in her career. Things are really looking up for her.

Negativo
Negativo

If only all women bought that line so easily. Lol.

Jenny11
Jenny11

And what's funny is, I didn't like her very well the first couple of weeks. (I didn't watch auditions or Hollywood, so I wasn't affected by whatever drama went on there... but I remember that my only comment about her for a couple of weeks was "good god, she's nasal."  LOL.)  

But somehow I stopped hearing that, and she really grew on me.  I was so hoping for her and Caleb in the finale....

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@MercedesS @Woodpappy  The question remains whether Caleb will meet those standards or continue to blunder his way through public speaking.

jnewlin
jnewlin

@Negativo Disappointed that JLo didn't say anything to Jess after the show. What's up with that? Glad Harry and Keith did. Class acts!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo  She was one of his favorites too.  I bet he's kicking himself.