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September 03, 2002 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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Welcome back ...
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fine staff? Stop by the Stu-
dent Publications Building.





By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New Media Editor
Kelly Clarkson. Justin Guarini. Remember these
names, because one of them will soon be a bona fide
star. Despite its often-annoying hosts, Brian Dunkle-
man and Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol" has man-
aged to conquer this summer's ratings on not only
Tuesday nights, but Wednesdays as well, a rare feat
for the ratings-plagued Fox Network.
"American Idol" and its hunt for the next American
pop sensation started with 10,000 contestants. The
three judges (Producer Randy Jackson, Pop wash-up
Paula Abdul and the quick-witted Simon Cowell)
pared the hopeful field down to 30, and then finally
10. The contestants (between 18 and 24-years-old),
attempted to land a recording contract by singing
songs from various avenues of pop music (songwriter
Burt Bacharach and his songs were featured on one
episode). Week by week the contestants dwindled as
Courtesy of Fox viewers voted "Survivor" style for their
favorite singer. Now the search is down
to its final pairing, who will face-off
tonight on "a live broadcast. AMERICY
Twenty-year-old Texas native Kelly has THE SEA
sung, among other songs, "Natural A SUP
Woman," "Respect" and "Raining Men."
She has survived numerous other hope- Tonight
fuls (28 to be exact), including punkish Wednesda
Nikki McKibbin, critical favorite Tamyra F
Gray and Ryan Starr.
Clarkson and Guarini are left to com-

belting out power ballads by Aretha Franklin is also
likely to make an impact. The difference between a
teenybopper-style song and a more rocking beat could
sway the voting, even after weeks of audiences falling
in love with one singer or the other.
Judges Simon Cowell (AKA the British guy who
wants to be Anne Robinson), Paula Abdul - who tells
everyone they did a great job no matter how they per-
form - and music producer Randy Jackson (who
namedrops as much as physically possible) have
apparently convinced viewers to tune in on Tuesdays,
since insipid hosts Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkle-
man clearly cannot be attracting anyone with their
amazingly stupid commentary. While Cowell has
toned down the caustic criticism that earned him the
ire of his fellow co-hosts as well as the viewers,
Seacrest and Dunkleman were clear mistakes for their
task. The only positive thing to come from them thus
far was Jimmy Fallon's delicious parody of them at
the MTV Video Music Awards. Their jokes are often

Courtesy of Fox

Kelly Clarkson sings the blues.

Buckwheat sings.

at 9 p.m.
ay at 8 p.m.

so flat and unfunny that even a wild
screaming audience of teenaged girls
remains silent at their hideous commen-
Which singer will prevail and join
Dorothy from "The Mole 2" as the sum-
mer's big reality winners? One thing is
for sure, there will be countless plugs for
Coca-Cola and Ford Focus. Our predic-
tion is Kelly, but the contest is wide open
and one bad song or emotionless delivery
could change everything. Either way,

pete on tonight's final showdown, the winner to be
announced on Wednesday's episode at 8 PM. The two-
hour Wednesday show, like the "Survivor" and "The
Mole" finales, will feature the eight previously boot-
ed finalists. The winner is set to receive a $1 million
recording contract, not to mention the requisite 15
minutes of fame for appearing on an American reality
television, program.
Twenty-three-year-old Justin Guarini, a Pennsylva-
nia native, enjoys Michael Jackson, hence his homage
to the gloved one on "P.Y.T." He may best be known
for his wild hair and soft eyes. His latest performanc-
es have been his strongest (including "Don't Let the
Sun Go Down on Me" last week) although anything
may happen in the final episode with the singers
forced to perform two songs (the same for both) from
the upcoming "American Idol" CD. The winner will
release his or her first single on Sept.-17,inniusic
stores nationwide.
As usual, each will perform the songs, and viewers
can vote by phonek for their favorite. Some'overzeal-
ous people, perhaps with little else to do, have resort-
ed to mass calling - often thousands of calls at a
time. Fortunately, there has not been a significant sta-
tistical alteration in the voting based on phone slam-
ming. The twist of each performing the same songs
may favor one or the other, since clearly Justin and
Kelly do not share the same singing styles. Justin's
x seduce-the-audience stare and love of R&B could
benefit him, while Kelly's soul and voice capable of

both have already achieved enough fame to last for a
while. Anyone in the top 10 has a legitimate chance,
including breakthrough stars Ryan Starr and RJ Hel-
ton. Like the stars of the British "Pop Idol," and simi-
lar American programs, finalists have already
succeeded to an extent in getting name and facial
recognition, something that will go a long way toward
helping their budding careers.
In a curious twist of events, recently booted idol-er
Tamyra Gray signed a management deal with 19
Entertainment. Simon Fuller, the show's creator start-
ed the company, his previous credits include the
direction of Annie Lennox's solo career. Gray has not
started recording a debut, but expects it to hit shelves
in 2003.
For the fanatics of the show, the 10 finalists of
"American Idol" are coming to a town near you with a
full fleged sixweek U.S. arena tour. The group will
play songs from their upcoming album, American
Idol: Greatest Hits, hitting shelves on Oct. 15. They
will land at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Oct. 17. And
the cream on the. "American Idol" marketing machine
cake is the grand prize winner's album which will
drop on Nov. 26.

Courtesy of Fox
Diva Las Clarkson.

Courtesy of Fox
Justin Guarini woos the ladies with his soft swagger.

A cU ~S

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