'American Idol' Is Nothing Like Coca-Cola

american idolBillboard today has a piece regarding the highs and (more recently) lows of American Idol and the show’s upcoming season. It rather sadly exposes the whole production as a microcosm of the floundering, old-school end of the music industry. The players are scrambling behind the scenes to figure out why ratings plummeted in later seasons, changes are being made, and the faces of the show are desperately trying to make us remember Idol‘s former glory as a ratings bonanza and a legitimate factor in the music industry. Harry Connick Jr., a former mentor and now judge on the show (along with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban), says:

Remember when they came out with new Coke and everybody was upset by it? It couldn’t have teed up the return of Coke Classic any better. When Coke Classic came out, it exploded even bigger than it was before because it created this void and people missed it. And I think that’s what this year can potentially do for this brand. People sort of missed their classic ‘American Idol.’ And it’s back.

Yeesh. New executive producer Per Blankens, who had great success running the Swedish version of the show, similarly stresses a “back to basics” formula. We think that this is the best show there is — the original that’s inspired others,” he says, “so it’s not that viewers necessarily want that big gimmicky change in order to come back to the TV couches. They want to see the show they’ve grown to love.
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10 Former 'American Idol' Contestants Sue Reality Show

American Idol, Fox’s TV talent show juggernaut, has become embroiled in one of the largest television-related lawsuits in recent memory. Ten former American Idol contestants from a variety of seasons are suing the hit show over claims they were unfairly booted from the show based on their race. They are each seeking $25 million in damages.

According to TMZ, the contestants have accused producers of conducting a “cruel and inhumane” scheme to exploit them for ratings by illegally digging through their personal backgrounds for material they could use to boost ratings on national tv.

The contestants participating in the lawsuit are Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Jacob John Smalley (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju’Not Joyner (Season 8), and Chris Golightly (Season 9).
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Randy Jackson Is Leaving ‘American Idol’

After twelve seasons of boosting the hopes and dreams of aspiring singer while simultaneously making ‘Yo dawg’ a catchphrase once more, Randy Jackson has announced he will be leaving American Idol at the end of its current season.

In a letter to fans and viewers of the show, Jackson wrote Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to rest, after twelve years of judging on American Idol I have decided to leave after this season. I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures”

Jackson isn’t the only one on the way out. Rumors are spreading like wildfire that Mariah Carey will step down as well (and be replaced with Jennifer Lopez). We’ll update you as more information becomes available.

Bronze Radio Return: Pro Artist Of The Week

If only American Idol would take a cue from their own background music¦ Recent seasons of the hit game show and now cultural institution have THRICE featured our friends Bronze Radio Return, most recently on last week’s episode. The band have been a song placement machine lately, providing the soundtrack for a recent PGA ad on ESPN, in addition to spots for Nissan, on HBO, and on several prime-time network shows.

But their broadcast near-ubiquity is not the reason we love them so. It is of course because of the music “ a positively ideal blend of classic roots music and modern rock. The key to making this formula work, as Bronze Radio Return does, is authenticity. Their sound and songs possess the burned-in feel of music unburdened by time. As individual musicians and as a functioning unit, they are apparent naturals. All reasons why we have selected them as this week’s OurStage Pro Artist of the Week.

We’ve been fans of the band for a long time, and are lucky to have caught them live several times, including a performance at last year’s South by Southwest festival. And we’ll be there when they rock the Rock Boat cruise at the end of this month. The band expects to release their new LP sometime this year, but meanwhile they have a new single called Further On, available on iTunes. See the video for their song “Shake, Shake, Shake” after the jump, and click here to listen to some more Bronze Radio Return on OurStage.

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L.A. Reid Leaving 'The X Factor'

Just as The X Factor‘s second season is coming to a close, Chairman and CEO of Epic Records, L.A. Reid has chosen to step down from his spot in the judge’s chair.

Although his presence resulted in multiple contestant signings to Epic Records, Reid says of his departure, “I have a company to run that I’ve kind of neglected.” Reid continued, “I have a huge responsibility to a roster of artists, and it’s kind of time for me to stop doing ‘the me’ show and get back to doing ‘the them’ show.”

Among Reid’s upcoming Epic Records projects will be Ciara‘s next album and Avril Lavigne‘s latest album.

If you like Ciara, check out OurStage artist Jasmyn Howard.

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Sound And Vision: Will Nicki Minaj Vs. Mariah Carey Hurt the Rapper While Helping "American Idol"?

I’m gonna knock you out…. I told you I’m not f**kin’ putting up with her f**kin’ highness over there!

It’s not exactly prose worthy of Bob Dylan, or even Eminem, her sometime partner in rhyme, but with those fighting words, rapper Nicki Minaj recently helped make American Idol hot for the first time in years. She hurled them directly at Mariah Carey on October 2 in Charlotte, N.C., during the audition rounds for season 12 of Idol, which kicks off in January of 2013. (more…)