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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Will.i.am Developing an 'American Idol' for Science and Technology Geniuses - Hollywood Reporter

will.i.am

Brian Ach/Getty Images

Attention young robot-builders, mathletes, engineers and aspiring app developers: will.i.am thinks it's time for you to get the American Idol treatment.

In his keynote remarks at Amsterdam's IBC technology conference last week, the musician, producer, outspoken political activist and proud science nerd admitted that the talent pool for star-caliber vocalists on shows like American Idol, The X Factor and The Voice -- all three of which he has worked with -- is rapidly dwindling.

But the format would work beautifully to find the world's next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or even Bobak "Mohawk Guy" Ferdowski, will.i.am says.

STORY: 'X Factor': Will.i.am to Appear as Guest Mentor 

“Every year, companies like Google need more innovators, but there is no content celebrating them,” he told the IBC crowd, according to the U.K.'s Broadcast.

“The system thinks people are dumb and they don’t care. We have no desire to make them care. We need creative people working with broadcasters, making smart content to inspire people to be geniuses.”

There has been no pilot yet ordered for the proposed series, but will.i.am says he's already in negotiations with broadcasters, and has been busily "fine-tuning" the show, which will look "like nothing we've seen before." 

A rep for will.i.am confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that the show is in development, but that it's "a bit early" to relay any further details.

STORY: Will.i.am to Debut New Song From Mars Via Curiosity Rover 

The pop star has turned his passion for STEAM -- science, technology, engineering, arts and math -- education into a top priority. Most recently, he teamed with NASA and the Curiosity rover to release a solo track, "Reach for the Stars," which made its debut on the surface of Mars: the first song ever to be broadcast to earth from another planet.

The making of that out-of-this-world project will be profiled in i.am.mars: Reach for the Stars, a Discovery SCIENCE channel documentary that premieres Wed., Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

As a mentor on televised talent competitions, no one knows more than will.i.am just how well those shows connect with young viewers. But will the format generate as much excitiment for M.I.T. undergrads and bedroom hackers as it did for Carrie Underwood and Phillip Phillips?

"It will be great TV and great for society," he predicts.

OFFSTAGE: Top 10 Reasons to American Idol-ize Keith Urban - CMT.com

Randy Jackson (left), Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest,<br>Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban

Randy Jackson (left), Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest,
Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I'm sure the powers that be at American Idol had their own reasons for choosing Keith Urban to sit at their esteemed judges' table. But I have a few reasons of my own. Ten, actually. See if you agree, and if these are the reasons you'll tune in in January.

1. It is a pleasure to look at Urban.

2. That accent of his never gets old.

3. He is crazy charming. Urban could tell a contestant he sucks, and somehow, it would sound sweet.

4. He did talent shows similar to Idol as a kid, so he's been on the other side of the judges' table.

5. The Voice in Australia gave him a taste of reality television, so he's not an entry-level judge.

6. His musical tastes are excellent and very varied. His admits that his daughter sings Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," he once got in a car accident on his way to see the Thompson Twins in Brisbane as a teenager and this summer took his wife Nicole Kidman to see Lady Gaga. He obviously has a deep love for country, but he isn't close-minded about it. "My dad's record collection was predominantly American country -- Charley Pride, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker and Ronnie Milsap. When I was 15, a friend turned me on to Dire Straits. My brother was into Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. Somewhere in the middle of all of that is what I do," he told CMT.com early in his career.

7. He appreciates rookies and veterans alike. One time, in a very short conversation, he raved to me about Justin Moore's "Backwoods" and Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again."

8. It seems like he loves the spirit of song more than the technology of music-making. He told me once back in 2006 that he liked to record demos on old cassette recorders and then listen back to them in cars.

9. He values mentoring. "I always wish I'd had more mentors, better mentors, wiser mentors, people who were proper professional working musicians to guide me as I was coming up," Urban told Australia's GQ magazine this summer.

10. Authenticity really matters to him. During one of his tour rehearsals last summer, he talked about what Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" meant to him. "The reason I love the song so much is because Waylon captured perfectly my journey into Nashville. And the reason I get to make records the way I do is because of what Waylon did. He wasn't trying to buck the system. He was trying to create a situation where he could stay true to his art. It wasn't about anti-authority or anti-anything. It was just about authenticity," he said.

And, oh, wait. One more. Did I mention Urban's accent? 

'American Idol' House -- Renting Rooms To Rich People - TMZ.com

exclusive

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Wanna live like an "American Idol" finalist? Now you can ... but only if you're really, really overweight ... because the mansion where they lived is now being used as a fat camp.

The mansion has one helluva history -- before it housed Idol's Top 12 in 2011 ... it was home to Playboy's "Swingers" reality show ... where a bunch of strangers banged each other mercilessly for several weeks while cameras rolled.

Now, TMZ has learned ... the 16,000 square foot pad in the Hollywood Hills has transformed into a fancy-schmancy (and extremely expensive) weight-loss center called Destination Fit4LA.

A rep for the center tells us ... the people behind Destination Fit4LA have owned the property for awhile and rented the place out to Playboy and "Idol" to make some cash while they prepared to launch their weight loss business.

We're told guests will stay in the 10-bedroom, 16-bath complex for $5,300 a week ... which includes a comprehensive weight loss program ... specialized meals ... and use of all the awesome amenities, including a fitness center, game room, theater and pool.

Orgies and music lessons cost extra ... kidding, there are no music lessons.

'American Idol' season 12: New judges photos and feud rumors - Examiner.com

"American Idol" is preparing for its twelfth season on Channel 10 in Tempe, and now the judges are in place. On Monday, September 17, From Inside The Box shared the first details about the auditions for season 12 and the new judges. New photos of the judges have also been released. Check out the photos here.

The judges have just been officially put in place, and there are already reports of trouble brewing between two of the judges on the panel. From Inside The Box reported the following via TMZ:

"New panel divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj are already not getting along. Sources tell them that every time Minaj went to critique a contestant, Mariah would interrupt her constantly and then Nicki would fight back by talking loudly over Mariah."

However, another source, MJ's Big Blog, reported no problems between the two ladies on the panel, and they saw 30 contestants during their first day.

The women that are a part a reports and rumors have already spoken out against them. According to Ace Showbiz, Mariah Carey said the following:

"How are we gonna feud in two days? I think a feud takes a little longer. It's fun, it's music, it's singing, it's laughter."

Things will certainly be different during this upcoming season of "American Idol" on Fox. Rumors about the panel always come out, but it sounds like this time around the rumors are just rumors. Ratings have slipped over the years, but the series is still one of the top programs for the network.

Fans are buzzing about the return of this series on social media. One fan said the following on Twitter recently:

Cannot wait for #AmericanIdol this season just because of Keith Urban. FINALLY a country judge!!!

"American Idol" will return to Channel 10 in Tempe this January.

For the latest in entertainment and celebrity news, find me on Facebook and Twitter. For more, visit Sirlinksalot: American Idol.

Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj Deny Feud Rumors On 'American Idol' Set - MTV.com (blog)

Beef? What beef? As far as Mariah Carey is no concerned, there's no conflict to be even discuss.

Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban were confirmed as final additions to the judging panel on "American Idol" this week, leaving the team ready to film season 12 auditions in New York City. Early whispers from the set pit Nicki and fellow judge Mariah Carey against each other, but Carey says there's no truth to that.

MTV News paid a visit to the "Idol" set at Lincoln Center on Monday (September 17), and the judges â€" including Minaj and Carey â€" were all smiles, immediately putting to rest tales of bad blood between the two.

"How are we gonna feud in two days? A feud takes a little longer to spread out [than that]," Mariah responded, laughing, when asked if she and the YMCMB rapper were seeing eye-to-eye.

"It's fun, it's music, it's singing, it's laughter," she added, while Minaj chuckled along with her, looking amused at the beef rumors.

Nicki's addition to the "Idol" squad had been rumored for a few weeks, and on Sunday, she and Keith Urban were officially announced as the final two judges on the panel, joining Mariah Carey and "Idol" veteran Randy Jackson. The reaction to Nicki's new judging gig has been mixed, with her loyal Barbz showing their support while plenty of detractors continue to list reasons why she's not a good fit.

MJ Santilli, who runs "Idol" fan site MJsBigBlog.com, told MTV News that she thinks Nicki will add good perspective to the panel. "I'm looking forward to Nicki shutting down the naysayers. I have never seen such a negative reaction to a prospective judge when the Nicki rumors initially surfaced," Santilli said. "For some folks, Nicki is too weird and profane for 'Idol.' But I see this polarized reaction as a good thing for the panel. The 'American Idol' core audience, which grows older and older every year, needs a shakeup."

Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

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Mariah Carey says there's no feud with fellow 'American Idol' judge Nicki ... - Washington Post

NEW YORK â€" Mariah Carey says there’s no feud between her and fellow new “American Idol” judge Nicki Minaj at the moment.

Judges Carey, Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest attended a press conference in New York on Monday after auditioning singers for the Fox music reality TV series.

Fox announced Sunday that Minaj and Urban would join Carey and Jackson as judges on “Idol” following Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler’s exits in July.

Carey tried to quell rumors about her quarreling with Minaj by saying they’ve only been together two days and “a feud takes a little longer to happen.”

All the judges burst into laughter.

Minaj says the new “Idol” judges are “getting along wonderfully, darling.” Minaj and Carey collaborated on a remix of Carey’s song “Up Out My Face” in 2010.

Carey confessed she’s “never been a fan” of singing competition shows.

“I’ll be completely honest,” she said. “But I realize what this show has done for such talented artists and truly giving them careers.”

When asked why TV watchers should view “Idol” versus another Fox show, “X Factor,” which boasts Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges, Carey simply pointed her fingers to herself.

“Did I do that? I didn’t mean that as a final gesture,” she said with a smile. “I’m sorry.”

Then the 42-year-old multiple Grammy Award-winner said she wants to help those who dream of careers in music even if they don’t get to move on to the next round on the show.

“(What) I’m bringing to the table is years of experience, writing songs, performing,” she said.

Minaj, who has had multiple hits on the Billboard charts and two platinum albums, said she’s been through a lot since she came on the scene in 2009 and she wants to give the contestants a real perspective of the music industry.

“I would love to be able to tell the contestants honestly and truthfully what they can really expect, and sometimes you have to tell people, ‘Hey, you really might not want to be in this,’” she said.

The 12th season of “Idol” airs in January.

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Online:

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Fox is owned by News Corp.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mariah Carey Addresses American Idol Feud Rumors - Seattle Post Intelligencer

Although the latest American Idol panel was just confirmed yesterday, new judge Mariah Carey addressed rumors of a feud between her and fellow newbie Nicki Minaj at a press conference in New York on Monday. Hours after an online report claimed that the two had begun to talk over one another during audition rounds, the R&B singer told reporters that they'd only been here two days and "a feud takes a little bit longer. It's music, it's singing, it's laughter."

All the judges - including country superstar Keith Urban (who revealed his own first brush with televised singing competitions came at age nine on the Australian talent show Pot of Gold) and mainstay Randy Jackson - seemed to echo that sentiment. They were in good spirits, laughing at each other's jokes and all smiles after a long day of auditioning contestants.

Jackson lauded Idol's solitary ability to "create superstars" in a market that as of late has become oversaturated with similar singing contests like The Voice and The X Factor, and he also praised the quality of the new panel as something that will continue to distinguish the ten-year-old show from its younger competition. "We've got a hip hop superstar, we've got vocal legend - not just a singer but a legend - and we have a country music legend, so it's already a different kind of show."

As Jackson was speaking, Carey realized she also wanted to talk a little bit about what she'll bring to the table as a judge. "Don't be mad at me for interjecting," she told Jackson, her current manager. "It's just the way I am."

- Scott Sode

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