Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: American Idol (21-30 of 30)

At the Fox upfront: 'Glee'-full laughs, Spielberg crosses 'Battlestar Galactica' with 'Jurassic Park'

The cast of Glee got a work-out at Fox’s unveiling of its new fall and mid-season line-up. Jane Lynch, dressed in full Sue Sylvester track-suit with bullhorn regalia, began by introducing Fox exec Kevin Reilly, chiding his “local weatherman good looks.” And the kids sang Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” to close out the presentation.

In between, clips were shown from fall and mid-season shows. The standard disclaimer obtains: opinions solely based on clips; shows could get better or worse once entire episodes are seen.

Lonestar: Reilly called it “a modern-day Dallas” and it features READ FULL STORY

Eating the KFC Double Down while watching Adam Lambert and 'American Idol' on Elvis night: A big, fat, cheesy combo!

I could not resist trying the KFC Double Down. I like junk food, even if I balance it out by eating a lot of broccoli-and-quinoa dinners. But you show me a new sandwich with bacon, cheese, and mayo-mystery-sauce wedged between two pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and that is a challenge I am ready to tackle.

Much the way the remaining American Idol contestants accepted the challenge of performing Elvis Presley songs. Insert your own grilled-peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches, late-period Elvis jokes here. Me, I respect Elvis in his prime the way I respect McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese: brilliant American inventiveness.

Don’t worry, this isn’t me dumping on Idol, and the eminent Michael Slezak gives you the full measure of his Idol expertise here.

No, I’m just writing about an experience you do all the time, but that critics don’t often write about: eating while watching TV.

So I sped home with my KFC Double Down in time to see Adam Lambert exhort the singers to provide viewers with what Elvis did: something “to listen to, look at, and feel.” I think Lambert is truly terrific. He gets it.

Unlike Presley, however, who was too polite to do such a thing, Lambert can also play the music critic with acuity. He told Andrew Garcia his rehearsal version of “Hound Dog” was “boring.” (It was.) In assessing Lee DeWyze, Lambert pointed to the area of the face and said, “there’s nothing going on there” — i.e., that Lee is inexpressive. (He is.)

I was so happy watching Lambert offer cogent, good-humored analysis that I started eating without thinking much about what I was consuming. (You know the feeling. Looking down at the empty bowl of potato chips during a Glee commercial break and wondering, where the hell did the chips all go?) Then I chewed and swallowed with concentration on the food.

The Double Down tasted… heavy, with grease. But not without a certain spicy charm. The KFC formula (I bought the “original,” not the “grilled”) combined with the bacon, cheese, and mayo for a nice tang. If I’d eaten a crisper piece of bacon placed on a single, thinner piece of KFC chicken, I think I actually would have said it was really fun. Unhealthy on a regular basis, but fun. Something like listening to badly but spiritedly performed music.

I’m not going to make the Double Down part of my regular snacking. It’s back to the broccoli and quinoa for me. Similarly, I’ll be watching Modern Family instead of Idol tomorrow night.

Have you tried the Double Down? Did you watch Idol? You didn’t by any chance combine the two, did you?

For Idol coverage: ‘American Idol’ brings back Adam Lambert for Elvis night

The Tuesday-night TV pile-up: Which will you watch? The returning 'V'? 'Parenthood'? 'Lost'? 'Idol'? 'The Good Wife'? 'Justified'? Jeff Goldblum?

Another Tuesday, another set of vexed TV decisions to make this evening. I count at least eight non-rerun possibilities for you to choose from.

Will you be a Lost viewer who’ll stick around afterward and see if the new run of V episodes draws you in?

Another Good Wife rerun this week. (Come on, CBS: Stop READ FULL STORY

Crystal Bowersox and her 'Bobby McGee': Here's why it's better than Joplin's

For a show that prizes excessive emoting as a path to artistry, American Idol had a surprise last night: Crystal Bowersox took one of the most overrated songs in popular music, Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” and made it not just listenable READ FULL STORY

David Letterman to 'Idol"s Lacey Brown: 'Does this mean you're out of show business?'

Each top-12 finalist voted off American Idol will perform the following week on The Late Show with David Letterman. Last night, Lacey Brown was the first to appear. As he did when he used to have Survivor rejects on his show, Dave deals with these segments gingerly, a tad unwillingly. He feigns total ignorance of Idol. (“Do people call in and say, ‘We don’t want that woman?'” he asked Brown.) He rags on the show. (“That Simon Cowell, he’s insane,” he told Lacey, who wasn’t disagreeing.) And Dave let Paul Shaffer do Brown’s intro: “Here’s the first finalist to get voted off — kicked off, really — and she doesn’t have to go on the tour, that’s the best thing.”

Lacey Brown herself could not have been more polite and game, singing a bit of “What A Wonderful World” as the segment went into a commercial:

“Does this mean you’re out of show business?” Dave asked Brown.

Brown knew where to hit Dave where it hurts. “You’ve got 11 more weeks of this,” she said sweetly. Dave looked a little ill.

CORRECTION: Some readers have pointed out this is Letterman’s first time hosting the Idol cast-offs. My apologies; I corrected my mistake above. I was thinking of Dave’s amusingly uncomfortable encounters with Survivor cast-offs in previous years. Survivor, Idol – reality TV, it’s a jungle out there. Sorry.

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Kara predicts male 'Idol' winner, sings 'New York, New York'

Last night on The Tonight Show, American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi predicted a male winner for this season, nuzzled with guest Terry Bradshaw (the official Bad Sight Of The Night), and confirmed that her father would today announce a New York Senate run.

And Leno played some tape of her singing, when she was “eight or nine” years old.

Even then she was over-emoting, wasn’t she?

When Leno brought up her “bikini moment” (making sure to show us a picture), Kara’s response seemed to betray the influence of sitting near British judge Simon Cowell in her phrasing. “It showed I could kinda take the piss out of myself,” she said.

Jay looked a bit baffled and moved right on. Prodding her for more Idol opinions, she said, “Michael, I love him.”

Since I watch Idol with one eye and one ear closed at all times, you tell me: Was this an important bit of info? What did you think of Kara’s Tonight Show appearance?

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Scott Brown's daughter Ayla on post-'Idol' singing and posing nude

Today on Fox News Channel’s America Live with Megyn Kelly, Senator Scott Brown’s daughter Ayla gave Kelly an earful about her future. When asked if she was embarrassed by her father’s 1982 Cosmopolitan magazine photo shoot, Ayla said no, adding cheerfully, “If [my sister] Arianna and I wanted to pose nude, he can’t say anything about it.”

Uh-oh. Far be it from me to interfere with private family matters, but in the interest of preventing some new pop-culture political scandal, I’d say the Massachusetts senator may want to nip this potential one in the bud early.

The American Idol semi-finalist, who recently released an EP called Circles, said she plans to resume her singing career when she graduates from college in May.

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For more: Ayla Brown on her music career, her Senator-elect dad, and American Idol after Simon Cowell

'Saturday Night Live' recap: If Betty White had hosted last night

Bowing to a grassroots movement to get the funniest senior citizen in show business front-and-center, SNL had Betty White host one of its best entries of the season last night. There was a peculiar cold-open in which Kenan Thompson played a live-action version of Cleveland from The Cleveland Show starring in a parody of The Blind Side. But Betty White started saving the show almost immediately. In her opening monologue, she claimed to be the “457th woman Tiger Woods slept with,” and offered a withering critique of his stiff apology from earlier this week.

There was the inevitable Golden Girls parody, with Abby Elliott playing Blanche and Jason Sudeikis looking fine as Bea Arthur’s Dorothy:

White showed just how spry she still is in an Olympics sketch, impersonating a skiing Lindsey Vonn. (Extra credit to Bill Hader for doing a fine version of a snowboarding, high-on-life Shaun White.)

Next up was a deft take-off on the recurring role White used to have on Boston Legal, with Darrell Hammond making an SNL cameo in James Spader’s role:

And in the fine tradition of SNL game-show parodies, there was READ FULL STORY

Kevin Eubanks replacement for 'The Tonight Show'? Randy Newman, of course!

The news that Kevin Eubanks won’t be Jay Leno’s Tonight Show bandleader much longer makes me wonder who’ll take over that position. Eubanks brought to the job a Wes Montgomery-meets-George Benson soft-jazz lassitude that was made physical by Eubanks’ literally laid-back posture on the bandstand. He also chuckled dutifully at Jay’s jokes, and that was about it.

As far as the history of The Tonight Show is concerned, Eubanks was no Doc Severinsen. Which is to say, Eubanks isn’t a flamboyant showman the way Johnny Carson’s trumpet-playing bandleader was, and he’s rarely called upon by Leno to deliver solo showcases the way Carson used to use Doc — to give the guy some camera time, or to just fill time.

So who will Leno pick as a replacement? He can’t go “hip” — Jimmy Fallon cornered that market with The Roots. Leno can’t head for heartland-rock — Max Weinberg moonlighting from the E-Street Band for Conan O’Brien removes that option. And since irony is alien to Jay, he’ll never search out an equivalent to the multiple levels of put-on and scholarship that Paul Shaffer pulls off at The Late Show.

Leno, being a man of the ordinary people, might want to hire whoever it is who leads the band on American Idol, the ultmate ordinary-people show.

I saw a commercial recently touting a concert tour by “Dennis DeYoung featuring the music of Styx” — no doubt careful legal wording. It occurs to me that Leno might like to use a middle-of-the-road purveyor of oldies like DeYoung, or maybe even Journey (with whoever their latest lead singer is) as his house-band.

Or how about Gene Simmons? You just know he’d dump KISS in a second for an easy paycheck like The Tonight Show, and instead of laughing at all of Leno’s jokes, he could waggle his tongue in approval.

Then I thought of the perfect Tonight Show bandleader: Randy Newman. He loves L.A., and The Tonight Show is by now an L.A. institution.

Newman knows how to lead an orchestra, for pete’s sake, so he’d have no trouble presiding over a talk-show band.

Plus: He’s the sour to Leno’s sweet. Every time the camera cuts to him after a Leno punchline, we’d see that great Newman glare, the down-turned mouth, the grumpy give-me-something-better gaze.

I know: Newman is also a brilliant ironist capable of genius songwriting. But this should not be held against him as a Tonight Show regular. He’s also a self-proclaimed lazy person who takes years and years between albums, so why not spare us the latest knock-off of “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” in his umpteenth movie soundtrack, and pour a little vinegary wit onto The Tonight Show?

What do you think?

For more: Kevin Eubanks out of Tonight Show

'Human Target' and 'American Idol': I have questions for their viewers

After watching this week’s fun, the-Cold-War-isn’t-dead, poison-filled edition of Human Target, I realized that if I was 10 years old, this would be my favorite TV show. As it is, I really liked the episode’s double- and triple-crosses, and the moment when Mark Valley’s Christopher Chance squeezed a bad guy’s throat. (Actual 10 year-olds: Do not try that with your friends.)

My two questions?

1. People who write about the TV industry make a lot about lead-ins as ratings-boosters. In theory, it’s supposed to be great to have a huge hit such as American Idol preceding your show. But I wonder whether a lot of Idol fans also like the scripted adventure series that Human Target typifies. The genres seem so far apart. So I ask:

Who among you watched both of these shows, Idol and Target?

2. Which opening-credit sequence do you find cooler/more amusing? The one for the new Human Target:

Or the one for the 1992, Rick Springfield Human Target?

Let me know your answers to both; thanks.

Follow me on Twitter @kentucker

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