‘Idol’ Chatter: May 4, 2006

The final four have been chosen and I’d say [as Simon often says], America got it right. Based on the audience reaction inside the studio each week, I predicted that Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks would make it this far. Yet again last night the audience went nuts for Taylor. Ok, maybe not the teenage girls. What seems to be carrying Taylor through is the 8 to 12-year-old boys and the parents of the kids who watch “American Idol.” I just got wind of a Web site called www.dialidol.com that tracks the busy signals during voting. According to this site, Taylor has been at the top of the heap every single week. Of course, it’s unscientific but they have been right about who was getting eliminated the last four weeks.

Considering how she bawled, when so many others were voted off, I’m amazed how well Paris Bennett kept it together through the elimination. While Elliott was singing his song, Paris was off to the side dancing like she didn’t have a care in the world. It was only after she finished singing her swan song that tears began to flow. The moment the other Idols walked over to hug her, the waterworks started.

A fairly large amount of celebrities were in the audience for a Wednesday night. Typically, you see more famous faces on a Tuesday night because they prefer to see the performances. Melissa Gilbert brought her son and sat right in the front row. Season One runner up Justin Guarini walked in with a group that included the newest teenage heartthrob, Zac Efron, from the wildly popular Disney Channel film “High School Musical.” Needless to say, the teenage girls in the studio went nuts when Zac walked in and sat down.

Carmen Electra got a hug from each of the three judges and introduced them to her special guest, a 14-year-old little girl named Lucene Beshirian, who is part of the Pituitary Network Association’s program called “Head to Hollywood.” The non-profit program was started by Us Weekly Executive Editor Ken Baker and Carmen. Ken had a brain tumor when he was young and Carmen’s mom died of a brain tumor in 1998. “Head to Hollywood” allows brain tumor survivors VIP access into the world of celebrities. Lucene got the star treatment by getting her hair and makeup done at Ken Paves salon then being picked up by a chauffeured driven limo and taken to the show. She is obsessed with Chris Daughtry and Carmen was sweet enough to run up during a commercial break and grab his autograph for her. I think Chris was a bit shell shocked meeting Carmen, on whom he seemed to have a bit of a crush of his own. Carmen and Ken will be hosting a celebrity poker tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on June 3rd to raise money for the charity. Never one to miss an opportunity, Carmen was backstage at “Idol” trying to convince Ryan and the judges to attend. Who could say no to Carmen?

Sources backstage say Simon is considering casting Carmen as a judge on his new show for NBC, “America’s Got Talent.” If you want to see a little bit of what this show is all about be sure and check out my interview with Simon at the auditions on our video podcast, available for download free on iTunes.

Don’t believe a report out in In Touch magazine this week, that Paula Abdul and Ryan Seacrest are in couples therapy. According to my friend in his camp it’s “a load of crap.” In fact, Paula and Ryan shared a very friendly hug and laugh together during the commercial break right after Paris performed. Paula could not stop laughing at Ryan’s dancing. Something must have gotten into Simon Cowell last night too. He was acting very playful with Paula during the group performance, sitting behind her pulling her hair.

By the way, in case anyone is wondering, that song the Idols sang called “Together We Are One” is from the British Commonwealth Games according to Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel filled TV Week in on next week’s theme - the songs of the late, great Elvis Presley. This is the first time in “American Idol” history that they will have an Elvis theme. The Idols are hopping a private jet to Graceland where they will be greeted by Priscilla Presley who will give them a tour of the house. Then they meet with Tommy Mottola, the music mogul behind the careers of Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Beyonce. Each of the Idols will sing two songs again on Tuesday night.

For anyone who knows how difficult it is to clear a Beatles song for use on air, Nigel also explained how Taylor Hicks was able to use “Something.” The only reason it cleared was because George Harrison wrote it, not John Lennon or Paul McCartney.

I’ll be sitting down with Nigel on our set this coming Monday. So, if you have any burning “American Idol” questions you want answered e-mail them to me at here.

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