Galloway Township singer heads to Hollywood for ‘American Idol’

What part of @MaraJustine1's golden ticket-winning audition for American Idol. @ThePressofAC #acpress— Molly Bilinski (@ACPressMollyB) March 13, 2018 GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Mara Justine called all her friends and family into the living room of her township home Monday night to pray before “American Idol” was set to start.“Thank you for this gift, and I hope I can keep using it to connect with people and inspire people,” Justine said, holding hands with her friends and family.She thanked God for everyone in the room, who have been supporting her along the way.Justine, a 16-year-old Absegami High School sophomore, was handed the golden ticket by “Idol” judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, who gave her a standing ovation after her audition. In the coming weeks, she will go on to compete against other singers in Hollywood. Close 1 of 16 Buy Now Mara Justine, 16, of Galloway, tearfully reacts to her audition for American Idol and the reaction from the star-studded guests as she's sent to Hollywood. Monday, March 12 ERIN GRUGAN / Staff Photographer Facebook Twitter Email Print Save Buy Now Mara Justine, 16, of Galloway, tearfully celebrates with her family and friends from Absegami High School as the star-studded American Idol guests send her to Hollywood. Monday, March 12 ERIN GRUGAN / Staff Photographer Facebook Twitter Email Print Save Buy Now Sixteen-year-old Mara Justine celebrates with friends and family at her Galloway home after the broadcast Monday night of her ‘American Idol’ audition in which she qualified to go on to Hollywood for the next round of competition. See the story and more photos at ERIN GRUGAN / Staff Photographer Facebook Twitter Email Print Save Buy Now Sixteen-year-old Mara Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ returns on a new network with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie as its new judges and a format that’s still familiar

By Peter Larsen | [email protected] | Orange County Register March 9, 2018 at 6:20 am Grace Walker of San Juan Capistrano auditions on “American Idol” which after a one-year absence returns to TV on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Photo by Eddy Chen, ABC)Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan on “American Idol.” (Photo by Eric Liebowitz, ABC)Ron Bultongez of Plano, Texas plays and sings for the judges on “American Idol” on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Photo by Eric Liebowitz, ABC)Catie Turner of Langhorne, Pennsylvania kicks off the return of “American Idol” after a year off the year on ABC on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Photo Eric Liebowitz, ABC)Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan on “American Idol.” (Photo by Eric Liebowitz, ABC)Harper Grace of McKinney, Texas sings on “American Idol” on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Photo by Mark Levine, ABC)Nico Bones of Long Beach, California sings for the judges on “American Idol” on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Photo by Adam Rose, ABC)Noah Davis of Royal, Arkansas meets the judges before his audition on “American Idol” on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Photo by Adam Rose, ABC)Trevor Holmes of Thousand Oaks, California sings on “American Idol” which returns after a year off the year this weekend. (Photo by Adam Rose, ABC)Alyssa Raghu of Orlando, Florida trys out for the return of “American Idol” on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Photo by Eddy Chen, ABC)Show Caption of Expand When “American Idol” left the air in 2016 after 15 seasons it’s likely not all that many of its once-fervent, now-fatigued, fans were all that surprised or upset. The groundbreaking reality TV singing competition debuted in 2002 and had enjoyed a fantastic run for a decade, ruling as the biggest shows on television. Winners such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood launched superstar careers, and even singers who fell short of Continue Reading

Why Kelly Clarkson Chose ‘The Voice’ Over ‘American Idol’

TCA 2018: Part of it was that she didn't want to "feel sh---y" on the show that made her famous Tony Maglio, provided by Published 5:41 pm, Tuesday, January 9, 2018 Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Why Kelly Clarkson Chose ‘The Voice’ Over ‘American Idol’ 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Kelly Clarkson is set to be a coach on Season 13 of NBC’s “The Voice” and not Season 16 of now-ABC property “American Idol.” So why did the first ever American Idol snub the former Fox series that made her famous? It’s all about “those blinds,” she said, referring to the backs-turned audition process on “The Voice.” Clarkson compared those with the days of her opera-singing competitions, when all of the contestants performed behind screens. “It was all based on talent and merit,” she remembered at Tuesday’s Television Critics Association press tour. Latest entertainment videos Now Playing: Now Playing Practical Jokers Call International Phone Scammers for Job Inquiries Storyful Mary J. Blige's response to harassment: 'Don't touch me or I'll kill you.' AP Hugh Jackman Opens Up About How He Keeps his 21-Year Marriage Strong GoodHousekeeping Bella Thorne Says She Was Molested Until She Was 14 Wibbitz ShowBiz Minute: Polanski, BAFTA, Paltrow AP The Most Awkward Moments at the 2018 Golden Globes GoodHousekeeping Oprah: 'Time's Up' is for 'women of the world' AP InStyle Golden Globes 2018: Who's Your Woman Crush? InStyleTime Angela Bassett, Connie Britton star in, '9-1-1' Fox5DC Gigi Hadid Walked Her Pet Unicorn Through N.Y.C. and Trolled Photographers InStyleTime Also Read: NBC Renews 'Ellen's Game of Games' for Season 2 Plus, there’s just something about being a “coach” — “The Voice’s” verbiage — and not a “judge,” which is what Continue Reading

How these giants we lost in 2017 made their mark in theater

Let’s salute a few showbiz folks who took their final bows this year. Several were Broadway fixtures, while others found fame on TV or in Hollywood but couldn’t resist the lure of the stage. Mary Tyler Moore, who died in January, had a scarring experience in the 1966 musical “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which closed before it opened, while still in previews. She headed to Los Angeles and became one of TV’s iconic characters, Mary Richards, in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Even so, she returned to theater in 1980, as a quadriplegic in “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?” Though the role was written for a man, Moore said, “It’s important that a play can survive with a woman [in the lead]. ‘Whose Life Is It, Anyway?’ is not a story about a man. It’s essentially a story about bravery [that] the character never knew she had until she had to call on it.” Moore received a special Tony for her performance. “I was told they voted it because I was a Hollywood persona who had come to Broadway,” she told The Post. “But I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.” A.R. Gurney, who left us in June, was the John Cheever of the theater, chronicling the insular, privileged world of WASPs in such plays as “The Cocktail Hour” and “The Dining Room.” It was a world he knew well, having grown up in a blue-blood family in Buffalo, NY. “I’ve written some darkly satirical plays which say that the WASP culture is … peculiarly rigid,” Gurney told writer Leslie Bennetts. “[But] there are many things … I admire … There’s a sense of pluck and endurance and tenacity — some of the values Katharine Hepburn embodies — a kind of stoic, chin-up, unselfish … sense of getting on with it.” Playwright Albert Innaurato, who died in September, was no WASP: He was a working-class kid from South Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ Steven Tyler apology: Nigel Lythgoe laments ‘lack of humor’ over Fox show joke

The "American Idol" apology for Steven Tyler Wednesday night left fans asking if it was a joke or not, which made the producer of the show laugh more than the mock mea culpa.Fox issued the apology for the judge’s "outrageous behavior” before the Austin, Tex., auditions kicked off.Jack Muck, whose name, Tyler joked, rhymed with an expletive -- not "Duck" as the kid suggested.Nigel Lythgoe was beside himself.tweeted Wednesday night. "Hey you guys, don't take things too seriously, especially my shows. Smile or 'Go **** a duck' "Host Ryan Seacrest teased the “outrageous” apology on his radio show, his Twitter account and his website on Wednesday, causing critics to suggest it was simply a ploy to get the show’s numbers up.Victoria Huggins. But his appearance on "Idol" has been the most buzzed about, with Aerosmith digital sales feeling the love as, "I don't Want to Miss a Thing" entered the Billboard digital charts for the first time at No. 54 after he sang an impromptu duet with contestant Lauren Alaina last that Jennifer Lopez is upset that the “Idol” spotlight is on Tyler, she told that she enjoys "every second of the zaniness and craziness" that Tyler brings to the show. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Pia Toscano, Thia Megia stand out on ‘American Idol,’ other female singers can’t keep up

So much for gender equality."American Idol's" final dozen female contestants slunked to the stage Wednesday and, collectively, had a lot of trouble living up to their masculine counterparts.  Defying male-female stereotypes, the women lacked both the quirks and, more surprisingly, the drama the men floridly displayed Tuesday.Too bad the rules demand voters even out the gender selections.That's not to say Wednesday presented no worthy distaff contenders.  Here's a look at those most deserving of the Top Five (to be revealed on a two hour show Thursday), followed by the list of sad stragglers: 1. Thia Megia: And the child shall lead them. The youngest of the double x chromosome'd singers, at 15, took the simplest approach last night - and did the most with it. Instead of ramming her song down viewers' throats, she opened "Out Here On My Own" acappella and let the notes flow out with ease. Following that with just a piano accompaniment, Megia trusted the purity of her tone to sell the song, offering the least distraction from her talents. Lauren Turner: The Southern former housekeeper mined a deep blues groove in "Seven Day Fool," easily channeling her inner Etta James. Ballsy and sure, Turner had confidence to burn. Ashthon Jones: Speaking of the power of confidence. Ms. Jones may have given her least competent performance but her spitfire character nearly made up for it. If nothing else, she's got the diva thing down. Lauren Alaina. The 16-year-old, self-described Georgia peach didn't bring anything new to her brand of country fried rock. But her pipes gave her a passable level of gutsiness. Pia Toscano. Her timbre lacks individual character, which will always limit her reach. But at least she has a shout on her. And since "Idol" is really an athletic competition (not a singing one, as stated) it's no surprise her performance brought the judges to their feet. Sad but true.      1. Karen Rodriguez almost Continue Reading

Jennifer Lopez shopping ‘American Idol’-type show: Singer looking for talent in Latin America

Latin American Idol?Jennifer Lopez is reportedly shopping around a singing competition a la "American Idol" where she and husband Marc Anthony will search for undiscovered vocal talent in Latin America.Simon Fuller, the creator and executive producer of "American Idol," to discuss the project.Fox show is only for one season. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Pia Toscano ‘American Idol’ elimination sparks outrage from celebrity fans, past contestants

" Will someone please explain to me HOW in the WORLD @PToscanoAI10 (Pia) has been voted off American Idol?! #baffled!! Who are the people that vote on American idol? That's just crazy! That Pia girl is dope! #almostcriminal Wow just watched American Idol for the first time this season and they got rid of the best female singer this season! Pia was amazing! I'll never complain about our eliminations.....hehehe This did not just happen!!! How??? I'm going to do something radical. I love you Pia! This is more egregious than that no-hitter that was ruined by that ump. I'm going to do something drastic. This has put me in an unstable mood. Alyssa Milano: What in the world? Pia? Pia was sent home? How is that possible? I'm so confused. #AmericanIdol @PToscanoAI10 Keep your head up, beauty girl. You're an awesome talent. I JUST heard that Pia got eliminated from #AmericanIdol last night. How is that possible? The judges need to bring her back! #AI They dumped Pia!! How did that happen?? Bad call tonight on Idol. I cannot believe they just eliminated pia ! ReAlly..???? Long as she walked away with that voice she will be alright !! Just hate to see talent like that go! What the crap!!?? I thought Pia was THE best singer on the show this year! I am truly sad. I can't believe this happened. You have to vote for who you love! We will miss you @ptoscanoAI10 !! Ryan Seacrest (host): Can't get over last night's #AmericanIdol! So bizarre. After I read the results I thought to myself, 'did I get that right?' Toscano sobbed into Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ top 8 recap: Lauren Alaina tries for Pia fans; Casey Abrams, James Durbin stay real

With all three judges loving seven of the eight singing performances – and half-loving the other one - "American Idol" had to shift the spotlight to rustle up even a little musical drama Wednesday night. Fortunately, it found Jimmy Iovine. In a competition built on weekly eliminations, having the judges tell the contestants "You were all great!" just isn't really helping much with the differentiation process. So Wednesday night the spotlight moved backstage to check in on Iovine, chairman of Interscope Records and the musical mentor for this year's "Idol." That Iovine could make musical waves is no surprise, given his chops. It's just that in contrast to this year's glittery judges' panel, he was hired to be the guy who works with the contestants during the week. He wears casual clothes and he doesn't have a Coke cup on his table. Wednesday night, however, we watched him quietly do this: 1. He advised contestant Lauren Alaina to sing Miley Cyrus's "The Climb" in part because "There are a slew of Pia votes out there and this is how to get them." Quick background for those who hibernated until this week: Contestant Pia Toscano of Queens was voted off the show last week, stunning the judges and much of America. "It sounds cold," said Iovine of the vote-grabbing strategy. "But you gotta think like that." So Lauren sang it. The judges loved it. "You don't have to steal anyone's votes," judge Jennifer Lopez cracked. 2. He advised contestant Casey Abrams not to sing Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy," a soft bluesy tune. "This show is a hurricane," said Iovine. "If you go out there and whisper, no one will hear you." Abrams sang it anyway. The judges all loved it.Abrams himself, after he sang, said, "I felt like people were against me. ...I did something that's never been done."3. He advised contestant James Durbin not to sing "Call It Heavy Metal."Durbin sang it anyway, or at least sang it when guest Zakk Wylde wasn't doing Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ producer Nigel Lythgoe feuds with former winner Lee DeWyze over his finale absence

Lee DeWyze's on-stage absence from the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday was no accident.Ryan Seacrest. And according to executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, that's all DeWyze's fault.tweeted Thursday. "Especially as he'd been on the show this Season." Twitter that he "was not asked to be involved in the Finale."THE BEST AND WORST CELEBRITY FEUDSNigel had approached me and asked if he could ‘borrow' me for a second," DeWyze claimed. "I didnt feel a last second jump on stage was appropriate."tweeting, "True, he wasn't asked to sing." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading