‘American Idol’ votes accidentally routed to Washington pizza place

The phones were ringing off the hook at Gordy's Pizza & Pasta in Port Angeles last Wednesday, but the callers weren't looking for the eatery's signature fettucine. They were trying to vote for their favorite singing contestants on the hit Fox TV show "American Idol." It's not clear why the calls were routed to Gordy's for two hours Wednesday night, the Peninsula Daily News reported ( http://is.gd/joITlW ). The number the show advertised for voters — 855-443-6411 — is not similar to the number the pizzeria has had for the past 50 years. According to the show, viewers nationwide cast more than 71 million votes Wednesday night. The restaurant's owner, Randy Sexton, said his staff was inundated with calls — "a frenzy of ring, ring, ring, ring, ring" — and answered every one as if it were a customer. He hopes the snafu gets fixed before next Wednesday's episode. A spokeswoman for "American Idol," now in its 13th season said efforts were being made to fix the problem. Sexton said a mistake may have been made — possibly a keyboard typo — when voters' calls were routed through AT&T. Most of the calls seemed to be from the East Coast, he said. Sandy Bennett, who set up and manages the show's voting system, did not have an explanation, according to an email she sent to Wave Broadband in an effort to address the problem. Bennett is the general manager of Los Angeles-based Telescope, "a provider of audience participation, consumer engagement and social television solutions," according to its website. She suggested blocking out-of-state calls to Gordy's during show nights, subject to Sexton's approval. "The purpose of this is to prevent the misdials/routed calls from flooding Mr. Sexton's lines and interrupting his business while we continue to work on investigating the cause," Bennett said. Bennett also suggested placing a trap on the line to detect the number that "American Idol" Continue Reading

Jax advances to Top 11 on ‘American Idol’

Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a two-part series about East Brunswick resident Jax and her journey on "American Idol."EAST BRUNSWICK – Sitting in the front row in the lounge on the "American Idol" stage Thursday night, Jax only had to wait for four contestants - Rayvon Owens, Maddie Walker, Joey Cook and Clark Beckham - to be named before she heard her own called. With a big smile and a shake of her head, Jax was in the Top 11 and got to sing her party anthem choice, "Blank Space," by Taylor Swift.As she reached the stage, she said, "I'm feeling 5,000 things at once."Playing to the audience - one boy in particular - with the well-known song choice, Jax made no change-ups in the tune as in past performances."I chose this song because I think It's an anthem and I hope everyone is at home jumping up and down on their couches," said Jax, who admits to being a big Swift fan.Unlike past shows, this time viewers got to see and hear mentor Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine records, talk about each contestant. He called Jax "the epitome of all the good things about the '80s mashed up into 2015.""She has charisma," said Borchetta, who discovered Swift at age 14. "She is so musical, has really unique ideas. I really think she has everything it takes."Borchetta also explained that Jax singing the song straight was her choice."One of the things that Jax wanted to focus on this week was that she does a lot that is a little left of center and she wanted to hit a target that is pop culture today, and that's what she did," he said.The two agreed that in the short time they have been working together, they have been able to "solidify a sound."I think that's what I've been searching for my whole life," said Jax, an East Brunswick resident.The judges weren't as happy with Jax's choice. Acknowledging her deserved popularity, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. sometimes comment that she changed up a song too much. This time they said they wished there was "more Continue Reading

Stefano Langone doesn’t survive ‘American Idol’ vote Thursday becoming latest singer to get boot

Call it a case of too little, too late.Stefano Langone finally loosened up his performance skills a bit this week, fulfilling the judge's frequent entreaties to do so. But he still got the boot from "American Idol" via the nationwide vote.     Though Langone owns one of the most sure tones, and agile styles, of the remaining would-be Idols, he has long been hampered by his stiff stage presence. More, his conventionally macho good looks may have actually worked against him. Historically, voters prefer their top picks to mirror their own physical imperfections.Langone's expulsion had nearly the opposite effect of Pia Toscano's from a few weeks back. While hers came as a jaw-dropping shocker, Langone had already spent more time in the bottom three than any singer still standing, rendering the decision a yawn.Sharing the dreaded stools with the doomed Langone this week were Jacob Lusk and (briefly) Haley Reinhart. In an unprecedented move, Ryan Seacrest didn't let the distaff member of the bottom trio fret long over her fate. Shortly after banishing her to purgatory, the host whispered a safety pass in her ear.Lusk's near-elimination felt almost as inevitable as Langone's loss. Not only has he spent time lurking in the valley of the stools before, he practically wrote himself out of the running by his song choice this week. When assigned to record a contemporary artist, he chose one who's no longer alive: Luther Vandross. That doesn't auger well for his ability to compete on the charts in the unlikely event he should go the distance.Then again, do any of the singers left in play have the peculiar mix it takes? For all their talents, that's a bar quirky enough to have daunted many an Idol "winner" before them. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ vote online debuts as Top 12 guys lead by Jacob Lusk’s Luther Vandross, Casey Abrams

It's do-or-die for "American Idol's" guys and girls. The final twenty-four will get hacked down to a terribly slim ten by Thursday. On Tuesday's show, the 12 male singers stepped up to the mic. Wednesday will showcase the distaff dozen. The one twist? Ryan made a vague allusion to the judges' "wild card choices," which may mean they’ll add one, or more, additions to the ten that fans actually voted in - or perhaps just provide veto power. Either way, it's the fans who'll have most of the say from that point on - amplified by this year's innovation of allowing viewers to vote on line for the first time. Given all that pressure, how did the xy chromosomes perform Tuesday night? While a few of the season's most problematic singers pulled it out under pressure, at least one of the best contenders gave his weakest bid at just the wrong moment. Here's my list of the should-be Top Five Males, followed by the please-God-no contenders:Stefano Langone: While his tone has always been golden, he's never given a more burly performance than Tuesday night's spin on Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are." Langone's power-hitter take even made up for the fact that he could not have chosen a more over-performed song. James Durbin: While everyone's favorite Tourettes victim first seemed like just an Adam Lambert wanna-be, Tuesday night's take on Judas Priest's "Another Thing Coming" had surprising focus. And, for once, his shrieks came in all the right places. Casey Abrams: Oddball Abrams made his strangest choice yet Tuesday night - to cover Screamin' Jay Hawkins' berserk "I Put A Spell On You." By Abrams' standards, it was a huge let down, in that it's the first time his wit had no emotional subtext. Still, given his stellar run up until this point, he definitely deserves a Top Ten slot. Brett Loewenstern: Yes, the start of his take on The Doors' "Light My Fire" made it sound even more corny and loungey than the original. But as the carrot topped Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ 2011 vote online via Facebook, sponsored by AT&T, slammed by fans

"American Idol" 2011 has only just debuted its online voing system -- in time for the Top 24 Girl and Guy performances -- but fans of the competition series are already claiming it "sucks." On the Fox show's official message board, a topic called "Online Voting Sucks" was created Tuesday night after the system  launched following performances by the Top 12 guys. More than 100 viewers had already posted to the message board by Wednesday evening, many of them complaining that they had to give "American Idol" their Facebook details in order to vote for their favorite contestants. "I want to vote for the next 'American Idol,' not run for a political office," JPaar61 wrote, after asking why "Idol" and AT&T, which sponsors the show's online voting system, needed all his information. Another user, LanceRW, claimed he was boycotting "Idol" voting entirely because he did not know "voting on-line would require giving up my first born to AT&T." While AT&T merely sponsors online voting, "Idol" analyzes the number of vote and verifies voters' Facebook information. A Fox spokesperson told the Daily News via email that "the information requested by americanidol.com during the online voting process is used for 'American Idol' vote verification purposes only," a message that also pops up online before a vote is officially submitted to the website. AT&T did return calls for comment in time for print. While some fans created a Facebook account solely to vote on "Idol," user danskat26 reminded them that it was a "violation of Facebook's Terms of Service," to do so, but she ultimately appeared to blame the Fox series for fans' actions. "It was deceptive of AI to not state the requirement of giving ATT access to your Facebook account and your friends list too," she wrote. "American Idol" did issue a press release in February which explained that fans would have to log in using their Facebook accounts in order to Continue Reading

Stripping ‘American Idol’ of its charms

"AMERICAN IDOL" (Fox) Not the stripper! Who will the public vote off next - the girl who already had a recording contract? We can't get rid of all the scandal-laden contestants right off the bat! What will everyone talk about by the water cooler the next day? Should we go by song choices and vocal abilities? That's not the "American Idol" I've come to know and love. We need strippers, and liars, and people with nude photos, and sex tapes, and secret bastard children. It keeps things interesting when Paula hasn't taken her pills and Simon is in a good mood. NOW THAT'S GOOD TV: My two favorite things about "American Idol," when they finally narrow it down to 12 contestants on the big stage, are 1) the Ford commercials! In these special tie-in "Idol" ads, it's funny to see folks like Amanda "Debbie Downer" Overmyer cheesily lip-sync a pop song atop a truck while holding hands with David Archuleta. And 2) celebrities in the audience! I will never forget the touching moment when cameras caught David Hasselhoff crying. It was beautiful. "THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS PRESENT: GIRLICIOUS" (CW) Makeovers! Except, wait, did these girls actually get makeovers? Because they all look pretty much the same, except perhaps with more bangs and eye makeup. I thought it was so quaint when Robin told the ladies they were going to a red-carpet event and they all jumped up and down with excitement. They probably thought, "Paparazzi! Celebrities! Free booze!" But when they got there, it turned out the "event" was just a red carpet laid out on a Hollywood side street with fake photographers pretending to take their picture and not a celebrity in sight. Unless you count an In Touch magazine editor, which I do not. NOW THAT'S GOOD TV: Lil' Kim's face during the final performances each episode always makes me chuckle. It's almost like she's sitting there thinking, "How did I get here?" Seriously though, how did Lil' Kim end up judging a third-rate reality competition on the CW? She's the Continue Reading

Archuleta aces ‘American Idol’

"AMERICAN IDOL" (Fox) I may not be David Archuleta's biggest fan, but by God, this little nugget of a superstar can sing. I don't even like the song "Smoky Mountain Something-or-Others," but when Archuleta started belting out those buttery notes, I ate 'em up like Pillsbury croissants ('cause those are butter-baked - see what I did there?). Even without the voice of a miniature Josh Groban, those saucer-dish-size eyes that make Archuleta look like an animé puppy are sure to keep bringing in the under-15 and over-50 female votes until the finals.NOW THAT'S GOOD TV: Dear People Who Write Ryan Seacrest's Opening Monologue, worst April Fool's joke ever. I cringed more watching Seacrest try to convince the audience they were going to see a celebrity version of "Moment of Truth" than I did watching Kristy Lee Cook sing or Brooke White dance. It would have been better if Seacrest told Archuleta he was in the bottom three, got a couple of tears, then shouted "Psyche!" while giving him a noogie. "THE HILLS" (MTV) This week, the gossip rags were reporting that Lauren's exes Jason Wahler and Brody Jenner are both getting their own reality shows. I don't understand. Those two jerks get their own gigs, and the two greatest "Hills" characters are left in the shadows? When are television producers going to realize that the "Go Lo" show and "Truth & Time: The Justin Bobby Story" are hits just waiting to happen?NOW THAT'S GOOD TV: "Spencer was like, 'I'll have the muscle breakfast,' and I was like, 'Why, because you have no muscles?' and he was like, 'Shut up!'" Emmy voters, are you catching this dialogue? "ROCK OF LOVE 2" (VH1) Bret needs to plop Ambre, Daisy and Destiney into a kiddie pool full of pudding and let them go at it until the last hair extension has been ripped out and there's one girl left standing. I'd give the handicap to Destiney. Sure, Daisy would be hard to sink because of those chesty flotation devices, and Ambre looks like a biter, but Destiney has that Continue Reading

Oh, boys – 135M ‘Idol’ votes send Chris & Phil packing

Phil Stacey, the "American Idol" contestant who kept saying he was happy just to be there, isn't anymore. Chris Richardson, who had said he expects a great career even if he didn't win "Idol," will now find out whether that's true.After taking a week off to help the needy, America's most popular TV show got back to its real business last night: systematically eliminating contestants until it produces a Season Six winner.After whacking Stacey and Richardson last night, "Idol" has four contestants still in the running: Blake Lewis, Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones and Jordin Sparks.The show did not suspend voting last week for its "Idol Gives Back" charity promotion, which raised $70 million and earned the show a taped thank-you message from President and Mrs. Bush.But last week's results were held back and combined with this week's, so show host Ryan Seacrest said the total was around 135 million.Next week's show will be "Boogie Night," with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.  Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ gets the boot next year after quite an impressive run

Yo! Yo! Yo! OK, so check it out, dawg. “American Idol” is being eliminated next year, and the fans didn’t even get to text in their votes to determine whether it should be sent home either. Clearly, “Idol” ain’t what it was in its prime with Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul pulling in 36 million viewers. Now, it’s one-third of that. But that’s still huge compared with other shows that stay on way past their prime. Take “Saturday Night Live,” which just had its 40th anniversary but hasn’t been funny for at least half of that time, except for the breakout performers that go on to movies and other shows. The only thing longer than the show’s run are the tedious sketches which drag on like a best man’s speech. TOP 10 WORST 'AMERICAN IDOL' AUDITIONS EVER Still, “SNL” lives like a monster from the sewer that won’t die. It’s still considered a must-do for hot actors, while the media slavishly covers the show all as though it’s relevant. Yes, 23.1 million people tuned in for the 40th anniversary special, but only about 5 million to 6 million tune in most other weeks for the regular broadcast. That’s less than half the average audience for “Idol.” 'AMERICAN IDOL', PANTS ON THE GROUND GUY Worse, “SNL’s” writers have been accused of plagiarism twice recently. Last week’s “Draw the Prophet Muhammad” skit was almost identical to a skit done in January on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s “22 Minutes.” In October, “SNL” seemingly ripped off a “Proud Mary” sketch from California’s Groundlings improv. They’re not even clever enough to not get caught stealing, let alone to write anything original and funny. So, if “Idol” often gets double the viewers of “SNL,” why is it getting the boot? Maybe Fox Continue Reading

‘American Idol’ crowns Season 14 champion

LOS ANGELES — Nick Fradiani is the latest winner of "American Idol." The 29-year-old rocker of Guilford, Connecticut, bested soulful 22-year-old vocalist Clark Beckham of White House, Tennessee, to win the 14th edition of the Fox talent competition. "This is amazing," he told "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest. "This is the best day of my life." Fradiani joins such champions as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Phillip Phillips and Kris Allen, as well one more winner to be determined next year. Fox announced earlier this week that the next season would be the last for "Idol." Before he was revealed as the winner on Wednesday, Fradiani dueted with singer-songwriter Andy Grammer. "I can't even think right now," Fradiani said after Seacrest informed him that he received the most viewer votes — without revealing the exact number cast. Fradiani's win came on the strength of his renditions Tuesday of Matchbox 20's "Bright Lights," Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up" and "Beautiful Life," intended as his first single. Beckham sang Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind," Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Champion." The two-hour extravaganza kicked off with Fradiani and Beckham joining Fall Out Boy on their song "Centuries." The series' penultimate finale also resurrected Chic, Ricky Martin, NKOTB, Michael McDonald and Steven Tyler for performances, as well as judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. The once-blockbuster singing contest, which hit a peak of 30.3 million viewers in 2005, is now averaging 9.15 million viewers per episode, according to the Nielsen company. Lopez, Urban and Connick Jr. are due back at the judges' table for next year's 15th and final "Idol" outing. Beckham had a few words of advice for those looking to become the last-ever "Idol." "You have to be good at lot of different things," he said. "It's not just singing a song." ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO Continue Reading