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'American Idol' champ Ruben Studdard to compete on 'The Biggest Loser'

Have you ever seen a Velvet Teddy Bear with rock-hard abs? American Idol alum Ruben Studdard, who beat Clay Aiken back in 2003 to earn the season 2 crown, is moving on to a new reality competition: The Biggest Loser.

Studdard — nicknamed the Velvet Teddy Bear for his cuddly physique and silky-smooth vocals — is ready to change that image in the name of health.

“I’ve never had an issue with my weight,” Studdard, 35, told People. “[But] my family has a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart-related issues — things I didn’t have to deal with yet because I’m young. But I don’t want to be worried at 40, and if I don’t fix things now, I will be.”

Will 'The Voice' ever find a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood?

In 2002, 23 million viewers tuned in to watch Kelly Clarkson win the first season of American Idol, which translated to her debut post-show album, Thankful, selling 2.8 million albums to date, more than 2 million of which were sold in the first two years after its release. In 2011, 11.1 million viewers tuned in to watch Javier Colon win The Voice, which translated to his first album, Come Through for You, selling 46,000 copies to date, almost exactly two years later. So is Idol really just a better platform for musicians, or do these stats simply reveal the issue of a changing music industry?

No one can say for sure, but Idol‘s least successful winner, 2010’s Lee DeWyze, sold 146,000 albums, more than tripling Colon’s sales. Even Idol punch line William Hung sold 200,000 albums. And considering The Voice‘s season 2 winner, Jermaine Paul, hasn’t even released a debut album, maybe there is something missing from The Voice formula. Why can’t singers successfully transition from selling cover songs to selling albums of original music?

'American Idol' hires new exec producer

American Idol went out of the country to find its next executive producer.

Per Blankens, who was in charge of the Swedish version of Idol, will now replace Nigel Lythgoe for the show’s 13th season that kicks off in January. Blankens was also head of programming for Meter Television, one of Scandinavia’s production companies that made overseas versions of Idol, Master Chef and The Biggest Loser. Blankens served as the producer of Idol in Sweden from 2007-2011.

'American Idol' ousts Nigel Lythgoe and exec producer Ken Warwick

Rumors of Nigel Lythgoe’s imminent departure from American Idol were realized yesterday when the high-profile producer tweeted the news that he’d been fired from Fox’s flagship music-reality competition. “It’s not a personal thing,” added Lythgoe, who will remain with So You Think You Can Dance. “They just feel Idol needs new leadership after 12 seasons.


'American Idol' tour scaled back

It appears the waning interest in American Idol has taken a toll on the traditional summer tour of finalists: 19 Entertainment has eliminated nine concerts in its North American tour.

Cities affected included Las Vegas, St. Louis, Detroit and Oakland, among others. The tour was originally set to begin on June 29; now it’s been pushed to July 19, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Idols will now perform in 30 venues nationwide.

The 12-year-old reality franchise was down 23 percent to 15.2 million viewers for its Wednesday night performance shows this year, and has gone from the No. 1 show to a mere Top 5 show. Three of the judges have already announced their departures — Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Nicki Minaj.

Fox’s entertainment chief hinted in May that the show may return to a three-judge panel.

‘American Idol’ considering all-alumni panel
‘American Idol': Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj officially exit

Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj officially exit 'American Idol' -- UPDATE

It’s official: Mariah Carey won’t return for a second season as a judge on American Idol. UPDATE May 30, 8:27 p.m. ET: Nicki Minaj has also confirmed she’s leaving her judge’s chair.

A joint statement from Fox and producers of the singing competition show FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment declared, “Mariah Carey is a true global icon – one of the most accomplished artists on the planet – and we feel extremely fortunate  that she was able to bring her wisdom and experience to the American Idol contestants this season. We know she will remain an inspiration to Idol hopefuls for many seasons to come.”


'American Idol' considering an all-alumni panel

The students may become the masters next season on American Idol.

According to several reports, Fox is considering an all-alumni judging panel for the show next season. A rep for American Idol told EW they had no comment. READ FULL STORY

Keith Urban willing to return to 'American Idol'

Keith Urban has already said he would be willing to return to American Idol as a judge, but for the time being, his future on the show remains up in the air, the singer said Thursday backstage at the American Idol finale.

“I have no idea. All I know is that there is talk about it,” he says. “For me, I’m in the studio literally this week finishing up my album and putting a tour together, hitting the road in July. So onwards.” READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' winner: 'A lot of dreams came true for me tonight'

The new winner of American Idol was still shocked by the time she came backstage to face the press after learning she’d won the crown. READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' finals: Backstage scoop from Keith Urban, Kree Harrison, and Candice Glover

American Idol finalists Kree Harrison and Candice Glover wowed the audience at the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live Wednesday evening with three show-stopping ballads each. After the performances, Glover, Harrison and judge Keith Urban came backstage to talk about their night, that coin flip, and singing those soulful songs.

“As different as they are, they have a lot of similarities. They have a lot of vulnerability and strength that are both apparent when they perform. They both come from very roots-y, earthy, real families and I think that’s what’s apparent in what they do. There’s no pageantry in either of them,” said first-time judge Urban. “They sing because they need to sing. Not because they want to be famous.”

But as to what he thought of their performances, Urban said: “I was really taken with the original songs, particularly Kree’s. Kree’s to me was the one that just hit me.” Harrison and Glover may not have Urban’s luxury of distance, but both offered up insights into their performances as well.


Fox breaks 'Idol' silence: 'Everything is on the table'


Fox broke its silence on the worrisome performance of former reality titan American Idol and reports that the network is planning to reboot the entire show — including dumping its judges panel. Longtime Idol judge Randy Jackson quit last week after hearing the news, which still leaves Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj up for possible elimination.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters before the network’s upfront presentation in New York City on Monday, Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly blamed the show’s ratings decline on the age of the show and some creative changes that were made to season 12’s format.

“More so than any one factor is the age of the show right now, but [also] maybe the format this year,” Reilly said. “We expanded some of the middle rounds we did a boy-girl thing that went over three weeks — that’s really where the ratings took their biggest hit. The only thing I will confirm is next year, without getting into any specifics, our next season begins on the Friday morning after our [Idol] finale — that’s when we’re really going to get to work in earnest.”

Despite partly blaming the show’s ratings decline on format tweaks, Reilly pledged there will be more format tweaks next year for lucky season 13: “The format will have a few fresh twists, that we’ve already identified, that will be a nice little jolt for next season.”

Pressed on whether the remaining three judges will be “welcome” to return, Reilly said, “Welcome back? Absolutely. But everything at this point is on the table.” READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' eliminated contestant: 'This is only the start'

The tears may have been flowing on stage, but tonight’s eliminated American Idol contestant kept a brave face after the show. READ FULL STORY

Randy Jackson's quitting 'American Idol'

Dawgs, it’s over for Randy Jackson.

The last original member of the American Idol judges panel announced today via E! News that he’s leaving the Fox talent show.

“Yo! Yo! Yo! To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol I have decided it is time to leave after this season,” he told the outlet. “I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life changing opportunity but I am looking forward to focusing on my company Dream Merchant 21 and other business ventures.”

News of his departure comes at a time when Idol faces its lowest ratings and worst headlines to date. Though no one — least of all the Fox executives — expected the talent show to remain the behemoth it once was, Idol’s dwindling ratings have been especially troublesome compared to what’s happening with The Voice, NBC’s solid singing show that’s generating good will with fans and the press, thanks to charismatic newcomers Usher and Shakira. Its ratings aren’t too shabby, either: The show is averaging a healthy 5.2 rating on Mondays and a 4.7 rating on Tuesdays.

In contrast, the obviously-strained relationship between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on Idol has only managed to alienate Idol fans, who were then teased (or tortured?) by rumors that Jennifer Lopez was in talks to return to the panel. (It ain’t happenin’). Then a new report surfaced today that said all four of the judges, Keith Urban included, would lose their gigs at season’s end.

Fox, no surprise, is staying mum about the future of the show’s judging panel. But the suits will no doubt have to say something when they address advertisers next week in New York.


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