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The week in 'American Idol': Nigel's favorite singer this season, Idols on the charts, and more

Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips will battle it out for the American Idol crown next Tuesday, and the new American Idol will be revealed the following night during the big two-hour-plus finale. Make sure to set your DVR’s correctly; the episode will run over with an extra seven minutes. Current American Idol champ Scotty McCreery and pop superstar Rihanna, plus a slew of surprise guests, are set to appear.

The final performance themes, according to producer Nigel Lythgoe will be: 1. The finalist’s favorite song of the series. 2. A song chosen by Simon Fuller. 3. The finalist’s new single.

Nigel Lythgoe took to Twitter hours after the top 3 results show last night to reveal his favorite Idol contestant. He tweeted, “I promised I would reveal my favorite when they were voted off the show so….. it was Joshua. However, I am thrilled for Jessica & Phillip.” No wonder Joshua got so many standing ovations from the judges! Nigel also claims that Phillip and Jessica did not dominate the voting week to week. Joshua Ledet, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, and Elise Testone all topped the voting at various times. READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' exit interview with Josh Ledet

Joshua Ledet woke up Thursday morning (a.k.a. American Idol elimination day) and something felt off. The “weird vibe” continued throughout the day and made the 20-year-old preacher’s son from Westlake, La. feel the end was near.

“I just didn’t feel right today, so I wasn’t surprised that Ryan didn’t say my name,” he told EW in the press tent  after the show. “I don’t think anything went wrong, really. I liked my songs last night, and I was happy with my performances. But everyone kept saying it could go any way and that it was a close race, so I wasn’t surprised.” READ FULL STORY

Fox's 2012-13 fall schedule revealed: 'Glee' is on the move

Glee is on the move.

Fox just announced its fall schedule changes, including shifting Glee to Thursdays and pairing Mindy Kaling’s new comedy with Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl.

Fox’s lineup has freshman medical drama The Mob Doctor taking over the House slot on Mondays. Raising Hope will kick off a two-hour comedy block on Tuesdays, followed by new comedy Ben and Kate, as well as New Girl and The Mindy Project. Wednesday will have music competition shows all season, with a two-hour The X Factor in the fall and a two-hour American Idol in midseason. Thursday will have Factor/Idol results show, followed by Glee. Fridays will have Touch — yup, going to the Friday night gulag after only 13 episodes — paired with the final season of Fringe.

To see how this all relates to NBC, read the schedule explanations from Sunday.

In a morning press conference with reporters, the Fox execs wouldn’t confirm news reports that Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will join The X Factor. (It’s likely they’ll save that big one for the afternoon presentation in New York). Instead, they spent time explaining why Glee is on a new night and why it’s time to launch a comedy block on Tuesdays. “Four comedies on Tuesday is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. “These are the kind of shows we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we’ve been building momentum on Tuesdays. We finally have shots that have exactly the right tone we are looking for.

“I think we’ve seen before that Glee is very compatible [with music shows],” he continued. “This is just a way to propel it through the next couple of seasons. For us it’s a win win. If we didn’t have shows on Tuesday, we wouldn’t be able to do it.”

As for moving Touch to Fridays, Reilly said the drama, like Fringe, can benefit from DVR playbacks. “Friday is a curious time,” he admitted. “Live plus same day ratings may look a little puny, but over the next 7 days, there is a real audience there. We have been winning Fridays with quality shows. We are investing in Fridays.”

Reilly teased that he may pick up one or two more shows later for midseason. He also reflected on having to make tough cancellation decisions earlier in the year — like having to drop Terra Nova. “It’s hard because they weren’t black and white calls. Those are difficult decisions. I think, is there an upside left? Is there something working there? Some of those decisions like Terra Nova had to be made before we set the schedule. That was more difficult because you like to see everything you got. But I feel really good about those dedisions right now.”

Here’s how fall is shaping up so far (ABC will announce its schedule Tuesday, Followed by CBS on Wednesday and CW on Thursday): READ FULL STORY

The week in 'American Idol': Aerosmith to return, Carrie Underwood jokes with Jimmy Kimmel

The American Idol Top 3, Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, and Joshua Ledet will be heading home to film their hometown visits this weekend. During their visit, they will learn the name of the songs chosen for them by Jimmy Iovine and the judges. Then next Wednesday (FOX 8 p.m.), each contestant will sing 3 songs: Jimmy’s Choice, Judges’ Choice, and Their Choice.

The hometown visits will air on Thursday’s results show (8 p.m.), which will also feature Adam Lambert singing his latest single, “Never Close Our Eyes,” and Lisa Marie Presley performing “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” from her new album, Storm & Grace.

Aerosmith to Perform on Idol

In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry reveals that the band will be performing their new single on the May 23 American Idol finale.

Once upon a time, Perry had nothing good to say about Idol: “It’s his business, but I don’t want Aerosmith’s name involved with it,” he told the Calgary Herald after learning that bandmate Steven Tyler signed up to join the judges’ panel. “It’s a reality show designed to get people to watch that station and sell advertising. It’s one step above [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles.”

A few years and many records sold later, thanks to Tyler’s Idol exposure, Perry has changed his tune, even appearing on the show to help Steven celebrate his birthday. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Who is the ultimate 'Game of Thrones' villain? Plus, picking winners for 'Survivor,' 'American Idol' and 'DWTS'

Image Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Theon! What are you doing? We used to like you! But then you attacked Winterfell and starting chopping off people’s heads…badly. Does Theon’s betrayal make him the ultimate Game of Thrones villain, or does he still pale in comparison to that super jerk King Joffrey and the shadow assassin-birthing Melisandre? Our resident Game of Thrones expert James Hibberd joins Jessica Shaw and yours truly on the newest edition of the InsideTV Podcast to break down who is the baddest of the bad right now on the HBO drama. We also discuss the big dragon-napping, how long it actually takes to pull a man’s arm off, and whether we are permanently scarred from seeing Tonks naked. READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' exit Q&A with Hollie Cavanagh: 'I'm just thankful to have gotten this chance' -- VIDEO

Hollie Cavanagh, the British-born 18-year-old singer from Texas, had an inkling her American Idol journey would be ending Thursday night. “I kind of woke up today with a gut feeling,” Cavanagh told EW backstage about an hour after being eliminated. “I was staying positive throughout the day and still staying hopeful, of course, but when my name wasn’t called, I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, really?’”

It was her undistinguished performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on Wednesday that drew criticism from the judges and baseball cap collector Jimmy Iovine, and may have been Cavanagh’s undoing. But the contestant didn’t regret choosing the song. “The lyrics are so powerful and it’s such a beautiful song,” said Cavanagh. “Maybe it wasn’t right for a competition, but if I think about something I wish I had written, I’d choose that one.” And she already knows exactly the kind of album she’d like to release: “A pop album with some soul” that would be inspired by the music of Christina Aguilera. “But not so much her recent [albums],” said Cavanagh. “Can I say that?” Yes, yes you can.

To hear more from Hollie, including how she got herself out of a mid-season rut and why she picked Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” for her exit performance, check out EW’s video exit Q&A below. READ FULL STORY

The week in 'American Idol': Top 4 going back to Cali, Kris Allen shut down on the pier, and more

Next Wednesday on American Idol, the Top 4 will choose songs from California artists for a “California Dreamin’”-themed performance show. On Thursday’s results show, judge Jennifer Lopez will perform her new single “Dance Again” and season 7 champ David Cook will debut his new single “The Last Song I’ll Write for You.”

Carrie Underwood’s fourth album, Blown Away, is set to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart next week. It’s her third No. 1, following 2009’s Play On and 2007′s Carnival Ride. Her post-Idol debut, 2005′s Some Hearts debuted and peaked at No. 2. The new disc is predicted to sell around 275,000 copies, according to industry sources.

“Music video shoot!” Adam Lambert tweeted on Tuesday. The season 8 alum shot the new video for his latest single, the Bruno Mars-penned “Never Close Our Eyes” earlier this week. Afterward, Adam confessed, “That shoot was a long one!! This video is going to be AMAZING! Get ready!!!!” He also uploaded a photo to give his fans a little taste of what’s to come. READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' exit Q&A with Skylar Laine: 'I didn't expect to go home.' -- VIDEO

Skylar Laine, the 18-year-old boot-scootin’ spitfire from Mississippi, had contemplated singing “Knock On Wood” as her ’60s selection. Turns out she might have benefited from partaking in the superstitious activity instead because, despite earning high praise from the judges, Laine found herself with the least votes Thursday night. [Read Annie Barrett's recap here.] “I don’t know what it was about last night to make people not vote for me. I expected to be in the bottom. I didn’t expect to go home,” she admitted to EW after the show, though she also said she’d started packing up her very messy Idol bedroom the night before just in case. “I got a gut feeling right there at the end and I looked at Holly and said, ‘I think you’re going to be surprised.’ And she was. She thought she was going home.”

In typical Laine fashion, she turned her frown upside down by focusing on the positives in EW’s video exit interview. She genuinely seemed happy for her friends, otherwise known as the competition, and proud of Holly Cavanaugh for “coming out of her shell.” She felt blessed to make it as far as she had, and while she wanted to win so badly (and admitted as much a day earlier when prompted by Jennifer Lopez), Laine was simultaneously thrilled to be headed home to Brandon, Miss., to log some ATV miles in the mud.

Watch the video to hear how the competition bolstered her stage confidence, which of her performances she hopes to take on tour, and what kind of record she plans to write and record. (BTW: Her revisiting of “Gunpowder and Lead” in the final moments of the episode is a big hint!) READ FULL STORY

EW's season finale calendar

Each year, the month of May brings the promise of warmer weather, the start of big summer movies…and the torturous, agonizing time when we have to bid farewell to our favorite primetime characters. TV addicts that we are, we feel your pain. So to curb the stress, we’ve put together a master list of when your beloved shows will be signing off.  Grab your remotes and ready those DVRs as we present this year’s finales: READ FULL STORY

'American Idol': Little Steven to guest-mentor

It’s British Week on American Idol this week. And while you can expect the remaining five finalists to be singing songs made famous by artists from across the pond, they’ll be mentored by a musician who is decidedly all-American. EW has learned that Steven Van Zandt, the guitarist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, will be the guest mentor on Idol tomorrow. Little Steven, as he is affectionately known, will be lending Jimmy Iovine a hand as the Idol mentor coaches the kids on English rock and pop on the May 2 performance show (Fox 8 p.m.). READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' exit Q&A with Elise Testone: 'I really didn't expect to go today' -- VIDEO

Elise Testone, the 28-year-old rock and soul crooner from South Carolina, had mixed feelings about being eliminated Thursday night. On the one hand, she told EW that she was surprised to be sent home after her rendition of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Bold as Love.” “I felt completely successful [with] that performance in every aspect,” said Testone, “[including] the outfit, the singing, and having my bandmate onstage with me.”

On the other hand, Testone wasn’t about to dwell on her elimination. “I accepted what happened to me as soon as it happened,” she said. “I just thought, ‘What’s next? What am I going to do now?’” To hear about Testone’s plans for the future, check out EW’s video exit Q&A with the singer below.

As for the results show itself, the most memorable moment actually occurred during a commercial break. READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' scoop: Coldplay to perform on May 3 results show

This week, the American Idol finalists paid homage to Queen, arguably the original arena rock band. Next week, another band known to pack in an arena or two will take to the Idol stage for the first time: Coldplay.

EW has learned the British foursome will perform during the May 3 results show (Fox, 8 p.m.). They’ll almost certainly play a song from their latest album, the day-glo Mylo Xyloto, and frontman Chris Martin will almost definitely spastically dance around the stage. So watch those hands, swaybots!

Read more:
The Week in ‘American Idol’: Haley Reinhart blossoms, Clay Aiken takes a stand, and more
30 Greatest Music Artists Right Now
‘American Idol’: Top 10 mentors

The Week in 'American Idol': Haley Reinhart blossoms, Clay Aiken takes a stand, and more

Next Wednesday (April 25), Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen will perform in a group number with the top 6 finalists on a Queen-themed performance show.  Season 5, the year of Taylor Hicks, was the last time American Idol featured Queen songs. On next Thursday’s results show, the official touring Queen tribute, The Queen Extravaganza, will perform the classic hit “Somebody to Love.” Katy Perry and season 10 alum Stefano Langone will also appear. (Listen to Langone’s new single “On A Roll,” featuring New Boyz and Rock Mafia, at RyanSecrest.com.)

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Current American Idol champ Scotty McCreery has been nominated for two Billboard Awards, including Top New Artist and Top Country Album, for his platinum selling debut, Clear as Day.  Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood is set to perform. READ FULL STORY

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