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On the scene: A preview glimpse of 'American Idol' at Hollywood Week

The world will have to wait until American Idol premieres on Jan. 15 to know who got the golden tickets, but for the contestants on Idol‘s upcoming 13th season, this week was Hollywood Week and the competition is just starting to get intense. EW was on the scene for the first day of the second stage of FOX’s singing competition.

Contestants had to perform in front of the judges for the first time since their original auditions in their home towns to get to the next round in Hollywood Week: Groups. With new judge Harry Connick Jr. joining Keith Urban and returning judge Jennifer Lopez on the panel, this season already has a warmer different vibe than the last one — better known as Mariah vs. Nicki. Gone are the dueling divas and the new threesome seem to be getting along very well, joking and laughing together throughout the day.

As for the competition itself, each contestant had to sing a song of their choice a cappella on stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, home of the Academy Awards, in front of the judges, their fellow competitors, and family and friends. Each contestant is allowed to bring two people to cheer them on sitting up in the front mezzanine. When it was the contestant’s turn to sing, their family moved to the edge of the balcony so they could see them. The family and friends are also there to console and take eliminated contestants home right away. And I mean right away — their luggage is waiting (organized alphabetically) in the lobby of the theater.

Before singing, each contestant introduced him or herself by sharing their name, age, and why they believe they are the next American Idol. Some favorite introductions we overheard:
READ FULL STORY

Jennifer Lopez's 'A Step Away': A new dancer joins J.Lo on stage -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Tonight’s episode of A Step Away, which follows the lives of Jennifer Lopez’s professional backup dancers on her world tour, centers on new recruit George, who joins the crew and has to learn the entire two-hour show as quickly as possible before being put in the spotlight. Suddenly, the words “dance break” have an entirely new meaning.

We have an exclusive video of episode 4, in which George is about to hit the stage for the first time, replacing Beau Smart, who had stepped in to fill a spot in last week’s episode.

Watch the video below:
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'American Idol' rumor roundup: Randy Jackson as a mentor, Kanye West as a judge?

When we’re not busy trying to figure out what is going to happen on Breaking Bad, we’re consumed with constant stories about what is going to happen on none other than American Idol. Honestly, if you thought The Real Housewives had drama, you’ve been missing out.

The latest rumor surrounding the evolving cast of the reality singing competition stars a familiar face: Mr. Randy Jackson, who served as a judge on the show for the first 12 seasons before leaving last May.

According to Deadline, music producer Jimmy Iovine is leaving his post as an in-house mentor, a position he’s held for three seasons, and will “likely be replaced” by Jackson. Deadline claims Fox chairman Kevin Reilly had previously mentioned that Jackson “will be back in some capacity.” So maybe Idol hasn’t lost its top dawg after all.

But Jackson isn’t the only name being thrown around the Idol rumor mill: READ FULL STORY

Source: Jennifer Lopez deal with 'American Idol' imminent

A person familiar with negotiations to bring Jennifer Lopez back as an American Idol judge says her return will be announced this week.

The person said Monday that a deal is close to being signed with Lopez, who was an Idol judge for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The person wasn’t authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. READ FULL STORY

'American Idol': Jennifer Lopez nearing deal to return as judge

American Idol‘s season 13 judging panel is inching toward completion: Last week came the official news that Keith Urban would be returning, and now sources tell EW that former Idol judge Jennifer Lopez — who has been in the mix of potential judges — is very close to signing a deal to return to the reality singing competition.

At this point, Lopez’s deal is not signed — but it could be ready in as little as a few days. Lopez was an Idol judge during the 2011 and 2012 seasons of American Idol and was reportedly courted during the 2013 season as a possible replacement for judge Mariah Carey.

The third seat at the judging table remains much more up in the air: Sources say that Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am is still in talks with Idol producers, but it’s unclear if he’s actively in negotiating a deal yet. Harry Connick, Jr., was in the running but is likely no longer being considered, while Idol alum and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson was also a possibility but no longer seems to be a contender.

Sources tells EW that the Idol panel — much like when it originally launched with Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul in 2002 — will include just three judges in the upcoming season, as opposed to four in recent seasons.

Fox had no comment on the negotiations. (Additional reporting by James Hibberd)

Read more:
That’s one: Keith Urban confirmed for ‘American Idol’ return

ABC Family picks up two new dramas

ABC Family has picked up two new one-hour drama pilots: The Jennifer Lopez- produced The Fosters, as well as Twisted, from Gavin Palone (Gilmore Girls).

Created by Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige (Queer As Folk), The Fosters involves a “multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms,” according to the press release. The series will star Teri Polo (Meet the Parents), Sherri Saum (In Treatment) and Jake T. Austin (Wizards of Waverly Place), among others.

Twisted (originally titled Socio) is a mystery about a “16-year-old with a troubled past who recently reconnected with his two female best friends from childhood. He becomes the prime suspect when a fellow student is surprisingly found dead in her home.” The show will star Avan Jogia (Victorious), Sam Robards (Treme, Gossip Girl), and Denise Richards.

Both series will premiere on ABC Family this summer.

Read more:
Denise Richards lands role in ABC Family’s ‘Dexter’-esque pilot
ABC Family ends ‘The Secret Life of an American Teenager’
‘Pretty Little Liars’ renewed for a fourth season

'New Normal' tweaks One Million Moms -- VIDEO

The socially conservative organization One Million Moms — which first made waves protesting Ellen DeGeneres’ role as a spokesperson for JCPenney’s — is not a fan of the Ryan Murphy universe. Over the summer, the protested his yet-to-be-seen sitcom, The New Normal, saying, “NBC is using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values, and the sanctity of marriage in attempting to redefine marriage. These things are harmful to our society, and this program is damaging to our culture.”

On tonight’s The New Normal, Murphy responds. Jane (Ellen Barkin) is rallying the conservative troops (a.k.a some middle schoolers whose parents have Romney bumper stickers on their car) to protest a fake wedding between Jane’s granddaughter Shania and another classmate. She calls the girls “Future One Million Moms” as the girls repeat right-wing talking points such as “Marriage is between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” and “Gay marriage is currently legal in six states. My mom says that’s six too many.”

Watch the clip below: READ FULL STORY

Anti-gay group preemptively protests Jennifer Lopez's new TV show

Protesting The New Normal is so last summer. Now anti-gay group One Million Moms is up in arms about a new ABC Family show called The Fosters — even though the series in question doesn’t even have an IMDb page yet, let alone a finished pilot.

EW announced in August that the cable network had greenlit The Fosters, an hourlong drama executive produced by Jennifer Lopez and created by Bradley Bredeweg and Queer as Folk‘s Peter Paige. The show will focus on a multi-ethnic family headed by a lesbian couple. One Million Moms has called the program “anti-family,” posting a call to arms on its website:

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'Glee': Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Imagine Dragons covers among season 4 music

Gleeks have to wait another eight days to see Glee‘s season 4 premiere, but Wednesday fans were treated to a taste of the music that the New Directions will be serenading us with this year. Wednesday evening, the Glee Facebook page featured a streaming presentation with five songs from the first two episodes of the season, all introduced by Darren Criss (Blaine) and Kevin McHale (Artie). No peeks at footage of the dance numbers for these songs, but the music was backed by stills from the new season.

EW tuned in to the stream, so if you missed it, we have the details on the music coming to the Fox musical show in the coming two weeks: READ FULL STORY

Jennifer Lopez leaving 'American Idol': 'The time has come'

Just a day after Steven Tyler announced he wouldn’t be returning as a judge on American Idol, on this morning’s On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez called in to announce that she would  not be returning to American Idol either. She hinted at the news on the Today show yesterday, but now it appears to be a done deal.

Lopez said, “It’s been a long process…I’ve really been torn….Something has to give.”

She hemmed and hawed for a while, before finally saying, “The time has come for me to get back to the other things that I do….We had an amazing run.”

She seemed open to returning as a mentor, but said she couldn’t commit to being there every single day all the time.

You can listen to Seacrest and Lopez’s full chat over on Ryan Seacrest’s site.

Read more:
Steven Tyler leaving ‘American Idol’
Who should replace Steven Tyler on ‘American Idol’?


Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony to perform together for live 'Q'Viva' show

Famous exes Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony must not be finding it too difficult to work together on their TV talent show Q’Viva — they’re now going to perform live together with the top acts from the series. The pair, along with dozens of performers from the Univision and Fox series, will all appear at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on May 26. “This is about creating a live visual experience about Latin culture, rhythm, dance — the likes of which have never been seen,” Lopez told me when I interviewed her in January. The hope is that Q’Viva will continue as a Vegas attraction without Lopez and Anthony on stage. Would you make the trip to see it?

Read more:
Q’Viva! React: JLo and Marc Anthony reunited and it feels so good?
Jennifer Lopez once again joins forces with Pitbull for new single ‘Dance Again': Hear it here!
Oscars: Jennifer Lopez’s stylist on her alleged wardrobe malfunction: ‘There’s no chance that there were any…slips.’

Fox picks up Jennifer Lopez' 'Q'Viva' reality talent series -- EXCLUSIVE

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Jennifer Lopez’s Q’Viva! talent search has found a home on the top-rated broadcast network.

The Latin American-based series recently premiered on Univision. Now Lopez has made a deal with Fox to televise an English-language version. The show stars the American Idol judge, singer Marc Anthony and concert director Jamie King (who most recently directed Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show). The trio travel to 20 countries to find and showcase the best Latin singers, dancers, musicians and other performers. The contestants are then brought to the United States for a climactic show.

Q’Viva! The Chosen will make its Fox debut on Saturday, March 3. The network will air the show in two-hour episodes until its April 7 finale. The project grew out of Fox’s relationship with Lopez after she signed on to judge Idol two years ago. The project joins Fox’s slate of performance-based reality shows like Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and X Factor. READ FULL STORY

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