Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Last night on "American Idol", the three remaining contestants sang three songs. The first one was picked by Simon, Paula and Randy, the second one was picked by the A.I. producers and the third was picked by the three singers. Jordin sang first and was followed by Blake and Melinda. Simon picked Jordin's first song, Paula picked Blake's first song and Randy picked Melinda's first song.

The results of the voting will be announced tonight. The final two will sing for the right to be the next American Idol, a week from last night.

On a scale of 1-10, I'll show you how I voted. The first number next to each name will represent their first song followed by numbers for their second and third songs.

Jordin: 6, 6, 7

Blake: 5, 5, 5

Melinda: 6, 6, 7

If I'm right, Jordan and Melinda will sing for the title next week.

But there was something else that caught my attention about last night's show. The performance of Ryan Seacrest.

Because this blog is read in areas other than (just) Los Angeles, for those people, I'm going to present a little back story before getting to what I saw last night.

In addition to hosting American Idol and his involvement in other television ventures, Ryan Seacrest was known here as a radio broadcaster. A radio broadcaster who was (my term) "Vanilla Deluxe".

That's not an insult. Ryan Seacrest's idol, Dick Clark, made an on-camera career out of being "Vanilla Deluxe". And behind the scenes, Dick Clark built an empire.

Because of the success of "American Idol", a radio conglomerate decided to hire Ryan Seacrest to host the morning show on KIIS-FM here, a show that was then being hosted by legendary and Hall of Fame broadcaster, Rick Dees. This was the result of an ugly behind the scenes contract dispute involving Dees.

Hey, it's business. Stuff like this happens all the time.

Because Rick Dees is a friend of mine, I didn't like what happened. I didn't blame Ryan. He was simply at the right place, at the right time and he was bringing instant recognition to the radio station because of his hosting duties on the hottest television show in the country.

Rick Dees was and is a host and a comedic entertainer.

Ryan Seacrest is a host. A "Vanilla Deluxe" host. Just like his idol, Dick Clark.

Full disclosure: I've never met Ryan, but I'm indebted to Dick Clark because he wrote a letter that got me my biggest break on a television show.

I'll tell that whole story another time.

Because of my friendship with Rick Dees, I didn't listen to Ryan Seacrest when he first went to KIIS-FM. And I wasn't alone. A lot of radio people here in L.A. reacted with, "Whaaat?" when Seacrest got that gig.

One day, while being fully prepared to dislike what I was hearing, I listened to Seacrest on KIIS-FM. After the show was over I called my friend Don Barrett, publisher of and told him I was surprised what I was about to say, but after hearing all the criticism and then (finally) hearing Seacrest for myself, I was of the belief that Seacrest and his "Vanilla Deluxe" persona might work. Not as well as what Dees had done, but that was something no one was ever going to do anyway. But I thought that Seacrest had the ability to "hold" an audience as long as he continued to do what he was doing. And that was being good at "staying out of the way". "Vanilla Deluxe".

How does this relate to what happened on American Idol last night?

In my view, Ryan Seacrest (in noticeable moments) forgot what he is. It was like he woke up and decided he's MORE than he is. When Simon Cowell asked Ryan, "Are you drunk?", I knew EXACTLY what Simon was talking about.

Ryan, you're the HOST! We're tuning in to watch the singers and to hear what the judges have to say. You're "Vanilla Deluxe", it suits you, it has made you a lot of money, it has gotten you a lot of fame and the sky is the limit for you. Just like it was for Dick Clark. IF...You remember what you ARE!

ABC's new fall schedule:

ABC announced their new season yesterday. Some highlights include the addition of the "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off, "Private Practice" which will air Wednesday night's at 9. Do you remember the old ABC show, "The Practice"? It starred Dylan McDermott. McDermott will be the lead guy in a new show called, "Big Shots" which will air after "Grey's Anatomy" on Thursday nights. A couple of other new shows with interesting titles are "Dirty Sexy Money", "Cashmere Mafia" and "Women's Murder Club".

Among the shows that were cancelled by ABC are, "George Lopez" and "What About Brian". "According to Jim" is not on the fall schedule, but it might be brought back as a mid-season replacement. Full disclosure: I have a rooting interest in that show because they have used me on a good number of episodes.

The new FOX schedule will be announced today, but we already know that "24" will be back for at least TWO more seasons, but next season (we're told) will be "different". HOW different? Right now, the only cast member that we know will return is the Jack Bauer character played by Kiefer Sutherland. The show will include a new non-Los Angeles location, the story might be told from two locations and the "one day" thing will end. Which means, what? Apparently, a new story every week, but "24" producers sound like they're not sure WHAT they're going to do other than try to find a NEW way to thrill us. This season's season finale of "24" will be a 2-hour show next Monday.

Speaking of season finales...The season finale of "Bones" will be on FOX just before "American Idol" tonight and the season finales of "Criminal Minds" and CSI: NY will be on CBS tonight.

If you have any comments, feel free to write me at my home e-mail address:


"American Idol" results and thoughts along with a surprise.


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