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Music Moguls Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine Donate $70 Million For New USC Academic Program

May 15th, 2013 7:32pm EDT
Dr. Dre
Hip-hop star Dr. Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine have pledged $70 million to the University of Southern California to fund a new academy that will help serious music students break into the industry.

The donation from Iovine and Dr. Dre, real name Andre Young, will build the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation at the university. The new school will provide a four-year undergraduate program and give students new tools to aid in their music education. The program includes computer science, graphic design, business and leadership training ...
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'American Idol' Finale Mega-Diary: A Note-by-Note Account of Phillip Phillps' Big Win

May 24th, 2012 11:07am EDT
Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez
Welcome to the American Idol finale Mega-Diary! Our annual blow-by-blow recap of what used to be the third-biggest night in television and is now somewhere between the 14th Monday Night Football game and the 15th Monday Night Football game.

But no bother! We’ll press on. And here’s a prediction before the show even starts: The contestants will start singing a song and mid-way through they’ll introduce the original artist to join them onstage. Sorry if I just ruined the show for you.

8:03 – What more could I want to start off the finale than my favorite contestant from this year, Heejun Ha...
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'American Idol' Down To Three After Hollie Cavanagh's Dismal Bonnie Raitt Cover Does Her In

May 11th, 2012 12:33am EDT
Holly Cavanagh
Hollie Cavanagh couldn't make America love her.

The 18-year-old McKinney, Texas, native received the fewest number of votes on this week's American Idol and was sent home Thursday night.

Hollie's lacking performance of Bonnie Raitt's breakup ballad "I Can't Make You Love Me", which judge Randy Jackson called "the wrong choice at the wrong time", proved to be the budding singer's downfall.

Mentor Jimmy Iovine said Holly "crashed and burned and lost out to those other three singers," chalking up her woes to her lack of having "the personal experience or the professional experience" to take...
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'American Idol' Recap: Hollie Stands Alone At The Bottom

May 10th, 2012 9:24am EDT
Josh Ledet performs on AMERICAN IDOL
Another night. Another ridiculous two duets to save time. Another week of my intro hunger strike against the ‘Idol’ producers for failing to find a more competitive way to round out the show. I think this will be the last week of this nonsense; however, so you should be getting much more of my musings next week. Be afraid.

And…on with the show!

Phillip Phillips’ First Song: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Steven Said: You’re living proof that the road to perfection is always under construction.

J-Lo Said: You did a great job and it was a great way to start ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Joshua Ledet Brings His 'A' Game On Queen Night

April 26th, 2012 11:00am EDT
Josh Ledet performs on AMERICAN IDOL
Wither Jimmy? If there’s one thing about this ‘Idol’ season that’s been universally great, it’s been anything involving Jimmy Iovine. He may have been getting his sealegs ready last year, but this year he can almost walk on water with his insightful criticisms, the boffo mentoring segments and his ability to make everybody better.

So why take him out? Why leave him off the show in favor of the ‘Idols’ cracking on each other? I don’t understand it at all. Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow that he was previously committed. And if not, I think the producers need to be committed for taking him off...
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'American Idol' Recap: Jessica Sanchez Gets The Judges' Save

April 13th, 2012 9:19am EDT
Jessica Sanchez get saved by judges
This is the reason the judges’ save was invented. I’ve been piping all year that big-voiced singers like Jessica Sanchez always go home in a “shocker.” Every single year we have some major contender who ostensibly steals most shows only to go home early. It always happens and Jessica was the prime candidate in this age of young texting girls not voting for young singing girls.

She was spared though. Gloriously spared. She barely had to sing a note. Now we all get to wait for that moment where she goes home too early again, thanks to the texting girls.

Yes, Jessica’s unfair ouster was the ...
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'American Idol' Recap: DeAndre Goes Home + Power Rankings

April 6th, 2012 9:00am EDT
DeAndre Brackensick eliminated
When I don’t predict it, I get it right. All year I’ve been saying that each results show would be DeAndre’s last. He never seemed to get traction, he was never very good, and he just didn’t stand out. I never saw him sticking around, yet, every week, he kept surviving.

Well, no more.

Fake Terence Trent D’Arby is finally hitting the road. Which means we no longer have to struggle to understand why J-Lo loves him so much and the other judges tolerate him. I never got DeAndre. I thought he was too young. Too inexperienced. Like he was a kid impersonating a soul singer. Because that’s what h...
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'American Idol' Recap: 80s Night Is All About Song Choice

April 5th, 2012 9:56am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet
Tonight the theme seemed to be song selection. Steve hammered it home. Jimmy was very concerned with it. It was on everybody’s minds. You’d think with the entire decade of the 80s to choose a song from, it’d be pretty easy to come up with the correct song.

Yet, it never seems to happen. It just never seems to happen. And when it does, it’s an exception to what should be a rule. I’m going to offer an easy primer on how to pick the right song.

It’s very simple. Listen to the track. Does the vocal stand out? Is it ever more about the rhythm, the instruments or anything like that than it is t...
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'American Idol' Recap: A Whole Lotta Good On Billy Joel Night

March 22nd, 2012 10:00am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Phillip Phillips performs on Billy Joel Night
What matters more? The singing or the preparation to sing? On this show, it seems like the latter is king. What is ostensibly America’s biggest singing competition has transformed this season into America’s Biggest Prep for a Singing Competition. Between the 2-minute coaching session with Jimmy Iovine and whatever half-awake superstar he has manning the director’s chair next to him and now Tommy Hilfiger primping the contestants for no apparent reason, this show has dedicated far more energy to the warm up than it does the act.

It gets a little frustrating for a couple of reasons. One: It ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Shannon Goes Home + Power Rankings

March 16th, 2012 10:00am EDT
Shannon Magrane (center) is eliminated on AMERICAN IDOL
America continues to get it right. One of my big problems with ‘Idol’ is that the voters have a tendency to delay the inevitable. Like with Kristy Lee Cook, or the redheaded guy who looked like me, America seems to want to keep around people with no chance at winning.

That hasn’t been the case so far this year.

First, Jeremy Rosado, the overgrown bundle of nerves went home before he just came out and forgot to sing. This week, the girl who can’t sing, Shannon, mercifully got the boot.

This show is best when it becomes unpredictable, and the only way to do that is to start getting rid of ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Joshua Blows Them Away On Birth Year Songs Night

March 15th, 2012 9:33am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Josh Ledet performs
For me, the big story of last night was the ouster of Jermaine. Not his actually being voted off, but the fact that the producers decided to show his receiving the news on the show. People have been kicked off the show before, but nobody’s ever been shown getting the news on the show like it’s an episode of ‘Hard Knocks’ and they’re being cut from the team. So…weird.

As strange as that was, it’s even stranger the person who got kicked off the show because of a criminal record. Would you have ever put the gentle giant in your top ten of having a criminal record? I would have put Phillip (Mo...
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'American Idol' Recap: Jeremy Goes Home + Power Rankings

March 9th, 2012 9:16am EST
American Idol - Jeremy Goes Home
Through one show, I’m just about spot on. Maybe I’m good, or maybe it was just an easy week, but, for once, I completely called the bottom two and even this week’s castoff. Jeremy Rosado became the first finalist voted out, and it almost seemed like a mercy killing. This kid was way out of his depth here and appeared to be a nervous mess on stage. There was no reason to prolong the inevitable and America, and the judges, got this one right.

The rest of the results show was pretty much the standard results show. We got a mediocre performance from Lauren Alaina that once again underscored wh...
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Forbes Predicts Diddy & Michael Bay Will Soon Be Billionaires

September 22nd, 2011 8:44am EDT
Sean Diddy Combs
Hip-hop mogul Sean 'Diddy' Combs and "Transformers" director Michael Bay have been tipped to become the next entertainment billionaires by Forbes magazine editors.

The rap entrepreneur, who is said to be worth an estimated $500 million, has built up a vast empire encompassing music, fashion and lifestyle products, while his stock in the Ciroc vodka brand has also helped to boost his fortune.

Meanwhile, Bay has been raking in the money from ownership stakes in his blockbuster "Transformers" franchise. The latest release in the action series, this summer's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Was This The Most Boring Finale Ever?

May 25th, 2011 9:35am EDT
Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery
The most boring finalists ever. That seemed to be the conventional wisdom going into the evening. That, despite a strong start, this season of ‘Idol’ was destined to fall into oblivion with two dull finalists that wouldn’t be able to deliver the finale this Renaissance season deserved.

Yes, that might be true. It may have been more interesting to see James square off against Pia or Jacob take on Haley, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this is the most boring collection of contestants ever, does it?

Here’s a ranking of finale pairings from least boring to most boring:

9 (Least Boring): S...
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'American Idol' Recap - Haley Reinhart Finally Goes Home + Special Power Rankings

May 20th, 2011 9:17am EDT
Haley Reinhart is eliminated on AMERICAN IDOL
Well, it wasn’t for not trying. If there’s one contestant this year who really developed and emerged over the course of the season it was Haley Reinhart. Look at where she started. A frizzy-haired oversinging novice who only got through because of the softest judging panel since the OJ Jury.

From there she barely snuck through every step of the way and had me flabbergasted that the judges selected her as a Wild Card. I was surprised she even got the chance to sing a second time.

Somehow, she finagled her way into the top 13 only to sit on the bottom of my power rankings just about every s...
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'American Idol' Recap: James Durbin Goes Home In Another Shocker + Power Rankings

May 13th, 2011 9:23am EDT
James Durbin is eliminated
Now this one I just can’t figure out.

To me, there were three major talents on the show this year. Three performers that transcended the confines of this karaoke competition show and actually seemed like they could be recording artists. Those three were Pia, Jacob and James. And now none of them have made it to the top three.

I can understand what happened to the first two. Pia, for some reason, was overly criticized by the judges to the point that America was being told she was the worst contestant. Jacob just never seemed to connect with the audience. But James…I just didn’t get James.
...
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'American Idol Recap': The Final Four Square Off With Help From Lady Gaga

May 12th, 2011 9:17am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL James Durbin
Gaga! Lieber and Stoller! The chance to be celebrated at home! ‘Idol’ rushed right into last night and so will we. Let’s get right to the recap…

So who was up to the challenge? Read on to find out…

James Durbin’s First Performance: “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey

Steven Said: You did it right.

J-Lo Said: It was a really really great job.

Randy Said: That was the highest degree of difficulty and you did it.

The Verdict:

Here’s the problem with this performance and it underscores the major problem with this show in general: The time constraints forced it to be so incredibly rushed. T...
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'American Idol' Recap: It's Twice As Nice As The Contestants Sing Two Songs Each

May 5th, 2011 9:26am EDT
James Durbin
This is where the real competition finally begins.

I’ve long been an advocate of a different voting format than the one employed on this show: Make the voting cumulative for the first half-dozen performance shows and once we get down to the two-a-nights, make it a straight up elimination round where you vote contestants off.

That system is much more fair because now the contestants are afforded the chance to make a mistake with either a song choice or a bad few bars and still recover due to their singing two songs each night.

It also means that if a contestant is significantly better tha...
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'American Idol' Recap: Casey Abrams Goes Home + Power Rankings

April 29th, 2011 9:21am EDT
Casey Abrams Goes Home
At long last, my personal ‘Idol’ nightmare is over.

I feel a bit bad reveling in the fact that Casey’s dream died last evening. At least I would if I actually thought it was his dream. Casey’s definitely a guy more comfortable dodging smoke rings in a leatherette-festooned lounge than he is on the ‘Idol’ stage. But why wouldn’t he be on the show? No matter what your taste or style, it’s hard to deny the stage. And even if it’s not an opportunity Casey would necessarily want, I’m sure he’s disappointed.

So should I gloat? Should I pile on Casey in the wake of his being ousted from the bigg...
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'American Idol' Recap: The Contestants Do Carole King Proud

April 28th, 2011 9:33am EDT
Jacob Lusk and James Durbin
I’ve eaten a lot of crow this year between the saying Scotty had no chance to win and proclaiming Molly Dewolf Swenson the most beautiful woman on the planet (okay, I was right about that one), but I was never as wrong about anything as I was about the restrictive theme nights.

It seems this year, the more restrictive the theme, the better the contestants have been. They blew it out on Elton John night, did a solid Motown evening and haven’t had any trouble adapting their styles to whatever song choice or genre is thrown at them.

In fact, tonight, on an evening devoted entirely to Carole ...
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Miley Cyrus Helps Superfan On 'American Idol'

April 27th, 2011 8:59pm EDT
Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus left an American Idol wannabe stunned when she showed up to mentor her for a live performance on the talent show on Wednesday night.

Cyrus was invited to help music mogul and show regular Jimmy Iovine advise teenager Lauren Alaina, who is a huge fan of "The Climb" singer.

Iovine asked Cyrus to be a part of the show after regretting comments he made on the program, suggesting the 16 year old was "a much stronger singer than Miley Cyrus."

An Idol source tells Eonline.com, "Jimmy apologized and personally asked Miley to come on."

It's one of the last appearances Cyrus will make...
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'American Idol' Recap: Stefano Langone Goes Home, Katy Perry & Kanye West Perform 'ET'

April 22nd, 2011 9:19am EDT
AI Stefano Goes Home
It took awhile to do it, but America finally put Stefano out of his misery.

For weeks it seemed like Stefano was just marking time. He hit the bottom three in what seemed like every single results show and carried that weight to each performance. This caused each of his songs to transform into a desperate plea for votes as he overextended himself to no end in an attempt to win people over.

But it never seemed to work. Try as he could, Stefano never quite connected. It could have been an obsession with perfection, it might have been flirty cockiness, it may have been the fact that he simpl...
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