ABC to re­tune Fox re­ject Amer­i­can Idol in 2018

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - The TV Col­umn ap­pears Sun­day, Tues­day and Thurs­day. Email: mstorey@arkansason­line.com

At­ten­tion, would-be Arkansas su­per­stars. Time to tune up and try out.

Did you be­lieve your shot at fame and for­tune (or at least 15 min­utes of fame) was over be­cause Fox can­celed Amer­i­can Idol last year? In case you missed the memo, ABC has bought the rights to the show and is bring­ing it back, prob­a­bly in March. Too soon? We’ll see. Amer­i­can Idol — once an un­stop­pable rat­ings be­he­moth — ran from 2002 to 2016 and once drew more than 30 mil­lion view­ers. That is re­mark­able.

By the end, view­er­ship had fallen to a third of that thanks to a glut of copy­cat shows and the nat­u­ral ag­ing process of all TV pro­grams.

With­out an­other ma­jor singing com­pe­ti­tion to worry about, NBC’s The Voice is still go­ing strong, but that se­ries is re­ally more about the judges than the singers. Doubt me? Name one singer from the show. Just one.

Amer­i­can Idol’s high point in Arkansas was Sea­son 8 (2009) when na­tive son Kris Allen de­feated the tal­ented Adam Lam­bert to take home the ti­tle and do all of us proud. Allen’s tri­umph was seen by al­most 29 mil­lion view­ers. Heady stuff for a small-town boy.

My fa­vorite mo­ment from that finale was when Allen and Lam­bert joined the sur­viv­ing mem­bers of Queen for a ren­di­tion of “We Are the Cham­pi­ons.” That was mag­i­cal.

Af­ter ABC made its big re­vival an­nounce­ment, it re­vealed the sign­ing of “mu­sic lu­mi­nary” Katy Perry as the first judge. Va­ri­ety is re­port­ing that Perry is be­ing paid $25 mil­lion for the chore. Not bad for in­door work with no heavy lift­ing.

We’ll see if pop roy­alty trans­lates to rat­ings and if Perry has the skills to make a good judge. Idol has had some spec­tac­u­lar fail­ures (look­ing at you, Mariah Carey and Ellen DeGeneres).

In my opin­ion, the best judg­ing panel was the fi­nal one — Keith Ur­ban, Jen­nifer Lopez and Harry Con­nick Jr. All were knowl­edge­able and ar­tic­u­late and left their egos at the door.

Mean­while, The Voice has signed Amer­i­can Idol’s Kelly Clark­son, the show’s im­mensely pop­u­lar first win­ner in 2002, as a coach for Sea­son 14, set for Fe­bru­ary. She’ll join Blake Shel­ton and Adam Levine and an un­named fourth coach.

Clark­son, who turned down the op­por­tu­nity to judge on the re­booted Idol, has been an ad­viser and per­former on The Voice and told Va­ri­ety that she’s look­ing for­ward to the ad­ven­ture.

“We’ve gone back and forth about a role as a coach for years, but the tim­ing hasn’t been right un­til now,” Clark­son said. “I can’t wait to turn my chair and see the faces of up-and-com­ing artists and pro­vide them with the help and sup­port they’ve needed to break into the in­dus­try.”

For­mer Idol con­tes­tant Jen­nifer Hudson and Mi­ley Cyrus will be join­ing Levine and Shel­ton this fall for the show’s 13th sea­son.

All that said, here’s your chance to get in on the ac­tion. Be­gin­ning Aug. 17, Amer­i­can Idol is hit­ting the road with a bus tour to hold au­di­tions in 19 cities across the coun­try.

If you can’t au­di­tion in per­son, you can sub­mit a video on­line. Get all the de­tails and in­for­ma­tion at Amer­i­canI­dol.com (which redi­rects to abc. go.com). Con­tes­tants must be be­tween the ages of 15 and 28.

The site lists all the bus stops and dates, from Mi­ami to Port­land, Ore. The clos­est to Arkansas will be Tulsa on Sept. 1 and Shreve­port on Sept. 4.

But don’t be afraid of a road trip. Allen jour­neyed 12 hours, to Louisville, Ky., for his au­di­tion. There were 15,000 oth­ers al­ready in line and he al­most missed the reg­is­tra­tion dead­line. You could say it all worked out.

SMITH­SO­NIAN

Reg­u­lar read­ers al­ready know that the Smith­so­nian Chan­nel is one of my fa­vorites. It al­ways seems to have a fas­ci­nat­ing va­ri­ety of pro­gram­ming. From A to Z — Ae­rial Amer­ica to Zoo Vets — there’s never a dull mo­ment.

Here are a cou­ple of new se­ries pre­mier­ing to­day.

■ Amer­ica in Color, 7 p.m. The se­ries has metic­u­lously re­stored and col­orized archival black-and-white footage from the early 20th cen­tury through the 1960s to give view­ers a new per­spec­tive on his­tory.

Liev Schreiber nar­rates the five-part se­ries. Each episode high­lights a decade. First up is “1920s.”

■ First Ladies Re­vealed, 8 p.m. The se­ries pro­files sev­eral of the women who have held the ti­tle of first lady. It re­veals their chal­lenges and cel­e­brates the achieve­ments, “from the cru­cial role Jackie Kennedy’s im­age played in the JFK ad­min­is­tra­tion to the in­flu­ence Hil­lary Clin­ton had dur­ing her hus­band’s pres­i­dency.”

First up is “The Power of Style,” high­light­ing not only Kennedy, but Dol­ley Madi­son and Nancy Rea­gan.

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette file photo

Kris Allen and his wife, Katy, en­joy his home­com­ing pa­rade in Con­way on May 8, 2009. Allen would be named the Amer­i­can Idol Sea­son 8 win­ner on May 20.

MICHAEL STOREY

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