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Idol audience is coached to “help the ratings”; montages use footage from rehearsals

A trio of stories reveal the subtle massaging that occurs behind the scenes at American Idol 5. This isn’t full-scale manipulation, but part of the shaping that affects the show and our perceptions of the contestants. For starters, the obnoxious in-studio audience–surprise, surprise–is coached. Variety’s Stuart Levine attended last week’s elimination taping, and while most …

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Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s “creepy wish list” includes kids with Progeria, Down syndrome

Once upon a time, we’d like to imagine that families in need of improved housing contacted Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to be cast on the show. Now, for its fourth season, the show’s producers are not just sitting around waiting for sad stories to come to them. Instead, they are on the lookout for certain …

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Chris Daughtry’s “I Walk the Line” performance still generating controversy

Some people are all up in a tizzy about Chris Daughtry’s performance on American Idol 5 last week. That’s because he “sang a rendition of Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’ Tuesday nearly identical to a version Live recorded for a 2001 compilation — without giving them credit,” MTV.com reports. Why is this a big …

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Simon Cowell wants more money, sometimes goes commando, is attracted to “great tits”

The cover of the April 6 edition Rolling Stone promises “the secrets of the unstoppable starmaking machine” known as American Idol. Inside, however, the magazine presents an extended interview with Simon Cowell and a few short, uninteresting sidebar Q&As with the show’s other personalities. Besides Paula Abdul’s vagina comment, it presents no real secrets at …

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