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Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

'American Idol' briefs: real-time voting, Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Diana DeGarmo

Posted Monday, April 23, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

This week is the only time we get overnight voting. Four will be eliminated tonight. The top six will be named based on the voting while the judges have the power to pick the other four. By 10 p.m., there will be a top 10.

I must be the only one who liked Michelle Sussett. MJ's Big Blog's MJ Santilli would like the Latino singer gone and she was the most likely pick to go home among her fans. Maddie Poppe's "Homeward Bound" was tops on both my poll and her poll for favorite performance. Michael J. Woodard and Gabby Barrett finished top three on both polls as well.

Jonny Brenns and Garrett Jacobs deserve to go home but maybe voters or the judges might keep one or both around. Who knows? I also thought Marcio Donaldson did himself no favors and should be eliminated as well. And what the hell with Jurnee? She's a judge favorite but last night was a disaster. I'm surprised she's getting so much support. And while I found Mara Justine a tad ridiculous, I admired her determination. She could still very much be in danger.

My guess on who will be in the top six based on votes: Gabby, Michael J., Maddie, Ada Fox, Caleb Lee Hutchinson and Cade Foehner. The judges will likely save Jurnee, Dennis Lorenz, either Garrett or Jonny (probably Garrett) and Catie Turner.

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Starting on April 29 for three weeks, 'American Idol" will air simultaneously live across three time zones, allowing the West Coast viewers to vote at the same time.

While airing at 8 p.m. EST, it will air at 5 p.m. on the West Coast. In Hawaii, it will air from 2 to 4 p.m. They can vote via text, the "Idol" web site or the "Idol" app.

Results will be revealed at the end of each show in real time so there will be no opportunity to speculate on who will be eliminated.

“When we got the show, we were tasked with what’s going to be different about ABC’s version,” ABC reality head Rob Mills told Billboard. “We talked about live voting. Maybe we don’t include the west coast because it’s not as big a part of the country, but we love the immediacy of live. Because it’s going to be airing on Sunday, people are home to watch it and maybe the affiliates would get behind the idea. To their credit, the affiliates completely embraced it. They wanted to be part of something that is honestly historic. And it was so exciting for us because it puts Idol on par with the Oscars and the Super Bowl. Everybody in the country is going to be able to vote at the same time and at the end of two hours, the contestants are living or dying. And that’s a big deal.”

I'm not clear if the voting will begin at the start of the show even before the performances begin but that makes the most sense. If that's the case, voting will have less to do with that week's performances and more to do with overall popularity. Also, that may negate any real advantage to performing later in the show. There is no way they would wait until all the performances are over to open voting. That would leave almost no window at all.

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Ratings last weekend were the lowest of the season, slipping below 7 million both nights. There was some recovery last night, rebounding to 7.4 million.

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AMERICAN IDOL - ABC's "American Idol" judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)

I forgot to address this last night but the judges were a bit lackluster last night during their first (sorta) live show. (It was taped Saturday but the producers couldn't cut up their critiques that much.) I was hoping for some more actual constructive criticism. There were way too many broadly based, super boring "you were great"-type comments. I miss Harry Connick Jr. on that front. Instead, they used a lot of Paula Abdul-isms like "you were having fun out there" as a replacement for anything concrete. A few times, they would couch a negative like "that wasn't my favorite song choice" or "you have done better" with something positive. And while it's clear Katy Perry and Luke Bryan get along, Lionel Richie doesn't play their shenanigans. I do find it hilarious that he often stands up to do his critiques.

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 20: Singer Idina Menzel speaks during the Women's March Los Angeles 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

Next week's top 10 is Disney themed. Of course! This is ABC! And why not bring in Idina Menzel ("Let It Go") of "Frozen" fame?

Three will be eliminated and the top 7 will sing Prince songs May 6, according to MJ's Big Blog. Prince songs have only been cleared twice before and he made an appearance on the show one season.

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NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 19: Singer Carrie Underwood visits "The Highway" at SiriusXM Nashville Studios at Bridgestone Arena on April 19, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

You have to give credit to the surgeons who worked on Carrie Underwood's face since her accidental fall down some steps last November that involved 40-plus stitches. She looks more or less the same. She told country radio broadcaster Bobby Bones (who gave advice to "Idol" contestants during the top 24) what happened:

“I was taking the dogs out to pee pee one last time. I tripped, there was one step and I didn’t let go of the leashes. Priorities!” she said. “ So, that’s why my left hand’s fine. But I went to catch myself and I just missed a step. If I had fallen anywhere else, I would’ve been perfectly fine. It was one step that messed everything up.” Carrie shared that the injury happened around her mouth. She said she can cover the scarring up with make up. 

She is also releasing her first studio album "Cry Pretty" September 14. The lead single came out 12 days ago and was the most added song in country radio this week.

She said in a press release: “At this point in my career, I feel stronger and more creative than ever.  I think you can hear that in this new album.  It’s emotional, it’s soulful, it’s real, and we also have some fun on there too.  I hope everyone loves it as much as I have loved making it.”

On Sunday night the ACM Awards, Underwood took home her 14th career ACM Award for Vocal Event of the Year with “The Fighter,” her collaboration with Keith Urban. She has also won seven Grammy's. (The ACM's by the way demolished "Idol" in the ratings that night.)

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Carrie Underwood performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: Lauren Alaina, winner of New Female Vocalist of the Year, poses in the press room during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for ACM)

Talk about a long time coming.

Lauren Alaina, Georgia's runner up from season 10, won new female vocalist of the year at the ACM's despite the fact she released her first album seven years ago. She did have her first No. 1 song "Road Less Traveled" last year so that made a big difference.

She also made a cameo last week on "Idol" via Facetime giving Layla Spring a pep talk during a top 24 episode. (Spring didn't make the top 14.)

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Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo have been married four years. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Deadline.com reported: Season 3 runner up Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, real-life couple, have signed on to star in "Hit Her With The Skates," a musical that may become an Off Broadway production this fall. A description:" "Set in 1994, Hit Her With The Skates follows pop star Jacqueline Miller as she headlines her first national tour and returns to her hometown to kick off the gala re-opening of her beloved Windy City Skates. When complications hit her head on, Jacqueline comes face-to-face with her 12 -year-old self and all the things she learned during the golden age of the roller rink in 1977."

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I somehow missed this one. Jimmy Fallon and Kelly Clarkson doing a "history of duets"  last month including "I Got You Babe," "Mockingbird," "Islands in The Stream," "Don't You Want Me," "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart," "Up Where We Belong," "Don't Know Much," "Opposites Attract," "Just Give Me a Reason" and "Endless Love." Of course, Kelly is a delight:

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Paul McDonald, who finished eighth season 10, has a new album coming out in June. Here's his latest single "Wildcard":

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Clay Aiken's Tweet of the week:

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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