‘American Idol’ notes: Kelly Clarkson and judges reunion, Lauren Alaina, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Jennifer Hudson, Katie Stevens

Originally posted Friday, September 27, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Kelly Clarkson smartly taped a reunion with the original “American Idol” judges for her talk show, which aired Wednesday, September 18. 

“I honestly believe we wouldn’t be here today if you hadn’t entered the show,” Simon Cowell said. “The whole premise of the show is we had to find a star who would sell records.”

Simon said watching Kelly sing a “Moment Like This” live during the finale in 2002, he thought she could become that big star. 

Kelly said she had no idea up to that point that the show was a big deal until the live show happened. When she auditioned the first time, Kelly said she had no clue this was even a TV show. And when she was asked to sing a second song, Madonna’s “Express Yourself”was off the cuff. 

Simon also said he would love to work with Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul again. And as they joked around, it was clear the chemistry is still there.

“Our legacy, genuinely, are the artists who we discovered over the seven-year period,” Simon said. “That’s what I’m most proud of. The show’s ratings were great, that’s one thing, but it’s who has come through the process and has made it all worthwhile. And that’s why genuinely, if I could chose who to work with all over again, I would work with these guys again.”

Ratings the first week for “The Kelly Clarkson” show was solid, the best for a new talk show in seven years since Katie Couric (who ended up lasting just two seasons). She ranked 4th among 14 syndicated daytime shows. (Ryan Seacrest’s show with Kelly Ripa is typically near the top.)

And here are some recent Kellyoke highlights from the past few episodes. 

And Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Lori Kelly join Kelly doing a “Periodic Table” song: 


DANCING WITH THE STARS - "First Elimination" - The 12 celebrity and pro-dancer couples compete a second week with the first elimination of the 2019 season, live, MONDAY, SEPT. 23 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Eric McCandless) GLEB SAVCHENKO, LAUREN ALAINA
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

Lauren Alaina week two on “Dancing With the Stars” matched her week one performance score with a 19 on her pasé doble. 

She ended with a split that received a huge reaction from the audience.

“I love seeing you come out of your shell,” said Carrie Ann Inaba. “You seem conservative but not today! You are extremely flexible. Your shoulders a little high throughout.” (6)

“I never expected a man to rip my skirt off on TV,” Lauren cracked.

Len Goodman: “It had a power about it, plenty of attack and determination. Occasionally, it lacked a little bit of shaping.” (6)

Bruno Tonioli: “She’s gone all nasty... and I like it! I loved it. Nasty suits you! But I have to say, it was a very strong and focused performance.” (7)

She survived with Mary Wilson of the Supremes getting cut. 

Lamar Odom and Sean Spicer are still around. Sean actually improved his score from 12 to 16 week over week.


NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Caleb Lee Hutchinson attends the 52nd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 14, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Season 16 runner up and Dallas resident Caleb Lee Hutchinson is headlining the North Georgia State Fair in Marietta at 7 p.m. Saturday night. The fair, at Jim R. Miller Park, is $5 for adults for entry and entertainment is included. 

I recall seeing Kellie Pickler and Bo Bice at that fair successive years more than a dozen years ago. 

In a quick interview, Hutchinson recalled going to that fair every fall in high school. Two years ago, he recalled seeing Trace Adkins there. Now he gets to do his own 50-minute set with his own band. He’s now living in Nashville, recording and playing music, still trying to figure out his best path to release an album. He is also still dating Maddie Poppe. 


NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Ryan Seacrest attends the Naeem Khan front Row during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery I at Spring Studios on September 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Seacrest last week confirmed a deal with “American Idol” as host for season 18. It came a little later than the deal with the judges Luke Bryan, Katie Perry and Lionel Richie but there was little doubt Seacrest would return. He’s nothing if not loyal. 


Jennifer Hudson, prepping for her movie role as Aretha Franklin in “Respect” shooting here soon in Atlanta, had to step down as a coach on “The Voice U.K” Meghan Trainor, who was already a judge on Fox’s “The Four.” (That show remains in limbo on Fox. It has not been renewed nor cancelled.)


The American Authors ( “Best Day of My Life”) have recorded a song that also features both season 16 winner Maddie Poppe and season 11 winner Phillip Phillips called “Bring it On Home.” It is very peppy and sounds a lot like their breakthrough single. 

Simon Cowell’s spin-off show “AGT: The Champions” will return next year with Simon, Howie Mandel and Terry Crews in place. But Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough are replaced by Heidi Klum (who is back) and Britain’s Got Talent star Alesha DIxon. This year’s  winner Shin Lim offers up the judges via card trick:

Former “Idol” judge J. Lo joins Shakira for the Super Bowl halftime show. Lopez is on a high right now with plaudits and Oscar buzz for her performance on the hit film “Hustlers.”


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I like to workout because it gives me a little bit of control in terms of my health, in that, I’m doing what I can to move my body, eat well, and do the best I can for my body. As I learned this week, there are some things that are out of our control. You can’t really control some of the changes happening in your body. I didn’t know if I should share this but, what the heck. I had a little bit of a health scare this week. I want to preface this story by saying that I am 100% okay. But I feel that based on the fact that I play Jane on The Bold Type, I feel a responsibility to share my own personal story. On wednesday morning before work, I don’t know why but I decided to give myself a self breast exam, when I felt something that wasn’t normal. There was a lump in my breast. I had never felt one before, and it didn’t feel like normal breast tissue. It was clearly a lump, and that was alarming since I do these exams on myself regularly to have a clear knowledge of my breasts in case this circumstance ever occurred. I was in a panic, so emotional... My wedding is soon, I’m in the middle of shooting this season.. I needed clarity. I made an appointment with a breast specialist immediately, got an ultrasound, and quickly got the results that I had a benign tumor called a fibroadenoma. I feel very lucky and grateful and was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. I have to continue to monitor it every 6 months, but women get these all the time, many women in my family have them too. I wanted to share this story because this is SO common for women as we get older, but it doesn’t make it any less alarming or scary. We should be having more conversations about this, and the biggest takeaway is: if you have something going on that you think might be a health issue, don’t wait. Get it checked out. It’s scary to find out that something might be wrong, but the quicker you get the information, the quicker you can do something about it, OR (in my case) the quicker you can have peace of mind! Knowledge is power. I now have an awareness of my body that I didn’t have before. And again, I’m 100% okay, happy and healthy and appreciating this body that I’m in. 💕

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Katie Stevens, 26, from season 9 and star of Freeform’s “The Bold Type” said she had a breast cancer scare recently, she told People.

The tumor that was found is benign but she said finding the lump led her into a panic.

She is currently planning nuptuals  to music producer Paul DiGiovanni .

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About the Author

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