American Idol notes: Simon Cowell, ‘Idol’ auditions, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood

Credit: Anthony Devlin

Credit: Anthony Devlin

“America’s Got Talent” judge Simon Cowell was injured in an electric bike accident Saturday, resulting in a metal rod placed in his back.

People magazine reported the surgery took five hours.

Cowell, 60, fell off an electric bicycle in the courtyard of his Malibu house, his rep told People Saturday.

“Simon has broken his back and will be having surgery this evening,” his rep said. “He hurt his back and was taken to the hospital. He’s doing fine, he’s under observation and is in the best possible hands.”

Kelly Clarkson will sub in for him. Her tongue-in-cheek explanation: “My friend, Simon Cowell, is doing better now but was in an accident and won’t be able to make Tuesday and Wednesday’s live shows for AGT. But no worries America, someone far wiser, cooler, and hotter is taking his seat! The unbelievably amazing Kelly Clarkson You’re welcome in advance!”


Speaking of Kelly Clarkson, she has taken a brief break from her talk show before the second season begins next season but just finished some blind audition taping of the next season of “The Voice.” And she is doing double duty for a week by covering for Cowell on “AGT.”

She opened her final first season talk show episode last week with a cover of Rascal Flatts’ “I’m Movin’ On.” Fans presumed this was a thinly veiled reference to her recent divorce announcement with her husband Brandon Blackstock. They have two young kids and are seeking joint custody.

Her move to Los Angeles for her talk show caused more stress to their marriage, Us magazine reports. Blackstock preferred Nashville. The quarantine gave them a chance to work things out in Wyoming, but it ended up confirming that the marriage was broken.


Carrie Underwood has her first Christmas album coming out next month called “My Gift.”

Though Underwood has recorded several Christmas songs in the past, this will be her first full-length record. All the song titles will come later, though, she will cover “Little Drummer Boy.”

“This year, it was just kind of on my heart to do this Christmas album. I just felt like this was such a fitting time, kind of feel like it’s a more perfect time than ever to record an album like this,” she said in a trailer.


Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks, 30, has released a new pop song “Red Sangria.”

She has not been on the pop charts in a long time.


Normally, ‘American Idol” would be holding “Idol” auditions now in multiple cities on top of taking virtual auditions.

But the pandemic has forced the show to take auditions for season 19 (season 4 on ABC) completely remote.

To sign up for “Idol Across America” and a chance to virtually audition in front of an actual “Idol” producer, visit There you will find more details on specific dates, full eligibility requirements, submission forms, terms and conditions. Age eligibility remains the same: between 15 and 28 years old to audition.

It appears they will be focusing on specific states on specific days. Here’s the schedule, which begins August 10:

  • Delaware, Florida and Ohio (Aug 10)
  • Louisiana, Missouri and Wisconsin (Aug 12)
  • Arizona, Oregon and Washington (Aug. 14)
  • Georgia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Rhode Island (Aug. 16)
  • Open Call Auditions (Aug. 17)
  • Alabama, Arkansas and Kansas (Aug. 18)
  • Idaho, New Mexico and Utah (Aug. 20)
  • Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas (Aug 22)
  • Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia (Aug. 24)
  • Open Call Auditions (Aug. 25)
  • Iowa, Mississippi and Oklahoma (Aug. 26)
  • Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota (Aug. 28)
  • Connecticut, New Jersey and New York (Aug. 30)
  • Colorado, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming (Sept. 1)
  • Maine, South Carolina and West Virginia (Sept. 3)
  • Alaska, California and Hawaii (Sept. 5)
  • Kentucky, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania (Sept. 7)
  • Massachusetts, North Carolina and Vermont (Sept. 9)


Although both “The Voice” and “Idol” did their “live” shows remotely this past spring, “The Voice” is already holding its blind auditions with cast and contestants but no live audience at Universal Studios — just a virtual one. “Idol” may follow this same path this fall, where the judges will likely stay in one place and take in contestants there. You lose some of that “across the heartland” feel of past seasons, but it’s better than keeping it 100% remote.


David Archuleta was going to sing “From a Distance” earlier this year with the Rexburg Children’s Choir. But then the pandemic happened. This time, the choir did their part in an open field in Idaho (though not socially distanced or masked) while he shot his part in Nashville. The song’s title is somehow more apt than ever.

“My mom used to sing this song when I was little. I used to watch videos of her singing it over and over,” David wrote on Twitter. “It made me feel peace of mind and that I was part of a bigger picture. I loved getting to sing this version with the Rexburg Children’s Choir.”