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Sanjaya Safe Again

At least we know who is in the top, middle and bottom of the “American Idol” competition.

Tonight, Gina Glocksen, Haley Scarnato and Phil Stacey all landed in the bottom. Phil got the first reprieve. I thought he sang better last night, and I think that saved him.

Then it came down to the rocker and the wannabe Vegas show girl.

Apparently, Haley’s scheme to keep viewers interested with her revealing wardrobe just begging for a malfunction is working.

Voters ousted Gina, who was significantly better last night than Haley. At least Gina got a chance to do a sing-off.

It was more than we got from Tony Bennett, whose bout with a cold led to the legendary singer’s no-show. He was replaced by the next generation of crooners, Michael Buble.

Michael managed not only to wow the crowd with his singing, but also with his joke on former contestant Antonella Barba.

“American Idol” let viewers know who was in the first tier, and it came as no surprise to see LaKisha Jones, Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks on top.

That left boy singers Chris Richardson, Blake Lewis and Sanjaya Malakar planted firmly in the middle.

Can it be that Sanjaya’s time can be coming close to the end?

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Is American Idol Tamper Proof?

Let’s say some big radio jock _ we’ll call him Howard Stern _ decides he’ll mess around with the biggest show on TV.

Can he really muck up a show dependent on American voting, a show we’ll call “American Idol”?

Producer Ken Warwick says no way in Hades.

With close to 40 million votes cast each week, Warwick says the impact anyone like Stern has on the program is “minimal.”

“There’s very little hype anyone could do that would affect the vast number of votes cast, even if all of Howard Stern’s audience cast votes,” Warwick ays. “The gap above and below Sanjaya (isn’t affected by Stern).”

So, Sanjaya is doing this all on his own merits?

“Say what you may, but he’s a good looking kid and young girls like him,” Warwick says. “He’s not as bad as everyone makes him out to be. Part of this business is communicating with your audience and he does that. If the American public likes him enough to put him up at the end, it’s out of my hands. We always have one or two contestants that shine for reasons you think they shouldn’t, but it’s part and parcel of the show.”

Chris Sligh, who was voted out last week, says he thinks people are coming down too hard on Sanjaya.

“I think that people underestimate Sanjaya. I think that Sanjaya is actually a very good vocalist,” Sligh says. “I have a lot of respect for him. I do not envy his position at all. He’s a very, very sweet kid and he’s just 17. I think that he gets a bum rap.”

Warwick says that people might be surprised at how fluid the weekly results are, with so-called front runners often ending up near the bottom of the mix.

LaKisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle aren’t necessary shoo-ins just because he and others believe they are the best singers on the show.

“Last week, there was someone who was second that the week before was ninth or 10th. They move around like no tomorrow,” Warwick says. “It depends on their performance (that week). Some grow through the series. It’s always the way that the winner comes up in the competition and was not there (in the top) from the beginning.”

Which bodes well for someone like Jordin Sparks.

Warwick says in the history of the show, there has only been one contestant who was always the favorite who ended up winning the entire competition.


“America normally gets it right in the end, and I’m confident that Sanjaya will not be the `American Idol,’ ” Warwick says. “(If he does), it’s because the American public wants him. (`American Idol’ has always been) the story of a journey of somebody who started out with nothing and ended up a huge star.”

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Bye-Bye Sligh

So it’s bye-bye Mr. American Idol Sligh.

Chris Sligh, the only other guy outside of Sanjaya to bring any kind of non-singing sparkle to the show has been given the hook.

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Haley Scarnato (L) shows a sigh of relief after Chris Sligh (R) is eliminated on AMERICAN IDOL Wednesday

Sligh man, why oh why did you try to do No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”? It was a song obviously beyond your reach. We’ll miss you, and your saucy style.

And yes, we heard you when you loudly whispered to Phil Stacey that he owed you 50 bucks. Apparently, Phil believed he was set to go before you did.

Don’t worry Phil. There’s always next week.

As for the Sanjaya freight train, or should I say fright train?, it’s still going strong. We don’t mind if he stays on the show while the bottom and middle rung people are voted off.

Please, just stop the insanity before we get to Melinda, LaKisha, Jordin, Blake and even Chris.

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Sanjaya Power

Last night, Simon looked at Sanjaya and said, “It doesn’t really matter what we say anymore.”

That’s right Simon. The Sanjaya train is on the track and barrelling through this competition.

So I’ve decided to take another view of Sanjaya. To tell you the truth, without the Sanjaya factor, it would be a rather dull season.

Mr. Pony-Hawk has little singing talent, but he’s great when it comes to entertainment.

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First, let’s say how great Gwen Stefani was last night. She looked fabulous (where can we find that top?) and her comments were spot on. She gave a little shrug when it came to Sanjaya. She knows he’s become the clown in the circus.

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And she acknowledged that both Melinda and LaKisha don’t really need her help, although I think everyone can use a little Stefani in their life.

I still love Melinda’s voice, but her aw-shucks attitude is getting a little stale. Embrace your talent and go a little diva. Time to shed the meek and start adding some dazzle.

And LaKisha needs to get some personality into her performances.

If you want to put a little more Sanjaya into your life, check out

Web master Clint says “ It was designed with the hopes that we can all influence American Idol and make an otherwise dull season more interesting and perhaps see if Simon Cowell will really quit.”

I don’t want Simon to quit, but a little tweaking is always fun.

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AI no longer a singing competition

If “American Idol” was really a singing competition, then Sanjaya would have gotten the boot tonight.

His performance on Tuesday of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” wasn’t even good enough for an elementary school talent contest. When he reached up high and squatted down low, it’s was cookie-tossin’ time.

So who got bumped tonight?

The bottom three were called out: Sanjaya, Phil and Brandon.

We had no problem with the voters’ bottom three until the person being elminated was called out and it was Brandon.

Well, at least Sanjaya didn’t forget the words the way Brandon did on Tuesday. Brandon was one of the early bright lights who dimmed significantly as he constantly made poor song choices.
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Good-bye Brandon. Would that it was Sanjaya we were bidding adieu.

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American Idol shockers

Does Sanjaya Malakar have some mysterious mojo going or what?

Clearly, he was the worst of the bunch this week, yet Breck Boy was spared by voters who decided to pop him into the final dozen.

Perhaps it was his newly straighten locks.

Or seeing him do the hula.

Still, even dirty Internet pictures couldn’t save the vocally challenged Antonella Barba, who got the boot despite being one of the most Googled contestant perhaps in the history of the show.

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There had been ample speculation that Antonella would slip into the final 12 just on the basis of her looks. But she proved less resilient than the aforementioned Sanjaya.

Clearly from the judges’ perspective this week, the other woman who needed to go was Haley Scarnato. Simon said that he had to ask Paula what her name was because he honestly couldn’t remember it.

Apparently, the voters didn’t share Simon’s lack of recall.

Instead, they lopped off the Barbra Streisand look-alike Sabrina Sloan, who hit it hard each week and appeared to be a shoo-in.

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Also getting the hook this week was Jared Cotter, who proved to be a little too cheesy for the voters.

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And finally, just when we thought we’d see the last of Sunjaya, the name called out was Sundance Head.

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Sundance has had his problems in the competition, but we didn’t think it was quite his time to go yet.

As for the big announcement “American Idol” has been touting all week, it turns out that “American Idol” is ready to share the wealth with those less fortunate.

“American Idol” will helping poverty-stricken people throughout the world including Africa and America.

On April 24 and 25, for every vote viewers cast, an equal amount of money will be donated to the charity. In addition, show sponsors Coca-Cola, Ford and AT&T, among others will donate money to the Chairty Projects Entertainment Fund.

The fund will distribute the money to Save the Children and other U.S. organizations dealing with poverty in this country. CPEF will also distribute proceeds to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and other organizations involved with health and education programs in Africa.

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Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest meet school children in Africa.

On April 25, the Wednesday results show expands to two hours, with entertainment provided by such celebrities as Gwen Stefani, Josh Groban, Pink, Michael Buble, Annie Lennox, Il Divo and Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen).

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“24″ Love Connections

So, did anyone else notice who the former First Lady was snugglin’ by in the previews for next week’s “24”?

First, we’ll hark back to how strange it was to realize that while our dear Jack was getting tortured in prison and his daddy was aiding terrorists who nuked Valencia (Magic Mountain!), some of his old pals were getting busy.

Did anyone else expect that Bill Buchanan, who had romanced Michelle Dessler after her split from Tony Almeida, would bounce back to marry Karen Hayes???

Anyway, in the previews we discover that former First Lady Martha Logan is now in the arms of her hero, former Secret Service agent Aaron Pierce.

Now, there’s an explosion.

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No Surprises on “American Idol” elims

Well, maybe a small surprise that Sanjaya is still around.

Guess that just goes to the power of good hair, or the appeal of androgynous-looking boys to girls with speedy dialing fingers.

Did you notice that two of the people who were eliminated sang the same song?

Honestly, the competition is Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones, with Stephanie Edwards following closely. Not a single guy can match what the top two have already shown us.

Still, I’ve got a soft spot for Chris Sligh and hope he makes it into the finals.

Tonight, Nick Pedro was eliminated. He sang Peggy Lee’s “Fever”
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Alaina Alexander sang the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice”
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A.J. Tobaldo, who did so well this week singing Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”
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And Leslie Hunt, who also chose the ill-fated tune “Feeling Good.”
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The O.C. is O-Ver

Cue the crashing wave.

Fox just shot out a press release today saying that “The O.C.” has been canceled. The Feb. 22 season finale will be the series finale.

Which is too bad, because the series was spanking good this season. The series suffered from low ratings – what a shock after Fox put it up against powerhouse series “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI” and the NBC comedy block.

“This feels like the best time to close,” creator Josh Schwartz said in a press statement. “We have enjoyed our best season yet and what better time to go out?”

Josh e-mailed to say he’s doing “Gossip Girl” for the CW and a spy dramedy for NBC.

“Gossip Girl” is based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar about socialite teenagers engaging in sex, drugs and, of course, gossip, on New York’s Upper East Side.

“Gilmore Girls” creator and former executive producer is set to write the pilot and Lindsay Lohan is attached to the project, as they like to say in Hollywood.

As for Josh’s foray into “Alias” territory, just don’t go all Rambaldi on us, OK?

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Julie Haener named new KTVU anchor

With Leslie Griffith officially out, Julie Haener has been named
co-anchor of “The Ten o’Clock News” on KTVU-Channel 2 effective

Julie Haener

The veteran KTVU anchor/reporter will co-anchor the nightly newscast
alongside Dennis Richmond. The two will also continue to co-anchor
the 6 p.m. newscast.

“This is a wonderful opportunity and a position that doesn’t come
along too often,” Haener says. “I couldn’t be more thrilled about
expanding my anchor duties and continuing to be working for one of
the most respected TV stations in the country. KTVU is a terrific
place to work and I’m blessed to have the support of my family.”

Richmond says he’s excited about working with Haener on “The Ten
o’Clock News.”

“During the last six years while co-anchoring the 6 p.m. news with
Julie, I’ve gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for her
professionalism and journalistic skills,” Richmond says.

Haener received three Emmy awards while at KTVU including one in 2004
for Best On-Camera News Anchor. In that same year, the American
Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) named her as the Best TV On-Air
Reporter. In 2002, the Radio Television News Directors Association
of Northern California honored the KTVU Channel 2 News at 6,
co-anchored by Haener and Dennis Richmond as the Best 30 Minute

Haener joined the KTVU team in 1997 and became co-anchor of the 6
p.m. newscast in 2000. From 1998 to 2000 she was the anchor of the
weekend edition of “The Ten o’Clock News.”

Before moving to the Bay Area she co-anchored a two-hour weekday
morning newscast at KIRO in Seattle. Prior to that, she worked as an
anchor/reporter at KJEO in Fresno. She started her career in 1990 at
KNDO in Yakima, Washington as a reporter, anchor, producer, editor,
writer and videographer. Haener grew up in Tacoma, Washington and is
a graduate of the University of Washington where she majored in
Broadcast Journalism.

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