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American Idol: The Untold Story
     

American Idol: The Untold Story

4.0 34
by Richard Rushfield
 

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The currency is fame, and it's bigger than money, more desired than power.

Each season American Idol delivers on a promise whose epic scope is unparalleled in the annals of competition: to take an unknown dreamer from the middle of America and turn him or her into a genuine star. It has become not only the biggest show on television,

Overview

The currency is fame, and it's bigger than money, more desired than power.

Each season American Idol delivers on a promise whose epic scope is unparalleled in the annals of competition: to take an unknown dreamer from the middle of America and turn him or her into a genuine star. It has become not only the biggest show on television, but the biggest force in all of entertainment; its alumni dominate the recording charts and Broadway, win Academy Awards, and sweep up Grammys. In fact, American Idol has reshaped the very idea of celebrity.

But it didn't start out that way. When the little singing contest debuted as a summer replacement on the U.S. airwaves, it was packed between reruns and low-cost filler. The promise that it would find America's next pop star produced a hearty round of guffaws from the country's media critics. Now, some ten years and millions of records later, no one is laughing.

American Idol: The Untold Story chronicles the triumphs and travails, the harrowing backstage drama and the nail-biting onstage battles that built this revolutionary show. In this revealing book, veteran journalist Richard Rushfield goes deeper inside the circus than any reporter ever has. Candid interviews with Idol alumni, including Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell, shed new light on the show that changed the entertainment industry. And because Rushfield had full access to the people who created the show, starred in it, and kept it atop the pop culture pyramid, this book is the first to take Americans behind the curtain and tell what has really been happening on the world's most watched and speculated-about stage.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rushfield begins with an overview of producer Simon Fuller, whose 2001 U.K. launch of Pop Idol came to the States as American Idol on the Fox network. The show combined several key factors: viewer voting, the "audition from hell" process, and a panel of judges that included the abrasive "dasher of dreams," Simon Cowell, who received much press coverage as "Mr. Nasty." For the American version, Fox insisted on the affable Randy Jackson as a "counterweight" to the caustic Cowell. Amid unknowns, Paula Abdul began as "the show's real star," generating a "love/hate chemistry" with Cowell. Within months, 26 million viewers were tuning in. Going season by season, Rushfield covers top finalists and winners, backstage intrigues, record deals, media coverage, fan fiction, and Web sites, lawsuits, and contractual conflicts, as well as Abdul's antics and departure. Rushfield explores the lives of the finalists after the Idol tours, making for a poignant closing chapter. A former Los Angeles Times columnist, Rushfield spent three years covering the show, and his many interviews with the show's cast and crew provide a genuine "insider" flavor. Diehard fans will appreciate both the deep background material and the behind-the-scenes gossip. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews

A comprehensive, unfettered history of one of the most popular shows in TV history.

Vanity Fair contributing editor Rushfield (Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost: A Memoir of Hampshire College at the Twilight of the '80s, 2009, etc.) demonstrates an uncanny ability to mix the distinctive history of American Idol with the show's intricate machinations and juicy backstage bits. It was enterprising British media mogul and Spice Girls longtime manager Simon Fuller who first envisioned an audition-based singing competition, while Fuller's fellow music producer, Nigel Lythgoe, brought the musical-group creation showPopstarsover from New Zealand. Rushfield writes that Fuller, upon seeing his contemporary's program, began marketing another "very young contemporary pop show" calledPop Idol. Enter Simon Cowell, a hardworking, outspoken, longtime record-label executive who Fuller strongly encouraged to become the antagonistic judge on his new endeavor—even though Cowell had limited on-camera experience. With the show's immense success in Britain following its 2001 debut, Fuller and Cowell pitched the format to American TV networks. Fox chief Rupert Murdoch sealed the deal, and the stateside spinoff debuted in 2002, a splash of fresh material amid sluggish post-9/11 on-air programming. With Lythgoe producing, alongside judges Cowell, record exec Randy Jackson and singer/dancer Paula Abdul, the project soared despite an initial lukewarm media reception. Rushfield expertly condenses seasons one through nine with nary a detail overlooked, from newfound singing sensation Kelly Clarkson and troublemaking Nikki McKibbin to the spectacles of Clay Aiken, Sanjaya, Fantasia Barrino and Adam Lambert. The author also explores Cowell's trademark "verbal assaults," the infighting among the judges, varied controversies over Abdul's deterioration and certain episodes being "retaped." Rushfield overstuffs the final pages with play-by-play highlights, cast and crew opinions and personal perspectives from the great and not-so-great singers who braved theIdolstage.

A generous bird's-eye viewpoint of the competition from past to present—supreme fodder forIdolbuffs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401396527
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
01/18/2011
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
17 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

For three years, Richard Rushfield has covered American Idol for the Los Angeles Times, writing hundreds of columns and conducting thousands of hours of interviews with the cast and crew, going deeper inside the circus than any report ever has. A former columnist for the LA Times, he is currently an entertainment columnist for the Daily Beast, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and author of the long running Intelligence Report column.

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American Idol: The Untold Story 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are we talking about "American Idol"? This book is talking about the good times of Idol, not the NEW panel...I love the panel of before, I always watched, they were genine showing how they really feel for these performers. Today, especially one of them, it is only an act.....so the stars are for the old panel, Simon, and the rest
emmi331 More than 1 year ago
Those who religiously follow American Idol (I admit I've been one of those) will delight in this behind-the-scenes look at arguably the hugest show on television. The first few chapters give background information on Simon Cowell and other prime movers, then get down to the juicier stuff about the contestants and the other judges. The author explores the scandals of each season, many of which center around high-strung,insecure Paula Abdul. He also interviews many of the contestants, both successful and has-beens, and devotes a chapter to the surprising spiritual organization which assists the families of the contestants during competition. I always wondered how they handled those thousands of hopefuls in the city auditions, and how some get through while other talents are dismissed immediately. This book covers it all, from the early cattle call to the hell of Hollywood Week and the gut-churning "green mile",through the final selection and crowning of the winner. Much of this has been covered in other sources, but there's enough new and interesting here to keep the reader constantly engaged.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Trent Harmon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
R
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In 2015 i wanted lauren lott or clark beckham but neither of them won :-( Nick Fradiani won but thats ok because I liked him too &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carrie Underwood is the best and most successful singer in american idol history. Case closed. Plus, added bonus: she's hot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted angie to win but she didnt :( tap i agree if you wanted her to win
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is the best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kreeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She will win!!!!!!!!!!!! Nuff said
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your such a lire Angie Miller is fron Engleend not massicusets
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love he so much and she definitley deserved it... they said she was the best singer in american idol history ever, im really sad that te season ended though... looking fward to next year though!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GO HALEY!!!
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