Thanks for visiting!

SS Monday SS Tuesday SS Wednesday SS Thursday SS Friday SS Weekend SS Archives Primes Lineup About Us
InSites On the Buzzer Numbers Game State of Play WLTI Block Party Video Wall Replay News Archive Contact

January 4
January 11
January 18
January 25
February 1
February 8

Opinions expressed in the State of Play do not necessarily reflect those held by Game Show Newsnet as a whole.

Copyright Statement

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. Copyrighted material appearing on this site constitutes fair use, and no challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

Haterade's Idol Primer
February 15

We're in for another 3 months of praise, criticism and endless bombardment of Ford and Coke commercials. I'll be bringing in my usual friends from to help in the proceedings, but for today, here is a helpful (hopefully) American Idol primer from me.

Before I start the primer though, it's time to get on the soapbox for a second.

(Stands on Soapbox)

People of America. You can't seem to make up your minds. You made fun of Idol because of Sanjaya. This season, Idol sacrificed personality for music. These are the best 24 singers that they have (or at least the top 20. We haven't heard 4 of them). Now you're unhappy because Carly and others have had music contracts. A note to the uninformed - over half of the Top 24 in almost EVERY season has had either professional music experience or has had a previous contract. Even Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, before going on the show, had a music contract. So did Bo Bice, Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, and others. As Idol has said for years and years; this is not a contest for the best new or amateur talent. It's not the contest to find the biggest sob story. This is a contest to find the best singer, period. Since Idol is in it's 7th season, it's taken the mainstream media 6 years to figure this out?

If you're complaining that people with more dynamic personalities didn't get in, like Kyle Ensley or Josiah Leming, it's because you guys made such a stink about Sanjaya that the judges replaced personality with talent. The change in format? People wanted to make sure that the top 24 would be people who wouldn't crash and burn under the spotlight. They removed the drama from the group auditions to bring you a better product, and now you're complaining that the fun people aren't there. Well it's your fault that you kept Sanjaya in the competition, so now you pay the consequences for it.

Finally, for all of you who say 'well people shouldn't have another chance, because they failed once' you're telling me that if you fail at one thing in your profession, that you shouldn't try it again, and instead retire to the white cliffs of DoveR&Become a bottlecap collector? Why don't you ask the New York Football Giants if coach Tom Coughlin should have had a second chance after going 19-29 in his last 3 years in Jacksonville, or ask the New York Yankees if coach Joe Torre should have had a second shance after losing more than 1,000 games in the National league. Why don't you ask Sean Combs if he should have had a second chance for a musical career after a failure as a rap artist the first time out. Why don't you ask Jerry Seinfeld if he should have had a second season after the first season tanked. The 'well they failed once' angle is the dumbest, most asinine argument I have ever heard.

The only thing that the 'media' who have come out with these 'breaking stories' has shown is their own ignorance and lack of knowledge of American Idol. Now why don't all of the people who are so quick to try to forecast the end of a long-running show so they can be the first person to say 'I Told You So' either actually DO RESEARCH before writing anything or just shut up and watch the show so they would have enough knowledge of what they are covering to shove up a flea's rear end.

Ok. I'm done.

(Steps off Soapbox)

Now for the primer...

The 12 Women

Joanne Borgella

Where you've seen her: Idol: Best of the Rest (Feb 6) with Knicks tickets from Madison Square Garden
Where else you may have seen her: She won Mo'nique's 'Fat Chance', and appeared on many other shows
Why she's here: Her experience from singing in Madison Square Garden was probably the edge that propelled her over Cardin McKinney, who forgot her lyrics in a disastrous first round Hollywood audition.
Pre-season Verdict: Right now she's the third best R&B female singer behind Syesha Mercado and Asia'h Epperson. That may not be good enough to make it to the Round of 12.

Kristy Lee Cook

Where you've seen her: Idol: Philadelphia (Jan 15) with her Cage Fighting outfit
Where else you may have seen her: She had an ill-fated video in 2001, complete with Confederate Flag in the background. Why she's here: She's a cute country voice. And she sings Amazing Grace very well.
Pre-season Verdict: Unfortunately, that's the only thing she sings well, as she floundered during Hollywood. She reminds me of David Brown in Idol 4, who got a lot of screen time, only to have 2 rotten performances in the live show and get voted off. I can see an upset here if Kristy can't get her act together - especially if Kady can take the country genre from her.

Amy Davis

Where you've seen her: WHO?
Where else you may have seen her: She was in the Amy Davis Trio and Echoes of Pompei. She was also a contestant in Nashville Star.
Why she's here: (Shrugs) The judges liked her in Nashville Star?
Pre-season Verdict: She comes in advertised as a country rocker chick. Only one problem - Amanda is also a rocker chick, and she's gotten the face time. This spells trouble for Amy, who must produce immediately, or she's gone in week #1.

 Asia'h Epperson

Where you've seen her: Idol: Atlanta (Feb 5) with a few boxes of Kleenex
Where else you may have seen her: Didn't get hit with the media ho bug...yet...
Why she's here: Backstory of her father dying before her audition plus a great final song in The Round of 50.
Pre-season Verdict: She should make the Top 12. She could finish in the Top 6, but she will have to outsing Syesha Mercado to get any further than that.

Alexandrea Lushington

Where you've seen her: Idol: Atlanta (Feb 5) with her great grandmother.
Where else you may have seen her: She was one of the co-hosts in 'Lisa Knight and the Round Table'.  She was also on Star Search and lost to David Archuleta.
Why she's here: She sang a better 'My Funny Valentine' than Constantine Maroulis did.

Pre-season Verdict: Grandmother should be happy to see her get past week #1. If grandma has a weak heart, and if Alexandrea doesn't outperform one of the other R&B singers, you may not want granny to watch after said week.

Kady Malloy

Where you've seen her: Idol: Dallas (January 16) with all of her impressions.
Where else you may have seen her: Besides her impressions, she does performances locally in Texas.
Why she's here: Simon likes her and said that she would be his project. The last time he said that, it was to Carrie Underwood, and we all know what happened there.
Pre-season Verdict: Simon is in love with her - which means that during the Hollywood week, she probably got a lot of attention from him. Keep in mind that the other people who Simon has helped out have done extremely well on the show. If she can go into pop and country, and if she can control her tone, she may be a dark horse to watch.

Ramiele Malubay

Where you've seen her: Idol: Miami (Jan 30) with her Jasmine Trias autographed poster.
Where else you may have seen her: All over the internet. There's apparently a website set up just to promote Ramiele all over the cyberworld. And don't forget her tour in Florida.
Why she's here:
She's a pint-sized Jasmine Trias (Idol 3) with a voice.

Pre-season Verdict: If she continues to sing well and stays cute in a Jasmine Trias way and not flip over to the precocious Michaela Gordon / Vanessa Olivares dark side, she will probably attract the attention of both Hawaii and Florida. If that happens, then she will go far - very far in the competition. She could be a dark horse to win the whole thing.

Syesha Mercado 

Where you've seen her: Idol: Miami (Jan 30) with a video copy of her performances (all 2 of them) in The One.
Where else you may have seen her: The One, of course. She was also a member of the Drum Studio All Stars.
Why she's here: Despite her cracking voice, she had a great audition and an excellent final Hollywood Week song. One of only a handful of people to have every audition aired.
Pre-season Verdict:
Very, very good. Not only does she have all of the statistics to go far (R&B, young female, great backstory, memorable), but her televised appearances will go a long way for handling the pressure of the competition. And yes, she can sing. My preliminary last female standing and strong favorite to win the whole thing.

Amanda Overmyer

Where you've seen her: Idol: Atlanta (Feb 5) with her Harley.
Where else you may have seen her: Unless she did any reality hospital shows, nothing that I can come up with.
Why she's here: She's a 23 year old hard rocking Motorcycle Momma!

Pre-season Verdict: The sole female rocker should easily make it to the Top 12. Then the problems begin. All we heard her sing is rock songs. If she can't sing anything else (and with her gravelly voice, I'm guessing she can't), then she will be an early finals casualty.

Carly Smithson

Where you've seen her: Idol: San Diego (January 22) with her Irish accent and tattoos.
Where else you may have seen her: Maybe not as Carly Smithson, but when she was Carly Hennessy, she released a forgettable single called 'Let Me Blow Your Mind'...oh wait, I have that single. Oops. Working with her on said album...Randy Jackson. Double Oops.
Why she's here:
She's got a nice voice, albeit slightly affected. And let's face it, if you had an album that sold less than 500 copies, wouldn't you want to come back and redeem yourself?
Pre-season Verdict: I don't know if the controversy of her prior dealings will affect the voting. I think what will affect the voting is that Americans don't like non-Americans winning their titles. She should make the Top 12, but if she can't be diverse (and her voice suggests that she can't), expect her to go sooner rather than later.

Alaina Whitaker

Where you've seen her: Idol: Dallas (January 16) with a country twang.
Where else you may have seen her: She has done performances with her high school across Oklahoma. I don't think Randy Jackson or anyone in Idol were scouting her out.
Why she's here:
She's young. She's cute. She's got a mellow raw voice...
Pre-season Verdict: ...which could get her in trouble here with all of the heavyweights. Her audition was not mind-blowing, and the competition is going to be steep. She better bring it early or she's going home early.

Brooke White

Where you've seen her: Idol: Philadelphia (Jan 15) with her G Rated no smoking, no drinking persona.
Where else you may have seen her: She opened for Phil Vassar in concert. Since she lives a G-rated persona, not anywhere I've hung out :)P
Why she's here: She has a very old fashioned voice, yet mature.

Pre-season Verdict: She's going to be competing against Kristy Lee Cook and Kady Malloy for a country/rock slot. I don't think she's going to get it.

The 12 Men

David Archuleta

Where you've seen him: Idol: San Diego (January 22) with his paralyzed vocal chords and his check from Star Search.
Where else you may have seen him: He did win Star Search, knocking out a few former and current Idol hopefuls to do it.
Why he's here: He not only has a great voice, he has a great maturity about him - the maturity you would need to win on a show like Star Search.
Pre-season Verdict: It's no secret what Archuleta has done or achieved. He also will attract the kids votes and he'll be under the radar while the others shine. This is the pattern of the winners - plus he has the talent to back it up. Assuming that he doesn't get caught in the backlash of people who have done other shows and have had other contracts et al., he is going to be a strong favorite to win the whole thing.

Colton Berry

Where you've seen him: Idol: Hollywood Round (February 12) with his Disney Renditions. He also has had quick cameos with him going nuts with a yellow ticket.
Where else you may have seen him: He does community church singing in Virginia.
Why he's here: The judges felt the love tonight when he sang that song to them.
Pre-season Verdict: He got in over Kyle Ensley the presidential candidate, who a lot of people liked. That could be problematic, as could of his chances of getting to the Top 12 if he doesn't produce immediately.

Robbie Carrico

Where you've seen him: Idol: Miami (January 30) with his old Britney Spears prom photos
Where else you may have seen him: Boyz and Girlz United (formerly in that band) and Missing Picket (currently in that band).
Why he's here: You have to have some sort of Britney Spears influence on the show, don't you?
Pre-season Verdict: The fact that he wasn't displayed at all during the Hollywood Round spells trouble. He does have the look for a bottom half Top 12 finals appearance, or maybe higher than that if he reminds us why he got picked to be in Boyz and Girlz United. If he instead shows us why the band failed, then he will be on the outside of the Top 12 looking in and somewhere, Kyle Ensley will be throwing one of his campaign pins at his television set.

Jason Castro

Where you've seen him: WHO?
Where else you may have seen him: He was in a band called Keeping Lions. He was also playing the main characters love interest in the show Cheyenne
Why he's here: (Shrugs)...The judges liked his dreds?
Pre-season Verdict: Enough people will know him in Cheyenne (and dig the dreds) to survive week #1. That could give him enough time to cultivate some listeners to get to the Top 12, but he has his work cut out for him.

David Cook

Where you've seen him: Idol: Omaha (January 29) with hair that he stole from Christian from Project Runway 4.
Where else you may have seen him: If you've been in the Salt Lake area, he's been on tour there with the bands Axium and MWK, as well as bartending in the local pub.
Why he's here: He added some Daughtry on 'Living on a Prayer'. Also did some Bryan Adams and looks like he could be the male soft rocker.
Pre-season Verdict: Boring. He has flashes of very good in a sea of excellent. He could surprise and be another Elliott Yamin, or he could wind up shaving his head in desperation to try to convince the public that they have a second chance to keep Chris Daughtry alive in the competition. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and put him in the Top 12, but he is quite vulnerable.

Chikezie Eze

Where you've seen him: Idol: Best of the Rest (Feb 6) with his last season rejection certificate
Where else you may have seen him: American Idol last year: he didn't qualify then, but he did now.
Why he's here: He's the only male R&B singer left in the competition.
Pre-season Verdict: He reminds me a lot of Gedeon McKinney - and not in a good way. That was during American Idol 5, when Gedeon was the male R&B singer, but because the ladies sang circles around him, didn't have enough votes to get into the Top 12. Unless he steps up his game, I see history repeating itself here, with Chikeze departing exactly where Gedeon did - right outside the Top 12 looking in. I'll put him in for now, but that's a very, very shaky call.

Garrett Haley

Where you've seen him: WHO?
Where else you may have seen him: He performed in Elida High School in Elida, Ohio.
Why he's here: (Shrugs)...He makes the judges pine for Leif Garrett?
Pre-season Verdict: Unknown kid? Check. Young? Check. Must produce or he's out the door in week 1? Check.

David Hernandez

Where you've seen him: Idol: Hollywood Round (February 12) with a lot of love...or something like that.
Where else you may have seen him: He was a member of the bands Tribet and Straight Up. He also was a part of Arizona Idol. The person who won Arizona Idol last year? Jordin Sparks.
Why he's here: The judges loved him. Me? Ehhh...
Pre-season Verdict: He's got an affected voice that could have issues when put in a stressing situation. He may be going against Danny Noriega for both the pop vote and the cute vote, and Noriega has the edge. If he gets in the Top 12, it's barely.

Michael Johns

Where you've seen him: Idol: San Diego (January 22) with his Australian accent.
Where else you may have seen him: Where haven't you seen him? He was in the bands The Rising and Film. Not to mention that Idol has been pimping him out on every single audition song as many chances as they can get.
Why he's here: As American Idol has shown you every chance they get, he's got a great smooth voice. And the pouty look won't hurt either.
Pre-season Verdict: Idol and the Oddsmakers are making him the favorite in the competition. What happens to the favorite? They don't win. No favorite has EVER won American Idol. In addition, the backlash from many sites (not to mention the fact that he's not an American) will go against him, regardless of his talent. He'll make the Top 12, but he also won't go as far as people think he will, and I sense he will be the major upset as person going home quicker than expected.

Luke Menard

Where you've seen him: WHO?
Where else you may have seen him: He was in a group called Chapter 6.
Why he's here: (Shrugs)...The judges heard Chapter 6?
Pre-season Verdict: With no face time at all, this has 'Week one Bootee' written all over him. If he doesn't sing well, he's gone.

Danny Noriega

Where you've seen him: Idol: Best of the Rest (Feb 6) with his Sanjaya photo album
Where else you may have seen him: American Idol last year: he didn't qualify then, but he did now.
Why he's here: Looks and a surprisingly good 'When I Need You' in the Hollywood Round.
Pre-season Verdict: He will either channel up the Clay Aiken crowd with his big voice out of a small body, or the Sanjaya Crowd with his personality - especially if he falters early. Regardless of what group he falls into, he has a legitimate shot to make the Top 12 and will go further than what most people will give him credit for.

Jason Yeager

Where you've seen him: WHO?
Where else you may have seen him: He was in Making the Band...but he didn't make the band
Why he's here: (Shrugs)...Puffy and Paula were having backstage talks?
Pre-season Verdict: Like some others, his fame will keep him around through week #1. He has the potential to get past week #2, but we would have to see a part of him that we didn't see in Making the Band - the talent part.

Haterade's Pre-Season Predictions:

Top 12
Joanne Borgella
Asia'h Epperson
Kady Malloy
Ramiele Malubay
Syesha Mercado
Amanda Overmyer
Carly Smithson
David Archuleta
David Cook
Chikeze Eze
David Hernandez
Michael Johns
Danny Noriega

Top 6
Asia'h Epperson
Kady Malloy
Ramiele Malubay
Syesha Mercado
David Archuleta
Michael Johns

Top 2
Syesha Mercado
David Archuleta

David Archuleta

So those are my picks. We'll see very soon how they pan out. See you in 7.

Gordon Pepper' is better at picking NFL post-season teams. E-mail him at