Category: Randall Roberts

CMT Music Awards: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Carrie Underwood, more

The CMT Music Awards, which celebrates the best country music videos of the year, took place Wednesday night in Nashville and, unsurprisingly, superstar singer Carrie Underwood snagged the top awards.

The singer earned the video of the year award for her fashion-heavy music video for "Good Girl," which presents Underwood in different outfits while she sings a country rock song (more rock than country, really) about the perils and pleasures of being a bad girl. She won a second trophy in the collaborative video of the year category for her work with Brad Paisley on "Remind Me."

The event proved itself a "big tent" under which many different affiliations fit; not only did Underwood's commercial, relatively twang-less "Good Girl" get attention, but performances from the Pistol Annies, whose "Takin' Pills" also focuses on perils and pleasures -- of pharmaceuticals -- and Journey, whose non-country song "Don't Stop Believin' " was gentle enough for a twang crossover, offered evidence of the oft-slippery genre-distinctions. 

Too, in a highly anticipated across-the-aisle moment, both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney briefly appeared during the ceremony's opening moments via video, where both treated with faux-seriousness the selection of either Toby Keith or Kristin Bell as the CMT host.

The president, seen staring out the window of (presumably) the White House, called the choice "one of the toughest decisions I've had to make since I've been in office." On a ballot, the president circles the two contenders, before saying, "I want them both." (Both candidates did this spineless gesture and opted for both -- when Keith obviously should have been sent packing.)

A full list of winners is below:

Video of the year: Carrie Underwood -- "Good Girl"

Male video of the year: Luke Bryan -- "I Don't Want This Night to End"

Female video of the year: Miranda Lambert -- "Over You"

Group video of the year: Lady Antebellum -- "We Owned the Night"

Duo video of the year: Thompson Square -- "I Got You"

USA Weekend breakthrough video of the year: Scott McCreery -- "The Trouble With Girls"

Collaborative video of the year: Brad Paisley with Underwood -- "Remind Me"

CMT performance of the year: Jason Aldean -- "Tattoos on This Town"


10 musical works inspired by Ray Bradbury's writing

Bonnaroo, Outside Lands to celebrate the art of craft beer

President Obama, Mitt Romney to cameo on CMT Awards

-- Randall Roberts
Twitter: @liledit

Photo: Musicians Ashley Monroe, left, Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert of the Pistol Annies perform onstage at the 2012 CMT Music Awards on June 6, 2012, in Nashville. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

10 musical works inspired by Ray Bradbury's writing

It's common knowledge that science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who died Tuesday at age 91, was an inspiration to writers and filmmakers, both of whom used his remarkable ideas as rocket boosters to propel their imaginations. Less obvious, but no less numerous, are the musicians who've drawn on Bradbury's work to fuel songs and concept albums.

Like the space travelers invited to play "white xylophones" -- the ribcages of dead Martians -- during "The Martian Chronicles," musicians can't resist cosmic inspiration. The below list of works inspired by Bradbury no doubt extends much longer than 10 -- but that's what the comments section is for. Feel free to chime in with music we missed.

"Rocket Man" by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Based on the Bradbury short story "The Rocket Man," John and Taupin's 1972 classic features thematic elements that the writer addressed throughout his work, including the ways in which humans react to the isolation of space travel. "She packed my bags last night pre-flight," sings John, an echo of Bradbury's plot, in which an astronaut leaves his wife and son on Earth as he travels through outer space.

"The Veldt" by Deadmau5

Canadian mouse-helmeted beatmaker Deadmau5 named his recent single "The Veldt" after Bradbury's short story. A bouncing, four-on-the-floor electro-house ditty, the track describes a world in which technology has so consumed culture that the world outside has virtually vanished. "Look what they made/They made it for me, happy technology/Outside the lions roam feeding on remains/We'll never leave look at us now/So in love with the way we are." The song's chorus co-opts Bradbury's original title of the story when first published in 1961, "The World the Children Made."

PHOTOS: Ray Bradbury | 1920 - 2012

Frankie Rose, "Interstellar" album

New York singer Frankie Rose's recent album, "Interstellar," was inspired by Bradbury, whose work not only defined science fiction but also the futuristic ideals of Los Angeles. "A lot of the songs are inspired by old Ray Bradbury sci-fi stories," Rose told in April. "Nobody knows because it's not obvious. It's definitely tracked in a certain order. It was planned in my mind that way." Best known for her work with Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls, Rose on "Interstellar" channels the cosmos.

Pearls Before Swine, "The Rocket Man"

John's writing partner Taupin acknowledged the influence of the Pearls Before Swine song, also called "The Rocket Man," on their better-known composition. Composed by the psychedelic folk band on its 1970 album "The Use of Ashes," this earlier version mirrors much more closely Bradbury's narrative. Songwriter Tom Rapp introduces the mother and son early in the lyrics, and over wistful cello and keyboard, he sings of his father, who "loved the world beyond the world, the sky beyond the sky."

Royal Hunt, "The Mission"

"We are on a mission right now to save rock and roll!," screams lead singer John West during this above live version of the title track to Royal Hunt's 1999 release, "The Mission," a concept album based on "The Martian Chronicles." The release's 13 tracks follow the narrative, with the Danish metal band pounding out fast guitar rock and West belting ridiculous lyrics like, "We gave this pain to the world which we can't understand/Blood disappears like the raindrops when hitting the sand." (Hey, nobody ever said all inspiration is quality inspiration.)

Rush, "The Body Electric"

Canadian power trio Rush draw on Bradbury's collection of short stories from 1969, "I Sing the Body Electric," itself inspired by a Walt Whitman poem, during their song "The Body Electric." Taken from the band's 1984 album "Grace Under Pressure," the song, written by avowed Bradbury fan/drummer Neil Peart, features androids, humanoids, system breakdowns, data overloads, lots of random sci-fi terms and "the mother of all machines," a reference to the plot line of the Bradbury story.

Steel Prophet, "Dark Hallucinations" album

Steel Prophet is a Connecticul heavy metal band (yes, there is such a thing) born in the 1980s and whose 1999 album, "Dark Hallucinations," follows the storyline of Bradbury's "Farenheit 451." Like Royal Hunt's concept album -- apparently, 1999 was a good year for Bradbury/metal marriages -- songs on "Dark Hallucinations" adapt chapters to create their drama.

"Medicine Man" by Barclay James Harvest

"Medicine Man,' written by British folk rock band Barclay James Harvest in 1971, was inspired by "Something Wicked This Way Comes," Bradbury's strange 1962 novel about a cursed carousel in a traveling fair. In the group's version, which of course features the sound of a calliope, singer John Lees refers to the cursed merry-go-round by wondering, "Didn't anybody want to ask the calliope to call the tune the flying horses crooned but did not know?"

Frank Black, "The Cult of Ray" album

In 2005, the Pixies' lead singer, Frank Black, wrote about the experience of interviewing Bradbury for the magazine Alternative Press. In the introduction, Black spoke of the writer's influence on his music. "When my high school English teacher said I could write short stories instead of doing homework, Ray Bradbury was my main source of inspiration. Years later I would absorb what Ray had to say at personal appearances he made at libraries and gymnasiums. I named a record after him [1996’s 'The Cult of Ray'] and squeezed as much of him as I could into my own work. Once I got an autograph and mumbled garbled, humbled praise." The record's Bradbury influence is much less obvious than the metal records above.

Rachel Bloom, "... Me, Ray Bradbury"

This not-safe-for-work song by L.A. based comedian Rachel Bloom captures the essence of many Bradbury fanatics' feelings toward the writer's output. She's shockingly direct -- and very funny -- in her desires.


Author Ray Bradbury dies at 91

'Farenheit 451' written a dime at a time

Ray Bradbury essentials to reread, or read for the first time

-- Randall Roberts
Twitter: @liledit

Photo: Ray Bradbury at the 2003 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Melvins to attempt Guinness World Record on U.S. tour

The Melvins are attempting to break a Guinness World Record for fastest tour of the U.S.: 50 states in 51 days

This post has been corrected, as indicated below.

Los Angeles rock band the Melvins has been one of the hardest-working acts in show business for going on three decades now, and for at least the last two they've been on the road almost annually, touring the U.S. and the world.

In fact, during a world tour last year, they lived through two massive earthquakes in two different countries -- New Zealand and Japan -- one of the more impressive feats for a band whose durable but constantly evolving take on hard rock has earned them a devoted cult following and critical acclaim.

It turns out they were just in training mode for this year's tour, during which the band will attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the fastest tour of the United States. Starting at the Bear Tooth Theatre and Pub in Anchorage, Alaska, on Sept. 5, the Melvins will attempt to perform in all 50 states in 51 days. The tour is to conclude on Oct. 25 in Honolulu, a day after they perform in the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

The band's new album was put out under the moniker Melvins Lite -- a three-piece, rather than four, featuring longtime members Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, with Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn in place of the duo known as Big Business -- and is a departure. Though it has its moments of heaviness, it shows a more experimental, and at times even ethereal, side of the band. 

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Album review: The Beach Boys' 'That's Why God Made the Radio'

One of the more difficult tasks for a critic is to assess an anticipated new work by a legendary act, one beloved by generations not only for its transcendent sounds but the ways in which it helped define an entire region at a key moment in its history.

To wit, the Beach Boys' “That's Why God Made the Radio,” the band's first new album in 16 years and one that celebrates the archetypal Southern California group's 50th anniversary. With 12 songs about life, love and the passage of time delivered through themes that the group has returned to repeatedly over the years — summer fun, perfect moments in the sun and co-founder Brian Wilson's odes to loneliness — the release is a Beach Boys album through and through. 

And though uneven, the group's 29th studio work (including 2011's “The Smile Sessions”) contains a number of elegant, shockingly beautiful moments that not only do justice to and expand on the sound of Southern California in the 1960s but serve as a bittersweet and at times heartbreakingly brilliant coda to five decades in music.

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Richard Dawson's 'Apples and Oranges': A song from beyond the grave

Richard Dawson

In hindsight, it's not at all surprising that many people on Monday morning are passing around a clip of the song "Apples and Oranges," which a young Richard Dawson, who died on Saturday at age 79, recorded in 1967, a few years after he became Peter Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes."

The actor and television personality released the track during the six-year run of "Hogan's Heroes,'" and the Vietnam-era anti-war sentiment within is strong, as is the orchestration: The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" was released the same year, and by adding strange, eerie psychedelia into their music, the Beatles' creation helped push pop in a new direction. Dawson picks up a similarly psychedelic feeling in a song about two other kinds of fruit; "Apples" was released as a B-side to a single called "His Children's Parade."

Why is it being shared so often in the wake of Dawson's demise? Simple: The lyrics to "Apples and Oranges" are sung from the point of view of a recently deceased narrator longing for the corporeal pleasures of fruit picked fresh from the tree. 

A minor key ballad in which Dawson sings of produce hanging "high in the tree, I'll pick some for me," the melodramatic ditty features a simple harpsichord melody and Dawson's half-sung, half-spoken voice wistfully longing for something real. But then, halfway through, the bittersweet ditty turns more serious when Dawson lets on that he loves them because they're "far from the blood, so far from the guns," and a new reality sets in.

As the song drives into the climax, Dawson sees the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and wonders once again on the joy of apples and oranges. Then comes the big reveal: "Apples and oranges, pick them for me, because I am ... dead."

It's a spooky conclusion given the sad fact of Dawson's demise -- it really is as though the singer/actor/TV personality is communicating to his fans one last time -- and is certainly worth a listen.


Live: The Beach Boys at the Hollywood Bowl

Richard Dawson dies: 'Family Feud' host dies at 79

Appreciation: Richard Dawson brought a bit of England to America

-- Randall Roberts
Twitter: @liledit

Photo: Richard Dawson hosts "Family Feud" in 1978. Credit: Associated Press

Van Halen at Staples Center: Arena rock in its natural habitat

Van Halen at the Staples Center on Friday, June 1.

Arena rock was made for moments like this: a killer sound system with amplifiers stacked high onstage and hanging from support beams, all aimed at a hometown crowd. A master drum kit placed on a glowing pedestal; a microphone stand at the center of an acre of stage, awaiting a lead singer itching to scream. 

All that was missing at Van Halen’s eagerly anticipated return to Los Angeles on Friday night at Staples Center were the Bic lighters, feathered hair, and a fleet of Trans Ams cruising up and down Figueroa. Well, that and a sense of cohesion.

This rock scene was laid out before the four-piece, born in Pasadena in 1972, like a feast, one that was four decades, a handful of break-ups, three lead singers, three bassists, and some legendary animosity in the making.

ALBUM REVIEW: Van Halen's 'A Different Kind of Truth'

This was the first L.A. stop on the band’s highly publicized, expertly marketed -- and recently scaled-back -- reunion tour. Van Halen and its original lead singer, David Lee Roth, appeared at Staples to remind a hometown population how and why they erupted from the Sunset Strip to become one of the biggest arena rock bands in the world.

But aside from a few oversized rock 'n' roll moments -- an impressive late-set guitar solo from co-founder Eddie Van Halen, an odd but engaging Alex Van Halen drum solo, some funny Roth quips, and the sheer thrill of witnessing four really good musicians/performers onstage offering up hit after glorious hit -- Van Halen’s grand return never really felt like it got going. It was instead interrupted at nearly every key moment by lesser songs from the band’s recent album, “A Different Kind of Truth." 

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Gotye's 'Somebody I Used to Know': remixes transform (ruin?) a hit

We're all sick of it. OK, at least most of us. That plonky keyboard melody that drills itself into your subconscious and starts floating in your head just as you're falling asleep, or as you're exiting a shop, or doing laundry. You hear it coming out of speakers as you're walking by an outdoor cafe, at Ralphs, at your favorite cafe, and it attaches itself to you like shackles. Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" has become, like Lady Gaga's "Pokerface" and Katy Perry's "California Gurls" before it, omnipresent in American life.

The song, No. 1 again this week for the seventh straight week, has taken on a life of its own. And the singer, who duets with New Zealand solo artist Kimbra on it, continues to capitalize on its success -- even if, judging by his early-set intro at Coachella in April, he seems to be getting sick of playing it live.

Still, like a record-setting hitting streak or pitching a perfect game, something like "Somebody" usually only comes around once in an artist's life, and as such, Gotye is taking advantage by announcing the impending release of a new project that will pit the song against 10 remixers hoping to shed new light on a melody and a meme.

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An appreciation: Doc Watson, flatpicker, song stylist, messenger

Doc Watson

Doc Watson, who died Tuesday at age 89, never had a hit record, and none of his albums ever went gold. This truth, a shame considering his talent, his influence on the guitar and the beauty of his dynamic baritone, should serve as inspiration to any musician interested in the long game, in making music that endures not because of its shock value or its keen marketplace vision but because within its measured tones lies universal truth.

Also reassuring to starving artists should be the notion that the North Carolina-born Watson, who lost his eyesight as a toddler after an infection, didn’t record his debut album until 1964, when he was over 40 and had been simmering in North Carolina, perfecting his craft for over three decades. At the time when a bunch of college kids in New York were falling in love with so-called “folk music,” bringing a name to the American-born acoustic sounds created in the rural South, Watson had been playing backup to banjo player Tom “Clarence” Ashley, learning sounds that Ashley, born in 1895, inherited in rural Tennessee.

Unlike the more guttoral, raw folk stuff created by players like Ashley, Bascom Lamar Lunsford and Dock Boggs, Watson at his best was a sunnier presence, less a conduit to the “old weird America,” as Greil Marcus famously described the raw American folk music of the 1920s and '30s, than the “old resilient America.”

VIDEO: Guitarist Doc Watson dead at 89: A look back

Watson, like Pete Seeger and Burl Ives, sang and played in glorious tune, was a stickler for tone, and conveyed his acoustic lines with a driving fluidity. Listening to his early sides recorded for Vanguard, his work on the seminal celebration of old-time music, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and the music created during his decades on Flying Fish Records, you can hear the work of a master whose style, though refined, was never academic. He never misses a stroke or a strike, singing melodic runs with his voice that move in glorious counterpoint to the notes springing from his guitar. 

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Shaggy, Alison Hinds, Tarrus Riley shine at JazzReggae Fest


Midway through her explosive set of modern soca music during the second day of the JazzReggae Festival at UCLA on Monday, singer Alison Hinds, her hair twisted in short purple dreadlocks and wearing spangled black short-shorts and matching top, took an informal census of the thousands dancing and picnicking before her. 

How many Jamaicans are here today?” she wondered, and a big burst of applause rang out. “Who’s from Barbados?”  -- another pocket of applause, similar in volume to when she then asked about the Trinidadians and Dominicans. When she polled for West Indians, a huge swath of the audience cheered. Caribbean currents are evidently strong in Los Angeles. 

Hinds, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Soca” -- a blend of American soul ("so") and Caribbean calypso ("ca") -- was one of the highlights of Day 2 of the UCLA-student-organized fest, and typified the day’s tone by merging the many rhythm-heavy sounds of the West Indies into one electrifying whole. She and the rest of the roster of the annual reggae day, part of a festival now in its 26th year, delivered an afternoon of Caribbean party sounds, of romance and worship music ranging from soca to reggaeton to roots reggae, lovers rock and beyond; much of it mixed into a blend that island-hopped to a new kind of fusion. (Sunday’s American-heavy bill featured, among others, the Roots, Booker T and the MGs and Gary Clark Jr.) 

PHOTOS: JazzReggae Festival at UCLA

Headliner Shaggy, born in Kingston, Jamaica, but relocated to Brooklyn, mutter-rapped in his thick patois over jumbo reggaeton beats -- at least when he wasn’t wooing the ladies with some mutter-crooning; singer Tarrus Riley delivered an updated, inspired variation of smooth roots reggae, one of the building blocks of all of the day’s performances. Laid back Bermudian American (born in New Orleans) Collie Buddz brought a rich, smooth blend of reggaeton and R and B to the stage, and former Black Uhuru singer Don Carlos offered classics from throughout his repertoire.

But, then, fusion is endemic to the Caribbean. Within both the oft-frantic soca dance beats and the smoother reggae music you could hear the fundamental Calypso rhythms birthed in Trinidad and Tobago nearly two centuries ago when French and British colonists immigrated with their slaves to the region. But you can also hear the influence of American R and B and soul music, and hip-hop, and Miami bass, and Colombian cumbia.

But mostly, you can feel the island culture and the openness that creates new styles. With the sun bearing down on the unprotected intramural field in the middle of UCLA's campus, each artist delivered tight, hit-laden 50 minute sets.

After early performances by Cris Cab and Kes the Band, Black Uhuru's Carlos, a devout Rastafarian whose songs of praise honored Jah and love, offered music from throughout his career both as a member of Black Uhuru and as a solo artist. On "Little Girl," about a young girl in love with Rastas (and their dreadlocks) despite her parents' protestations, he tackled lust and worship simultaneously, and on "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," he sang of the discrimination suffered among Rastafarians.

Hinds, of Barbados, rose as a soca artist with the group Square One, whose work in the 1980s and '90s hit throughout the Caribbean and gave rise to the singer's moniker as the Queen of Soca. She and her band expanded that title by adding many different accents. On her version of Square One's hit "Roll It Gal," she fused reggae, soca and R and B to create a message of female empowerment.

After a decent if unmemorable set by Bermudian American dance hall singer Collie Buddz, reggae vocalist Tarrus Riley, the son of early Jamaican rock steady vocalist Jimmy Riley, showcased the depth and enduring vibrancy of roots reggae. The classic Kingston sound of the 1970s, whose best known practitioner, Bob Marley, brought the peaceful, easy vibe of reggae to the world, rose to become one of the most influential genres of the era.

Riley's updated version of roots reggae featured bigger beats and washes of electronics, but the tradition was apparent throughout. Bassist Glen Browne, who has performed with Buju Banton, Sinead O'Connor and Jimmy Cliff, among others, offered steady, guiding bass lines; and a three-man brass section led by Dean Fraser, whose work in the '80s with Joe Gibbs, Sly & Robbie and Dennis Brown helped sustain the roots sound when the more explosive, scatter-shot rhythms of reggaeton were rising.

Reggaeton's massive success in the U.S., in fact, arrived when Shaggy hit here in 1993. The singer, whose keen understanding of the ways in which reggaeton could be the foundation for not only sexual boasts but gentle romance, helped soften what was at first an incendiary, and utterly alien, Jamaican sound.

Before Shaggy, the music was an abrasive underground Jamaican phenomenon. But as he illustrated on Monday, the stutter-step rhythm at its heart proved malleable for any number of tempos -- and, during its big second wave in the 1990s and early '00s, this beat nearly took over the world. The 43-year-old singer performed hits from throughout his Grammy-winning, multiplatinum career, and with each new rhythm the crowd continued dancing.

The highlight of his set came after a frustrating series of teases in which the singer disrupted the momentum to offer snippets of hit songs that he began singing (such as LMFAO's "Party Rockin' "), only to abruptly stop and move on to another.

He regained the energy, though, with one crooked smile and the smooth party rhythm of one his best tracks, a cover of the classic reggae jam "Oh Carolina." An ode not to the American region but to a girl "who rock her body and move just like a squirrel" (which is supposed to be sexy, apparently), he growled his way through the swagger-step beat while wondering on Carolina's ability to "swing like me grandfather clock" (again, he somehow turns this image sexy) and love him all night long. It's a one-of-a-kind groove, a rhythm that sounds so familiar but still so fresh nearly 20 years later.

But, then, as all the music on Monday emphasized, the song is built on such a sturdy foundation that it not only supports these kinds of variations and reinventions, but encourages every last accent, interpretation and wild, vivid rhythm. 


Album review: Sigur Rós' 'Valtari'

Album review: El-P's 'Cancer 4 Cure'

Redd Kross survives the 'awkward' stage, readies new album

-- Randall Roberts Twitter: @liledit

Photo: Shaggy performs during the the 26th annual JazzReggae Festival on Monday at UCLA. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

'American Idol': 10 ideas for a reboot and a ratings revival

American Idol final five

The ratings are in, and the "American Idol" franchise is officially in trouble. Viewers of the season finale of the series dropped by 32% from last year, a fall that is part of an overall steady decline in viewership since its series peak in 2003. Back then, the "Idol" season was an event, but now it's just another show. The gleam is gone.

As a result, many commenters are wondering whether this marks the end of the run. Probably not, as it's still a ratings winner in the scheme of things. But it may mean that executive producer Simon Fuller and his team will be looking for ways to bring renewed excitement to a series that's struggling to climb out of a rut. Below are a few suggestions to get the "Idol" buzz back.

1. Open the field to all different kinds of vocalists. Which is to say, add young rappers into the mix. If it's fair to pit a pop vocalist such as Jessica Sanchez against a singer-songwriter like Phillip Phillips, why is it such a stretch to think that would-be MCs couldn't rank? Quality is quality, whether crooned, screamed or rhymed. If this is a pop music competition, it's ridiculous to exclude one of the most important creative engines the genre. Who knows, maybe we'll meet the next Kitty Pryde, Kreayshawn, or Riff Raff.

2. Include vocal groups. Every major label is looking for a female vocal group in the TLC and Destiny's Child vein right now, and with the rise of boy groups the Wanted and One Direction, all signs point to a return of packs of singing hunks. Let's manufacture some group hype.

3. Fire all three judges and replace them with Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton. As a twist, the early rounds could be "blind" by making the judges/coaches assess talent with their backs to the singers.

INTERACTIVE: "Idol" vs. "The Voice"

4. Add in a choreography element. Every Idol worth adoration should be able to not only to sing but dance. And considering the success of "Dancing With the Stars," an "Idol" choreography round could add some fuel. It certainly would have made Phillip Phillips' victory -- to say nothing of Kris Allen's or Lee DeWyze's -- less assured had they proved unable to effectively bust a move.

5. Add a juggling component to the dancing and singing. Bring in some professional clowns who can teach the young vocalists the ins and outs of keeping afloat flaming torches, knives and bowling balls. Such a move would balance the playing field even further, because some singers who can juggle aren't very good dancers, and some juggling dancers can barely sing. Imagine the thrill when America finds the perfect juggling vocalist with a knack for a little soft shoe.

6. Change the name of the show to "American (White Guy with Guitar) Idol."

7. Keep Jennifer Lopez but fire Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Ryan Seacrest. Replace them with Marc Anthony, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Ben Affleck.

8. Fire all three judges, then string Ryan Seacrest along for a few months while floating to the gossip sites the idea of firing him too. Change your mind and commit to Seacrest, then bring in Jay Leno as a judge. Fire him at the last minute, and as a replacement hire Conan O'Brien. Then fire Seacrest and replace him with Andy Richter.  

9. Cancel the dang show already and replace it with a reboot of the classic 1970s reality competition show "Battle of the Network Stars." Watch as Tina Fey, Ashton Kutcher, the casts of "The Mentalist" and the "NCIS" franchise, Ryan Seacrest and others race through ridiculous obstacle courses in tight shirts and short shorts.

10. Keep Ryan Seacrest but add as his sidekick a dancing juggler who can sing -- if they can ever find one. They don't grow on trees, you know.

Any tips for a reboot? Add them in the comments below.


Full coverage: 'American Idol'

Phillip Phillips steps onto the 'American Idol' treadmill

Adam Lambert's chart-topper 'Trespassing' is a high and a low

-- Randall Roberts
Twitter: @liledit

Photo: Phillip Phillips, left, Hollie Cavanaugh, Josh Ledet, Skylar and Jessica Sanchez. Credit: Michael Becker / Fox.





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