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American Idol Puts Stamp on Xmas

Oct 13th, 2003

By Lia Haberman

American Idol is dreaming of a white-hot Christmas.

Fox has scheduled a one-hour holiday special of the amateur talent show during November sweeps to drum up ratings and leave Idol's imprint all over the festive season.

American Idol: Christmas Songs will air November 25, the sweep's next-to-last night and close to a month after the release of The Great Holiday Classics CD, which includes Ruben Studdard and Tamyra Gray's duet of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Clay Aiken's rendition of "The First Noel" and Justin Guarini singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

As for the TV special, it will feature past Idol champs Kelly Clarkson and Studdard, along with runners-up Guarini and Aiken and other favorite contestants performing classic holiday tunes.

The pressure (and maybe the performances?) will be off this particular evening as judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul have no plans to appear. Ditto host Ryan Seacrest.

Industry watchers assume Fox is trying to recapture the ratings glory of last May when Studdard and Aiken's highly anticipated faceoff helped the network finish first among 18 to 49 year olds in sweeps.

However, the Idol singers will meet with some tough musical competition that evening as veteran performers Shania Twain and Justin Timberlake perform on NBC.

Also going head to head this holiday season are Simon and Randy. The Idol judges both plan to release how-to-make-it-in-the-biz books within a month of each other.

While Simon's boffo book deal with Random House has already been widely reported, Randy's tome has just been announced by Hyperion.

The veteran record producer's literary effort, What's Up Dawg? How to Become a Recording Star, is scheduled to hit stores in January 2004. Simon's book, I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But..., drops a month earlier, on December 2.

Randy's book includes tips for making it big in the recording biz plus gives an insider's perspective on how to become a recording star "drawing on his decades of experience in the music industry."

Ditto for Simon, though stamped with his own "wicked and witty" brand of humor.

As such, Randy's thrown down the literary gauntlet in a statement released Monday. "Yo, Dawg, if you read one book about the long, hard journey to success in the music industry, this is the one to read. I'm going to keep it real about what it takes to make it in one of the toughest industries in the world."

No word on which way Paula plans to vote in this showdown.

Filed under: American Idol


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