'Idol' premiere could be biggest


"Idol" Judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.

Fox
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

If Nielsen Media Research data can predict television show popularity, then the 7th season of American Idol, set to air tonight and Wednesday, should be the biggest premiere in "American Idol" history.

Facts

'Idol' returns

What: The four-hour, two-night premiere of the 7th season of reality talent contest "American Idol."

When: 8 tonight and Wednesday

Where: Fox (Cox channel 13)

Research shows the 6th season premiere brought in 37.3 million viewers to Fox's broadcast, only to break the previous record of the 35.5 million viewers from season five's premiere. An average of 30 million people watched each twice-weekly episode of "Idol'' last season, an audience that was roughly 50 percent larger than that for the next most-watched show, ABC's "Dancing With the Stars.''

Gainesville fans are gearing up to watch the increasingly sarcastic comments Simon Cowell and his fellow judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul can aim at aspiring singers on the show.

"The first few episodes are the best because of all the horrible singers," said UF sophomore Jennifer Amores. "Simon says some mean things, but it's hysterical."

Whether fans are watching in a small group or having a blow-out party, there are many ways to make a season premiere party worthy of even Simon.

Bill Maxson, assistant manager at Factory Card and Party Outlet in the Butler Central Plaza on Archer, said "American Idol" parties generally include karaoke, food and inflatable microphones.

"Typically, parties like that are a last-second thing," he said. "They are planned the day before or the day of."

Should this be the case, grab some "American Idol"-themed flatware, assorted novelties like wigs, vests and boas, and tons of music guests can sing along to. Have some guests act as judges and ask one to "host" the show. For the full effect, choose people who may resemble Paula, Randy and Simon - if not in looks, then definitely in attitude. Buy some key chains or other small gifts for the winners of your contest.

Other impromptu ideas include watching "American Idol - The Best and Worst of American Idol," which includes scenes and songs from the first four seasons, or listening to music from previous winners like Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson (and even losers, such as William Hung, who sang the now infamous version of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" in season three).

The American Idol All-Star Challenge DVD Game, produced by the same company who makes Scene It?, is a great idea for "A.I." buffs who claim to know more about the show than anyone else in the room. The game, which includes more than 1,000 clips and images from previous seasons, is intended for two to four players or larger teams. It's packed with trivia, singing obstacles and tons of clips for players to enjoy.

Center Stage Costumes and Magic Web master Jennifer Cain said the most popular party idea she has heard people discuss is the video game "Karaoke Revolution" for Xbox and Play Station 2.

The video game allows singers to choose from eight characters, each with up to four costumes. As you sing, you are scored based on the pitch and rhythm of your voice, and scoring ranges from Lousy to Expert.

"It's really great," said Cain, who admits having belted a few tunes with the video game herself. "You get a microphone, and you go with it. It's definitely something I think is a good idea - it's really fun."

Courtesy of www.partyfood.suite101.com, American Idol fans can enjoy Simon Cowell Crab Cakes and Paula Coladas.

The Cowell crab cakes have "a crispy exterior, but are warm and soft inside" ... just like Simon himself. Serve them with a dipping sauce that has a bit of a bite.

SIMON COWELL CRAB CAKES

2 lbs lump crabmeat

2 cups fine, fresh bread crumbs

3 eggs

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp lemon or lime juice

1 tsp dry mustard powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

butter or vegetable oil for frying

Pick over crab meat and remove any bits of cartilage. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except crab and oil; mix well. Add crab meat and mix gently but thoroughly. Shape crab mixture into 12 patties, each about 3/4 of an inch thick. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Fry the crab cakes in small batches in the heated oil until cooked through and crispy; about 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and transfer the crab cakes to a warm oven (about 200 F) until ready to serve. Serve with lemon or lime wedges and dipping sauce of your choice. The recipe makes 12 crab cakes.

The Paula Coladas are "like a dessert in a glass, but you can skip the ice cream for a more authentic Pina Colada." The recipe makes one drink.

PAULA COLADAS

1 oz white rum

1/2 oz coconut rum

small handful fresh pineapple chunks

small scoop vanilla ice cream

Combine ingredients in a blender with 1 cup crushed ice; blend until frozen. Add more ice or pineapple juice until you reach your desired consistency. Serve with a pineapple chunk for a garnish.

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