Lawsuit Filed Says Sony Music Cheated American Idol Winners Including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed in New York charges that Sony Music Entertainment cheated “American Idol” contestants including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood out of at least $10 million in royalties.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by 19 Recordings, a music company founded by “Idol” creator Simon Fuller.

The lawsuit says 19 discovered the royalty issue from two separate audits of Sony’s records.

Other artists named in the suit include Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Jordin Sparks.

Attorney Richard Busch, of the Nashville firm King & Ballow, says the legal action was necessary to protect the rights of 19’s artists.

A Sony spokeswoman said she had no comment on the lawsuit.

Report: American Idol Considering Former Idols For Judging Panel

cp_american_idol_yakAs the fading Fox phenom looks to improve ratings and the show’s success when it returns next season, the heads over at Fox are reportedly considering putting former show contestants behind the judge’s table. According to Vulture – who first broke the news – the discussions at Fox are very real, but in the early stages. Whether one or all slots will be filled by former contestants has yet to be determined.

It appears that Kelly Clarkson, who appeared on ABC’s short lived Duets, and Jennifer Hudson have been approached. Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert’s names have been thrown around, as well. Fox and the heads of Idol have plenty of time to make the decision. If talks about this plan, which has been thrown out before, fall through, look for other names in the music business to be thrown around, as well.

Randy Jackson has already announced his departure from the show and all signs are pointing to Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, and Mariah Carey to be replaced as well. There is also word that Fox may go back to a three judges panel and also consider replacing Exec Producer, Nigel Lythgoe. Fox has not made a comment.

If this idea works, it could breathe new life in the show, bring back old viewers who may have abandoned ship, and subtly remind America of the show’s success. Who would you like to see return to Idol?

The Best Selling American Idol Single Is ….

On July 4, an American Idol alum made history since the show’s inception 11 seasons ago. Kelly Clarkson, the show’s inaugural winner, now holds the title of the alum with the best selling single. On the Fourth of July, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” surpassed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” as the best selling single from an Idol alum, according to Nielsen Sound Scan. “Stronger” has sold 3,510,000 singles as of today, while “Before He Cheats” has sold 3,509,000 copies since its release in 2006.

“Stronger” is also Clarkson’s longest #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. According to Billboard, “Before He Cheats” peaked at No. 8 on the Hot 100 and was on the chart for 64 weeks. Only five songs in the 54-year history of this survey have had longer runs. On Hot Country Songs, “Before He Cheats” was No. 1 for five weeks in November-December 2006. Before “Stronger” surpassed “Before He Cheats,” it had to first pass “No Air” by Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown, which has now sold 3,437,000 copies to date.

Underwood, however, is still ahead in total domestic album sales. Proving Simon Cowell’s prediction back in Season 4, Underwood has sold 13,205,000 albums to date and Clarkson is close behind with 11,664,000. Any Idol fan might remember his bold prediction during Billboard week. Cowell said, “Not only will you win this show, you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner.”

Billboard points out that if you count digital downloads of singles, Clarkson wins the race with 24,100,000 copies sold, while Underwood’s sales total 22,535,000 digital songs. If this proves anything, it only furthers the notion that these two beautiful and talented ladies are the competition’s most successful and possibly best alums. At least these two give credibility to winning the show and taking on the crown. There is room for both of these women in the industry and we predict that this isn’t the end of their successes!

Clarkson can be seen on ABC’s Duets, which airs Thursday night at 8/7c. She is also touring select cities this summer with The Fray. Underwood just returned to the US after taking her Blown Away hits to the UK and Australia. She’s gearing for her Blown Away tour which kicks off this fall!

Report: Phillip Phillips, American Idol Finalist, NEEDS Emergency Surgery

Details are very scant about this topic, but it appears that American Idol finalist may need to be transported to the operating room not long after next week’s finale. Phillip’s medical status has been the focus behind the scenes this season ever since he required immediate surgery for abdominal pain before the Top 13 results show.

Last week, during the hometown visits, Phillip reportedly refused treatment in order to finish up this season. Fox has not released a comment regarding Phillip’s condition.

Phillip Phillips was voted into the Idol finale, along with finalist Jessica Sanchez, after Joshua Ledet was eliminated Thursday night. The Idol finale will air over two nights, on May 22 and May 23. No matter what, we here at the Yak hope Phillip Phillips gets the treatment he needs and wish him a speedy recovery!

‘American Idol’ Contestant Conceals Crimes, Eliminated Wednesday

UPDATE #3: Producers apparently began to look into Jermaine’s past after rumors swirled that his dad hadn’t really abandoned him at all. Jermaine’s dad confessed that the two actually see each other regularly and that he did not abandon his son 10 years ago, as previously claimed. After Jermaine began tweeting that he never told producers anything about his dad abandoning him, they began to dig deeper to uncover his spool of lies…and the rest is now history.

UPDATE #2: Jermaine Jones has since deleted his tweet. Hmmm… Idol blog, Mjsbigblog, has a pic of the deleted tweet.

UPDATE: Jermaine Jones just tweeted, “Awww I will no longer b on the show”

Internet reports are swirling that American Idol will be kicking off a season 11 hopeful Wednesday night – during the Performance show. The unnamed contestant allegedly concealed a history of crimes in 2011, one involving violence. Claims are surfacing that the unnamed contestant used an alias with the authorities. According to the show source who leaked the information, the contestant has outstanding warrants for his/her arrest, which the singer concealed from production. Per reports, the contestant was confronted on camera and will be ousted during Wednesday’s live performance show.

It’s no question that this might have been leaked “on purpose,” if you will to drum up hype and attention for tomorrow’s telecast. American Idol has been declining in the ratings, in hot competition with NBC’s The Voice. Is this contrived or is this really a MAJOR oversight from producers who have ousted the sordid past of so many hopeful in the show’s 11 season history.

If anymore details surface, we’ll be sure to post them here. Stay tuned with the Yak for more developments.

And Your New American Idol Is …

After what constituted a record number of votes (over 122 million to be exact), the 2011 American Idol has been crowned. After a night full of (mostly) entertaining performances and not too many surprises (since we dispelled and confirmed some of the night’s rumors for you in our forum), the crown once worn by Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, David Cook and most recently Lee DeWyze has been handed down to the next most promising talent Nigel Lythgoe and company had to offer … Scotty McCreery.

Scotty wasn’t afraid to show his real emotion after being named victor over finalist Lauren Alaina, as he went around and hugged his closest family and friends before humbly thanking and congratulating the other finalists and this years judges, barely giving himself the opportunity to give an encore of his latest single to drop tomorrow. Not long after, Scotty found himself on the floor balling tears of joy, I’m sure, and expressing a sense of relief at what he’s been able to accomplish this season. Scotty’s first single, “I Love You This Big,” will be available tomorrow on iTunes and possibly on your radios very soon. After a season of what many (unless your name is Ryan Seacrest) will claim to be one of the most anticlimactic in Idol history, season 10 is now in the books and your next champ is waiting to be found. What’d you think of tonight’s finale? Any performances get you tapping your feet? Are you pleased with the next American Idol?

Your one stop reality shop does not end here with the Idol finale. YakkityYaks will continue to serve as your reality TV home as the summer continues. Don’t miss our commentary, news, updates, and spoilers regarding Big Brother, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent and more! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and stick to the Yak and you won’t be disappointed!

American Idol Spooky House For Sale!

[singlepic id=455 w=200 h=150 float=left]So who wants an alleged haunted house that the Idol 10 group lived in? Well, for those of you with a large sum of cash on hand (and we all know we just are bursting at the seems with extra change from our last grocery trip) it’s available for a mere $12 Million! Like I said, just forego your Costco or Target trip and you too can have a chance at this once in a lifetime deal!

[singlepic id=452 w=200 h=150 float=right]Built in 2008, the house features 9 Bedrooms, 9 Bathrooms, and is approximately 15000 Sq. ft. on 2.14 acres of land. The home boasts a swimming pool and spa, butler/maid prep Kitchen, Lavish Landscaping, Parking for over 100 cars, dual winding staircases, and of course, ghosts, so say the American Idol troop.

[singlepic id=454 w=200 h=150 float=left]Yeah that’s right, not only do you get this wonderful piece of property where you can throw huge elaborate parties with that extra money you saved offering 11,995,000, but you will also have the opportunity to live with extra special guests that just won’t move on. Oh, and spiders.

As you may recall, the group of this years Idols have reported that the house began being infested with spiders, then lights began to flicker, sheets floated down the hallways on their own, and a hand floated down from the ceiling. This is when they decided to move out, and now, lucky you, you can own it! I mean come on, if you put only 20% down, it would only cost you $48,362 a month! Now that’s affordable!

Let us know below how much you are going to offer! It’s only fair, so others have a shot too.

American Idol Finalists Moved, House Haunted?

The finalists for American Idol are being moved to a new home today, and out of their Beverly Hills mansion. Apprently, the Idols became convinced that the house was haunted, and insisted on leaving the estate, according to reports.

They began believing the house was haunted a couple weeks ago, when the lights began flickering, and there was a “spooky spider invasion” in the house. However, what put a few of the finalists over the edge was a bed sheet reportedly taking on a life of it’s own, and floating down an empty hallway last week. In addition, after the heavy rains So Cal experienced a couple of days ago, the roof of the home began to leak. At that point, the Idols insisted on moving to a new location.

We will keep you updated with the latest as we hear it! In the meantime, head over to our FORUM where we discuss the show live! You won’t regret it, and we kinda promise the forum isn’t haunted, but then, you never know.

American Idol Rewind: Ruben, America’s Velvet Teddy Bear

Tonight, American Idol airs Part 2 of it’s 2 night premiere (check out our first Yak Idol recap here), and we continue to showcase the previous Idol winners in the Yak’s American Idol Rewind feature. If you missed our showcase on Kelly Clarkson yesterday, click HERE to check it out. Today, we’ll tackle the man from the “205,” better known as Birmingham, Alabama. America’s “Velvet Teddy Bear,” a nickname he picked up during the show’s sophomore season, beating out hopeful Clay Aiken, according to Seacrest, by a mere 1,335 votes of the 24,000,000 cast – one of the closest, if not the closest in Idol history. So, let’s dive on in and see what this Teddy Bear has done post-Idol and what he’s up to next!

After shocking America and the judges with his initial audition in Nashville, TN, singing “Ribbon In The Sky,” Ruben was ready to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the competition, he continued to wow viewers and critics alike with his gospel voice and soothing tone. The teddy bear was here to stay and he wasn’t willing to compromise who he was. Many claim that Ruben’s defining moment of the competition was his cover of “Superstar,” originally a hit for The Carpenters and Luther Vandross. “Superstar” helped Ruben nab his first Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, in which he was up against his very own idol, Luther Vandross. Ruben’s first single, “Flying Without Wings,” helped fuel pre-sales of his debut album Soulful, topping the 1 million mark before hitting the shelves. He went on to sell over 400,000 records during the first week, attaining him the honor of second highest first week sales of any Idol winner.

Studdard’s second album, I Need An Angel, was a gospel hit. Selling over 500,000 records, the album made #1 on the Billboard Year-End Gospel Chart. Having sold more than 2.4 million albums worldwide, Ruben has had his fair share of success from the show, following the pace set by Kelly Clarkson just a few months earlier. However, Ruben was not without his fair share of hardships either. In 2005, Studdard filed a lawsuit against his godfather and business advisor. The suit alleged that he ran up to $156,000 on Ruben’s credit cards and stole more than $90,000 from his checking account. A year later, Studdard was awarded $500,000 for personal losses and another $1.5 million for punitive damage. During this time, Ruben also began a vegetarian diet out of health concern, causing him to lose over 70 pounds.

Ruben’s third album, The Return, was not so much of a return as it was a flop. Venturing back into the R&B world, Ruben’s record sales declined rapidly, causing him to be dropped from J Records for “falling short of expectations.” Still under contract with 19 Recordings, Ruben was invited back to perform on the Idol stage once again during the season 7 finale, for his rendition of “Celebrate Me Home,” used as the contestants farewell song that year. Studdard also took the time to go on tour in a comedy-drama, Heaven I Need a Hug, as well as for Ain’t Misbehavin,’ which set him along side fellow Season 2 alums Trenyce and Frenchie Davis (disqualified contestant).

More recently, Studdard released his 4th studio album, Love Is, which features a mix of covers and original songs, including “Together.” The album debuted to more critical acclaim than previous albums, but mainly stuck on the R&B/Gospel charts. Ruben also released a 5th album in early 2010, Playlist: The Very Best of Ruben Studdard before returning to the Idol stage for another performance during season 9. Last summer, Studdard took to touring with fellow Idol alum Clay Aiken for a month. The unique aspect of the tour was that it did not focus on their individual recordings, but rather to pay homage to hits from the 60’s to the 90’s with comic variety show acts in between.

Studdard is also not a stranger to the small screen, making appearances on Eve, 8 Simple Rules, and One on One, among others. On a more personal and intimate level, Studdard took his fame and fortune a step further, creating an advocacy group close to his heart, The Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts. The organization focuses on their aim to “promote the essential role of the arts in education through learning initiatives for the development of students in the Greater Birmingham Area.” Studdard is also an official spokesperson for “Be Sickle Smart,” a health-education program aimed at increasing awareness of iron overload among people living with sickle cell disease. We can’t neglect to mention that Studdard also found the love of his life post-Idol. While signing CDs at a Walmart in Atlanta, the velvet teddy bear gave himself to someone special, Surata Zuri McCants. The two married in a small, private ceremony in Mountain Brook, Alabama in June 2008.

Despite taking a different road post his American Idol victory compared to his predecessor Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard has chosen to make his mark on the industry with a different stamp. Taking on the world of R&B and gospel, Ruben has worked to prove that his Idol win was not in vain. While he may not shine in the mainstream media like Clarkson and some of her Idol successors, Studdard has made his mark on the industry while not straying from his roots, the “205” Velvet Teddy Bear America came to know and love. What are your thoughts on the velvet teddy bear? Did you vote for Ruben to win Idol? Also, don’t forget to check us out again on Wednesday, January 26th for our next installment of Idol Rewind, featuring Season 3’s Fantasia Barrino.

American Idol Rewind: Kelly, America’s Original Idol

As American Idol celebrates it’s 10th anniversary (season premiere TONIGHT 8EST/7CST on Fox with live-blogging threads for each show here at YakkityYaks!), the Yak thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and look back and the previous nine contestants America voted as their Idol. Of course, we’ll begin with our look at America’s original Idol beauty, Kelly Clarkson. Don’t forget to check out the Yak’s Top 10 Idol Auditions as we gear for yet another wacky (and surprising) audition season.

One question before we begin…Brian Dunkelman who? Good decision by the Idol gods to not invite him back, no? OK, back to Kelly. Compared to the other 9 Idol winners, Kelly Clarkson is usually held on a higher pedestal alongside another Idol alum, Carrie Underwood. Many fans argue that Clarkson is still Idol’s best and most loved winner. To each his/her own. That’s not what we’re here to debate. There is no doubt that Kelly Clarkson paved the way for future Idol seasons giving us contestants that will eventually take the music industry by storm. Kelly graced the Idol stage in 2002 and defeated lady favorite Justin Guarini for the top spot. Afterwards, she went on the represent the United States on the international stage, at World Idol in 2003. To date, Clarkson has released four studio albums: double-platinum debut album Thankful (2003), multi-platinum Breakaway (2004), My December (2007), and All I Ever Wanted (2009). Clarkson is working on her 5th album, titled May, likely scheduled for a May 2011 release (or a rumored March release). Selling over 10.5 million copies in the United States, Clarkson proved she would be a force to be reckoned with and that Idol could be a viable springboard for hopefuls in years to come. Based on downloads alone, Kelly Clarkson is the only American Idol to have reached number one in the UK with her single “My Life Would Suck Without You.” She has sold 36 million singles and 23 million albums worldwide.

Earning 58% of the vote (to Guarini’s 42%), Clarkson won the hearts of America with her Texas charm. Her first released single, “A Moment Like This,” rose from 52 to 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The single, subsequently tacked on to her debut album, helped propel Thankful to sell more than 236,000 copies in its first week alone. Some of her biggest performances on Idol have been tapped over and over again on YouTube and around the internet. Wowing America and the judge’s with her rendition of “RESPECT” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, Clarkson showed she was here to stay, even with no audience to feed off of. “A Natural Woman” propelled Kelly to runner-up at the World Idol competition a year after her Idol victory, placing second behind Norway’s best, Kurt Nilsen.

But Kelly’s success wasn’t without it’s drama. Shortly after winning the competition, Kelly was accused of working with a record company, against Idol’s rules. She was eventually cleared of any allegations, as she she only had a contract in order to conduct demonstration work. Her debut album, Thankful, premiered at number one on Billboard’s 200 and reached double-platinum by the end of 2003. Critics were quick to say this would be Kelly’s only success, living off of her recent Idol victory, and that her album was missing the personality she showed on screen. Clarkson earned her first Grammy nomination in 2004 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance with the album’s second, and arguably biggest, single, “Miss Independent.” But Kelly wasn’t going to stop there.

Moving a bit away from the Idol springboard, Kelly wanted to take a little more creative control with her second album, Breakaway, as the title alludes to. She took on a more rock-oriented image, which was actually very well received by her fans. Initially the sales were low, but fans came out in droves when singles from the album were released. The album eventually became the fourth album in Billboard history to stay on the Billboard 200 top 20 for a consecutive year. The first single, “Breakaway,” used for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, achieved considerable success. However, it was “Since U Been Gone” that propelled Kelly’s second album to fame. Leading to Kelly’s first Grammy Award (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance), the single also helped the album pick up a win for Best Pop Vocal Album. Breakaway propelled Clarkson to participate in a number of festivities including NBA games, the Torino Olympics, NCAA Final Four and the MTV Video Music Awards, where she picked up Best Female Video for “Because of You.”

Clarkson then went on to part ways with her management after low airplay for singles from her third album, My December. The same month, word went around that her first nationwide arena tour was cancelled due to underwhelming ticket sales and that she will rather be performing at smaller, more intimate venues. My December still sold enough and reached platinum in December 2007. In early 2007 when Clarkson appeared at the charity event Idol Gives Back, she refused to follow her label’s demands in performing her own single, “Never Again.” “My label wanted me to sing ‘Never Again,’ and I was like, to promote yourself on a charity event is beyond crass. People are starving and dying and I’m up there singing some bitter pop song? And believe me, everyone wanted me to sing it. Because they are jaded and they have no soul. Imagine sitting in a room full of people totally against you. Can’t they hear themselves speaking? Capitalize on AIDS? Are you kidding? Insulting an entire nation of people? I just refused.” Clarkson is still widely respected in the Idol circles, with Cowell commenting everyone around her still seems amateur when she returns to the Idol stage.

Clarkson’s 4th album, All I Ever Wanted, earned her another Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2009. Her first single, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” also featured on Glee, climbed from #97 to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in just one week, breaking the record for largest leap to the top previously held by Britney’s “Womanizer.” And that brings us to today…Clarkson’s latest single from her 5th studio album is expected to drop sometime in January, perfectly coinciding with the premiere of Idol during it’s 10th anniversary. In addition to her pop days, Kelly has done collaborations with Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire and most recently, Jason Aldean, diving into the country music realm. And she’s been more than welcome, receiving top nod nominations with the Country Music Association.

One little point in Clarkson’s career I’m almost certain she’s trying to forget was her film debut in From Justin to Kelly. As part of her contractual obligations after winning American Idol, Clarkson starred in this musical film with Guarini. It was poorly received by critics, fans, and even Kelly herself. “I knew when I read the script it was going to be real, real bad, but when I won, I signed that piece of paper and I could not get out of it.”

Even in the midst of all of this, Kelly Clarkson is still one of the show’s most memorable superstars. Dabbling on the small screen, the big screen, the radio, internet and even from genre to genre, Kelly is still arguably one of the mega-hit’s biggest and best mega stars. Rivaling the likes of other Idol winners and should-have-been winners (cough*Daughtry*cough), Kelly hasn’t given any indication she’s ready to leave the music business. In fact, breaking away from the main stream seems to be her mainstay and a successful one at that. We’re not expecting anything different with her upcoming album and her future ventures.

Kelly Clarkson, your original American Idol, crowned just 8 years ago. Relive Kelly’s winning performance of “A Moment Like This” below to relive her biggest Idol moment. And don’t forget to let us know your thoughts on Kelly Clarkson by commenting below or joining our FORUMS for free to discuss her success (or lack thereof if you’re not a fan)! Also, be sure to check out our feature on Season 2 winner, Ruben Studdard, tomorrow!