Adam Larkey/ABC TV
Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 | 9:21 p.m.
Nice guy Donny Osmond didn’t pull any punches, as he predicted the end of American Idol this year moments after the Season 10 premiere was over. Hours later, it appeared that he was vindicated when the ratings with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler had dropped drastically.
Over two consecutive nights, it was a tumbling trajectory. Last night, there was a 12 percent drop on top of the 16 percent loss Wednesday. Second-night Nielsen ratings had 22 million viewers vs. 26 million last year, but it was still strong enough to give Fox its highest-rated Thursday of regular programming in 15 years!
Donny records his nationally syndicated radio show in a studio he set up at his Flamingo dressing room. He described A.I. as “unimproved” and added: “Lots of pressure for the show, and a lot to prove. It’s a TV program -- not reality! It is packaged for entertainment. The first rule of entertainment is there has to be some kind of conflict. Conflict is what makes it interesting. I’m sorry, but without Simon Cowell, there is no conflict. With Steven, Jennifer and Randy Jackson, you have three white hats and no villain. It just doesn’t work! There were lots of ‘I’m sorries’ and ‘you are so sweet’ and ‘I really like you’ ... no way.
“Simon Cowell is sorely missed, and if last night was any indication, Season 10 will be the final season of A.I Yes, it’s great to have two genuine superstars and an industry veteran at the table, but there is no bad guy. There is no spark. There is no conflict. It’s been fun, American Idol, but it’s time to say, ‘See ya!’ ”
*Final overnight ratings are in for the 2011 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood, with 14.6 million viewers on ABC, an increase of 49 percent from last year’s telecast on TLC (preliminary ratings, which VegasDeLuxe.com reported, had the pageant increase at 47 percent).
Miss America Chairman Sam Haskell III said: “The pageant’s return to ABC after six years on cable television was a nearly 50 percent audience increase over last year. This was an outstanding performance and marks a new era for our organization. Miss America is back and stronger than ever as witnessed by over 14 million viewers this year. We are confident that the audience will continue to grow.”
*Congratulations to our hometown tennis superstar Andre Agassi on his official invitation into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, where he will join his wife, Stefanie Graff. Senior Editor John Katsilometes reported in his The Kats Report on the ceremony, where Andre and Chris Clouser of the Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I., posed for photos at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy here Thursday. Thanks to photographer Denise Truscello for her photo gallery.
*Celebrity chef Todd English and Mirage President Felix Rappaport will be honored at the 47th Annual UNLVino wine festival March 31-April 2. The oldest and largest wine event west of the Mississippi raises hospitality student scholarships at UNLV. The first Bubble-licious night saluting Todd will be an all-champagne tasting at Crystals, and the second night is all sake served at The Mirage -- more than 100 premium drinks you would have to go to Japan for otherwise. The Grand Tasting takes place the third night at the Paris with the Dom Perignon Awards for Excellence, and somehow I’ve been named one of the three hospitality industry figures! I’m deeply honored and thank you.
*Just one blond beauty and 11 funny fellows. That’s the recipe for fun at the 2nd Annual Funny Bones Foundation All-Star Comedy for animal charities Jan. 30 at the Palms. Baywatch actress and now resident and hypnotist Catherine Hickland will hold court with Sammy Shore, Pauly Shore, Bobby Slayton, George Wallace, Vinnie Favorito, Geechy Guy, Dennis Blair, James P. Connolly, Doug Starks, Kenny Kerr and DJ Ben Harris.
*Playboy beauty Claire Sinclair, who returns this spring in MGM Grand’s Crazy Horse Paris, is ahead in voting for Playmate of the Year after her October centerfold. Claire leads a parade of Bettie Page Clothing models at a Fashion Show extravaganza at noon tomorrow. Claire also will premiere the Beach Bash 1950s pinup swimsuit line. Bettie Page apparel sold at The Miracle Mile in Planet Hollywood has become popular with Leighton Meester, Pink and Holly Madison, who wears it on Holly’s World. Season 2, which premieres Sunday, features Claire, who has moved part time to Las Vegas.
Actress Marsha Thomason (White Collar, Lost) and her husband Craig Sykes celebrated her 35th birthday at Love at The Mirage. Lost co-star Dominic Monaghan, who has seen Love four times, recommended the Cirque du Soleil spectacular. Also at Love: Playboy cover girl Kathy Shower, who starred in Santa Barbara for three years. Rio magician headliner Penn Jillette and his wife Emily sated their sweet teeth at Sugar Factory in The Mirage last night. Singer Jon Secada, who is appearing at the Tropicana this weekend, dined at Nove Italiano at the Palms with his wife. ESPN journalist Steve Levy celebrated a friend’s birthday at N9NE Steakhouse last night.
Lots of laughs are guaranteed this weekend as Jay Leno, Drew Carey, David Spade, Gilbert Gottfried and Paula Poundstone headline on and off The Strip. Playboy beauty and Playboy Radio host Andrea Lowell celebrates her birthday at Eva Longoria’s Eve at Crystals.
Glee star Naya Rivera celebrates her birthday at The Bank in the Bellagio with her Gleemates. And don’t forget Holly Madison, her Peepshow castmates Josh Strickland and Angel Porrino and her Holly’s World gal pals Laura Croft and Claire Sinclair as they kick off Season 2 of the E! Entertainment reality TV series Sunday. You’ll hear about Holly’s weight-loss diet plans and her confrontation with Hugh Hefner over his engagement to Crystal Harris!
Get the full Royal Robin Rundown posted this morning in the weekend celebrity forecast.
Check back Monday for a full report, and get ready to spend a riotous night with Rita Rudner in her new home at The Venetian, plus check out the filming of Holly Madison’s E! True Hollywood special.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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