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When Randy Jackson declared the amazingly average Carly  Smithson  “the best vocal of the last two days, the best vocal of the top 24 right there” he definitely played into the hands of the conspiracy theorists who wrote this article earlier in the week.  Scandal sells though …

Randy Jackson Using American Idol to Push His Failed Artists?


Not only is American Idol stacking its deck of supposedly amateur contestants with pros, judge Randy Jackson has helped propel into Idol‘s top 24 an artist he used to work with at MCA—the same kind of cheating for which he’s nailed Simon Cowell.


In 1999, Carly Smithson sold about 300 copies of her record for major label MCA and was promptly dropped. Jackson started at MCA in 1998 and was based at its Universal City, California, headquarters, working for four years as a senior veep of A&R, the division responsible for scouting, developing, and pushing new artists, according to Jackson’s own bio at In other words, he had a front-row seat (and possibly some responsibility) for Smithson’s unfortunate run at the brass ring on MCA’s dime. It seems highly unlikely that a top level scout such as Jackson would forget such a big-time flop, especially when she came back and stared him in the face on Idol (even if she did change her name from Hennessy to Smithson). first pointed out Smithson’s status as a music industry loser and was the first to make the connection between Jackson’s A&R stint and Smithson’s work for the label on Jan. 28, but Smithson kept moving through the rounds on Idol. The incident calls to mind another similar controversy over contestant Thomas Lowe. Deadline Hollywood Daily reported last year that Lowe, in addition to possibly being involved in a nude photo spread, was in a band signed to BMG while Cowell was at the label. Ironically, it was Jackson who jumped on Simon’s case on the show when the connection was revealed.

“Simon ever try to sign your band?” Jackson quizzed Lowe on the show. Lowe answered, “No, but I believe Simon was working for BMG at the same time I was there.” Jackson got wide eyed and sniffed, “Well, Simon … small world.” Cowell looked embarrassed and Jackson scolded again, “Small world.” Lowe’s Idol run was cut short.

A message left before office hours this morning at Jackson’s rep’s office were not yet returned. But in a February 3, 2006, Rolling Stone article Jackson said Idol is supposed to be about rooting for the underdog, the raw talent. “We’re not out to find the poster kids and say, ‘Let’s sign them.’ We’re out to find the best undiscovered [talent] and really herald that.”

Radar first called attention to possible American Idol pro-singer “plants” Smithson and David Archuleta almost a month ago. Both are in the Idol top 24 now. The show has focused on Smithson and Archuleta quite a bit, too, but somehow never managed to devote any screen time to either contestant’s past successes—or failures.

Thank goodness Paula is so out of it that she can’t push her agendas … goodness only knows what’d be pushed down our throats, instead of hers.


  1. Whatever the rights or wrongs, Smithson is one of the better female singers in the contest. Based on the first round the men / boys are streets ahead.

    February 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm

  2. Not worthy of the praise the “dawg” lover lavished on her … her boat looks like it ran into the back of a stationary bus at high speed … I guess no hiding her hardy Irish heritage … a tan wouldn’t go amiss.

    February 23, 2008 at 5:58 pm

  3. Thank you very much – these look great!

    February 7, 2009 at 5:18 am

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