'American Idol' Abandons Filming in Studio Due to Coronavirus

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The folks at "American Idol" tried to make it work, but ultimately they had to jettison plans to produce the show in the studio, but TMZ has learned the show may still go on.

Producers sent an email to the crew, saying, "As we continue to monitor advice from federal and local agencies, it seems unlikely we are going to be able to make it back into the studio for this season of American Idol."

The email, obtained by TMZ, goes on ... "We will continue to monitor and provide updates should any changes occur."  BTW ... we're told the crew will not be paid.

Our production sources tell us the plan is still to produce the show ... but the judges will be at their respective homes and viewers will ultimately decide who wins and who ends up packing.

'Idol' joins an ever-growing list of productions that have had to pivot in the wake of the pandemic.

The email ends on a positive note ... "In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy. We are looking forward to the day we can all work together again."

'American Idol' Contestant Haley Smith Dies in Motorcycle Crash

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Haley Smith -- a former contestant on "American Idol" -- died over the weekend after crashing her motorcycle in Maine ... TMZ has learned.

The singer passed away early Saturday morning in Millinocket, Maine in a one-vehicle crash after police say it appears she failed to make a sharp turn along a residential road that becomes a highway in certain sections. Police say she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her father, Mike Smith, tells TMZ ... Haley was riding on a country road and her family believes a deer might've caused the accident -- as he implied she was a good rider, and they doubt she simply lost control of her bike.

Haley's time on 'AI' was relatively brief in 2012, when she auditioned in Colorado during season 11. She didn't make it beyond the second Hollywood round, but Haley certainly left an impression on the judges at the time in her audition.

She sang Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good," putting a folksy twist on it that left Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler pretty impressed.

Steven even said it was an honor to hear her sing, 'cause he said she was out of his "era" with her look, sound and vibe.

Haley was 26, and her family says they were preparing to celebrate her birthday this upcoming November.

RIP

Ryan Seacrest & Shayna Taylor Back Together ... All Aboard the Love Yacht

Ryan Seacrest is on again with his longtime girlfriend, Shayna Taylor ... and nothing says we've made up like a romantic getaway on the Italian high seas.

The "American Idol" host was seen enjoying the hell out of a megayacht he and Shayna were aboard Saturday while vacationing in Positano, Italy. They'd split up earlier this year after about three years together -- now, it looks like they're two peas in a pod again.

Shayna was spraying sunscreen on her boyfriend's backside, and Ryan was trying to help her reach the tough places by bending whatever way was necessary. That's amore!!!

The couple tanned, talked and eventually dove head first into the ocean -- kinda like how they're diving back into their relationship. After a dip off the Amalfi Coast, they got back on the boat ... only to get into yacht's mini pool. Why settle for just salt water, right?

It's a big year for Ryan -- not only has he reconciled with his gal, but he's also in talks with Disney at the moment for a massive new contract to continue hosting 'AI.'

Things are looking up.

Adam Lambert Live Like an 'Idol' For $3.35 Million

Adam Lambert's moving on up ... and he wants ya to do the same above the Sunset Strip if you've got a pretty penny.

The 2009 "American Idol" runner-up is selling his 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom crib in the Hollywood Hills for a cool $3.35 million. It's a contemporary beauty with the perfect amount of space to spoil your guests.

The crib features nearly 3,800 square feet of living space ... featuring a floor-to-ceiling climate-controlled wine wall, home theater and gym. The master suite includes a sitting room and steam shower. Pocketing glass doors lead straight to a sprawling backyard ... with 2 reflecting pools, a 10-person spa and a fire pit.

Not a bad way to spend the evening ... especially with sweeping city and canyon views.

Adam originally bought the pad in 2014 for $2.995M ... but he's since moved on. He already plunked down $6.5M for a home that features an impressive 14 rooms.

Tomer Fridman and Jonathan Siegfried of Compass have the listing.

Ryan Seacrest Massive Disney Deal in the Works ... For More 'Idol,' 'Live,' Etc.

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Ryan Seacrest was weirdly left out of Disney's press release announcing a new season of "American Idol" -- but we've learned he's not out, just delayed with the Mouse House ... on account of what looks like a massive new deal.

Our Disney sources tell TMZ ... Ryan will likely return as host for a third season of 'AI' on ABC, as its longtime host. The reason the deal hasn't been signed ... he's currently in talks with Disney honchos for a huge contract that goes way beyond 'A.I.' and "Live with Kelly and Ryan."

We're told the new deal encompasses what he's doing now, but includes a massive production deal for new TV shows, produced through his production company.

Interesting ... at the same time, the ABC bigwigs were announced Monday that Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie were coming back to 'Idol' for season 3, Ryan was spotted leaving Marea restaurant in NYC with Disney TV Chairman Peter Rice.

You'll recall ... Ryan ended up landing around $15 million from Disney with his current contract.  Our Disney sources say this is a much sweeter deal.

We're told it's just a matter of time before Disney announces it's snagged Ryan again.

Former 'AI' Host Brian Dunkleman Discloses in Divorce Makes a Living as Uber Driver

EXCLUSIVE

Dunkleman says, "I chose to stop doing standup comedy and started driving an Uber so I could be there for my son as much as he needed after our life as we knew it was destroyed."

It seems he's referring to the divorce and ugly custody battle he and his ex-wife have waged over their child.

Brian Dunkleman -- the former co-host of "American Idol" -- is now making a living as an Uber driver.

Dunkleman is in the middle of a divorce with Kalea Dunkleman. He submitted financial docs -- obtained by TMZ -- disclosing his occupation as "Uber driver." He says he started the job in March 2016 and continued to this day.

Brian says he works about 45 hours a week and pulls in around $800 a week.

Dunkleman says he has $2,000 in his checking account. He pays $1,500 in rent per month and his expenses total $1,605 each month.

Brian, who co-hosted with Ryan Seacrest in season 1, says his 5-year-old son, Jackson, lives with him half the week.

The divorce has been dragging on for more than 2 years and the former couple has been locked in a bitter custody battle. He claimed Kalea was an out-of-control alcoholic who was a danger to their son. Brian also claimed she physically abused him. She claimed Brian was physically abusive toward her and called her a "useless bitch."

Randy Jackson Settles Divorce ... More Than 4 Years Later

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Randy Jackson is one big step closer to being a single man ... more than 4 years after his wife filed for divorce.

According to new docs obtained by TMZ ... the judge signed off on Randy and his estranged wife Erika's dissolution of marriage last month. The 2 will be officially divorced on February 7.

It's unclear who got what in the divorce ... the settlement's being kept under wraps.

We broke the story ... Erika filed for divorce in September 2014 after 18 years of marriage. The couple had no prenup, so it's a good bet she made out well considering the millions Randy made in his "American Idol" heyday.

Randy and Erika have 2 adult children together, so custody is not an issue.

Ex-'American Idol' Contestant Busted for Heroin

EXCLUSIVE

Antonella Barba -- known for her appearance on the 6th season of "American Idol" -- has been arrested for allegedly trying to distribute heroin ... TMZ has learned.

The singer was busted Thursday in Virginia around 11:30 AM and is facing a felony charge of heroin distribution of 100g or more ... according to the Norfolk Sheriff's Office. Details are scarce, but Barba is still being held in jail without bond and has a court date set for next week.

Antonella was eliminated right before the top 12 were chosen on Season 6 of 'Idol' in 2007, amid some notoriety for posing in a wet t-shirt in the fountain of the World War II Memorial in D.C.

She was also busted for shoplifting in NYC in 2011, but that didn't stop her from appearing on an episode of "Fear Factor" in 2012.

Her latest TV gig was in a funny 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' video that brought a bunch of past 'Idol' stars together for a musical "Where Are They Now?" segment.

We reached out to Barba's rep ... so far no word back.

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Taylor Hicks No Bad Blood ... McPhee's 'Runner-Up' Tweet Was Brilliant

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ALL IN GOOD FUN
TMZ.com

Taylor Hicks says even though Katharine McPhee's recent tweet about voting seemed to shade him pretty hard ... it's really all in good fun, and for a good cause.

We talked to the "American Idol" season 5 winner Wednesday about McPhee tweeting out "voting matters" -- along with a pic of the moment she lost to Hicks.

Taylor praised Kat's post as a brilliant way to encourage people to register to vote in the 2018 midterms. He says he and Kat remain supportive of each other -- but he still threw some playful shade back her way.

Aside from national elections, Mr. Soul Patrol would love for you to cast a vote for the third season of his food/travel show, "State Plate." It premieres Sept. 24 on INSP.

Simon Cowell Sticks to What Made Him Famous Celebrating Star, 'AGT' Deal

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I WANT THE REAL THING
TMZ.com

Simon Cowell had lots to celebrate this week -- a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a new deal with 'AGT' -- and he did it in true Simon fashion, which is why we love the guy.

Simon was having himself a little soiree Wednesday night at his favorite restaurant -- Ago in WeHo -- to ring in his two newest achievements in Tinseltown -- a permanent place on Hollywood Blvd. and a contract extension with NBC that'll keep him judging folks for years to come.

When we asked him about what was next, he replied in the purest SC way -- cold, brief, British and snarky ... just like he's been on TV for more than a decade. Classic! His t-shirt was a bit snug on him too, so he hasn't changed much in that department either.

GUESTS ARRIVING
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BTW ... a lot of Simon's friends (new and old) showed up to the shindig, including Paula Abdul, Howie Mandel and others. They had a bit to say about the lovable grump as well.

Taylor Hicks Of Course 'American Idol' Results Were No Secret Everybody Talked!!

EXCLUSIVE
LOTS O' CHATTER
TMZ.com

Taylor Hicks doubled down saying "American Idol" contestants knew who was getting eliminated because, as he put it, everybody talked ... never mind what Nigel Lythgoe says.

We got Taylor at LAX on Monday night and told him what Nigel, the 'AI' executive producer, said ... denying he gave Taylor -- or any contestant -- the heads-up on results at any time.

Taylor just ain't buying it ... saying everybody kept tabs on each other -- at least during his 2006 run -- because they were all in a bubble.

Eddie Money Blown Away by LAX Employee's Singing

EXCLUSIVE
AIRPORT IDOL
TMZ.com

Eddie Money's no "American Idol" judge, but he damn sure knows a good voice when he hears one ... even at the airport.

We got the "Two Tickets to Paradise" singer at LAX on Sunday when we introduced Eddie to LAX employee Tahjanae Johnson. We tell Eddie she's got a beautiful singing voice ... and Tahjanae wastes no time showcasing her chops.

Ya gotta see Eddie -- who knows a thing or 2 about top 40 hits -- react to the impromptu audition. Someone get Tahjanae an agent!!!

Katharine McPhee & David Foster Let's Talk Diamonds!!! Back from Engaging Vacay

Katharine McPhee and David Foster are back in the U.S. after their European vacation and made an interesting first stop after their trip.

The couple -- dressed pretty casually -- was spotted in Tribeca, but reportedly made their way to a jeweler in Midtown Thursday, a few days after getting engaged.

Foster popped the question in Anacapri, Italy and Katharine confirmed the engagement by posting a text exchange where someone described her ring as "beautiful and classic." We also have a photo of her showing it off at dinner earlier this week.

She was wearing a ring on her ring finger Thursday afternoon, so it's possible she was getting it resized ... or maybe they were shopping for Foster.

The two began dating last year. It'll be Foster's fifth, and Katharine's second marriage.

David Foster Pops the Question ... Katharine McPhee Says, 'Yes!'

EXCLUSIVE

David Foster and Katharine McPhee are engaged after he popped the question during their European vacation ... TMZ has learned.

Katharine and David were on the Italian island of Capri Sunday as she showed off her engagement ring to family and friends over FaceTime. It's unclear exactly which day he proposed, but we imagine it was shortly before this pic was taken.

Katharine's rep, Leslie Sloan, confirmed the engagement.

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The couple's been dating since last year, and haven't been shy about PDA -- including the time Kat grabbed a handful of David's butt, and their full-blown makeout sesh.

DECEMBER 2017
CHRISTMAS STARS

This will be the actress/singer's second marriage. Her music mogul fiance's got her beat by a mile ... it's his fifth. If you're checking his first dance card -- B.J. Cook, Rebecca Dyer, Linda Thompson, and Yolanda Hadid were the previous brides.

Mazel tov!

'Idol's' Randy Jackson To LeBron James: Just Take My Money!

EXCLUSIVE
PRICE OF GREATNESS
TMZSports.com

LeBron James just boosted the price of L.A. Lakers tickets in a HUGE way -- with rich stars like Randy Jackson admitting they would pay a bloody fortune to see Bron play at Staples Center.

"[I would pay] anything to see LeBron, dude ... one of the greatest players ever," the former "American Idol" judge just told us outside of Craig's in L.A. ... "I love him. I can't wait to see him."

By the way, season ticket prices on sites like StubHub have reportedly doubled since the announcement about LeBron ... with one buyer paying close to $200,000 for the upcoming season.

Also, Jackson said he'd love to work with LeBron if The King wants to get into music while he's in L.A. -- so, dude's got options.

... dawg.

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