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Ricky Minor: Report about anger over 'American Idol' snub overblown


By Christopher Rocchio, 06/01/2010 

Ricky Minor claims a report that he was angered by American Idol's failure to note his departure as the show's music director during last week's ninth-season finale was "blown out of proportion."

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"The show ran out of time. It was up on the screen to thank me, but it's hit or miss if we run over and you can bet that the finale is going to run over," said Minor told The Los Angeles Times in a Thursday interview.

"But we're all good. Actually, I had meetings afterwards with Cecile [Frot-Coutaz] and Simon Fuller about future endeavors, and they went really well."

Minor's final time on American Idol also coincided with Simon Cowell's departure from the judging panel.

While the outgoing judge received numerous video packages, well wishes and even a musical tribute by former American Idol finalists, Minor's departure wasn't even acknowledged -- and a source told TMZ he confronted producers backstage after the finale.

"You could cut the bitterness with a knife," the source told TMZ, adding Minor did give an impromptu speech after judge Randy Jackson intervened.

It's not as though Minor is now unemployed, as he's replacing Kevin Eubanks as the music director for NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno beginning June 7.

"I have to go over my catalog of over 5,000 songs with various artists that I've worked with, and take a look at the guest list, the pacing of the show and just make sure that it has the right tone and that immediate energy. We have to come out the gate on fire," he told The Times about his new gig, rehearsals for which began Monday. 

"I also have over 75 artists who have called me saying they'd love to come on the show and just hang out -- various artists from jazz legends like Herbie to Snoop to Shania Twain. It could be any genre of music and we're going to create some great music moments, because that's what I do."

Minor also joked that he'd be a "great" replacement for Cowell before suggesting ninth-season musical mentor Harry Connick Jr. -- who previously stated he's not sure he'd be the best choice.

"I liked Harry Connick. He's from Louisiana, and if he and Randy were there, you'd have two guys from Louisiana," Minor explained to The Times.

"Harry was so engaging as a mentor that I was excited to see how that affected them -- if the time he spent with them really gave them the confidence that they needed, and he gave them some great ideas as a mentor. So I think as a judge, he would be honest, open and encourage them to be themselves and at the same time respect the music."

While Minor said Cowell "set the pulse" for American Idol, he thinks host Ryan Seacrest and the contestants also play a large role in the show's success.

"I think the kids are the heart," Minor told The Times.

"Ryan is the taskmaster in keeping everything moving -- he makes a mistake look good! If he tripped, he's got that Dean Martin thing where you just keep going and work it into your routine. He's got the charm, so I think Ryan is the key guy for me, because he's the one that keeps the judges and the competitors moving, and really moving the show forward."

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