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Judging the Judges: Is Simon too mean to Haley?

In this EW.com exclusive feature, the ex-”American Idol” contestants on our panel discuss whether Simon’s been too mean to Haley, what it means to have ”no yo,” and more

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MEET OUR PANELISTS

Kimberley Locke just released a new single, ”Change,” in advance of her April album Based on a True Story (Curb Records), and the song has already broken into the top 20 on the Adult Contemporary charts. (Previously, her ”8th World Wonder” was a top 10 Billboard hit.) Currently finishing up her stint on the upcoming season of VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, she will be a new spokesperson for Jenny Craig.

Amy Adams is currently planning a March 15 benefit concert in her hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., for the Play It Forward Music and Arts Foundation, a center she’s spearheading, she says, ”where underprivileged kids come to be exposed to and learn from people in the entertainment and arts industry.” She is also working on writing and recording a country album, which she hopes to release at the end of the year.

Anthony Fedorov will star in The Fantastiks, the longest-running Off Broadway musical in history, in May. He is also the 2007 spokesperson for the Sarcoma Foundation.

Ace Young recently opened select dates for fellow season 5 contestant Chris Daughtry’s band Daughtry, and is currently on a U.S. tour with Edy’s Ice Cream, which has released five Idol-inspired flavors (for more details, go to slowchurned.com. He is working on an album with Desmond Child, and his current single, ”Scattered,” can be heard on his MySpace music profile.

Before our exclusive panel of former American Idol contestants weighs in on Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell’s individual performances during the last semifinals week, we’ve got to talk about the 311 situation. You know, the fact that Randy, Paula, and Simon not only failed to recognize Blake Lewis’ song choice — that would be rock-reggae band 311’s ”All Mixed Up” — but they all freely admitted as much on the air.

ACE: At that point I felt like I was the only person in the world who knew 311. Maybe I should go buy the CD and drop it off for all of them. You know that the judges didn’t go to college in the ’90s. I’m a fan.

AMY: I would have thought that Randy would have heard of 311, just because he is so, like, [into] music across the board. I think the admission is probably more surprising. Because it’s what they do, you know what I mean?

ANTHONY: It doesn’t really surprise me. It’s not like they are supposed to know every single song that ever was in the world. That is just one that they happened to miss, so I think it’s all right. They are allowed to skip one. To be honest with you, I wasn’t familiar with it either.

NEXT PAGE: The panelists’ thoughts on Randy…

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