Jennifer Hudson’s voice of hope

“I’m just trying to take it one step at a time,” Jennifer Hudson said, “bit by bit, and enjoy the moment while it’s here.”

She glanced down the red carpet to where Beyoncà © Knowles, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy faced a crowd of fans, reporters and cameras.

“Just, like, right now,” Hudson continued. “I want to live in this moment right now.”

That was Dec. 4, 2006, and “Dreamgirls” was premiering at New York’s Ziegfeld Theater. Dressed in an all-white, flowing Marc Bouwer gown, Jennifer Hudson was the face of America’s latest success story.

Today, when Hudson takes the stage at the Super Bowl to sing the national anthem, her fans will be looking for the same hope and strength, even though, for the Chicago-born star, everything has changed.

NY Daily News

More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…

Melinda Doolittle’s debut proves she should’ve won ‘Idol’

The way American Idol flays the dreams of hopeful singers in front of the easily distracted masses, it’s a miracle that any talent ever emerges.

It’s no miracle, however, that Brentwood’s Melinda Doolittle was able to cast off her third-place finish and fashion a career out of the setback.

Doolittle, who had been a backup voice for contemporary gospel stars such as CeCe Winans and Kirk Franklin, has emerged with her first full-length album, which puts her considerable vocal talents to use as she covers blues and pop standards and a few little-known gems, imbuing them all with a retro-soul feel.

One might say an album of covers is to be expected from an Idol finalist. But Doolittle makes it work because she has the skills and confidence to take on a song done by the great Sarah Vaughan (“Wonder Why”).

Tennessean.com

Jordin Sparks’ game is charity

Jordin Sparks is a walking contradiction.

The American Idol season six winner and Glendale, Ariz., resident is a die-hard fan of her hometown Cardinals, but that’s not why she’s in town.

Sparks is here to raise money for charity.

Tuesday night at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine in Tampa, the singer and chef Roy Yamaguchi hosted an intimate concert, auction and VIP meet-and-greet for fans. Today at Grace Family Church in Lutz, she has another performance.

Proceeds from both events will benefit Sparks Charities, which gives to various nonprofits.

Tampa Bay.com

Jordin Sparks Offers Advice To à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‹Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ Hopefuls

Winning à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“American Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  isnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t all that difficult à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ it just comes down to song choice, relaxation à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ and lots of water, according to former à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  winner Jordin Sparks.

AccessHollywood.com caught up with Jordin at the Leather & Laces pre-Super Bowl party in Tampa, Florida, where Jordin offered her advice to this yearà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s contestants who are hoping to make it to Hollywood and beyond.

à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Try and get as much sleep as you can right now because you wonà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t get any later,à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  she said. à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Bring your camera, because it all goes by really fast. And make sure you are drinking lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ 

For Jordin, who beat out Blake Lewis to become the winner on Season Six of à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Idol,à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  the most important thing to achieving à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  victory is song selection. And Jordin should know à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ she won the à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  crown without ever being in the bottom three.

Access Hollywood

Surprise guests at ESPN’s Tampa-centric tailgate

On Friday night, Hollywood took over ESPN the Magazine’s NEXT Party. On Saturday afternoon, Tampa residents took it back.

ESPN’s fan-oriented NEXT Day Tailgate drew hundreds of football fans, both local and from around the country, to downtown Tampa for a day of food, music, exhibitions and autographs.

Sean Kingston and American Idol alum Michael Johns performed as scheduled, but a couple of surprise guests — actor Anthony Anderson and Wyclef Jean — popped up onstage to the delight of party guests.

Tampa Bay.com

Happy Birthday Wilmer!

Wilmer Valderrama hasnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t done much as far as work goes, but the boy does know how to party! Celebrities partied at at Wilderà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s 30th Birthday Bash at Pure Night Club last night in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wilmer held the bash at the Nightclub, located in Caesarà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s Palace Casino and our Vegas photographer got these fun fotos of the party. After Wilmer appeared in the club, he went straight to the VIP section next to the DJ booth.

Also in attendance were Nicky Hilton, Kimberly Caldwell, Andrew Keegan, Joe Rogan. The celebrities all partied in the same VIP area, in separate booths. Nicky Hilton did not stay long, and Joe Rogan wished Wilmer a Happy Birthday.

The Insider

The Farr Side: à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‹Countryà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ brings some unfamiliar territory

Can country music ever be funky? Weà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢re about to find out. The King of Funk himself, George Clinton, is moving into John Richà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s Nashville pad to compete on the third season of CMTà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Gone Country.à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ 

I donà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t care what you think of country music, or funk for that matter, but to see the multi-color-haired Clinton perform before a bunch of honky-tonkers as a country singer is worth my time.

Clinton, Taylor Dayne, Sheila E., Micky Dolenz, Justin Guarini, Richard Grieco and Tara Connor all are competing for the chance to record a song produced by John Rich from the genre-bending MuzikMafia.

Galesburg.com

 
  • weareallinnocent

    Jordin not ever in the bottom 3? Am I misremembering? For some reason, I thought she was the among the last standing to be booted (potentially) during Idol Gives Back that year, but AI spared her. Right? No?

    ETA: Guess not, if Wikipedia is to be believed, that is. LOL A memory is a terrible thing to waste… :-P

  • t2

    They didn’t have a bottom three on Idol Gives Back, but they made it look like Jordin was at the bottom so as to boost her numbers the next week.

  • Carlaria

    Yes. They made it seem like she got the lowest amount of votes, even though there was no bottom three. Not a great move during a week which was about being charitable!

  • http://www.myspace.com/gwendolyndiane GwendolynD

    Melinda Doolittleà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s debut proves she shouldà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ve won à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‹Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢

    Hehe. :happy_tb:

  • JudyOhio

    Awww, Taylor Hicks shows on the mediabase AC chart today at #38. Nice to see him on a chart again. I figured this was news because it’s been so long since we’ve seen his name on a chart.

  • abbysee

    Awww, Taylor Hicks shows on the mediabase AC chart today at #38. Nice to see him on a chart again. I figured this was news because ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s been so long since weà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ve seen his name on a chart.

    It’s defintely news, I mean he’s an idol and all that, and it’s good to see him on the charts again. I hope this time he exceeds expectations. I love to see umderdogs succeed.

  • KTINTN

    WIN a date w/ Taylor & a Food Network guy.
    (you can say WTH is Taylor getting himself into, but he agreed to do this so seems he’ll have alot of fun with this. LoL)

    Dating the Stars

    Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but even if you don’t have a special someone to celebrate with, it’s not too late to find love. In fact, Regis and Kelly are going to play matchmaker! We have two adorable, charming and more importantly single men that we are giving our viewers a chance to go on a date with, which may include a trip to New York City to be on our show. Read on to find out about these bachelors and then let us know why you would make the perfect date. Please note: if selected you should be able to travel to New York the week of February 16th.

    TAYLOR HICKS is the 32 year old, season 5 winner of American Idol. After winning over the hearts of all of America, Taylor is ready to win over the heart of one special lady. Born and raised in Alabama, he is a true Southern gentleman who has spent a lot of time in NY lately starring in Broadway’s “Grease”… and is now touring the country in the show. Besides music, Taylor loves golf, scuba diving, skiing and watching college basketball. He would love to meet a free spirited career-minded gal who can be serious during the week but can cut loose on the weekends. If your heart is ready for a little Soul Patrolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ ¦ Taylor is your guy

    http://bventertainment.go.com/tv/buenavista/regisandkelly/contests/datinggame/index.html

  • ozarka

    Winning à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“American Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  isnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t all that difficult à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ it just comes down to song choice, relaxation à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ and lots of water, according to former à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  winner Jordin Sparks.

    Jordin isn’t the only one handing out advice to the new crop of Idol wannabes. Here’s a video of former Idol contestants sharing their thoughts and advice. It features Kellie, Elliot, Archie, Constantine, Carrie, Ace, and Kristie Lee…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt07z5Czp5g

  • Paula

    Awww, Taylor Hicks shows on the mediabase AC chart today at #38. Nice to see him on a chart again. I figured this was news because ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s been so long since weà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ve seen his name on a chart.

    He’s now at #36.

  • sciencefan

    Jennifer’s rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner was exquisite… perhaps the best I’ve ever heard.

  • http://stores.ebay.com/BookWomanBlues-Book-Nook Bobbi

    I agree, sciencefan! I thought she did a fantastic job. What a way to get back into the public eye.

  • Grammie Kari

    Jennifer did a terrific job! God love her.

    Winning à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“American Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  isnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t all that difficult à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ it just comes down to song choice, relaxation à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ and lots of water, according to former à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Idolà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  winner Jordin Sparks.

    Pardon me for choking. It helps if the judges are promoting you throughout the competition. She was not the best singer, IMO.

    Taylor Hicks – gotta love the guy! Good news for him. Yay!

  • frogcooke

    Just an cool interesting tidbit, DA’s tour guitarist is Mike Krompass, co-wrote altnoy and sot with david.

    found the info at snarkys

  • woo

    MJ not sure if this should go here but Michael Johns gave and radio interview over the weekend before performing at some Superbowl event. He says they’ve sold his record back to Sony (does that mean he’s with Sony now? IDK), the record should be out in March or early April and he’s gonna get distribution for Australia and Japan as well. The interview is pretty funny too.

    Video here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E74ivhYOz00