Ne-Yo on the Album He Wrote for Michael Jackson, the New One He’s Writing for Jennifer Hudson
Now for the good news: Ne-Yo is going to be writing Jennifer Hudson’s next album. In fact, he just started work on it the night before the gala. ‘I’m quite probably going to be executive-producing her whole project, ‘ he said. Is she changing direction? ‘Wouldn’t you like to know! I’ll just say that she wants this one to be a lot more personal than the last one was. And she’s had a lot of stuff to deal with, personally. The marriage; she just had a baby; and, you know, the whole ‘ ¦ ‘ Yeah, we know. Sad stuff. ‘A lot of things to talk about. So we’re gonna take all of these experiences and turn them into music, somehow.’ Hudson is planning on being very hands-on, as well, said Ne-Yo. ‘This process is going to be very much her there, her in conversation with me, saying, ‘What do you think about this? What do you think about that?’ Sharing stories with me, sharing experiences with me, so I can take all of these and turn them into the music.’
Baz Luhrmann sits in on ‘Dancing with the Stars’
“Dancing with the Stars” will welcome director Baz Luhrmann to the side of the stage next week as a guest judge.
Luhrmann, the director of “Moulin Rouge!” and “Australia, ” will fill in for head judge Len Goodman, who’s taking a week off. The show assumes its regular Monday-Tuesday schedule next week.
More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…
American Idol Kris Allen’s new single ‘Live Like We Are Dying’ is released
I never hid the fact I was an Adam Lambert fan this past “American Idol” season, but when I received a link to Kris Allen’s first single from his upcoming album, “Live Like We’re Dying, ” I wanted to give the champ’s first solo gong a fair shake.
Allen has a voice full of emotion, and the single starts off that way, with a simple stark style much like The Fray. From there it goes into a mash-up of musical styles, including a rap-like chorus I just don’t get and a bit of Allen’s sweet acoustic guitar work thrown in at the end.
DAVID ARCHULETA ALREADY TOPS THE CHRISTMAS CHART
It’s not even October and pre-orders have taken DAVID ARCHULETA’S upcoming Christmas album to the top of the Amazon holiday charts. Set for release on 10/13, the album features 13 holiday classics, a duet with CHARICE PEMPENGCO and a ‘melodies’ track written by DAVID and his father, JEFF. We spoke with ARCHULETA a few months ago and asked him to recall his earliest Christmas memory.( Click on the media bar below for audio):
Who Could Join Paula Abdul on X Factor?
It’s been nearly two months since Paula Abdul announced that she would not be returning to her judges’ chair on “American Idol, ” and though she made quite a splash as the host of “VH1 Divas” last week (complete with a tongue-in-cheek look at her “Idol” replacement Ellen DeGeneres), she still doesn’t have a full-time gig to replace her “Idol” job. Though there were rumors that she would be added to the adjudicators’ table on “So You Think You Can Dance, ” it appears as though that offer was only as a guest. Now comes the rumor that Fox may be importing “X-Factor” ‘â€ another performance-based British import created and produced by “American Idol” main man Simon Cowell ‘â€ for the U.S. and the top judge position may be going to Abdul herself.
Bucky Covington Is Smarter Than a 9th Grader
My whole family gathered around last night (Sept. 23) to watch Bucky Covington on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? on CMT. And you know what? He is. He was even smarter than the smartest person in my house: my high school freshman daughter.
His appearance was part of the celebrity week on the show. And his winnings of $25, 000 went to the charity of his choice, the Arthritis Foundation. (He said when he was a kid, his mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and he knows they need the help.)
Bucky Covington is Smarter Than A 5th Grader
Season 5 finalist Bucky Covington moved to the head of Jeff Foxworthy’s classroom last night, acing CMT’s Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader challenge. With the help of his classmates, Bucky answered all of the questions correctly, winning $25, 000 in the first round. Feeling confident, Bucky considered taking the bonus round challenge, as $250, 000 was at stake, but decided not to risk losing his winnings. Bucky walked away with the $25, 000 for his charity The Arthritis Foundation, a non-profit which supports more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions and helps people take control of arthritis by providing public health education, pursuing public policy and legislation, and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. ‘Just like any good student would do, I called my mom first after the class ended, ‘ Bucky sakd. ‘Arthritis hits close to home with our family and I had to let her know about the A+ win!’
Ruben Studdard: Taking time to listen
If Ruben Studdard were not already the national spokesperson for the ‘Be Sickle Smart Campaign, ‘ he easily could have been nominated for the role based upon his performance in Memphis last Saturday.
‘It is really important to me to be here and really put a stamp behind the message we are trying to get out there to the people.’ Studdard told me during an interview backstage at the Overton Park Levitt Shell.
This time, `Yawn’ is the word Hicks serves up one of two magic moments
There are really only two reasons to take in the national tour of “Grease, ” which opened Tuesday night at the BJCC Concert Hall.
The first is Emily Padgett, who sings “Hopelessly Devoted to You” as if she were the only Sandy Dumbrowski the world has ever known.
The second is Taylor Hicks, who kicks things up a notch as Taylor Hicks … I mean … Teen Angel, making an entrance that any former American Idol would envy.
Fall is officially here: The Epcot Food & Wine Festival starts this weekend
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival returns to the theme park this weekend.
One of the most popular annual events at Walt Disney World, the six-week festival features cuisine from around the world, culinary demonstrations from renowned chefs, wine tastings, music concerts and more.
The Eat to the Beat! concert series will bring 17 acts ‘ showcasing everything from rock to jazz, funk to pop ‘ to the America Gardens Theatre stage during the 45-day festival. The lineup includes six performers playing the festival for the first time: Richard Marx, Better Than Ezra, Vanessa Carlton, John Waite, Billy Ocean and ‘American Idol’ winner Taylor Hicks.
Blake Lewis: “I’m learning from my mistakes”
In my opinion, Blake Lewis is still the most original contestant in ‘Idol’ history. Blake took chances that no other contestant ever had before. And without him opening the door, there would’ve been no David Cook, and possibly no Adam Lambert’ ¦
But sadly the powers-that-be didn’t embrace that originality and tried to shove Blake into their usual mold. The result was that Blake’s CD, ‘Audio Day Dream’ ’â€which I still consider to be among the best ‘Idol’ albums ever’â€did not get the promotion that it deserved.
Photo Flash: Clay Aiken Attends DRIFT At Kennedy Theatre
Clay Aiken attended a production of DRIFT last night at The Kennedy Theatre in Raleigh where Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy’s production of DRIFT is playing it’s final week. DRIFT was the first production to grace the new Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre at Barton College and ran from September 12-20, followed by a current run at The Kennedy Theatre at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh from September 23-27 to close the season.
How ‘American Idol’ Influenced the ‘Fame’ Remake
The opening scene of the 1980 movie Fame begins with an aspiring actor delivering a confessional monologue. A gangly, pale kid with pouffy red hair who is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality and obsessed with his mother, he admits that he always worries people won’t like him when he goes to a party. The fear doesn’t seem entirely unfounded. As an actor, he’s quite promising. As a person, he’s a bit of a mess.
By contrast, none of the characters in the new Fame has probably ever experienced pre-party jitters. The students at New York City’s High School of Performing Arts may resemble the characters in the original film in that some come from difficult backgrounds or suffer setbacks in their quest for success, but that’s where the similarities end.
“Fame”: It’s not gonna live forever
In a scene from the new “Fame, ” opening Friday, an acting teacher addresses a crop of aspiring adolescents trying out for a coveted slot at the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts.
“You wanna be famous?” he asks from the seats of the theater. “Then you gotta earn it.”
That may be an acting teacher’s party line. But that advice blaringly ignores the reality of today’s instant celebrity, when YouTube stars like Chris “Leave Britney Alone!” Crocker and the sixth runner-up on “American Idol” are more likely to enjoy name recognition than a kid who learned how to play the oboe at a performing arts school. “Fame” (which was not screened prior to its release) tips its hat to the way things are, to an extent.
‘Fame’: Look behind the curtain, and not much is there
“You have talent, ” Kelsey Grammer, playing a music teacher at New York City High School of Performing Arts, says to incoming students. “Now let’s see what you can do with it.”
Clearly, the actors playing artsy students at the elite high school have talent. But the filmmakers behind this musical redux don’t do much with those skills.
Fame offers slick entertainment with some exuberance, but it’s devoid of soul or heart.
‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: The Boston Market
You fooled me, SYTYCD. You fooled me like a water-squirting clown lapel. You gave me nearly 45 minutes of solid ‘â€ if not quite exceptional ‘â€ dancing, making me believe that maybe, maybe we wouldn’t have to endure any auditions from attention-seeking, delusional hacks.
But, alas, that wasn’t the case. Methinks one of SYTYCD’s producers spent too much time this week hanging out with Norm & the gang during these Boston auditions. How else can you explain the show highlighting Paul Magliato ‘â€ a not-quite-bad-enough-to-be-laughably-bad dancer who is not even eligible for the competition ‘â€ when there were 20-someodd other dancers put through to the choreography round?
Inside Tom DeLay & Cheryl Burke’s Private ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Rehearsal
Last Monday, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champ Cheryl Burke surprised the judges with their cha cha cha, so what do they have up their sleeves this week for the tango? Only ET is inside their rehearsal!
“The tango is not going to be quite as funny, ” DeLay tells ET. “The way I understand it, and the way we have been practicing, it is a little bit inhibited in itself. It is arrogant and it is serious, so you can’t smile.”
5 Things About America’s Got Talent Winner Kevin Skinner
America’s Got Talent fans fell in love with former chicken-catcher Kevin Skinner ‘â€ a country boy with voice to match. He crooned his way to a $1 million prize and a headlining gig in Las Vegas. The Kentucky native chatted with PEOPLE from the airport about his new jet-setting lifestyle and revealed five things you ought to know. ‘ Rennie Dyball