TV Cowell and retailer Green join forces
Simon Cowell, one of the world biggest TV stars, has joined forces with Sir Philip Green, the British retail billionaire, to form a global entertainment company that will create and own television content on both sides of the Atlantic.
The two men, close friends for the past decade, have been working closely together in recent weeks, with Sir Philip travelling to Los Angeles to advise Mr Cowell on a new contract to appear on the Fox network American Idol.
The venture with Sir Philip will effectively act as a holding company for all of Mr Cowell entertainment interests, which include Britain Got Talent, America Got Talent and The X-Factor. But it will also be a springboard for new programming devised or produced by Mr Cowell, with Sir Philip providing business advice.
Mr Cowell and Sir Philip declined to comment but a person familiar with the talks said a new American Idol deal would probably be struck for Mr Cowell through the new Green-Cowell entity.
Mr Cowell has been offered an American Idol contract that would make him the best-paid star of TV, with a deal likely to surpass even Oprah Winfrey estimated earnings, according to a person familiar with the talks.
More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…
David Cook from the heart
…Is this the moment that I look you in the eye? The lyrics melt into the sound of the piano. …Im permanent, David Cook sings. Each painstaking, beautiful note, causes a lump to the throat.
It hard to breathe as the song comes into full crescendo. …Permanent, a release from Cook self-titled debut album, is a dedication to his brother Adam.
It been nearly two months since Adam passed away from cancer. The loss is raw and there an urge to tip-toe. It hard not to cry.
David Cook rocks sold-out crowd at Cain Ballroom
David Cook drenched eager fans with emotion Tuesday night as the former Tulsa bartender served up hits like shots from his short but intoxicatingly potent career.
The seventh-season …American Idol winner played a sold-out homecoming show at the historic Cain Ballroom.
Mothers, sorority sisters, fraternity boys, teachers, kids, grandparents ‘ they all crowded in, shoulder to shoulder. They all sang along like pie-eyed old friends singing bar-room anthems.
Supporting act David Archuleta hit the exact right notes ‘ figuratively and literally ‘ for the show.
In his 50-minute, 11-song set, Archuleta drew screams not just for great singing ‘ his big notes on …Hold On and …You Can were worthy ‘ but for just being a crowd-pleasing young guy. (He also got screams just for a small hand wave when his back-lit shadow appeared on the closed curtain before it rose for him.)
Now a year removed from his …American Idol second-place finish, Archuleta has grown into a stage presence that can command arenas. Opening with his current hit, …A Little Too Not Over You, he bounced all over the expansive set, gestured more confidently and sang more assuredly.
Carly Smithson’s Fallen: Is this the Evanescence you’ve been looking for?
The band may be new, but former Evanescence members Ben Moody, Rocky Gray and John LeCompt don’t have any problem looking to the past. Unveiling two songs from their recently formed outfit the Fallen, which features former “Idol” contestant and one-time major label artist Carly Smithson, the alt-rock-era advocates didn’t hide that they were courting the Evanescence fanbase.
Just look at the band’s name, a reference to Evanescence’s 2003’s multi-million selling debut “Fallen.” Speaking to local media after the performance at a Hollywood studio, LeCompt said the group wanted to “encompass all of our fans we already had” by invoking the hit album.
Rock fans missing Evanescence, who haven’t been heard from since 2006 — leader Amy Lee promises new music next year — will likely find a quick fix in the Fallen. The songs, currently dubbed “Bury Me” and “Port Going Under, ” are packed with the grinding guitars and howling theatrics that propelled “Fallen” to sell more than 15 million copies worldwide. The stop-and-stop chopping guitar riff of “Port Going Under” even recalled moments of Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life.”
We Are The Fallen Rises From Evanescence’s Ashes
Ben Moody predicts that his just-unveiled new band, We Are The Fallen, will enjoy a peaceful co-existence rather than mortal combat with his old group, Evanescence.
“We wish them the best, ” Moody, who co-founded Evanescence with singer Amy Lee in 1995 and left the band 2003 after co-writing its multi-platinum debut, “Fallen, ” tells Billboard.com. He formed We Are The Fallen earlier this year with original Evanescence members John LeCompt on guitar and Rocky Gray on drums, adding bassist Marty O’Brien and “American Idol” Season 7 finalist Carly Smithson on vocals.
“There’s not really an Evanescence now, ” Moody adds. “It’s Amy Lee playing as Evanescence with a bunch of other guys hired to play our parts. And she’s amazing — an incredible front person, a great songwriter, an incredible singer. There’s no reason we can’t both exist in the world. Musically, we’re going in completely different directions; ‘The Open Door’ (Evanescence’s 2006 album) sounds nothing like We Are The Fallen.”
6/23: Michael Johns interview, new album Hold Back My Heart out today
I spoke with former Buckhead man and season 7 finalist Michael Johns last month in advance of his soulful first album …Hold Back My Heart, out today. Listen to it at AOL here.
Since I last spoke with him last December at Gwinnett Arena for a charity tennis tourney, he been too busy to come back to Atlanta.
Did he watch season eight? …You want to stay in touch with what going on but I was working so much, he said. …I didnt get to sink my teeth into it like I used to do. What I saw, I enjoyed. He got to attend the finale and popped up on camera a few times.
…It was funny, he said. …I was walking into the Nokia Theatre. A lady pulled me over and said, ‹Im Kris mom. No way you were voted off because of me. Every week, I just looped up the phone! We took a photo together. I didnt expect that.
Album Review – Hold Back My Heart (Michael Johns)
Every now and then there comes an album that seems to have ingeniously soared into such spirit and authenticity and coyly finds a way to your soul. Michael Johns’ exquisite album, Hold Back My Heart is one of those albums. Best described as soulful and genuine, Johns bears his soul for listeners with his effortless and attractive voice while revealing not just the beauty of his tone but how outstanding music can truly be.
Michael Johns’ ‘Hold Back My Heart’: Track-by-Track
Heart on My Sleeve: “You think you’ve heard this before, ” Michael Johns begins his first album since finishing eighth on American Idol’s seventh season, “I’ll try and say it differently, as long as it comes naturally to me.” This piano-based ballad — you can almost imagine him singing it during the photo session for the album sleeve — is a songwriter’s declaration of love, as Johns searches for the words that will match the feelings that “keep on pouring out.” Ultimately, the song’s more about the struggle to find those words — and a promise to keep trying — than it is a successful attempt at getting them on paper. Written by British singer-songwriter James Morrison and A-list producer John Shanks.
Expectant Jennifer Hudson Steps Out in Orange
Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson ‘ who is reportedly eight months along with her first child ‘ stepped out for a bite to eat at a Chipotle restaurant in Florida on Monday.
Wearing an orange minidress, Jennifer, 27, grabbed a burrito with fiancÃƒÆ’ © David Otunga and the two enjoyed their meal outside.
‘Idol’s’ Kimberley Locke has ‘Gospel Dream’
(CNN) — Kimberley Locke knows a thing or two about singing competitions.
Having placed third during season two of “American Idol” — just behind winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken — the singer is back in reality show action as the new co-host of “Gospel Dream.”
The Gospel Music Channel’s talent search is going into its fourth season, and Locke joins fellow host Mike Kasem (son of Casey Kasem) and the judges — gospel artist J. Moss, Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams and industry executive Mitchell Solarek — on the show.
There is only one reality show I really, really want to do, and that’s “Dancing With the Stars.” I want to be on that show because then I’d lose the extra 10 to 15 pounds I want to lose.
– Chris Daughtry is no Justin Timberlake, but he’ll do. As the “American Idol” alum did shots with members of the Fray and OneRepublic at Timberlake’s barbecue joint, Southern Hospitality, a cougar sidled up to him and growled, “I came here hoping to see Justin Timberlake, but it was great meeting you, too.” Responded Daughtry: “Glad I could fill in!”
– Ryan Seacrest replacing Larry King on CNN is laughable – literally. During King’s one-man show at the Wynn Las Vegas on Friday night, an audience member asked the 75-year-old who he’d choose as his successor upon retirement. After naming Seacrest, the audience burst into gales of laughter. A bewildered King asked, “Why is that funny?”
T-shirt sales benefit animal shelter
Country music performer and Richmond County native Bucky Covington recently donated dog and cat food purchased with the proceeds from t-shirt sales to the Richmond County Humane Society.
The t-shirts are the same ones sold at Covington concerts. They were sold at Covington’s Body Shop.
…The staff at the shelter said it was an early Christmas, said Humane Society Director Candy Bacon said.
Speidi Returns to I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
It’s a series with emotional landmines as potent as tarantula cocktails and crocodile-filled obstacle courses. And on Wednesday, NBC’s I’m a Celebrity ¦ Get Me Out of Here! ends its three-week run when one star will be crowned the ultimate King, or Queen, of the Jungle.
Challenges notwithstanding, the celebrity survivor will also have to stomach the return of former contestants Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, who landed in Costa Rica on Tuesday, as well as Janice Dickinson and Daniel Baldwin, who are also set to return to the jungle.
JULIANNE HOUGH: GOOD DANCER, BAD ACTRESS
SHE can dance, she can sing — but Julianne Hough apparently can’t act. Paramount had wanted to cast the “Dancing With the Stars” hoofer, who’s also topped the country charts with her hit, “My Hallelujah Song, ” in its remake of “Footloose.” But her audition “was so bad, the producers sent her off to take acting classes, ” our insider said. “She’s scheduled for another screen test Aug. 1. They definitely like her, but the producers know they need a real actress for the movie to work — she’s a pretty girl who can sing and dance, but so was Mariah Carey, and we all know how ‘Glitter’ turned out.” Reps for Hough and Paramount didn’t return detailed calls.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to judge dancers in St. Petersburg
Watch professional ballroom dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy on any edition of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, and you’ll see a man who doesn’t quite fit with what surrounds him ‘ and seems to like it that way. ¢ In a sea of lithe, sleek guys, he’s the stubble-faced, macho Ukrainian often showing off his chest. And when a celebrity he’s training steps out of line ‘ the last cycle of Dancing showed Chmerkovskiy seeming to push partner Denise Richards to tears, though he will explain that later ‘ “Maks” is more than willing to get tough, on camera. ¢ “I’m unable to bend the truth, ” said Chmerkovskiy, 29, speaking by cell phone from New York last week, moments before he would accept an award from Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his contributions to Russian culture. “It’s a little difficult. If I may say something about somebody not doing such a good job and that person happens to be popular celebrity, that gets their fans hating me.”
‘America’s Got Talent’ Winner: Cowell Not to Blame for Boyle Breakdown
Neal E. Boyd was an insurance salesman from Missouri. Then he won a little competition called ‘America’s Got Talent’ and now the opera singer has his own album, ‘My American Dream.’ In an interview with PopEater, Boyd talks about his time on the show, the advice Simon Cowell gave him, and what he thinks about Susan Boyle.
‘America’s Got Talent’: Well, not two hours-worth, apparently
The Susan Boyle phenomenon has had a predictable effect on the new season of America’s Got Talent. The don’t-judge-book-by-cover lesson we were supposed to take away from Boyle translates, over here, as a new politeness among judges Sharon Osbourne, David Hasselhoff, and Piers Morgan. And so instead of previous seasons’ mirthless attempts by the judges to insult the bad contestants, we were killed with kindness. “Thank you very much indeed, ” said Osbourne over and over again in rejecting mediocre acts. Is this the same woman who co-hosted Fox’s abysmal Osbournes Reloaded in March with creepy vulgarity? Yes; polite Sharon and rude Sharon are two sides of an act, and neither is entertaining.
X Factor auditions begin: Wannabes face 2, 000 harsh judges
The X Factor is back but there was a nasty surprise for the pop wannabes and a lot of Xtra pressure.
There was no more auditioning for the judges in a private room to spare their blushes. Instead, contestants walked off the street and into a concert hall in front of 2, 000-strong audience.
And the crowd wasted no time in expressing its feeling about the acts.
A New Statement from Perez Hilton
“Words can hurt. I know that very well, from both sides of the fence. The other night in Toronto, after feeling physically threatened by a verbally abusive Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, I chose the most hurtful word I know to hurl at him. I was in an out-of-the ordinary situaton and used a word that I would not utter under normal circumstances. My intention – however misguided it may have been – was to stand up for myself and tell this belligerent man that I had enough of his badgering and was not going to continue to let him berate and intimidate me. I wanted to hurt him with the word I chose, not anyone else. Unfortunately, the one who got hurt was me and, subsequently, a lot of other people. I wish none of it had happened. I can’t take it back. I did what I thought was best at the moment to stand up for myself in a non-violent yet still assertive way. Clearly, I am not homophobic. Also, I am not nor have I ever claimed to be a spokesperson for the gay community. I am just speaking for myself, a gay man. One who is labeled “flamboyant” in the media. An American that is not granted equal rights under the law. I will continue to speak out for equality and I will continue to say things that upset both gay people and straight people. Who I am as a person and what I do for a living are two separate things.