Updated: More Headlines @ 2 pm EDT After the Jump
Allison Iraheta: The ultimate interview, Part Two
Iraheta In the second part of this four-part interview, “American Idol” finalist Allison Iraheta discusses her first “Idol” audition in San Francisco and the beginning of her “Idol” journey. Read Part One here.
Carrie Underwood rushes new single to YouTube
NEW YORK (Billboard) – Carrie Underwood has rushed out the first single from her new album to YouTube, a day after an unfinished version of “Cowboy Casanova” leaked online.
The track comes from the country singer’s third album “Play On, ” which will be released by Arista Nashville November 3, a week before the singer co-hosts the Country Music Assn. Awards with Brad Paisley.
Underwood co-wrote “Cowboy Casanova” with Brett James, who penned her 2006 hit “Jesus, Take the Wheel, ” and Mike Elizondo, who is best known for his work with hip-hop artists Eminem, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre.
More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…
Album Sales Down 18% in August, 10% in July
August album sales were down 18.1% versus the same period last year and were 37.2% lower than the August 2007, according to Billboard analysis of data at Nielsen SoundScan. In the combined period of July and August, album sales were 13.6% lower than the period in 2008 and 28.7% lower than 2007.
The horrible month of August, which had the worst year-over-year deficit of the entire year, was preceded by relatively good sales in July. That five-week period, starting June 28 and ending August 1, was down only 10.3% versus the same five-week period in 2008 and 22.8% compared to 2007.
Year to date (through the week ending August 30), album sales were down 14.5% versus 2008 and 31.1% versus 2007.
The Great American Idol Shopping War: Which Contestant Will Sell The Most?
We may be in the middle of a recession, but quite a few American Idols are nonetheless banking on a lucrative shopping season this Christmas. No less than eight Idol-associated albums are coming out this fall in time for the holidays, including the much-anticipated “Kradison” triple-threat–i.e., the new discs by Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, and Allison Iraheta. (And another top four contestant from season 8, Danny Gokey, just officially signed to 19/RCA Nashville this week, so don’t count him out either–he will get a single out before 2009’s end.)
Blake Lewis: The Reality Rocks Interview, Pt. 2
In the second installment of my two-part interview with Blake Lewis–as a buildup to the October 6 release of his shockingly awesome sophomore album, Heartbreak On Vinyl–the season 6 American Idol runner-up discusses his reputation as the “rebel Idol, ” how he tried to bring “sex” to the normally G-rated show, how he managed to get his way despite ticking off people like Jon Bon Jovi and Nigel Lythgoe, and what’s next for him as he embarks on an indie career with new label Tommy Boy Records.
Gokey, other ‘American Idol’ finalists come to Bridgeport
A month before the Milwaukee native was set to audition for TV’s “American Idol, ” his wife Sophia died during surgery from an existing heart condition. It was the last year Gokey could try out for the show because the age limit for the competition is 28, his age at the time.
Gokey brushed away his tears in order to follow his and his wife’s dream of him competing on the show. His soulful voice and confident stage presence kept him on until the “top three” week.
Now he’s honoring Sophia’s memory through his music and a foundation in her name, Sophia’s Heart Foundation, which helps troubled children through the arts. He’s also working on his debut album and hopes to release a single from it in November, and have the album in stores by March.
‘American Idol’s’ top 10 coming to Portland, Sept. 12
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last eight years, there’s this phenomenal reality show on television called “American Idol” … and at the end of each season (they just finished season eight a few months ago) the top-10 contestants head out on a tour to travel across the country performing for their many fans.
This year, that tour comes back to Maine and the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, where the final 10 singers will strut their stuff: those include Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, Matt Giraud, Michael Sarver, Magen Corkrey, Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai (not listed in any particular order, by the way).
‘American Idol’ on the road: Kalamazoo’s Matt Giraud is a fan, critic favorite on tour
GRAND RAPIDS — For Kalamazoo’s Matt Giraud, touring with “American Idols Live” is a chance to show hundreds of thousands of music fans what he’s really made of.
“This is my redemption tour, ” Giraud, 24, said in a phone interview from a tour stop. “I’m going on every night, showing people what I’ve got.”
For the piano-playing crooner, who twice was snatched out of the “Idol” fire — first as the judges’ “wild card” pick to start season eight, then, more dramatically, as the show’s first “judges’ save” — he may have something to prove.
Danny Gokey goin’ country
Well, this was sort of unexpected: 19 Recordings/RCA Records Nashville announced Wednesday that it has signed Danny Gokey to a record deal, and that the American Idol contestant and unofficial Milwaukee mascot will be making a country record for release next year. Actually, this was sort of expected’â€there had been speculation online all summer that Gokey would be going the country route. But as numerous blogs and websites have pointed out, Gokey had painted himself during the show’s run as an R&B and gospel fan. Somebody must have read the writing on the wall here: There’s no way Gokey is a legitimate R&B star’â€can you imagine this guy singing something like ‘Birthday Sex’ ?’â€and gospel music is a not-terribly profitable niche. Goin’ country sort of screams desperation, no? Of course, since we haven’t heard Gokey sing much country music, it’s possible that he’s the reincarnation of Hank Williams. And if Bon freaking Jovi can make a country record, why can’t our main man Gokey? But, yeah, this record isn’t going to be very good, is it?
‘Idol’ Alum Kellie Pickler, Semi Precious Weapons’ Justin Tranter Team for Tune
Here’s something for the ‘unconventional collaborations’ files: American Idol country sweetheart Kellie Pickler has found a new partner in crime in fiercely flamboyant glam rocker Justin Tranter of Semi Precious Weapons. The pair met at New York’s Bryant Park last February, hit it off and stayed in touch. ‘We just clicked instantly, probably because we look like gorgeous blonde twins, both wearing 5-inch heels separated at birth and raised on different planets, ‘ Tranter tells RS. ‘I have the
filthiest rock & roll band in New York, and she is a Southern Belle country music princess, but we can just talk for hours like we are the same girl.’
Fantasia in The Color Purple is amazing!
Fantasia Barrino OWNS the role of Cellie in the current production of The Color Purple playing at the Arie Crown Theater through Sunday August 6th.
Last night was my first trip to the Arie Crown Theater, even though it’s a “bit out of the way” from the regular Theater District, it was well worth the effort to get there to watch The Color Purple.
More Headlines @ 2 pm EDT:
Touring cast of ‘The Color Purple’ brings more than a few surprises to town
The main reason to catch the Chicago return engagement of “The Color Purple”? One word: Fantasia.
The 2004 winner of the FOX reality TV series “American Idol” shows that she not only possesses a powerhouse voice tinged with a touch of Billie Holiday-like raspiness, but is also a poised and confident musical theater actress as well.
Fantasia previously triumphed on Broadway as a celebrity replacement in this 2005 Broadway musical based upon Alice Walker’s award-winning 1982 novel (and in part on Stephen Spielberg’s 1985 film adaptation).
Fantasia in ‘The Color Purple’: American Idol winner adds needed star power
When Fantasia (Barrino) first appeared on the stage of the Arie Crown Theater on Wednesday night, the jump in energy was accompanied by a rustle of confusion. She might have won ‘American Idol, ‘ but when it comes to live theater, Fantasia is about six cuts above the typical touring alumnae’â€and I’ve seen bucketloads’â€of that trumped-up talent contest.
Theater review: Casa MaÃƒ ±ana’s ‘Grease’ sizzles
FORT WORTH ‘ American Idol winner Taylor Hicks is being touted as the star of the current tour of Grease, and he’s fabulous in his one scene. But the real star is director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall’s updated production, which brings both fizz and sizzle to a show we’ve all seen a million times, either at the movies or onstage.
As Teen Angel, who helps Frenchy through her beauty-school crisis, Hicks has the best entrance in the show, emerging from a gigantic ice-cream cone suspended above the stage, and the production even works in a couple of sly Idol references.
Katharine McPhee Shows Off Bright Blonde Hairdo
Showing off her new blonde hairdo, Katharine McPhee was spotted arriving at Hollywood’s Rossevelt Hotel with her two tiny pooches on Wednesday (September 2).
The ‘American Idol’ alum made the dramatic change of image just ahead of the upcoming release of her latest album, ‘Unbroken’ .
Music Review: Jordin Sparks – Battlefield
Like her fellow ‘Idol’ champ Kelly Clarkson, 2007 winner Jordin Sparks is blessed with a lush, commanding voice that she often uses with skill and control. As on her well-received self-titled debut, the young singer imbues her recently-released sophomore album, Battlefield (Jive Records), with soaring vocals and amazing conviction.
The result? Battlefield is overwhelmingly a knockout CD, a funky mix of dance-pop and contemporary R&B with traces of techno and soft rock, backed by diverse production and songwriting help from such hit-makers as Claude Kelly, Harvey Mason Jr, T-Pain and Toby Gad.
Kelly Clarkson Takes Control In Allentown
kc6Yesterday my pal Jami and I took a two-hours-and-change drive to Allentown, Pa., the home of the Great Allentown Fair (now in its 157th year). The reason: The evening’s grandstand entertainment was headlined by Kelly Clarkson, who was bookended by the Earth, Wind & Fire/Chicago double bill and Tim McGraw on the fair’s roster of entertainment, and who was there to show a slice of northeastern America just what being an American Idol means in this time of fragmented pop landscapes and Taylor Hicks victories.
Clarkson idle in first half of Fair show, Idol in second half
Clarkson1 Thank goodness for the second half of Kelly Clarkson’s concert Thursday night at Allentown Fair’s grandstand.
My life would suck without it.
Had the last nine songs of her 18-song show not been as good as they were, this review would have been left explaining why, despite the apparent satisfaction of the crowd of 5, 141, the first half of Clarkson’s show consisted of her bludgeoning through songs with not a hint of the subtlety that made her the first winner of ‘American Idol.’
‘So You Think You Can Dance’: The 2009 Tour Preview
So You Think You Can Dance is already kicking off its sixth season next week, with last night’s awesome best-of clip show (which, frankly, is what the much-hyped 100th episode should have been in the first place) serving as a teaser.
But the other big SYTYCD story is the season 5 dancers–who are oddly already “veterans” of the series, despite their season only having wrapped a month ago–are hitting the road September 20 on the SYTYCD tour. And with season 5 featuring possibly the most talented cast in the series’ history to date, this tour understandably seems to be the show’s most anticipated trek so far.