Today Idol headlines after the jump ¦
‘American Idol’ winner Jordin Sparks has flavorless debut CD
It’s a useful talking point to note that Jordin Sparks is the youngest winner in the history of “American Idol.” Just 17!
Unfortunately, her first CD proves she’s also the most unformed.
Sparks comes to her maiden recording as perhaps the only top idol winner unarmed by a signature style. Past winners – or near winners – have each had a particular forte, or at least an allegiance to a style, that gave them something akin to character. See: Kelly Clarkson’s faux rock, Taylor Hicks’ pseudo-soul, Bo Bice’s Hollywood Southern rock, Fantasia’s backwoods R&B, Carrie Underwood’s big-voiced country and Clay Aiken’s Broadway schmaltz.
No matter how compromised – or dubious – those styles may have been, each helped listeners know who exactly the singer is. Or at least who they wanted to be.
But who, exactly, is Jordin Sparks?…….
Clay Aiken spea
Clay Aiken speaks quickly, a southern drawl attached to every word. Sometimes the North Carolina resident will slow down and compose himself, but his sentences are mostly one long word said in one long breath without pauses.
It seems like a metaphor for the way his life has been since he was the runner-up on Season 2 of …American Idol.
In the past five years, he has released four albums and is embarking on his eighth tour, which makes a stop at the F. M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre at 7 p.m. Dec. 4. Last year, his appearance at the venue was sold out……..
…..To change his Christmas shows this year, Aiken invited fans to write about a holiday memory in 20 sentences or less. He said he personally read 13, 000 stories, and the best ones will be read aloud by their writers at the concerts.
…I had a hand in it, Aiken said…….
Clarkson makes herself heard
Kelly Clarkson eventually found a comfortable middle ground during her show at Nokia Theatre on Friday night. GRAND PRAIRIE — A more apt metaphor for the last few months of Kelly Clarkson’s career you’d be hard pressed to find: Yearning hands reaching out for an artist singing songs of pain and defiance. Despite her career troubles earlier this year, Clarkson’s audience loves her unconditionally and gleefully welcomes the native Texan home……..
Gone green: Hangers
EcoHangers, made of recycled and biodegradable paperboard, are free through November to promote the environment and continued restoration of Ellis Island in New York, the first stop for many of our immigrant relatives before the 1950s.
The hangers, distributed through dry cleaner shop supplies by National Cleaner Supply, show “American Idol:” star Katharine McPhee and football legend Joe Montana on Ellis Island……
Clay Aiken to play holiday show in Genesee
….What else has Clay been up to? Glad you asked:
Before heading out on his current “Christmas in the Heartland” tour, Clay took part in the star-studded “Neil Sedaka 50 Years of Hits” tribute concert in New York City, which benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Then, on Nov. 6, Aiken headed to Las Vegas to serve as the exclusive musical guest for the “Capital One Holiday Celebration on Ice” show with 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen and a host of other champion skaters. That program was taped for a Christmas Day broadcast on NBC-TV. The performer appeared on the celebrity edition of FOX-TV game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” Nov. 1. He played the game to earn money for The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, which helps children with special needs……….
Strolling with the CMA stars
I always thought it would be a safe bet that I would never show up on one of those glamorous red carpets that celebrities walk before a big awards show. There are a couple reasons for that. First, I really don’t care what some movie star or singer is wearing to that night’s event. And two, security probably would stop me before I got there.
Turns out there isn’t really such a thing as a safe bet because I was walking the red carpet outside the Country Music Association’s annual awards show earlier this month. Heck, they even let me in as an invited guest to talk to some of the stars.
Here are some of my observations:
¢American Idol alumni: Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, and Phil Stacey were all on the carpet. Turns out that a lot of other former contestants from the show also live in town, including Josh Gracin, Bo Bice, Mandisa, Scott Savol, Carmen Rasmussen, Chris Sligh, and Haley Scarnato.
Gospel great, ‘Idol’ contestant coming to Longview
Natalie Grant, who was the Gospel Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year in 2006 and 2007, will perform in Longview next month.
According to a news release, Grant has been Christian music’s top-selling Adult Contemporary female solo artist the past two years.
Her “Christmas to Believe” tour is sponsored by the Gospel Music Channel.
Also performing will be Mandisa, who was placed ninth in “American Idol” last year, and Daniel Kirkley, described as a “classical/pop” artist….
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Loses Most of It’s Fun As We Grow Up.
….Anyways, the truth of it all is that the Macy parade is little more than a moving collection of bad musical numbers, second-rate musical stars singing bad musical numbers, and, just so youre not worn out by musicals, third-tier pop-stars like Corbin Bleu of High School Musical or Jordin Sparks of American Idol singing bad covers (and, of course, advertising). There are a lot of high school bands, too, which is fine with me, since they give you an excuse to go get coffee, but, seriously, who thought asking Ashley Tisdale of, again, High School Musical to sing …Last Christmas was a good idea? She didnt even have to sing the song live, and she still sucked…..
Queen of Soul’s Dull Duets
….There are a couple of brand new songs and they’re both very well done. “Put You Up On Game, ” is a solid duet between the veteran songstress and newcomer and “American Idol” winner Fantasia. And it’s not surprising at all that the immensely talented John Legend also combines exquisitely with Franklin on the retro-soul/funk blast “What Y’All Came to Do.”….
Sisterhood of pop divas is changing
….But the pop goddess lineage is a flexible one, changing with each new generation.
Keys, a hip-hop baby whose musicianship and hipster credibility help her step out of the women’s lounge and into the realm of “real” (i.e. male) musicians, goes several steps beyond Dion in updating the goddess for post-feminist high achievers. Unlike Dion, who’s made a lifetime commitment, Keys may someday go beyond the drama of self-realization and into uncharted territory.
That won’t be a loss, because there’s always a new goddess in the wings. This week, Jordin Sparks, the latest “American Idol, ” took her first official turn in the role. Her debut album, “Jordin Sparks” (released Tuesday), is a friendly outing, steered by star production teams such as Bloodshy & Avant and Stargate; it’s not the intriguing country-soul-Broadway amalgam her “Idol” performances hinted at, but that’s OK – she’s a teen and she sounds right doing teen pop.
Deep into the album, though, there’s a ballad called “God Loves Ugly” written by Christa Black, with whom Sparks once toured, backing Christian pop star Michael W. Smith.
It’s the kind of song that will make many cringe and just as many weep. Sparks approaches it with a show-tune lover’s sense of distance; she shows a glimmer of self-consciousness amid the tears. Who knows? Maybe Sparks will grow to be a goddess we haven’t heard from yet.
Elliott Yamin, an unlikely success
Elliott Yamin, the third-place finisher of the fifth season of “American Idol, ” is an unlikely success story. Not undeserving, just unlikely. Vocally untrained, 90 percent deaf in one ear and beset by unruly hair and chaotic dentistry, Yamin nonetheless won over “AI” audiences with his aw-shucks personality and eclectic musical choices delivered with a supple, emotive voice.
Although his radio hits tend to sound like generic R&B ballads of brain-leaching insipidity, on stage at Revolution Hall on Friday night Yamin redeemed even the shallowest material by singing his heart out. This is one deeply funky white boy, possessed of abundant soul and a voice you can listen to all night long….
ing, the truth is the Pink Floyd material ‘ surprise, surprise ‘ stands…
….KT Tunstall “Have Yourself a Very KT Christmas CD (EMI)
No offense to big box retail chains, but when an album is only sold at Target, red flags go up. However, it’s a different ball game when an engaging Scottish singer-songwriter gets involved. Her “NBC Sounds of the Season: The KT Tunstall Holiday Collection” features six holiday tracks, including a tear-jerking cover of The Pretenders’ seasonal classic “2000 Miles.” Also noteworthy is the off-kilter take of popular seasonal song “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home).” Invariably, KT’s set overshadows other NBC/Target efforts by Taylor Swift and Elliott Yamin…..