Jennifer Hudson Calls Grammy Noms ‘Truly a Blessing’
Jennifer Hudson, suffering the murders of her mother, brother and nephew, expressed gratitude Thursday for her four Grammy nominations for her debut album.
“It’s been a childhood dream of mine to release an album, ” she said in a statement, ” so to receive four Grammy nominations is truly a blessing. I’m extremely honored and humbled by the nominations.”
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Plucked from obscurity: Breakout stars of 2008
David and David
…American Idol proved its star-making power yet again in 2008 with the creation of at least two new stars: …Idol runner-up David Archuleta and …Idol winner David Cook. With his boyish good looks, goofy demeanor and angelic voice, David Archuleta ‘ dubbed …The Chosen One by my colleague Richard Rushfield ‘ seemed groomed from birth to compete on …Idol. David Cook, by contrast, was not a front-runner when the season began but rose in America esteem through a mix of old-school rocker-angst and innovation. Both Davids debut albums have sold impressively.
‘American Idol’: Season 8 rumors begin!
For the last seven seasons, I’ve kept myself in a tightly sealed cocoon when it comes to American Idol spoilers. But every year it gets harder. I mean, it’s not as if an Idoloonie like myself can avoid must-visit Idol news sites like MJ’s Big Blog, so if I want to read about, say, what’s happening with the underrated Blake Lewis, then I have to [SPOILER ALERT!] accept that it comes with a side order of news about Idol wannabes who’ve advanced to Hollywood week, about the fact that Idol might have 36 semifinalists this year (instead of 24), and that new judge Kara DioGuardi falls closer to Simon than Paula in the critique department.
Clues To The New American Idol Season
The Christmas season means, among many other things, that the lumbering beast known as American Idol is slowly coming out of hibernation. The release of the debut album by the most recent Idol typically brings one cycle to an end, meaning fans can begin turning their attention to the new batch of hopefuls, several dozen of whom are waiting expectantly for the big call as you read this.
American Idol is playing Ringer Toss Again
In preparation for giving my weeknights over to yet another season of American Idol, I’ve been reading up on the rumored contestants for the coming season, and how many of their names will be vaguely familiar. Rumor has it that we’ll be seeing a Castro (Jason’s brother), an Osmond (Donny & Marie’s nephew), and a former Miss New York crossing our TVs during the early episodes of Season Eight. But one name that probably won’t stick out to a lot of people is Joanna’ as in Joanna Pacitti, a singer who was outed by The New York Post as a formerly frustrated Annie who had an ill-fated dalliance with Geffen not even two years ago.
Maybe they’re still stinging from the ratings trouncing the Grammy Awards took in 2006 when the show went head to head with “American Idol, ” but “Idol” omissions from this year’s nominations would suggest voters have had their fill of the talent competition.
The biggest surprise was the shutout of Carrie Underwood’s “Carnival Ride” album, despite Underwood’s three wins previously, including new artist of 2006 and female country vocal for the last two years.
Let the American Idol rumors, speculation, and conspiracy theories begin
Sure, sure, this time of year is all about shopping, egg nog, and spreading good cheer, but it inevitably becomes about spreading American Idol rumors as well. For those of us AI addicts, we inhale every spoiler like it’s our last breath. A few contestants of note who made supposedly made it to Hollywood and possibly further, posted on MJ’s Big Blog, are: Michael Castro, brother to lovable airhead Jason Castro, Anna Kaelin, the daughter of David Archuleta’s (Let out your screams, girls!) vocal coach, and David Osmond…yes, that Osmond. Although the consensus seems to be that David didn’t make it past Hollywood.
Kathy Griffin on Clay Aiken: “He Was Not Very Nice”
Kathy Griffin really wants to be friends with Clay Aiken, but it doesn’t sound like the American Idol warbler wants anything to do with her.
The loudmouth comedian says she tried to make good with Aiken’ whom she pegged “Gayken” in her standup act long before he came out of the closet’ backstage during Rosie O’Donnell’s Thanksgiving variety show.
“I held up one of those ghetto blasters playing one of Clay’s songs, and I begged him to take me back and he said no, ” Griffin said at last night’s Grammy nomination concert in downtown L.A. “And then I walked out of the room and Gloria Estefan said to me, ‘I told ya’ you shouldn’t have gone in there alone.’ ”
Grammy noms, A talk with Kimberley Locke, coming to Athens in concert Friday/Saturday
Kimberley Locke, the third-place finisher from season two, has become the queen of Christmas music among Idols, with three No.1 adult contemporary hits and a Christmas album last year. So it natural she doing a holiday concert tour with Diana DeGarmo, Chikezie and David Hernandez. Shell be at the Classic Center in Athens Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. with tix ranging from $10 to $70. (She did a Christmas tour last year with Dave Koz.) I spoke with her by phone from Pennsylvania yesterday.
New novel to expose ‘American Idol’?
The behind-the-scenes workings of hit show American Idol will reportedly be revealed in a new novel.
Stage 46: The Reality Of Reality Television was written by R. Smith, who conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with reality show employees and contestants.
An extract from the book, which follows the experiences of production assistant Ben Walker, reads: “While I was driving home, it dawned on me that the person who had been eliminated was the same person who had been eliminated during the closed-door rehearsals just two days before.
Review: GREASE at PPAC
The current tour of Grease features performers from the reality show Grease: You’re The One That I Want, which chose the ‹Danny’ and ‹Sandy’ for the current Broadway production, which will close January 4th. Some of the actors from the Broadway production are on tour with this production. The tour is also a vehicle for former ‹American Idol’ Taylor Hicks, who has a turn as ‹Teen Angel’, a role he first tackled in the Broadway production.
Taylor Hicks, whom the audience adores, has a magical entrance and does a fine job as Teen Angel. While Hicks may be a draw to bring the audience into the theater, he does not rely on gimmickry. Hicks understands the campy nature of the role but approaches Teen Angel with artistic integrity. He gets to wail a few bars on his harmonica, which adds another dimension to the character.
Country Weekly Salutes the Troops in Special December Collector Edition
The 72-page special issue, with country superstar Toby Keith on the cover, is a moving tribute to the US Troops from the biggest names in country music. Heartfelt stories by Trace Adkins and Kellie Pickler tell readers what it’s like to be overseas with the troops and Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood share their thoughts in “What I Love About America.” For readers who want to express their thanks, the issue features a guide to organizations that help the troops, veterans and military families, as well as ways to send letters or packages to soldiers overseas.
Sweetwater and Majic 95 Release Volume Three of Charity CD
Sweetwater, the fourth-largest music instrument and pro audio retailer in the world, according to Music Trades magazine, and Fort Wayne radio station Majic 95.1 WAJI, have combined forces to issue Volume Three of Majic Miracle Music, a compilation CD of new recordings by national musicians, which will be sold locally with all proceeds to benefit Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. The CD is priced at $10 and is available, along with Volumes One and Two, at Anchor Books, Anne’s Hallmark stores, Borders, and Higher Grounds Coffee Shops, as well as Sweetwater’s retail store at 5501 US Highway 30 W, and online at: http://www.waji.com/ (and) http://www.sweetwater.com/feature/majic_miracle_v3/
Nationally recognized artists, including Collective Soul, Augustana, Ben Jelen, Josh Kelley, Mercy Me, Jon Peter Lewis, and Lenka, appear on the CD with new, acoustic versions of their popular hits. Most of the CD’s 18 songs were recorded at Sweetwater Productions, the region’s premier recording studio. The others are acoustic recordings donated by the artists.
Carrie Underwood Still Gets Nervous in Nashville
f I had to perform in front of an audience of my blogging peers, Id be nervous too. So I cant blame Carrie Underwood for admitting her anxiety level is a little high right now. She set to perform Sunday night (Dec. 7) at Nashville Sommet Center. She told The Tennessean that the crowd banter between songs is one of the hardest parts of headlining. …How do you have a conversation with several thousand people? I think Im a lot better now and a lot more comfortable onstage. Just accepting the fact that those people are there to see me has helped. She adds that even talking about behind-the-scenes stuff, like what she had to eat that day, gives the crowd a taste of her personality. Still, the adrenaline rushing through her veins tends to end up in her leg. …Sometimes my left leg will shake uncontrollably if I am really nervous, she said. If you feel like a trip to Nashville this weekend, quality seats are still available.
Underwood brings ‘Carnival Ride’ tour to Chaifetz
Carrie Underwood is coming full circle at the St. Louis stop of her “Carnival Ride” tour tonight.
The Oklahoma native is back in St. Louis, where she auditioned for “American Idol” in 2004 along with fellow finalist Nikko Smith. Underwood walked away with the “Idol” title.
“St. Louis has always held a special place in my heart, ” Underwood says.
Her life has changed dramatically over the past four years.
“I think I was 21 when I tried out for ‘American Idol, ‘” Underwood says. “I’m 25 now, and a lot has happened. To be the same person would be impossible, but all the important stuff is the same.”
Carrie Underwood shakes off nerves to become a star
If Carrie Underwood starts shaking a leg during her Sommet Center show on Sunday, she’s not channeling Elvis Presley. She’s just a little nervous.
Before the nation’s president-elect became known as No Drama Obama for his ability to remain cool under pressure, Underwood, 25, had already developed a reputation for keeping her reactions under control no matter what the situation, from clinching the fourth season of TV reality show American Idol to co-hosting last month’s Country Music Association Awards.
But her calm demeanor belies her jitters, especially when faced with the prospects of taking the stage as a headliner for the first time in front of Nashville’s music industry crowd.
Carrie Underwood lights up the Coliseum
From her earliest appearances on “American Idol, ” even her harshest critics ‘ like Simon Cowell ‘ were sure of Carrie Underwood’s future stardom. With charm, a glowing personality and an unwavering voice, the small-town girl from Checotah, Okla., seemed to have it all as she cruised to a win on the TV talent show.
Four years, a dozen hits, multimillion-selling records and countless awards later, there is little doubt of Underwood’s recording success. And, with her headlining show at the Dane County Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center on Thursday night, the singer displayed an energy and stage presence of a seasoned veteran.
Elliott Yamin, “My Kind of Holiday” (Three Ring Project)
Elliott Yamin’s new Christmas CD is a cool treat for any music fan’s stocking this year.
On “My Kind of Holiday, ” the former “American Idol” contestant sings a number of Christmas tunes with ease and comfort.
Most notably is “Warm Me Up, ” where Yamin blazes his smooth vocals, singing lyrics like: “Come warm me up, it’s cold outside/Let’s bundle up, by the fire.” The tune is easily radio friendly even off season.
Like many urban and pop musicians, Yamin tackles Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and succeeds. His soulful voice adds vibrance to songs like “Little Drummer Boy” and the old school-sounding “Back Door Santa.”