Idol Headlines for 12/14/07

Today Idol headlines after the jump ¦

‘American Idol’ to focus less on celebs

“American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says fans should expect fewer celebrity cameos and more focus on the individual contestants this season – the singing competition’s seventh.

Lythgoe blames the show’s spotlight on A-list mentors rather than the contestants themselves for the talent juggernaut’s dip in ratings last year.

“What I want to do is ensure the talent is strong, because that is what will make people come back, and I think that’s what we forgot at the end of last season, ” Lythgoe told reporters in a conference call Thursday. “It’s not about the judges and its not about the mentors, it’s about the program as a whole, and first and foremost, it’s about the kids.”…….

NY Daily News

Producer Promises Fewer Celebrity Mentors, Judges — And No Britney Spears

….”Three [contestants] that I’m positive will be in our top 12 [played instruments and] were terrific, and a couple of others really just crashed and burned. It’s very difficult to sing in tune and play drums at the same time. It’s a complete nightmare.” He also mentioned that this year’s competition has three or four very promising singers who are 16 and 17 years old.

Another change will be that this year’s show will feature fewer celebrity mentors and judges, and focus more intently on the contestants’ stories. Lythgoe admitted “Idol” got away from that thread a bit last year ‘  to the show’s detriment….


Dick Biondi still spinning records and collecting toys for kids

….Around midnight Friday, the cast of “Phantom of the Opera” is slated to perform live. Another potential guest is “American Idol” finalist Leslie Hunt, a St. Charles native.

Other celebrities who can’t make the trip to Lombard are expected to call in to show their support, including Frankie Avalon, Brenda Lee, Terry Johnson of the Flamingos and Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits….

Daily Herald

Pop Tarts: Sweet Baby Jesus! Britney a Bethlehem Virgin?

Steven Tyler Made Kelly Clarkson ‘Walk Away’

She may be the original and most successful “American Idol” to date, but it seems there is only one man (some years her senior) that Miss Kelly Clarkson just can’t enough of, although he was the one who made her “Walk Away.”

“Steven Tyler is an inspiration, he and his music. Sexy, sassy and in your face and just strong, ” Clarkson recently told us. “He makes me want to ¦ write. One of the things that inspired me whenever I was writing on ‘Walk Away, ‘ the song, you know, the bridge, is like you’re preaching at someone and it’s very soulful with a rock vibe to it. So I totally would think of Steven Tyler ‘  what would he do while he’s performing?”

But the Aerosmith singer isn’t the only older man that this music mogul is moved by…………

Fox News

Jingle Ball 2007 features all-star lineup

….The latest …American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks, returns to the area to showcase dance-pop songs from her debut CD, including …Tattoo, …No Air and …Shy Boy. Returning to the stage with her is …Idol runner-up Blake Lewis, whose new CD …Audio Day Dream was just released….

Philly Burbs

‘Idol’ Jordin Sparks to sing anthem at Super Bowl XLII

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks will get the rare opportunity to sing the national anthem in her hometown minutes before the kickoff to Super Bowl XLII, The Arizona Republic has learned.

During planning meetings in Phoenix this week, NFL officials confirmed that Sparks, who hails from Glendale and won Season Six of the popular Fox reality-TV competition this year, has been tapped to sing The Star Spangled Banner before the Feb. 3 game, according to sources who attended the meetings……..


Songwriter Proof of Industry Changes

….As God is moving in Great Britain, Tim has caught a global vision through the internet and it’s taking him places he never imagined. He not only leads worship throught the UK, but also in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and even here in the U.S. That’s where he’s teaming up with two band members of American Idol Top 10 finalist Chris Sligh.

Sligh’s guitar player Adam Fisher and keyboardist Don Chapman both help worship leaders produce their own music. They use computer software instead of going through multi-million dollar record labels….


Blake Lewis | …Audio Day Dream

With the debut of its most recent winner, Jordin Sparks, barely scraping the Top 10, …American Idol quickly sends in the runner-up ‘  beat-boxer Blake Lewis ‘  to see how much bounce to the ounce hell muster.

The second string (heck, even the third string) has been good for …Idoldom. But this time, the pickings arent so lush. Despite the presence of rapper Lupe Fiasco on the bippity-bobbity …Know My Name, Lewis has made a mess that screwier than his thrift-shop wardrobe.

Lewis slight but solid vocals cant always carry the weight of the melodic banality put forth on songs like …Surrender by Ryan Tedder, the songwriter from OneRepublic. But the halting …Gots to Get Her has just enough eau de …Puttin on the Ritz to make it zesty. On this song, at least, Lewis warbling trills are cute indeed.

The State

We hear:

….That Taunton own …American Idol washout Nick Pedro will host a new pilot for Animal Planet called …Beyond the Track. The show deals with the adoption and rescue of injured or past-their-prime racehorses….

Boston Herald

Clark Brothers still in it; taking one show at a time
We talked to Franklin County’s Austin Clark, who said he and his brothers are happy to have another chance to perform.

Three Franklin County musicians are amazed at their good fortune, seven weeks into their run on a Fox network reality show

The Clark Brothers — Ashley, Austin and Adam — have continued to impress judges and fans on “The Next Great American Band.” The next episode airs at 9 tonight.

Before that episode is halfway over, the Clarks will know whether they’ve survived another week. They’re among the last four bands left on the show, which was created by the producers of “American Idol.”

As with that show, performers’ survival depends on audience votes.

However it ends tonight, the Clarks count it as a win, Austin Clark said…………

Former ‘American Idol’ contestant visits school

For one day, former American Idol finalist George Huff tried to turn La Paz Middle School in Salinas into a house party.

Huff is co-headlining …Christmas on Main Street at First Presbyterian Church with Mandisa, also a finalist on the hit reality/talent search television show.

The R&B and gospel singer today brought some of the sixth-grade students on stage to dance to his song …Bounce, from his debut release, …Miracles…….

Californian Online

Daughtry, Carrie rack up Billboard honors

Billboard, the venerable music trade magazine, just issued its 2007 awards. Being sales, airplay or revenue-based as they are, the awards would be expected to recognize some of the more successful Idols, and so they do.

Especially Daughtry, who racks up a closetful of awards. In the top artists lists, based on a combination of sales and airplay success, he comes in fourth for the year, behind only Akon, Fergie and Justin Timberlake. And, as an added Idol bonus, Carrie is fifth, ahead of Beyonce, Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, T-Pain and Gwen Stefani.

Daughtry’s self-titled album is the best seller of the year (basically a November to November proposition). It sold 3.2 million in that timespan. Carrie’s Some Hearts comes in fifth here with 2.3 million…..

Idol Chatter

Two American Idol contestants to guest star on Bones

….At least two American Idol contestants, one from season 5 and the other from season 6, will guest star in an episode titled “The Wannabe in the Weeds” (as you can guess, the dead character will surely be a contestant and the body will be found in… weeds). The episode, slated to air in March according to some sources, is the last episode of the series completed before production was shut down due to the writers’ strike.

American Idol Season 6 contestant Brandon Rogers let his fans know, via his MySpace page, that he and Season 5 finalist Ace Young were both cast in the episode. Rogers doesn’t say much about both roles but he did reveal that Young’s part on the show is integral to the storyline. Could he play the killer? Look for spoilers about this episode in upcoming editions of Spoilers Anonymous.

TV Squad

Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis to Peform on NYE

“American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, finalist Blake Lewis and pop/rock band Lifehouse are among the acts who are performing from Times Square on “New Year’s Eve Live” on Fox.

The show is set to air on Dec. 31 at 11pm-12:30am ET……


Abdul’s urine stolen by fan

American Idol judge Paula Abdul once experienced theft at the hands of an obsessed fan, after a medical employee stole a sample of her urine.

The 45-year-old was shocked when her doctor asked her to provide a second urine sample, because the specimen she had previously provided was taken by a member of hospital staff.

She recalls……


Eloise Brothers Compete for “Next Great American Band” Title Friday Night
Family Wants People to Vote For Them

….A record contract with 19 Recording, which handles Carrie Underwood and a variety of other musicians, is the prize that goes to the …Next Great American Band.

The Clark brothers are no strangers to either recording or Underwood.

Ashley, 27, said he played fiddle and guitar with Underwood band for two years.
Austin, 24, played Dobro in bands with both Underwood and SHeDaisy, while Adam, 29, has played mandolin and guitar with SHeDaisy.

And more of the family, known as …The Clark Family Experience has produced about 20 records.

…We did it ourselves said Freddy Clark, the father of the Clark Brothers……

The Ledger

Reality show highlights Nashville’s musical pool

When Nashville country-rock group Sixwire made its debut on Fox reality-competition program The Next Great American Band, frontman Andy Childs tried to show viewers what kind of musical environment the band had come from.

“We represent today’s Nashville, which is a little different, ” he said in their introduction segment. “It’s not your grandpappy’s Nashville.”

For the past seven weeks that the program ‘  a spinoff of American Idol ‘  has aired, that point has been hammered home to America, as three of the show’s four finalists ‘  Sixwire, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, and the Clark Brothers ‘  hail from Nashville, each bringing with them a different side of the city’s multi-faceted music scene. The fourth band is Light of Doom from San Marcos, Calif.

The presence of the local bands on the show does its part in illustrating to the nation what Nashville has known for years: that the city’s wealth of unsung talent doesn’t just come from country.

Band executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who’s also behind Idol and So You Think You Can Dance?, doesn’t seem surprised by Nashville’s heavy presence in the finals…………


A Brief Chat With Blake Lewis ¦
Glam recently chatted with American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis. Here what he had to say ¦

…..Jordin Sparks has a new album out. Have you guys swapped stories or listened to each other music?
Oh yeah. Yeah, I love her album. There are tracks on there that I really, really, really like. Yeah, cause we were on tour together, and we did most of my album on tour. She had a couple [tracks] she did on tour. So she heard a little bit more of mine than I heard of hers…..

….Silly question: What on your holiday wish list?
My holiday wish list? I dont even know. There this house that I want to buy. But theyre really not liking my offers. Hopefully Ill get this house so Im not homeless any more…..