Jordin opens for Alicia Keys
This just in — Jordin will be Alicia Keys’ opening act on Keys’ As I Am tour, starting April 19 in Hampton, Va., and running for 30 dates. Jordin will also perform at the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 15. Here’s the itinerary:
ETA: Listen to Jordin Sparks sing “Respect” in honor of Aretha Franklin at the NAACP Image Awards last night. Via Rickey…
Which Oscars will Clooney, Hanks and Miley Cyrus (!) present?
Today’s announcement of the first wave of presenters and performers at the 80th annual Oscars included both the expected (all four of last year’s acting winners will be on hand) and the somewhat surprising (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a tux).
It is easy enough to predict that last year’s Oscar-winning quartet of actors will be bestowing awards on their opposite sex counterparts this year (i.e., Forest Whitaker will hand out best actress, Helen Mirren best actor, and Alan Arkin and Jennifer Hudson the supporting gongs). In a year when so many of the winners seem obvious, it is more of a guessing game to figure out who will be giving them their awards.
Phil Stacey debut coming late April, delayed two weeks
Thursday, February 14, 2008 ‘ The debut CD from American Idol Season 6 finalist Phil Stacey will hit stores on April 29, a delay of a few weeks from the previously announced date.
The delay “is the result of Phil’s already jam-packed travel schedule, ” according to his label, Lyric Street.
“It has always been my first priority to make the album I have promised the fans, and I needed this extra studio time, ” said Stacey. “Lyric Street has been great to work with me on this.”
* Photo: Jordin Sparks at the NAACP Image Awards Thursday Night
More Idol Headlines After the Jump…
Randy Jackson’s other TV project seeks Best Dance Crew
Of course everyone knows about a little project named American Idol that judge Randy Jackson is a part of. But like Simon Cowell before him, Randy wasn’t content to sit on his laurels and collect that fat paycheck. He had other ideas, and MTV was smart enough to pick up his latest reality competition.
‘Chicken Soup’ series takes on ‘American Idol’
“CHICKEN Soup for the Soul” — the line of inspirational books launched by motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen in 1993 — has become a cottage industry of sorts. With 170 titles as diverse as “Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul” or “Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause, ” the books are supposed to encourage the crestfallen and bring hope to the hopeless.
It was only a matter of time before the brand found fodder in one of the culture’s other great brokers of despair and dreams: “American Idol.” The just-released “Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul” contains 74 stories from some of the Fox television show’s famous and forgettable contestants, producers, fans and crew — all waxing on about on how “Idol” has touched-changed-inspired their lives.
Connect the Dots
Talking with Adam Blair about his newly indoctrinated rock-star status is like witnessing a baseball-card addict walk into the World Series locker room.
Though I couldn’t actually see him traipsing Hollywood two days before he played VH1’s Grammy party with suburban electro-popsters Dot Dot Dot, I clearly imagined Blair’s mascara-lined eyes still wide with shock and disbelief. His voice gave it away. He sounded like a kid in Willy Wonka’s candy land.
“The band has only been together for 10 months, ” he says incredulously, all giggles and launching into stories about high-profile shows, meeting Barack Obama and a chance Neil Patrick Harris sighting. “This is very, very, very strange.”
Mere weeks ago, Dot Dot Dot stood on Hollywood’s “Next Great American Band” stage as the last full-on rock band of the competition, four bands away from winning it all.
It’s Carrie Underwood’s time to shine
Try to imagine Carrie Underwood’s hit song, “Before He Cheats, ” as a dance remix.
Underwood couldn’t. She wouldn’t — even though her producers liked the idea.
“I had to beg and plead, and finally put my foot down and not do it, ” Underwood said during a late-January phone interview.
That was well before Feb. 10, when she performed a mildly-remixed version on the Grammy Awards, then took home a couple of Grammys for the original cut. She won best female country vocal performance, and “Before He Cheats” won best country song.
Just another stop on the road to superstardom for Underwood, who will be at the Roanoke Civic Center on Saturday, opening for Keith Urban.
Keith Urban’s country, with a lot of rock and roll
It’s a talent that his “co-headliner” Carrie Underwood still hasn’t quite mastered, though maybe her performance was hampered as she fought a cold through her 70-minute set.
It was tough watching a singer as powerful as Underwood struggle with her upper register, coughing between phrases at times. The sound mix didn’t do her any favors either, pushing the high end too much and making her sound strained.
Pro that she is, the former American Idol delivered well on her big notes, especially on the thundering ballad “Jesus Take the Wheel” and on the massive climax of “So Small.” But it was clearly a battle, one that got the best of her on the more-taxing “Wasted, ” where she lost all the fiery passion of the recorded version and essentially shouted the chorus over her eight-piece band.
Urban & Underwood Country superstars team up for arena tour
Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, two of the biggest names in the country-pop galaxy, are bringing their star power to Boardwalk Hall on Friday, Feb. 15.
Atlantic City is the fifth stop of their 24-city “Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride” tour.
Aussie-born Urban, the 2005 Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, is touring behind his “Greatest Hits: 18 Kids. The CD.”
Underwood, the fourth season winner of “American Idol, ” released her sophomore recording, “Carnival Ride, ” in October.
A Couple of Country Singers Stop to Strut a City Stage
The tour is called …Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride, which doesnt sound promising. Somehow, the organizers have turned two infelicitous album titles ‘ Keith Urban …Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing and Carrie Underwood …Carnival Ride ‘ into one singularly unpleasant phrase, which is odd, especially when they could have called this tour …Keith & Carrie! Live! Seriously! What else do you need to know?
Fast Chat: LaKisha Jones
Two years ago LaKisha Jones was working as a bank teller in Maryland. These days, the only money notes she deals with are the ones she belts out eight times a week in Broadway’s “The Color Purple.”
Jones’ ticket to Broadway was that golden ticket to Hollywood she got last season on “American Idol.” Her place in the top 12 was sealed after she sang “And I Am Telling You” from “Dreamgirls” during the initial Hollywood rounds, a performance that caused judge Randy Jackson to gush, “You laid it out on that stage. Jennifer Hudson, watch out!”
Symphony takes steps to celebrate dance music
It’s already been the most active season to date for the North State Symphony, now in its seventh season of concerts since uniting the former Redding and Chico symphonies.
The season has already included a full performance of Mahler’s “Resurrection” symphony, a sold-out event conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett called the orchestra’s most ambitious endeavor to date. The orchestra also performed Christmas concerts in various locales, including a special performance with Michael W. Smith and “American Idol” star Melinda Doolittle at the Redding Convention Center.
Dove awards announce changes, nominees
This year 39th annual Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards will be aired live nationwide for the first time in six years, Dove officials announced Thursday morning in a press conference at the Vanderbilt Loews Hotel. This is just one of many changes to the awards show this year.
The show will air on the Gospel Music Channel April 23 (locally on Comcast channel 189) and, among other changes, the awards will be presented at the Grand Ole Opry House at 7 p.m. Previously the Dove Awards were shown in national syndication, but in a taped format.
Dove and Grammy-winning artist Michael W. Smith and Elle Duncan, hosts of the GMC original series The Kitchen Sink announced the nominations.
Casting Crowns Mark Hall took individual honors with six nominations, while the group also had four. The David Crowder Band, Jeremy Camp, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Mandisa, tobyMac and Ricky Skaggs were among other multiple nominees.
Country music, rednecks and paying dues on CMT
ON last month’s debut episode of CMT’s celeb-reality competition “Gone Country, ” (8 p.m. Fridays), mentor John Rich of the country duo Big & Rich sat his pupils around a dinner table to prepare them for the challenges to come. His charges are stars who have seen better days ( Bobby Brown, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister) or who have yet to break through (Diana DeGarmo of “American Idol, ” Julio Iglesias Jr.) — all of them are on a quest to become country singers.
But rather than build them up for their foray into foreign territory, Rich tried a different tack. He played them a series of man-on-the-street interviews in which country fans expressed their, um, dissatisfaction at this latest crop of would-be crossover stars. For celebrities used to routine approbation, it was clearly brutal. SisqÃƒÆ’ ³, best (only?) known outside the R&B world for the 1999 incursion that was “Thong Song, ” said humbly, “It felt like they chopped me a new one.”
‘Idol’ exposure lands Phil Stacey on Griffins’ ice
GRAND RAPIDS — When “American Idol” contestant Jordin Sparks’ grandma started getting e-mails saying, “Vote for Phil Stacey, ” the 29-year-old former music pastor — Stacey — knew something was up.
Apparently, a huge e-mail campaign, fueled by the Christian broadcasting network American Family Radio, had worked its way all the way to the inbox of the eventual winner’s relative.
“It was funny, ” said Stacey, who came in sixth during last season’s “Idol” competition. “I asked Jordin’s grandma if she was going to vote for me. She said, ‘Yeah, Phil, sure I’ll vote for you.'”
American Idol: Top 24 at Last
Odd start to the episode. Two sexually ambiguous celebrities, Hayden Christiansen and Ryan Seacrest, picnicking on top of the Sphinx. Hayden even called Seacrest, …bro. What sort of realm have we entered? Ah! The erstwhile Darth Vader is pimping his new film in which he has the ability to …jump across time and space and he …jumped Ryan Seacrest all the way to a green screen set up to look like Egypt. I think the movie is called …The Man Who Does a Lot of Jumping. The whole Seacrest wooing Hayden scene ended when Seacrest invited him over to watch some …tapes of himself …hosting …The Emmys. Right.
‘American Idol’: The Semi-Final Countdown
The top 24 contestants of American Idol’s seventh season are off and running ‘ even though four of them are basically trapped in the starting gate. In typical inexplicable fashion, the show’s producers managed to get through four looong weeks of auditions and three whole hours of Hollywood Week without letting us hear a single note from Jason ”Dreadlocks” Castro, Luke ”Stubbly” Menard, Garrett ”Shaggy” Haley, and Jason ”Blond Patch” Yeager. Might I suggest that if none of these dudes crack the top 12, they form a vocal quartet and call themselves Cannon Fodder?
‘Idol’ finalist Archuleta is in a good place By Carmen Rasmusen
It’s been the most dramatic Hollywood week yet.
Forget the silly costumes, cheesy auditions and horribly off-key vocals of recent weeks. Out of 100, 000 “Idol” hopefuls, only a select few, including David Archuleta of Murray, advanced to the Hollywood competition.
Archuleta did more than that’ the judges quickly made him one of the 24 finalists. As Simon Cowell put it, “You’re young, you’re likable, and you’ve got a great voice. Not a bad place to be, right?”
No ‘Idol’ love — again! — for North Carolina
For the second year in a row, North Carolina will go unrepresented on “American Idol.”
No Tar Heels made the cut when the Fox TV singing competition announced the top 24 finalists for its seventh season Wednesday night.
Historically, North Carolina has had much “Idol” success — with Fantasia, a High Point native, winning in season three, and Raleigh’s Clay Aiken coming in second in season two. Season five featured three North Carolinians — Chris Daughtry, Bucky Covington and Kellie Pickler — in its final eight.
Spotlight Changes Philadelphia Girl’s Life
PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ‘ ¢ Anyone who has ever battled weight issues knows what a struggle it can be. For one Philadelphia family, the battle is threatening life and livelihood. But that’s changing thanks to one brave girl’s fateful audition for American Idol.
America first met Miss Temptresse Browne on American Idol. A failed audition brought tears down her 17-year-old cheeks. She even warmed the cold heart of Judge Simon Cowell, when he heard her reasons for auditioning.
“What makes me sad is to see my mom suffer, ” Temptresse told CBS 3’s Ukee Washington.
2 Valley natives finalists on ‘Idol’
Perhaps Jordin Sparks’ success on American Idol was a good-luck charm for Arizona: Two Valley natives are among the top 24 finalists on this season’s edition of the top-rated show.
t will be February 2009 before America again experiences suspense like it did tonight. In the next 12 months, our nation will choose its next president; endure triumph, tragedy and, as seems likely today, a recession at home and abroad; crown an Academy Award winner; and live through the Olympics gymnastics competition. We will proclaim new heroes and mourn the passing of beloved friends. And none of it will compare to the drama and tension of “American Idol” final judgment episode.
The episode is known to the “Idol” crew as the Green Mile, comparing the walk each contestant must take to hear his or her fate to the fabled last walk of those on death row. On this one harrowing night a year, “Idol” has constructed an hour of television in which drama is stripped down to its essentials and held steady in the blistering glare of the klieg lights.