A forgettable ‹Idol night for Jason Castro
If the judges refer to a performance on …American Idol as sounding …Broadway, that considered an insult. Broadway represents an entirely different genre from pop music, and the show designed to find pop music stars in the making.
But someone on the …Idol staff decided to give Andrew Lloyd Webber a call, and thus this week the six remaining finalists had to channel their inner musical theater star. Broadway tunes are not commonly heard on the radio, so Ryan Seacrest understated the case when he opened the show by saying, …tonight it time to up the ante, and the top six are going out of their comfort zones.
American Idol David Cook Tops Amazon MP3 Chart and Then Vanishes
After enjoying last week as the top-selling album at the Amazon MP3 store, American Idol contestant David Cook 2006 album Analog Heart was pulled from the digital music service. No reason was provided by AI producers or Amazon as to why the album was made unavailable, but web-based rumors that Cook was actually an AI-installed …ringer in the competition began to swell following Cook top-selling week (he even edged the debut of Mariah Carey E=MC2). In reality, Cook is not the only contestant this season with some sort of history in the music biz: Eliminated Michael Johns and Kristy Lee Cook were both major label signees, and two contestants records ‘ Carly Smithson (then Carly Hennessey) 2001 album Ultimate High and Brooke White 2006 Songs From the Attic ‘ are still available on Amazon. So why did Analog Heart get the ol …Not Available? Was this a plot hatched by AI producers to quell the David Cook fervor, or did Mariah Carey have some hand in this to ensure a number one placement for her new album? Let the conspiracy theories commence.
‘Idol’ MP3 86’D
It was there and now it isn’t.
I told you Monday that “American Idol” contestant David Cook’s album “Analog Heart” was available for downloading on Amazon’s MP3 site. It was so popular that it rocketed to No. 1, beating Mariah Carey’s latest release.
Tuesday, however, “Analog Heart” has been digitally removed. It’s gone. Although a link remains to see the album cover, the ability to download it has been removed from the site. Additionally, the audio snippets for each song have been removed as well.
What remains are the 91 reviews from enthusiastic Cook fans who did download “Analog Heart” before “American Idol” had it pulled down. One can only wonder what’s gone on backstage with Cook and the “Idol” producers, particularly the folks at 19 Entertainment. Cook seemed to be doing an end run around his contract with the show and management group before the contest ended.
Meanwhile, though Carey was playing second fiddle to Cook on Amazon, she’s No. 1 this week in the real world. Her “E=MC2” album sold about 500, 000 copies last week. It’s her biggest first-week sales for a CD since Tommy Mottola said “Cherchez la femme.”
‘Idol’: One CD Axed, Another Remains
I told you on Tuesday that after we discovered it was the No. 1 downloaded album on Amazon service, “American Idol” had it partially pulled. The cover and a listing for it still remained. But as of Tuesday night, “Analog Heart” is gone like it never existed.
But one other current contestant still has an album that can be bought or downloaded. Carly Smithson, nee Hennessy, made a much-loved CD in 2001 for Geffen Records. Called “Ultimate High, ” Smithson/Hennessy CD was produced by the New Radicals Gregg Alexander. (Ive never understood what happened to this guy, but that another story.)
“Ultimate High” still is listed under Carly Hennessy so it only No. 127 on the Amazon downloader.
Of course, the punch line is that if someone at Universal Music woke up, they could start promoting “Ultimate High” the way they did Amy Winehouse. It that good.
‘American Idol’: Better Than ‘Cats’
Okay, American Idol fans, here’s the ultimate Andrew Lloyd Webber-night head scratcher: Can you do more damage to your credibility by remembering every line of your script than by noticeably flubbing your lyrics?
In the case of tonight’s American Idol episode, the answer is a resounding ”yes!”
On one hand, we had Brooke White’s jaw-dropping stop-and-reboot on ”You Must Love Me, ” David Archuleta’s badly botched second verse on ”Think of Me, ” and (sigh) even Carly Smithson’s rhyme-busting substitution of her song title (”Superstar”) when she should’ve repeated ”Jesus Christ” on her first run-through of the chorus.
David Archuleta and the Outstretched Hand: The Gallery
Rock Daily asked what youd like to see balanced in American Idol hopeful David Archuleta perpetually outstretched palm, you answered ‘ now the results can be seen: Archuleta hand has been immortalized many, many times over holding everything from a mini Paula Abdul to Bret Michaels hair. Check out the staggeringly awesome results here.
Reality Check: Webber Classes Up ‘Idol’
Despite the fact that our Idols had to jet off to Vegas to work with him, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber added an element of culture that’s usually sorely lacking to this week’s “American Idol.”
While he seemed reasonably flummoxed by some aspects of the show ‘ why boys were opting to sing diva ballads and how to make sense of Jason Castro, among other quandaries ‘ the Lord was an enthusiastic and admirable coach.
Still, watching him working so intently with our kids was a bit like seeing Simon giggle boyishly ‘ compelling, in other words, but odd. I mean, we’re used to having the mentor episodes be all about the mentor, where the fun is in trying to figure out, say, why Mariah looks like she’s lit differently than everyone else or how Dolly doesn’t seem to age. But with Webber, it was all about the kids.
American Idol: Top 6 Perform
When Ryan came out on stage he was encompassed by a live orchestra right there on the stage with him. As it turns out, at least for tonight’s show, Ricky Minor and the band have been joined by a full orchestra to flesh out the music of tonight’s theme and celebrity mentor, Andrew Lloyd Weber. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love musical theater, and Weber’s had a hand in some of the most important musicals of the modern era, including Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. For Weber, it’s all about the words and the story that the songs tell, so that was his focus in working with the contestants.
American Idol: Memories, Music of the Night and Paula Making Sense
I love it when I go into an AI week with dread, and come out of it pleasantly surprised.
You know it kind of an odd night when Paula Abdul is the biggest voice of reason on …American Idol, but I found myself not only agreeing with her on a number of points but also understanding some of her ramblings that left Simon baffled.
Also, while the catalogue of Andrew Lloyd Webber stymied a few of our top six, I found Sir Andrew himself to be charming and quite helpful (hopefully some of his advice will stick with the Idols over the next few weeks).
Here how the Top Six fared in front of Mulder, who apparently getting a jump on promoting …X-Files: I Want to Believe.
OMG American Idol
Jason Castro admitted that he had no idea “Memory” was sung by a cat. Despite it being in Cats. And despite him picking the song for Andrew Lloyd Webber night from, you know, the composer’s entire catalog. And Brooke White just pulled her second false start of the season, forgetting the opening words to “You Must Love Me”! I mean, we probably all figured that ALW night would be a bit trainwrecky, but who among us thought that the song from freaking Starlight Express would bring the best performance of tonight’s first half-hour?
Andrew Lloyd Webber Grills ‘American Idol’ Top Six
The American Idol producers have set their second straight booby-trap. As hard as it was for the Idol singers to handle Mariah Carey last week, Tuesday’s (April 22) challenge is The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, a theme whose difficulty is matched only by its irrelevance in terms of finding a contemporary popular artist.
Along with her tattoo-artist husband Todd — “whose face is covered in ink art, ” says the Chicago Tribune — Smithson is co-owner of the San Diego tattoo shop Nothing Sacred. Smithson, the aspiring American Idol singer, met her husband at the Los Angeles International Airport when a friend sent her to pick him up. After a friendship and a long-distance phone romance that included Smithson traveling between California and Ireland, the two married about 3 ½ years ago. Apparently the singer had a tattoo before she met her husband, but “he did give her a knuckle tattoo, ” reports the Tribune.
Left arm of Denver Nuggets player J.R. SmithSo now we have the poster girl for tattoos on national television. Maybe I am old-fashioned — but it concerns me that millions of young girls viewing Carly could result in further normalizing tattoos among the younger set. This form of “art” is also displayed on the bodies of young NBA basketball players, whose acrobatic feats mesmerize youngsters watching on TV. (See image [right] of the Denver Nuggets’ J.R. Smith’s arm.)
Idol’s David Archuleta, no prom and a tough dad
TMZ reports that David’s prom takes place this weekend in Murray, Utah will be celebrated without the smiling, sweet faced kid.
Contestant Brooke White also had to adhere to these rules and missed her sister’s wedding.
Archuleta’s rise in popularity comes with some back-story revealed recently by none other than Nashville star, Naomi Judd.
Archuleta’s stage dad Jeff alleged heavy handedness has prompted some criticism from the red-headed beauty.
David Cook’s Axiom Bandmate: ‘He Had The Talent’
Whether it’s the watch parties, the online music sales or the performances in Hollywood, everything that has to do with David Cook is big these days.
FOX 4 caught up with a former Axiom band member of Cook’s, who was there when things were just getting started.
Matt McLaughlin and Cook both went to high school in Blue Springs, where they played together.
“We got together because we knew he played guitar and sang and one of his friends, Bobby, played drums, so we played at a school assembly for the first time, and we enjoyed that, ” McLaughlin said. “And people seemed to receive it pretty well, so we just kind of went from there.”
‘Idol’ votes no on full disclosure
It’s a bigger mystery than who cuts Simon Cowell’s hair: Why aren’t “American Idol’s” complete voting results ever released?
Viewers discover each week which unlucky singer is getting the boot, of course. But one of the main complaints about “Idol’s” phone-in balloting is that the show has never published precise voting totals, not even at season’s end, when such information would be in no danger of swaying perceptions that could alter the competition. Thus viewers can only speculate by how much, say, Jordin Sparks won the contest last season.
The lack of transparency sometimes leads conspiracy theorists to grumble about “Idol” being “fixed, ” especially when a popular contestant, such as this year’s Michael Johns, is shown the door.
What’s surprising is that at least one of the show’s producers says he’s all in favor of releasing the vote tallies.
“If there’s any overt rule that says why (totals) shouldn’t be released, I’m not aware of it, ” executive producer Ken Warwick said in an interview last week. “I was under the impression they were open to scrutiny.
Kelly Clarkson sheds good-girl image, clothes
Kelly Clarkson has seemed committed to shedding her good-girl image since she stepped off the …American Idol stage, and the reporting surrounding her latest habits only serve to prove that.
According to a close source who spoke to Us Weekly, the Grammy-winning pop star enjoys walking around her home in the buff, no matter the circumstances. That would include not just when close friends are around, but even when her home is …filled with strangers for photo shoots or fittings, reports the magazine.
Back to school, studio for former ‘Idol’ finalist Stephanie Edwards
Jennifer Hudson’s and Chris Daughtry’s premature departures. Sanjaya making it farther than he should have. Anybody who actually bought one of William Hung’s three albums. At times, you really have to question the sanity of American Idol viewers.
In a few years, Stephanie Edwards should be able to give her professional opinion. The Season 6 finalist is back in school studying psychology. While most of her fellow finalists are chasing stardom, she’s chasing a degree at Armstrong Atlantic State University in her hometown of Savannah, Ga.
“You need that backup and the education behind you, ” says Edwards, 20. “It makes you a more well-rounded person.”
Which is Funnier: The Trailer for ‘College’ or a Bullet to the Head?
Here I was thinking that the trailer for My Best Friend’s Girl was quite possibly the unfunniest thing I had ever had the “pleasure” of sitting through. Then, I stumbled across the trailer for College (see above). Directed Deb Hagen, College is a teen comedy about three friends (who appear as if they were discovered at a Superbad look-a-like convention) on a weekend getaway scouting colleges. In between beer bongs, the boys are recruited by a rowdy fraternity and find love with three girls that are ridiculously out of their league. From then on it’s recycled gags from every R-rated comedy you can think of since Bluto first shouted “Toga!”
Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell, and Kevin Covais star as the three buddies (and here is a little fun fact: Covais was a goody-two shoes American Idol hopeful back in 2006). MGM has slated the film for an August 29th release, which is probably a good idea because it is a relatively quiet time in the summer blockbuster season (the only competition will be Babylon A.D. and Vicky Cristina Barcelona). Judging from the trailer, College is going to need all the help (and free beer) it can get.
Underwood plays to sellout at Convo
Carrie Underwood blew the audience away Monday night with her powerful voice.
About 5, 000 fans, ranging from preteens to grandparents, came to the Convocation Center to see Carrie Underwood perform 15 songs , lasting a little more than an hour and a half. She sang a variety of songs from both her albums, …Some Hearts and …Carnival Ride.
Carrie succeeded in getting the audience into each song by taking a personal approach to transitions. Before singing …The More Boys I Meet, she talked about her experience with relationships by adding jokes about the media.
…At least I get to read about whoever Im dating, Underwood said, adding that the only boy in her life is her dog.
Carrie Underwood the Next Jennifer Aniston?
Carrie Underwood may have made a sweet $7 million last year, but that’s not stopping the “American Idol” alum from making an, er, “splash” in the spokesmodel world.
Following in the footsteps of Jennifer Aniston, Tom Brady, 50 Cent and Shaquille O’Neal, the country crooner has officially joined the Glaceau family to front a campaign for vitaminwater’s energy drink. (Seriously, this gal is almost in a different state every day, so if anyone can epitomize everlasting energy, it’s Carrie!)
Underwood spent last week filming a cosmonaut-themed commercial in New Jersey, and it’s set to hit the airwaves in June.
Pop Tarts also has been told that the popular performer will be designing her very own bottle label for the energy drink, and the brand will be a major part of her Carnival Ride Tour through this spring and summer.
Well, at least the ultra-hot Grammy-winner will have an easy way to cool down her crowds.
Pop Life: American Dreamer
American Idol has been through a lot of trials and tribulations this season, but one thing will never change: Paula sure does like this show, doesnt she? You cant kill her enthusiasm, even when everybody else is getting that shellshocked despair in their eyes. Paula makes Idol soothing to watch ‘ if the …Forever Your Girl kid can put herself through this punishment, week after pitchy week, who are the rest of us to bail? For me, the most touching moment this season came when Carly Smithson sang …Total Eclipse of the Heart, driving Randy to the edge of existential rage ‘ the poor guy looked like he was about to bang his head on the judges table, Don Music-style, wondering how he can keep putting up with all the ridiculous vocal atrocities on this ridiculous show.
Kellie Pickler and Finger Eleven to Headline
Admission to the Crown Royal Festival in the Field on Thursday, May 1, is free with $3 paid track admission ($1 for Twin Spires Club members). Gates open at 11 a.m. and post time for the first of the day’s 11 races is scheduled for 12:45 p.m.
Kellie Pickler, along with several regional favorites, will play Crown Royal’s infield stage beginning at 12 p.m. The Albemarle, NC native released her album, Small Town Girl, on October 31, 2006, and entered the Billboard country albums chart at No. 1. Her first single, “Red High Heels, ” continued its way up the charts throughout 2007. Kellie Pickler’s bubbly TV presence has led to work as a red carpet correspondent for The Tonight Show With Jay Leno as a guest host on The View. She appears courtesy of RCA’s BNA Records and 19 Recordings.
Backstage Report: Bruno Says, “We Want Paula Abdul”
“I’m going to kill Tom Bergeron, ” says Paula Abdul, sitting ringside at Dancing with the Stars Monday night. The American Idol judge has made no secret of the fact that she loves the ABC dance competition and has told Bergeron (as well as pro Louis van Amstel) that she wants to be a contestant next season. It was reported in TV Guide, and then Bergeron also relayed the message to the public in a radio interview. Now, Abdul has to face reporters who are peppering her with questions. “I sneak in here on Tuesday nights to watch, ” she explains, walking about 50 yards from the Idol soundstage to the adjacent Dancing ballroom.
Paula’s take on Season 6? “It has been great, ” she says. “A nice progression, just like American Idol. Kristi Yamaguchi is amazing. But so is Jason [Taylor]. So is Marlee [Matlin]. And I’m not just saying that.”
Cowell denies Seymour split rumours
Simon Cowell has attempted to quash rumours that his relationship with girlfriend Terri Seymour has reached crisis point.
It was recently claimed that the music mogul’s refusal to settle down with Seymour had finally taken its toll on their five-year relationship.
However, his publicist Max Clifford told Sky Showbiz that there is no truth in the reports, saying: “It’s a rumour that’s been going on for the last year or so.
“It’s come up now because she’s buying her own place, so everybody’s been sniffing around since then.
“And if he goes anywhere on his own, like the Joe Calzaghe boxing match, well… She doesn’t like boxing.”
He added: “So that’s really what it is, people putting two and two together and making six. They were together last night when I spoke to them.”
Learning to Love the Davids
“Idol” also forces this realization, brutally, and ever more so as the field narrows and clear crowd favorites emerge. This brings me to my own conversion narrative. Readers of this humble column know I hated the Davids when Season 7 began – Archuleta seemed to me a frustratingly opaque showbiz kid, while Cook seemed cut from the fake-grunge cloth of the many KROQ favorites I dread. But I’ve totally come around, especially after last night’s Andrew Lloyd Webber challenge. Davids A and C ran this gauntlet with by-now predictable flair, making me begrudgingly love them all the more.
Davidarchuleta_2 Webber’s compositions, which played a key role in defining theater music (and, some would say, schmaltz) in the age of rock, proved extremely challenging for the Final Six. These aspirants are too young to have experience classic rock firsthand, and few seem to have spent any time in a theater that wasn’t a converted high school gym. So they had little chance of grasping Lord Webber’s potent blend of angst and artifice, much less displaying the vocal precision theater (as opposed to Top 40 stardom, for which there is auto-tuning) requires.
Titan of Song Battle Andrew Lloyd Webber
Since the cornerstones of the Idoldome were set, it has been written that one day, six singers must pass this way before the show could fulfill its destiny.
In taking on the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, “American Idol” came face to face with its spiritual creator, the man who elevated vocal performance to the level of spectacle. History has been filled with singing competitions, but until Lord Webber transformed the stage, the idea of singing as single combat — a combat to master one soul and to enslave an audience — would have been impossible.
But while “American Idol” may have been shaped in the passed-down image of the master, the show has needed time to work its way back to its creator, teaching its contestants to crawl before they can fly with pop tunes and songbook standards.