Unh Unh Unh Unh Unh Unh Unh Unh ¦
…is how you say …in the jingle-jangle morning in Jason Castro-ese. Translated into English, it means, …Please, Im begging you. Kick me off this show.
It almost over. In mere weeks there will be only frustrating presidential campaigns, ongoing wars for oil, recession, global warming, and the aftermath of the Myanmar catastrophe to occupy your mind. We’ll each have to cope in our own ways. Grand Theft Auto 4 — or is it 5 — might be an option.
3 ‘Idol’ finalists bask in adoration of hometown fans
Everywhere they go, “American Idol” contestants attract a crowd of admirers, well-wishers, gushy handmade signs and screams fit for a vintage Beatle. But when it comes to feting finalists, home is where the “I (heart) you” is.
In what’s become an annual “Idol” rite of passage, the remaining three contestants ‘ David Archuleta, Syesha Mercado and David Cook ‘ headed to their respective hometowns Friday for a dose of family and the inevitably intense local rah-rah routine, showing just how stirred up communities get when one of their own shines on TV’s biggest stage.
Children are pulled from school. Elected officials make grand declarations. Pro sports teams clear the national-anthem calendar. Motorcades roll.
In Murray, Utah, Archuleta was greeted by the same sound that reaches the “Idol” stage every time he steps on it: screaming girls.
Top 3 Idols Make Hometown Visits
“American Idol” excitement is building toward the finals on May 20, and the Top 3 contestants — David Archuleta, David Cook and Syesha Mercado — are getting up close and personal with fans in their hometowns today.
Archuleta nails anthem
In the landscape of national anthem performances, Whitney Houston can claim one end and Roseanne Barr the other.
The soulful version David Archuleta performed during tonight’s Utah Jazz/Los Angeles Lakers playoff game landed in the middle but was thankfully much closer to Houston.
The 17-year-old “American Idol” singer from Murray performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” before a sold-out crowd of 19, 900 basketball fans and delivered a moving rendition, although he appeared nervous enough to forget the words (he didn’t).
‘American Idol’ hopeful David Archuleta greeted home by screaming fans
Wherever he went this morning, David Archuleta was far and away the most popular teen in Utah.
From a television station near the Salt Lake City International Airport to The Gateway mall downtown, Archuleta’s screaming fans were in full force, cheering on the 17-year-old to become the next “American Idol.”
Thousands chanted his name at the AT&T store at the outdoor mall, and some screaming girls even cried as he walked up the steps to sign autographs. For a brief time Friday morning, Salt Lake City had its very own version of “Beatlemania.”
Another American Idol Surprise: Sarasota-Bred Finalist Syesha Mercado is a Playful, Poised Star-in-the-Making
TAMPA — This was not the Syesha Mercado I’ve seen tackling the big songs each week on American Idol.
That woman, appearing on my TV each week belting out classic diva tunes despite all advice to the contrary, is by turns intensely serious and emotional — focused on nailing the increasingly showy tunes she picks each week for America’s biggest talent competition.
But the Syesha who emerged during the start of her daylong local publicity tour of the Tampa Bay area this morning was so much more appealing. Funny. Humble. Given to playful teasing and spot-on Dscn0159 impressions — she cracked up the crew on WFLZ-FM’s morning show with a dead-on impersonation of Idol judge Paula Abdul — Mercado seems born to bask in the attention afforded a major singing star.
So why does so little of this superstar charisma make it onto the Idol stage during the competition?
Floridian American Idol finalist wows fans at home
SARASOTA — Syesha Mercado — the first Floridian to reach American Idol’s Top 3 — made the trip back home Friday for a series of appearances that were taped for Tuesday’s show.
More than 2, 000 fans gathered on the shores of Sarasota Bay to watch the former Florida International University student belt out tunes, including the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic Proud Mary, which she sang on this week’s episode.
During the performance, a fax came in from Idol judge Randy Jackson informing Mercado that she would be singing the Alicia Keys hit If I Ain’t Got You on Tuesday.
Mercado, 21, auditioned for Idol in Miami at the American Airlines Arena in August, wowing producers with Aretha Franklin’s Think.
Making it this far on the popular television show doesn’t come as a surprise to those who know her.
Triumphant Syesha returns to Trop
The last time she performed at Tropicana Field, she was an unknown 13-year-old middle school student singing the national anthem before a Tampa Bay Devil Rays game.
Ah, but Friday was a much different story.
Everyone knows her now.
She is Syesha Mercado, the 21-year-old finalist on “American Idol” and by far the biggest name to perform the national anthem before a Rays game this season.
Mercado’s event-filled Friday ended with a long, soulful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner before the Rays’ game against the visiting Los Angels Angels.
“This has been a good roller-coaster, ” she said of her day, which began when her plane landed at 3 a.m. in Tampa. “There’s been so many gifts, so many tears.”
FIU teachers not surprised by Syesha
Syesha Mercado auditioned for American Idol in Miami at the AmericanAirlines Arena on a blistering hot August afternoon. She wowed producers with her audition song, Aretha Franklin’s “Think.”
But she didn’t have to do much thinking to recall precisely where she was. Not long before, Mercado, a student in the theater department of Florida International University, filmed a Ford commercial in the same neighborhood. That’s Syesha, seen smiling through the sunroof, as she whips a Ford Escape around the streets surrounding the arena.
According to her biography, Mercado was born in Bridgeport, Conn. Her mother, Zelda, is black and her father, JosÃƒÆ’ ©, is of Cuban descent. Mercado recently became engaged to Hess Wesley who toured with her on Friday.
Landing on a popular television program doesn’t come as a surprise to those who know her.
It’s Syesha Mania on the Suncoast!
SARASOTA – With American Idol cameras in tow, contestant and local girl Syesha Mercado was welcomed back to the Suncoast today. The red carpet welcome drew hundreds of fans to each stop along the way.
A concert open to the public at the Ca d’Zan mansion in Sarasota was a huge success. Local officials say national attention our area is getting right now is some of the best ever.
Her day started early and ended late. It started downtown Bradenton, on the riverfront. Hundreds of fans chanted her name. County commissioners making it clear: her roots are in Manatee County. “She went to school at Booker, but she lived in Manatee County, ” said Commissioner Gwen Brown. Mercado was clearly moved by the show of support in Manatee County, and she had a message for those who have big dreams.
Kansas City shows off Power & Light District to David Cook fans
Downtown Kansas City freshly minted Power & Light District got national exposure today as Blue Springs American Idol favorite David Cook appeared to soak up the adulation and play two tunes (highlights of which will be aired on Tuesday show, as they show the three remaining finalists appearing in their hometowns).
Prime Buzz got to accompany City Manager Wayne Cauthen and City Councilwoman Jan Marcason backstage before the show. They thanked him for everything he doing for Kansas City, before they went on stage to present him with proclamations on behalf of the city and the state. Several council aides also went backstage, along with Mary Charles of City Communications. Excerpts will be on the city Channel 2 cable channel.
Cauthen told Cook, …No pressure, but we really hope you win.
David Cook Slideshow
American Idol fans swarmed the Power & Light District for David Cook Day. The Blue Springs native sang two songs and basked in his newfound celebrity.
What David Cook Is Really Like
Working as a web producer at FOX 4, I’ve written dozens of stories about Blue Springs’ native David Cook. And, his homecoming was a big story here especially since FOX 4 airs American Idol on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
I came in about 6:30 a.m. to help with our behind-the-scenes web coverage. I met the American Idol producers and David Cook.
He seemed genuine and honest. He’s clearly being guided by his new “handlers.” But, he’s also clearly not stupid.
He gets it. He gets that he’s lucky. That people now know him and love him who never even heard of him six months ago.
Idol Spoiler: David Cook Announces What He’ll Sing Next Week
Blue Springs, Missouri native and American Idol hopeful, David Cook, appeared on the FOX 4 Morning Show in Kansas City on Friday.
During his appearance he announced which songs he’ll be singing next week.
His choice: “The World I Know” by Collective Soul.
Also, during the interview he received a text message from Simon Cowell announcing the judges’ choice.
Cowell told Cook he’d be singing “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack
Van rental donated to Cook family
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The kindness of strangers continue to help out one local family.
David Cook is one of three finalists on the hit show ‘American idol’. His brother, Adam who lives in Terre Haute, is battling brain cancer.
National Car Rental in Terre Haute, donated a 15-passenger van for the family to travel to David’s hometown of Blue Springs, Missouri, to watch next week’s episodes.
The family left Friday morning. “It’s good to be a part of, you know we were trying to think of Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley as a community, and it was wonderful to be a part of that community and be able to help out folks, especially for a cause like this, ” Jess Mick, manager of National Car Rental, said.
Remember when our ‘American Idol’ hopefuls came home to Birmingham?
Ah, yes, the whirlwind hometown visit, with its parades, mini-concerts, mayoral declarations, autograph signings and media interviews.
We won’t be having one of those today.
Lacking a top-three contestant on “American Idol, ” Birmingham is denied the hoopla our city has experienced in the past. Three area singers were catapulted to fame on the TV reality series, in case you’ve forgotten: Taylor Hicks in 2006, Bo Bice in 2005 and Ruben Studdard in 2003.
Teams from The Birmingham News covered their hometown visits, all of which began around dawn on the second Friday in May and extended far into the night.
Exciting? Sure. But exhausting for the “Idol” contestants, who jetted into town after their usual crunch in Los Angeles to film segments for the next week’s episodes.
American Idol might lower age requirements
Just when some people are saying that American Idol should shake things up a bit comes this bit of news from one of the judges: they might lower the age for contestants.
Right now the youngest a performer can be on the show is 16 (fan favorite David Archuleta is 17) and the highest limit is 30, which is really old in pop music terms I guess. But judge Simon Cowell tells Extra that the FOX show might drop the lowest age from 16 to 14. Then, if that works out well, the plan is to eventually have contestants audition directly from their mother’s womb. That would be fantastic television, having fetuses go up against 25 year-olds.
American Idol: My fantasy top ten
Watching American Idol this season, I’ve come to the not-so-astute realization that we can’t all like everyone who makes it to the top ten each season. There are different musical styles, personalities and, let’s face it, some pretty crappy singers who make it through.
So I’ve begun to fantasize about an all-star AI top ten. Imagine if everyone that you really liked from the top ten of all the past seasons of AI were in the top ten together. I know the top ten can’t be all the handsome rocker men I so adore, but it can be a good mix of good music, memorable personalities, and lasting talent.
American Idol Betting Odds: David Cook Now The Favorite
American Idol only has two weeks left. what started last year at auditions around the world, will end next week in California, with a new American Idol.
The gambling odds so far this year have had David Archuleta as the overwhelming favorite for the majority of the year. As the season wore on, he slowly was being caught by David Cook.
Now, with only two weeks, Cook has emerged as the new gambling favorite. Archuleta has remained steady throughout the performances, but Cook has gained momentum in the past few weeks.
Anyone wanting to place a bet on Cook to win will have to lay $155 to win $100. That makes him a big favorite. Archuleta gamblers will lay $100 to win $140, still favorite odds.
Wednesday Idol: What You Didn’t See
As Jason farewell video played on the monitor, Syesha lifted her hands in the air, looked up and said, …Thank you, God, as she headed over to hug David Cook after learning she was safe. But Castro, always cool and collected, proudly accepted his fate and shed no tears. As the band started to play his final song, Castro halted Ricky Minor in his tracks and said, …Were doing the [Bob] Marley one! What going on? Minor and the band had started up with Jason other song, Bob Dylan …Mr. Tambourine Man. As Castro happily performed his …I Shot the Sheriff encore, (something the judges had dubbed his worst to date), Cowell couldnt help turn and smirk at the audience, searching for their reactions as Castro contentedly strummed on. Still, the acerbic judge was the first one to walk up and hug the fallen Idol before Randy offered him words of encouragement, and finally Paula wrapped her arms around the easy-going dreadhead.
Sometimes when Im watching Jeopardy, which I do every night, I like to guess what religion or denomination contestants belong to based on clues ‘ the college they attended, the mission trip they went on, their hometown ‘ from their brief introductions. So Newsweek Sally Atkinson is a reporter after my own heart.
In …America Next Top Mormon, she wrote about a Mormon American Idol finalist and other Mormons who have been contestants on reality television:
Kristy Cook to sing in Weed
The ultimate this just in: Coach Doug Eastman called just before deadline to let this one big scoop out of the bag: American Idol star Kristy Lee Cook will sign autographs Saturday at 1 pm. before the start of the No. 1 ranked COS Lady Eagles’ big playoff game with Sequoias on the Weed campus by the softball playing field.
Her official assignment: sing the National Anthem at the game.
The game starts at 2 p.m., and Eastman said the big celeb will hang around to sign more autographs postgame.
Idol In Iraq: Sweet on Syesha, Saw Castro Elimination Coming
So, not all of our soldier pals got to catch this week …Idol performances (SSG Cody was the only one who did, and he only caught the last half of the episode), because they were off doing what our nation servicemen and women do ‘ real classified-type stuff. That means there isnt a complete briefing from our Iraq-based …Idol hounds this week. But even though he halfway around the globe, in one of the world most unstable countries, Cody still could tell that dread-head Jason Castro number was going to be the one called.
Surprisingly, SSG Cody didnt even mention Paulagate in his report, but it does seem he got a little thing for dark horse Syesha Mercado ‘ but that something he got to work out himself.
SSG Cody impressions of this week …Idol, after the jump.
Top 10 TV Programs Among Blacks
With Syesha Mercado still in the running, American Idol once again topped the list of most watched TV programs among African Americans.
ETSU Overspent For Recent Carrie Underwood Concert
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. ‘ The cost to bring Carrie Underwood to East Tennessee State University worked out to an eye-popping $41, 077 per song, or $7, 120 a minute for the time she played.
But the $534, 000 price tag raised nary an administrator eyebrow until April ‘ weeks after the country starlet and klieg lights had come and gone ‘ when officials realized they had overdrawn their concert fund account by $209, 000.
University officials have frozen the account, funded by student activities fees, and are borrowing money from internal cash reserves to cover outstanding fees until new activities revenues accrue. They credited the miscalculation to “human error” and said they have taken steps to fix the problem, but offered few specifics.
A spokesman declined to comment on whether disciplinary action had been taken
Vince, Dierks Applaud Carrie’s Opry Induction
May 9, 2008 ‘ Carrie Underwood becomes the newest addition to the Grand Ole Opry when she appears on the venerable show tomorrow night. You can bet that she’s thrilled about that development, but she’s not alone. Opry members Vince Gill and Dierks Bentley both think she’ll have a positive effect on the institution.
“The ability to go and get somebody like Carrie Underwood who really is knockin’ it out of the park in the biggest way, it gives the Opry great marquee value, ” Vince told Dial-Global. “And it’s not gonna be an artist that in a couple of years is gonna have a nice run and you won’t hear from them again. She’s really got the talent to have longevity and be a force for a long, long time.”
Pickler to Debut Single at ACM Awards
Kellie, whose first album already produced the Country Music hits …Red High Heels and …I Wonder, will be performing her latest single …Dont You Know Youre Beautiful live at this year ACM Awards show, which airs Sunday night, May 18, on CBS.
The song is the first off of the singer’s sophomore album, which is set to come out later this year. Kellie Pickler is very excited to be performing her new work on such a big stage.
…Im so excited to be performing on the show and doubly so, to be debuting the new single, Pickler said. …It such a great song with a great message, and it different from any other song Ive recorded before.
Kellie Pickler helps CMA bring gift of music to schools
Henry Baah, a seventh-grader and future student of Thurgood Marshall Middle School, couldn’t say what was more exciting for him: receiving a new snare drum to play in the school band, or getting to meet Kellie Pickler.
The country star and former American Idol contestant was at the future Thurgood Marshall site, along with Mayor Karl Dean and Country Music Association Chief Executive Officer Tammy Genovese, to help deliver more than 75 new instruments for the school’s music program.
“I should have hit the gym before I came, ” Pickler said, while passing along one of six tubas unloaded from a truck.
Jennifer Hudson Stays Busy, New Single ‹Spotlight Drops This Month
This year is turning out to be a busy one for Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. The actress and R&B singer will release the first single …Spotlight from her as yet untitled album this month following her role as Louise, in the highly anticipated Sex and The City movie.
Hudson says …Right now it a huge variety of everything. It has a great pop feel, and it still clubbish…and it very different.
So far Hudson, has worked with producers including Pharrell, Timbaland, T-Pain, Diane Warren, Stargate and Ne-Yo on the debut album. But dont expect an album full of collaborations, the singer/actress says …It mainly just me. It a solo album. I did do a duet with T-Pain, and that probably the only one.
Jennifer Hudson working on first album
NEW YORK, May 9 (UPI) — U.S. singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar for her work in “Dreamgirls, ” said she is working on her first solo album.
“Everyone says, ‘When is your next album coming out?'” Hudson told reporters in New York recently. “And I’m like, ‘No, this is my first one.’ Other than the ‘Dreamgirls’ soundtrack, that is, but that’s (my character) Effie on it. Right now, it’s a huge variety of everything, but the first single is ‘Spotlight, ‘ (due out this month) and it has a great pop feel, and it’s still clubbish … and it’s very different. Everybody is so used to or adjusted to the sound of Effie coming from me, but it’s going to be very different. I think people will be surprised.”
“Idol” alum brings soulful sound to annual festival
The concept of “losing” is such an arbitrary thing when it comes to a juggernaut like “American Idol.” After all, millions of people have not only heard you sing, they’ve seen you under pressure, they’re aware of weekly changes in hairstyles and they’ve witnessed Ryan Seacrest talk smack about your shoes. And then, you’re bumped off the stage because the fickle public can’t figure out who’s best, so they vote for the singer most like them.
It can be a gift, getting into the finals but not going all the way. America has seen you shine, and you don’t have all that winner baggage clamped onto your back like Marley’s ghost. Just ask Kimberley Locke. She came in “third” during the second season of “American Idol, ” the so-called last-girl-standing when it came to the scrappy duel between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard. Locke still got to star in the Idols tour and record a couple of well-received soulful albums.
‘Idol’ vocal coach is never idle as she guides the apprehensive contestants
In conversation, Debra Byrd is a whirlwind. A fast-talking force of nature for whom the laws of punctuation do not always apply. But in her role as the first …American Idol vocal coach, the woman everyone calls …Byrd is the calm center of a pop-culture storm. The …Idol contestants have to listen to the judges, but when they are so stressed they can’t hear themselves think, they talk to Debra Byrd.
…Often, they will second-guess themselves because the judges will be split in how they feel about a performance, Byrd said by phone from Los Angeles. …Randy may hate it. Simon may love it. Paula’s gonna love it. And if she doesn’t love it, she’s kind about how she doesn’t love it. A lot of times, they’ll get mixed signals on Wednesday night, and then on Thursday morning, they’ll have to pick their next song.
Paula Fought For Gay Idols Danny and David
In a new interview, Paula Abdul talks about her gay best friends and how she fought for gay American Idol contestants Danny Noriega and David Hernandez.
I pushed for them and fought… There’s a reason why there was never, ever a debate or argument during the Green Mile show. We were still debating, and I was being yelled at – we were going overtime – because I fought so hard for Danny and David. And I stood my ground. I said, This kid is needed ‘ especially Danny- because he is very open about being gay. He tried out the year before, and I fought…
Simon Cowell slates Scottish hopefuls on Britain’s Got Talent
SCOTLAND gets its first chance to show it has talent tonight – but only offers up a singing family.
And even though the daughter’s name is Lotto, the group called Family Affair don’t hit the jackpot on Britain’s Got Talent.
The programme overlooked Scotland last year and judge Simon Cowell admits he got it wrong before they start the Glasgow auditions.
Tonight, he’ll be seen saying: “Scotland rightly said last year, you should include us in Britain’s Got Talent.
“So here we are at their request – I just hope it’s worth it.”
While not seen in the programme, we can reveal that after the morning session at the Glasgow auditions Simon said to the audience: “We weren’t in Scotland last year. From what we saw this morning was the right decision.”
Britain’s Got Talent: Flexible hopeful stuns Cowell with her hula hooping ankles
Britain’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell is lost for words when one wannabe star shows how flexible she is.
Slender brunette Jessie, one third of a student trio of hula hoopers named ‘Hoop La La’, stunned TV’s Mr Nasty when she hula-hooped with her ankles with her legs apart.
Jessie and her colleagues Craig and Tina performed a combination of gymnastics and hula hooping along to The Village People’s ‘Macho Man’ dressed in colour co-ordinated pink and blue.
‘Idol’ finalist throws out first pitch
KANSAS CITY — David Cook, one of three finalists on “American Idol, ” threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Royals’ game against the Orioles on Friday night.
Kauffman Stadium fans, treated to video clips of Cook’s TV performances on the giant CrownVision board, screamed as he took the field.
Cook, wearing a personalized Royals jersey with No. 08, threw a left-handed low-and-inside pitch to Brett Tomko, a pitcher who crouched behind home plate.
Afterward, manager Trey Hillman presented him a framed duplicate of the Royals’ lineup card with Cook listed as the 10th man.
New releases from Last Shadow Pup, Clay Aiken, Barenaked Ladies
Clay Aiken, …On My Way Here
In the Broadway show that is Clay Aiken public life, he is, of course, the leading man. His fourth full-length progresses just like the Original Cast Recording, with character development songs early, beatific love songs in the middle and a denouement of regret and lessons learned. Aiken, who debuted on the Great White Way this year in …Spamalot, sings like a theater veteran: almost too perfect, with a self-aware showmanship. But that doesnt make pop-rock nuggets like …Ashes any less catchy, or the ballads ‘ on which Aiken breathy tenor could break housewife hearts ‘ ring any less true. With big American melodies, stock adult-contemporary production and general inoffensiveness throughout, this should satisfy his army of self-dubbed Claymates.
Skill, Schmill. America Truly Idolizes Spunk.
The need to nurture has also gummed up the proceedings on “American Idol, ” where folks who watch the show with the volume turned on have been baffled by the endurance of Jason Castro. This week, when he managed to remember the words to Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man, ” he sounded dreadful and took such a lashing from judge Simon Cowell that one could practically hear the sympathy voters flexing their thumbs in preparation for a text-messaging firestorm. But not to be outdone in organizing a get-out-the-vote pity party, Syesha Mercado — better suited for Broadway than the Top 40 — became a blubbering fool after singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and hearing judge Randy Jackson say he didn’t love it, dawg.
Tears elicited more votes than the humiliation of a public thrashing. Castro, who was getting so befuddled one worried he’d forget his own name, was sent home Wednesday night. Finally.
Clay’s new album — track by track
I got a copy of Clay’s On My Way Here earlier this week and thought I’d revive the old track-by-track semi-review method I’ve used on some past Idol albums.
Most of you won’t be jolted to learn that Clay’s favored style of music is not mine. Musically, he has a preference for the big soaring, orchestrated pop ballad; lyrically he seems to like songs about overcoming struggles or general inspiration, or songs about the difficulties of finding a perfect relationship, or celebrating it when you do, or resolving trust issues once you’re in a relationship. You have to be careful about reading too much into the song choices (they could well be songs he just likes singing), but I can imagine his fans becoming a little concerned about his happiness.
Much of this sort of thing in general can veer into the mawkish or overly sentimental or cliched, and the songs Clay chose to do here are not exempt from those problems.