More about Tampa Florida – Meet the Idols!

I’m still in hot and humid Tampa FL. Smart locals stay indoors during the hot muggy summer days. However, when the sun goes down, the town comes alive. I have a beautiful view of the city from my hotel balcony. All is very cool at the moment.

I’ve been sifting through a pile of videos and photos. What I’ve decided to do is work backwards–Tonight, I’ll post some info from the after party that I was lucky to attend. And then tomorrow, when I get back to Massachusetts, I’ll post a recap of the show. When I’m back home, I’ll also start encoding and posting up the video I took. The whole process should take about 2 or 3 days, so keep checking back!

A little about the show: Go see it. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I think Season 6 is chock full of talent. The show is set up like a review, with solo, duets and group performances all mixed together. The show moves at a quick pace and is very entertaining. I enjoyed this year’s show just as much as last year’s. There are quite a few standout performances. Anybody who is sitting on the fence about attending the show–get down and to your local Ticketmaster, pronto.

Read about the Idols after party after the jump.

First, a big shout out to SpenserJ. Her generosity (and connections, Oh yeah) made this entire weekend happen. A cool chick, indeed. In the coming days, look for recaps from the awesomely awesome Tampa crew: Sarah, Erinn, Spenser and PJ.

The after show took place in the venue’s snazzy bar, where concert-goers could hang during intermission. What’s great about the Idol’s after show is that it’s NOT a formal meet & greet, where the Idols sit behind a table and fans are herded quickly through an assembly line for a quick hello and autograph. Basically, the Idols who attend, hang out and mingle with friends, family and fans. It’s very casual and fun.

All the Idols were at the party. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to meet Lakisha Jones or Haley Scarnato. I didn’t meet Jordin Sparks either. She had a long line of fans waiting for her, and by the time I went to look for her, she’d left the party. Hey Jordin is ONLY 17! She needs her rest. Heh.

I did meet the others, and I have to say these peeps were to the one–Personable, down-to-earth, and funny. Really funny. It was nice to catch them at the beginning of the tour before the inevitable road fatigue set in. They all seem to genuinely like each other, too. If there are any divas in the bunch I met, they are very good actors.

My impressions:

Chris Sligh – I seriously *heart* Chris Sligh. That is all. Do NOT even argue with me on this point. I will shout you down. He’s got good taste. HE READS MY BLOG. But really, that’s not the only reason I think he’s awesome. Besides being a talented musician and singer, he’s a sweet guy–smart, snarky, and very good to his fans. He gets many, many props from me for striking a pointy pose for Erinn. She’s got the picture, and she’s going to send it to me. Heh. He appears to be close to the other Idols–particularly Phil Stacey, who Chris introduced to me. Some tidbits: Two songs were cut iright before the show–Melinda and Blake’s duet “Killing Me Softly” and Chris’s number with the girls, “Another One Bites the Dust.” Chris is very excited to play to a hometown crowd in South Carolina next week.

Phil Stacey – Rhu rho. Phil Stacey reads my blog too. To be blunt, I ripped Phil’s performances in my recaps–especially early in the competition. Despite this, Phil could not have been any nicer to me. My quick assessment of Phil is that he’s a genuine, stand up guy. Not only did I get a couple hugs, but he thanked me for writing my blog. And he said it in a seriously genuine, non-suck-up way. I dig Phil. Phil’s “Blaze of Glory” was, without question, one of the highlights of the show. Tidbits: I mentioned to Phil that I thought this year’s cast got a bad rap, and he said that most of this year’s contestants tried out on the urging of others, and didn’t consider themselves singers, primarily. Phil and Chris Richardson are both songwriters. Chris Sligh is a songwriter and musician. Blake Lewis is a musician, songwriter and beatboxer. Phil went further than he thought he would. And after he was in the bottom with Haley Scarnato and she was eliminated, he stopped worrying about the competition and just started SINGING.

Gina Glocksen – Sarah has the best. story. Evah. about Gina, but I will let her tell it. Like I mentioned earlier, Gina’s mom is her biggest fan. She wore a red shirt that said “Gina’s Mom” and her friends had shirts that read “Gina’s Fans.” At the aftershow, mom told me that people were asking her “Are you REALLY Gina’s mom?” And she said, “Would I be dressed like this with red streaks in my hair if I weren’t?” I remembered mom from the show, but she was not featured as much as she could have been. Again, the producers skimped on the back stories much to the detriment of the show. Anyway, Gina’s great. She’s very outgoing and seems to be the kind of person who’d be fun to hang out with, definitely. She told Erinn, that after the tour, she’d like to put together an all-girl rock band. Her standout number during the show was her version of Pink’s current hit, “Who Knew.” I love that song…

Chris Richardson – Ok, check out the picture. How cute is that? Seriously. Speaking of being mean, I rarely had an encouraging word for Chris during the show. To be perfectly honest, when I met him I did not mention that I wrote the blog. Yeah, I’m a coward. My prediction is that like Ace Young last year, Chris will be winning over new fans as the tour progresses. He manages the big tour stage very well and really sounds good in person. He was definitely one of the crowd favorites. Chris Richardson singing “Ain’t no Sunshine”? You bet. He performed “Virtual Insanity” and it was also very good. He’s also, like his tour mates, just a really, really nice guy–posing patiently for pictures, even when my flash wouldn’t go off. His goofy faces are the best. I got a few really good pics of Chris that I’ll post with my recap.

Sanjaya Malakar – Again, quick assessment: Sanjaya seems like a really smart, sensitive kid. He was signing autographs and he mentioned that it was hard to be witty. Except that he is pretty funny as well as quiet and shy. No wonder the ‘tweens love him. As far as being witty, He seemed to do a pretty good job thinking on his feet during the competition, so I think Sanjaya is selling himself short. On tour he does a nice job with the Michael Jackson song, “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Does Sanjaya have a great smile or what?

*****Melinda Doolittle – Mindy Doo is fab both onstage and off. In person, she is absolutely beautiful. She’s tiny and has pretty eyes and really nice skin. Her “Natural Woman” on stage was simply terrific. Just like on the TV show, she’s humble and super-sweet. She had so many fans wanting to meet her, that I had a hard time getting a few minutes to speak with her. Damn, not a diva in this bunch! Honestly, I really wish I had more dirt to dish, but I don’t…


Blake Lewis – I introduced myself to Blake as MJ, and then somebody said, “That’s mj from mjsbigblog. Then, he says, “Oh, MJ.” I kid you not. “I only read your blog and Rickey’s, ” he told me. Yeah, I was flattered. In this case, since I’m a fan and was mostly pro-Blake in my recaps, I wasn’t embarrassed (sorry Phil!). And here is a scoop for you peeps: Blake says he has just recorded six songs in eight days. “And you can post that.” he said to me. Heh. He seems very excited about recording his upcoming album. Of course, not having my head screwed on straight, exactly, I didn’t ask him about his record deal. Stupid, stupid me. Blake closed the first half of the show with “Time of the Season, ” “She Will Be Loved, ” and “You Give Love a Bad Name.” YGLABN was just as potent as it was during the series. For you CAKE fans, there is a duet with Chris Richardson in the second half of the show.

WATCH THIS SPACE tonight for a show recap and videos. Also, there will be more recaps from the peeps who were with me in Tampa.

About mj santilli 34590 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!