May 25, 2010
Posted: 03:37 PM ET
Ok, Idol fans…we’re nearing the end. You’re new "American Idol" will be revealed Wednesday night. Before we get there, LKL blog wanted to take a trip down memory lane and talked to previous "Idol" winner, Taylor Hicks.
Hicks won the fifth season of "Idol" and hasn’t slowed down since. For the past two years, he has played the role of Teen Angel in the Broadway musical “Grease” both in New York and with the traveling show. In between performances, he’s been playing clubs and making music. More information about Taylor, his live DVD, “Whomp at the Warfield” and his latest album, “The Distance” is available at his website, TaylorHicks.com.
Taylor chatted with us about his advice for this week’s "American Idol" winner, what he’s been up to, and why "Idol" will survive after Simon.
LKL Blog: So you’ve been on the road with “Grease” –
Taylor Hicks: Grease is the word!
LKL blog: How long have you been doing it?
Hicks: All in all with the record and the Broadway show, its been two years.
LKL blog: And what’s that been like for you?
Hicks: It’s been a major success actually. With the success of the role of Teen Angel on Broadway, we decided to integrate [Hicks’ latest record], “The Distance,” within the encore of every “Grease” show and decided to take it on the road for 18 months.
LKL blog: This was your Broadway debut right?
Hicks: This was. Yes.
LKL blog: In terms of performing a musical on Broadway versus what you would do on a regular stage show – I’m wondering what the differences are.
Hicks: Well obviously you’re playing off of personalities of the actors as opposed to playing off of instruments with musicians. And I think one of the really cool things about this particular run and this role is I’ve never had any musical training or acting training and so I’ve learned first hand which has been such a blessing to be able to learn to do a brand new craft with a role like Teen Angel.
May 20, 2010
Posted: 05:16 PM ET
Less than 24 hours after being voted off AMERICAN IDOL, semi-finalist Casey James says he’s feeling elated.
“I never really thought a guy like me would make it so far,” explains the 27-year-old Texan native. “I’m still soaking it all in, being grateful for all I experienced.”
Was he surprised to be eliminated? “Surprised?” he echoes. “Like I expected to be in the finals? No. You can’t really ‘expect’ results on AMERICAN IDOL. You’ve got to be prepared for anything. I went into a bunch of Wednesday nights thinking I might be packing up and going home.”
James cites his performance of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” as one of his favorites, partly because it let him show a different side of himself. He hesitates when asked which performance he’d most like to have as a do-over, then finally settles on “Blue Skies”, which he did during the Frank Sinatra theme week mentored by Harry Connick, Jr.
He says it was a challenge to put down his guitar and sing with a hand-held microphone, so he’d like a shot at trying it again. “But you know,” he laughs, “I could probably do it over a whole lot of times and still not get it right.”
As for what he’s learned from his IDOL experience, James is still working that through. “So much,” he says. “To have this kind of chance…I learned a whole lot.”
James drove all night to IDOL auditions in Denver at the prompting of his mom, Debra. When it comes to the stir he created during those auditions when he took off his shirt, he has no regrets. “I probably wouldn’t have made it through if I hadn’t done it,” he admits wryly. “I really hadn’t shown them much with my music.”
Posted: 08:09 AM ET
Nearly a year after their journey began, Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox took one giant step closer to the promised land Wednesday night (May 19). The two singers, whose paths to next week's season-nine "American Idol" finale at times felt preordained, survived Tuesday night's 47 million votes as the sand ran out for Cool, Texas' Casey James.
The good ol' boy with the Guess model looks and the bluesy bar-band style was pegged early on as eye candy by judge Kara DioGuardi — who made him take his shirt off at his audition — even as the panel frequently praised his earthy sound and guitar skills. The focus on his sex appeal to the cougar set sometimes became annoying, but James never let it distract him from attempting to deliver solid, heartfelt performances week after week while trying to not seem annoyed by the constant jibes about his looks.
May 19, 2010
Posted: 07:48 AM ET
American Idol‘s three finalists performed two songs, one of their own choosing and the other cherry-picked by the judges on Tuesday, and in between their numbers were shown visiting their hometowns.
Crystal Bowersox chose Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window.”
On Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” Lee Dewyze sounded like David Cook without the rock-troubador pretension:
What did you think?? Who do you think will get kicked off the show? LET US KNOW!!
May 14, 2010
Posted: 08:38 PM ET
Only two more weeks before this year’s Idol is announced. Can you believe we’ve come this far?
So we had to say goodbye to Big Mike this week. The judges used their only save to keep him around a few more weeks, but it was not meant to be. Don’t feel sorry for him though – he’s got talent, heart, spirit and ambition as big as his frame.
LKL Blog: So you made it to the top four, how do you feel?
Michael Lynche: I feel good. I feel good. I mean the last couple days you know there’s up and down moments in your mood and thinking of what could be and what is and what’s going to be now in your future.
I think if your heart’s not a little hurt, you didn’t put enough of your heart into it.
So definitely disappointment because I think a winner wants to win. I’m happy where I’m at. I think you’ve got to accept where you’re at because that’s where you’re supposed to be.
LKL Blog: You said you go through up and down moments…I think I know what the ups are, but what are the down moments when you’re a contestant?
Michael Lynche: I just mean these last few days. Just taking it all in of now I’m kind of on the elimination press tour and you never picture this part of doing it. I think I’ve always pictured being there in the end.
LKL Blog: Every night that there was an elimination and the nights when you were in t bottom two – did you prepare yourself or did you try to remain positive and say you’re going to make it?
Michael Lynche: I remained positive. I think America can be a fickle creature (laughs) – that’s kind of my only explanation for it. And there’s always the chance that you can go home. There’s always that chance because it’s not necessarily based on who’s the best singer or who the does the best for the night and whatnot and there’s a lot of things that play into it and it’s a big deal.
It’s a big factor of who’s voting, the voting demographic of the show. But I think that you just go out and just try to be your best. And for me, I thought I always did well. I thought I had a chance to stay. So if you give me a chance, I feel like I can take that chance and do well. I never thought I was going home on any night just because if you do well and put your work in you should be able to succeed.
May 11, 2010
Posted: 01:05 PM ET
by Michael Slezak
With only three weeks and six episodes left in Simon Cowell's "American Idol" tenure, don't be surprised if rumors and speculation about his season 10 replacement begin to intensify. But under the heading of "don't believe everything you read," a show source tells EW that Cowell's successor will not be named until after the May 26 season finale.
That, of course, also means no bombshell announcement at Fox's May 17 upfronts presentation, when the network will unveil its fall schedule to advertisers.
The delay in finalizing such a crucial decision makes sense on several levels. For starters, any replacement announcement before month's end would steal some of the spotlight away from the show's current crop of contestants, not to mention Cowell's role in the season 9 finale extravaganza.
What's more, Fox and "Idol" will score plenty of free publicity as debate over Cowell 2.0 turns into a popular summer sport, one that should keep water cooler buzz alive for the reality juggernaut during its seven-month hiatus from the airwaves.
May 7, 2010
Posted: 03:16 PM ET
Five become four after the season’s youngest finalist, 17-year-old Aaron Kelly, sang his swan song during Sinatra week.
His elimination surprised many in the blogosphere, considering the rather scathing critiques of Casey James’ performance. Yet, it was Aaron and Big Mike who found themselves on the chopping block.
But fear not for Aaron - he tells us that he’s ready to tour, write some songs and record an album.
What do you think of Aaron’s elimination? Read our interview with him and then sound off below!
LKL Blog: You made it to the top 5 – tell me how the American Idol experience turned out for you.
Aaron Kelly: The American Idol experience for me was – I’ve learned so much throughout it. Even the farther I got, you can see a change in me. I grew in confidence and I was going out and having a lot of fun out on that stage and getting a lot more comfortable with it.
LKL Blog: You say you’ve grown, I know in the beginning, some of the judges’ comments to you were that your choices, you arrangements, you presence was a little old. That they were hoping you’d be a little younger. Do you feel like you grew up a little bit on that show?
Aaron: A little bit. The thing is, when I went into the show, I didn’t really change who I was. The people who are voting for you are voting for the person they saw in the beginning. So I figured if I changed all of that, they probably wouldn’t like me as much. So I wanted to stay the same person I was from the beginning. But I definitely got a year older, in that sense of growing up [Aaron celebrated his 17th birthday on the show]. I didn’t change so much as I grew confident and got way more comfortable up there.
LKL Blog: It’s got to be hard when you’re listening to the judges, you’re listening to the producers, you’re taking advice – but you’re a performer and trying to stay true to yourself. How do you balance what people are telling you versus what you think you should be doing?
Aaron: Well, you know you just have to listen to yourself and take what they’re saying and kind of take bits and pieces. You don’t want to take everything they are saying. But you want to take bits and pieces and add it into what you’re doing without changing who you are. That’s what I did. I know that I had a lot of people wanting me to change it up a lot. But if I changed it up a lot, it would mean changing me. It would be changing everything pretty much about me.
May 6, 2010
Posted: 08:03 AM ET
The queen of costume controversy proved to be all stage presence, little voice on results night, emphasizing the fact that this year's "Idol" contenders are often just the opposite - all voice, no stage presence.
Case in point was the night's cut, Aaron Kelly. The 17-year-old was told on Sinatra night that he needed to fill the stage like Ol' Blue Eyes. But the advice easily applied to any of the four remaining contestants on the show.
What did you think about Aaron Kelly getting cut? Was it the right choice? Let us know!
Filed under: American Idol
April 30, 2010
Posted: 07:29 PM ET
Only five contestants remain after Siobhan Magnus was voted off the American Idol stage Wednesday night...
There was a lot of buzz over her hair and outfits (butterflies?) but did people focus too much on her style...and not enough on her substance? Well, we asked her. Find out what she said below!
And let us know what you think. We're getting close to the end!
LKL Blog: Looking back at your time on Idol, give me a sense of what you’re thinking about?
Siobhan Magnus: I’m just proud of making it this far. What an amazing experience it’s been. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time that it’s completely invaluable. Probably one of the best experiences I’ll have. It’s unfortunate to leave at this point; I would have loved to gone further. But you can’t look at it that way; you have to appreciate it for what it is.
The people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made and the things I’ve learned are some of the hugest, most valuable things to me that I think might ever happen. I’m just extremely blessed to have gone through this; especially at the time in my life that I did, at this age. It’s been incredible.
LKL Blog: You mentioned the friendships – you’re all almost part of an exclusive club. As the weeks go on, and fewer contestants remain, is it more difficult to say good-bye? What was that like?
Siobhan: It gets harder every week. That’s one more week that you’ve been together every single day. We’ve become so close, sometimes we’re the only people we see throughout the week, besides the people who work on the show. And we’re the only people in the whole world, at this time, who know what we’re going through. So as much as you can talk to your friends and family about it, this group of people are the only ones who understand. You’ll say something about what happened that day and they’ll know because they did it too. You develop these bonds, just being able to talk to each other about what’s on your mind regarding the show and the process. Every morning, we’d be getting ready to go over to the studio and Big Mike [Lynche] would say, “Good morning, family!” It’s just that – we’re our own little Idol family.
LKL Blog: Your style, it came up a lot during the show, especially with the comments from the judges. Did people think or react or focus too much on the style over the substance with you? Do you think any of that overshadowed who you were as a performer?
Siobhan: I think at times it may have. Just because some nights I would get more comments from the judges about my outfit than about my singing. And I would become frustrated that I didn’t have enough to work with from them. I didn’t know what I needed to improve vocally because Simon would go off about my outfit being weird. And that was kind of a bummer that it was standing out more than my vocals. But I always looked at my performances as a package deal – I needed to express myself visually as well as with my singing.
April 25, 2010
Posted: 10:58 AM ET
All four 'American Idol' judges
and Ryan – on 'Idol Gives Back'!
Plus, inside this year's 'American Idol'!
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE 'IDOL' MOMENT?
Filed under: American Idol
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With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.