Sunday, January 21, 2007

Idol Alumni - News, Albums, Appearances, More

American reports that Season 5 finalist Chris
Daughtry will perform the National Anthem during the Chicago Bears-New Orleans Saints NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 21st at 3 p.m.

Daughtry, Chris' band, will be the first live performer when Fox launches "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet," hosted Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy, Monday Jan. 22rd at 9 a.m., according to

Daughtry's self-titled album stays in Billboard's Top 5, coming in at No. 4 this week. The single “It’s Not Over” has climbed to No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 14 on the Pop 100.

To check where other former Idols' singles and albums are on the charts, check Donna Reynolds' Idol Chartwatch.

The Rockford Register Star reports that Rockford native Paris Bennett drops “Ordinary Love,” the first single from her debut album, “Princess P,” this month (her album hits stores in March). It goes to radio and iTunes first, then the video is released to music networks in February, E Online is reporting. Meanwhile, Reality TV World reports that "Princess P" is a family affair. It will be released on the independent label 306 Entertainment, owned by her uncle Paul Jones. "Princess P" features Bennett's mother Jamecia Venzett Bennett and grandmother Ann Nesby, both of whom were members of the vocal ensemble Sounds of Blackness. Bennett's 70-year-old great-grandmother is featured as well.

Also appearing on the CD are two of Bennett's co-finalists, Lisa Tucker and Long Islander Kevin Covais. Bennett and Covais will collaborate on a hip-hop track titled "Let Me Rap." "What people don't know is that he can rap," Bennett told MTV News about Covais. "He loves Kanye West. He'd rap whole songs. He used to freestyle backstage." While Bennett told MTV News that her duet with Tucker "is still in the works," she added the two "have become best friends since appearing on the show and talk daily."

And reports that the 18-year-old co-wrote the majority of the songs on the album and that since appearing on "Idol," she has begun developing her Tres P clothing line and performed at the annual Walt Disney Christmas Parade singing "Let It Snow" with fellow "Idol" finalists.

According to American, Season 5 finalist Bucky Covington, 29, enters Hot Country Songs at No. 57 with his first single, "A Different World." Bucky is also the fifth Idol to appear on this chart, following Kelly Clarkson, Josh Gracin, Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler.
Bucky is the 26th American Idol singer to appear on a Billboard chart. You can listen to Bucky's "A Different World" here.

Season 1 seventh-place finalist Ryan Starr, 25, is currently recording an album and pitching a reality-television show about trying to make it as a female rock artist ... Season 2 seventh-place finisher Kimberly Caldwell, 24, a host on the TV Guide Channel, is recording an album ... Season 2 third-place finisher Kimberly Locke, 29, will appear on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club" this spring ... Season 4 third-place finalist Vonzell Solomon,
22, who is the CEO of her record label, Melodic Records, is recording her sophomore album ... newlywed and Season 4 fifth-place Scott Savol, 30, is recording an album ... Season 4 finalist Jessica Sierra, 22, is recording an album and recently performed for the troops in Iraq. During Season 4 romance blossomed between Sierra and fellow contestant Nikko Smith. Their relationship continued while on tour after the show, but has since fizzled out ... Season 5 finalist Kellie Pickler, 20, has a sitcom deal with Fox. Her album “Small Town Girl,” which debuted in October 2006, has gone gold ... Finally, remember Elvis-wannabe Jon Peter Lewis of Season 3? Well, Rolling Stone magazine does and they have him evaluating the contestant tryouts. Click on the link to see what he has to say about a new generation of wannabes.

Reality TV Magazine reports that Kenneth Briggs and Jonathan Jayne became friends while waiting in line to audition for American Idol 6. Both suffered barbs from judge Simon Cowell, who told Briggs he looked like a bush baby and asked Jayne if he had borrowed Randy Jackson’s trousers. But the weird relationship earned the duo a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on January 18.

Kenneth Briggs said Simon is “a guy who I really, really do not like.” When Kimmel asked Jayne if Cowell insulted him
as well, he said “Oh, not as much, it was Randy that really insulted me, he laughed through my whole song, he was laughing at me.” Kenneth said if he saw Simon Cowell again that he would ask him for an apology for what he said. At the end of the interview, Kimmel invited Kenneth and Jonathan to the Bob Hope Classic celebrity golf tournament in Palm Springs to interview celebrities for him.

Already newspapers are producing profiles of local contestants who have made it through Round 1 and earned a coveted Golden Ticket to Hollywood. The Arizona Republic has profiles of two. It reports that the family of Glendale teenager Jordin Sparks has been bombarded by phone calls and e-mails. Most callers were directed by Pam Wiedmann, Jordin's grandmother and manager, to Jordin's home page. Wiedmann said the fresh-faced alto's "got a pretty good perspective on fame growing up, with a dad in the NFL. She knows fame doesn't bring happiness. And her faith is an integral part of who she is." (Jordin's father is Phillippi Sparks, who played cornerback for eight seasons with the New York Giants and one season with the Dallas Cowboys.)

Jordin, who turned 17 on Dec. 22, was featured on America's Most Talented Kids in 2005 and was the spotlight winner at the Gospel Music Association awards in 2004. She has opened in concert for Montgomery Gentry and performed in Las Vegas for Mary J. Blige. She is also a model for Torrid, a fashion chain for plus-size women. A full-page ad for Torrid featuring Jordin ran in the December issue of Seventeen magazine. As winner of Channel 10's "Arizona Idol" competition, she received an all-expenses-paid trip from the station to the American Idol audition in Seattle, where she performed "Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me."

The paper also profiled Peoria native Jarrod Fowler. When he stepped in front of TV cameras to audition for Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, the 28-year-old Navy intelligence specialist said, "I had so many emotions when I walked through that door, my heart almost stopped." Dressed in his white Navy uniform, he sang his favorite song, "Bless the Broken Road," by Rascal Flatts.

Fowler beat out 50 other sailors to win an Idol-esque competition, "Reagan Idol," on his Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan. His prize was an all-expenses-paid trip to an Idol audition. Fowler graduated from Centennial High School in 1997 and attended Northern Arizona University on a vocal performance scholarship. He later changed his major to political science and decided to join the Navy in 2005. "He always loved music, but after September 11, he wanted to go into the service," his mother, Leslie, said. "But he has a real gift.

"My husband and I cried when he came on. It was so overwhelming," she said. "I remembered all of the talent shows and performances at church over the years. I am just so proud of him. It really fills my heart."

In an AP story picked up by The Pioneer Press "crack baby" contestant Denise Jackson said, "There's a lot of controversy about what I said on 'American Idol.' Some people asked me, 'Why would you say that?' " Jackson said of her description of her upbringing. "It's the truth. I'm not ashamed of what I am. I'm a young lady." Jackson, who attends La Follette High School in Madison, credits her brother, 28-year-old Rafael Jackson, with being instrumental in her decision to audition.

"She's been telling me since she was 11 she wanted to do it," he said. "I told her I'd take her when she turned 16." So Jackson took his little sister to Minneapolis for the regional auditions and will also take her to Los Angeles. "This is her dream," he said. Denise started singing in church at age 4 and moved to Madison five years later to live with her grandmother. She said her mother is recovering from her problems with drugs and that she doesn't know her father.

She plans to release an R&B album Feb. 7 and wants to study music at the Juilliard School in New York City after she graduates next year. "Music is poetry. I write about what I know: boys I like, being a teenager in a rough place, a lot of stuff," she said.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that many of the contestants have sites on MySpace. Click to see the one for Jesse Holloway. Find a list on other addresses posted on Death by Camera. There are separate pages for Minneapolis candidates and Seattle candidates.

TV reports that Simon Cowell defended Paula Abdul against accusations of inebriation during recent media interviews while speaking to journalists at the TV Critics Association press tour in Pasadena this weekend. "I've done those satellite interviews so many times and by the end of it I'm talking complete and utter rubbish," Cowell said. "I wouldn't do this show if Randy and Paula weren't on it. Don't condemn them for being wacky on occasion. I don't want to work with boring people."

The "Idol" session started 45 minutes late, raising speculation that Abdul might be to blame, but Cowell took the blame, saying his flight from London was late. Cowell also said Abdul's odd on-camera reference last year to moths, melons and cornflakes was his fault as well, explaing he had just told her a proverb using those terms during the commercial break. Abdul thanked Cowell for taking the blame.

"You have caused me -- you publicly apologized for that," she said, and gave Cowell a kiss. "[Everybody was saying] 'What's wrong with Paula? She's drunk, she's drugged.'" Regarding her satellite interview, Ms. Abdul blamed fatigue for her behavior. "I did three hours of interviews," she said. "The very last one I did had tremendous technical difficultly, there were split cities in my ear. It's hard to explain and unfortunately that's what happened."

In an interview with The New York Times, American Idol executive produce Simon Fuller said, “It doesn’t matter anymore if you win on the show,” noting that Chris Daughtry’s new album has been outselling the album released by last year’s winner, Taylor Hicks. He predicted the album would soon pass Justin Timberlake's as the nation’s top-seller, reaching at least three million in total sales. “You can finish fourth, like Chris did, or fifth or sixth, like Jennifer did [note: she actually finished seventh], and you can still make hits,” he said.

Fuller pointed out that music fans from many genres were now being exposed to “Idol” performers. “You have Carrie, who is selling millions of albums to country fans,” he said. “You have Kelly, who is a mainstream pop artist. And you have Chris, who is the first real rock artist we’ve broken on the show. There there’s Jennifer, who’s winning every award for ‘Dreamgirls.’ I just think the music is getting out everywhere, and subliminally that has helped.”

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