Apparently Jamie Lynn Ward, the 17-year-old Idol wannabe at the Birmingham auditions with the Kellie Pickler-like sob story (what is it with these North Carolina blondes?), has long held Idol ambitions, even before her daddy shot her stepmommy. In 2005, The Reidsville Review, Ward's North Carolina hometown paper, wrote about the then 15-year-old's aspirations, "Last year Ward was too young to try out for the ["American Idol"] competition, but this year she will be old enough and has plans to win America over with her voice."
Ward was one of 19 finalists that year for the Triad Idol, a local contest for singers ages 8 to 15. "I didn't think I was going to try out for the Triad Idol," Ward said. "I was chicken. But, my mom and my best friend Ashley told me I should," adding she was hopeful and ready to take on the world as the next American Idol.
Then a junior at Rockingham County High School, Ward said she enjoyed singing gospel and R&B music and had been singing since she was old enough to talk. "I will sing anywhere. When I get a tune in my head, I'll sing in the shower, at school, anywhere."
"I think she is good," her brother Mikey Washburn said. "She doesn't think she does good all the time, but she always does."
The paper also reported on Ward becoming the Rockingham County High School homecoming queen in October 2006, as well as the February 2006 shooting involving her father and stepmother.
"I live with my grandma, and my daddy's paralyzed," Jamie Lynn drawled to the country during her audition for "American Idol." "He shot himself ... but it's OK. His wife was cheating on him, she was my step-mama, but he caught her in the act ... so he shot her and he shot himself," she said, pointing with a finger to her neck.
Beverly Emory Ward was shot by James Woodrow Ward last February during a heated argument after the pair returned from having dinner with a friend, according to a police report. A highway patrolman arrived in time to see a muzzle flash from several shots fired inside the Ward home as he pulled into the driveway. Beverly Ward did not press charges against James Ward and the the case was closed.
In an interview that ran in Wednesday's Reidsville Review Ward said her phone hasn’t stopped ringing since her Idol audition aired. "I've been busy ever since I woke up," she said, fielding phone calls from radio stations and newspapers from New York to Los Angeles.
The attention has been mostly positive, but some people in the media have tried to push her buttons. “This radio show from New York called me and started talking about the Civil War,” Ward said. “But it was OK, I was talking junk right back to them.”
Ward journeyed to Birmingham for last year's auditions with her aunt, Kelly Chapman. “Waiting in those lines was hectic,” Ward, who went through three auditions before facing judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, said.
The final audition made her nervous. “I was worrying that I would make a fool of myself,” Ward said, adding that she actually told the judges more [about the shooting] than what was shown on TV. “I wasn’t trying to be a pity pot,” she said. “They cut out the part where they asked me more about the situation. I’m not one of those people that plays off of pity.”
Ward is living with her mother because her father has moved back in with her stepmother. “It’s my daddy’s choice,” she said. “When [the shooting] happened, it was just a whole big mess. He wants to get back with her, it’s just not my choice.”
When asked whether her being back in school now was any indication of her progress in the show, Ward said, “Well, some parts are live and others are prerecorded. That’s all I can say.”
OTHER IDOL NEWS
... "On 'American Idol,' you go through this mental thing; you've got to get yourself back together. You've been abused, misled and brainwashed to believe whatever they want you to think," Golden Globe and SAG award-winner Jennifer Hudson, 25, told Essence magazine.
"You become a character – I became the girl in the turkey wrapping [On one episode, she wore an unflattering outfit that earned that label]. I just knew I had to sing my way out of it. I don't believe in looking back, and I didn’t look back."
Hudson also dismissed rumors that there was tension on the "Dreamgirls" set between herself and costar Beyoncé Knowles. "We clicked from day one," she said, adding that she, Knowles and their fellow "Dreamgirl" Anika Noni Rose bonded over the fact that they're all Virgos, and all have a mole in the same spot on the left side of their necks.
... Katharine McPhee had this to say in the Feb. 5 issue of TV Guide:
On her "American Idol" experience: "When you're in that [competitive] place, everything you hear affects you because you're already so sensitive and stressed and tired and overworked," she said. "[So] when people ask me, 'How was the experience?' my first reaction is always negative, which is not right of me. I think I’ll look back at this 40 to 50 years from now and it'll be like, 'Wow, I was part of history.' "
On what the hardest part of being a contestant: "I think those Idol forums — like AmericanIdol.com — should be shut down. It’s basically just an opportunity for people to say the meanest things without consequence."
On the one time she broke down: "The one time I cried was when Chris Daughtry was eliminated. They said, 'Chris is going home,' and the show ends and everybody’s basically looking at me saying, 'It should have been you,' " she recalls, adding, "they’re not actually saying that, but that's what I'm interpreting. Simon said, 'You live to see another day.' And I just started crying. It felt weird and bad."
About her battle with bulimia before Idol: "Everything's changed for me, and it's pretty miraculous just to be in a healthy body and to promote healthy bodies. But what's still hard is body image. Sometimes I love my body and sometimes I think I look so ugly."
... In what continues to be a blockbuster year for the Season 4 Idol winner, Billboard.com announced that Carrie Underwood (as well as the Dixie Chicks, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Sugarland) scored a leading three nominations for the 2007 CMT Music Awards, to be held April 16 at Nashville's Curb Event Center. Underwood received nominations for Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year and Director of the Year for her song "Before He Cheats."
But here's the big surprise: Season 5 finalist Kellie Pickler also snagged a nomination for Breakthrough Video of the Year, for her country-pop single "Red High Heels," from her debut album "Small Town Girl."
In an odd bit of coincidence, both Underwood's and Pickler's songs are about men who done them wrong. Underwood's is a bitchy little ditty that has her taking revenge on her cheating boyfriend's truck with a Louisville slugger, decked out in Jessica Simpson-like extensions, stilletos and tight leather clothing. Just a bit different from "Jesus Take the Wheel," huh? Watch it here.
In a girl-power anthem, Pickler uses her red high heels to kick to the curb the man who has been neglecting her in "Red High Heels." You can see Kellie's video here.
... AmericanIdol.com reports that the Sarcoma Foundation of America has named Season 4 finalist Anthony Fedorov as the organization’s 2007 spokesperson to promote general awareness of the disease and drive the organization’s fundraising efforts to find a cure. Fedorov's brother, Denis, 28, succumbed to the disease late last year. Denis was diagnosed with the disease just two days after Anthony was voted off "American Idol" in 2005.
Fedorov said of his sole sibling, “I am helping SFA in memory of Denis, and will do as much as I can to raise the awareness and fight this battle. It’s one small contribution I can make, and I will put my heart into this effort. I’m committed to SFA, and to finding a cure for the countless people stricken with this disease.”
... Idol finalists Kevin Covais (Season 5), Melissa McGhee (Season 5), Diana DeGarmo (Season 3), Ryan Starr (Season 1) , LaToya London (Season 3) and Frenchie Davis (Season 2 contestant canned by Fox after it discovered she had posed topless at age 18 under the alias HoneyBrown on the "Daddy's Little Girls" Web site) are guests on “The Dr. Keith Ablow Show” On Feb. 9. They reveal inside scoop about the reality show and share their opinions about Simon Cowell and the success of Jennifer Hudson.
... Bucky Covington's self-titled debut album will hit stores on April 17.
... According to AmericanIdol.com, Season 3 finalist Jasmine Trias will start a residency at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas with The Society of Seven. Trias' performance schedule at the Flamingo starts on Feb. 15 and runs until March 21, 2007. Shows are Wednesday through Sunday.
Her self-titled album, "Jasmine Trias," was released in July 2005. The single "Excuses" went to No. 1 in Asia. The Pinoy-American Idol also has a Tagalog version of her CD with renditions of the 14 songs with wholly Tagalog lyrics. Her album cuts "Sana Lagi" and "Kung Paano” currently enjoy wide airplay on various FM stations and music channels, and the CD achieved gold record status in Asia.
Her post-Idol success has led to endorsements for McDonald's, Bench clothing, Smart communication, and Hapee toothpaste.
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