Friday, March 16, 2007

The British Are Coming!

Fox has announced that the theme of next week's show is British Invasion Week, with the contestants being mentored by Lulu and Peter Noone (lead singer of Herman's Hermits) on hit songs picks from the 1960s.

To those of you reading this who are too young to remember the '60s, or think that the only British group that came out of that era was The Beatles ... well, they weren't. Musically, it was a great time to be a teen, with music from not only the Fab Four pouring out of your transistor radio, but also the Rolling Stones, Dave Clark 5, The Troggs, The Zombies, The Hollies, the Kinks, The Blues Magoos, Dusty Springfield, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Procol Harum, Petula Clark, Chad & Jeremy, The Seekers, Peter & Gordon, The Byrds, Badfinger, Marianne Faithful, Donovan, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Turtles, Jonathan King, Traffic, The Yardbirds, The Spencer Davis Group, Them, Van Morrison, The Easybeats, Sopwith "Camel," The Tremeloes, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Freddie & The Dreamers, Small Faces, Oliver, plus a ton more. So the song selection should be really great!

For the uninitiated, Scottish singer Lulu, born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Laurie on Nov. 3, 1948, is probably best known for singing the theme song for "To Sir With Love," a million-selling No. 1 hit in the U.S. She also did a turn as Barbara "Babs" Pegg in the beloved 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier. Lulu will perform the song on Idol, as well.

Other "fun" Lulu facts:
  • At the age of 15, Lulu and her backing band, The Luvvers, reached No. 7 on the UK charts with their version of The Isley Brothers' "Shout."
  • She had her own TV series in the UK.
  • She was married to Maurice Gibb (of the Bee Gees) from 1969-1973.
  • David Bowie produced and arranged her hit version of "The Man Who Sold The World."
  • In 1974, she sang the title song for the James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun."
  • In 1993, the title track of her release "Independence," co-produced by Bobby Womack and London Beat, registered strongly on the UK and US charts.
  • Tina Turner's hit "I Don't Wanna Fight" was written by Lulu and her brother Billy Laurie
  • She was awarded the OBE in June 2000 for her contribution to the entertainment industry.
  • Her 2002 duets album featured collaborations with Elton John, Paul McCartney, Sting and newer artists Atomic Kitten and Westlife.

Peter Noone, was born Peter Blair Denis Bernard in Manchester, England, where he studied voice and acting at St. Bede’s College and the Manchester School of Music and Drama. As a child, he played Stanley Fairclough in the long-running British soap opera "Coronation Street." He was also featured on other TV series. At 15, he achieved international fame as the lead singer of the '60s pop band Herman’s Hermits. Their hits include: "I'm Into Something Good," "Silhouettes," "I'm Henry VIII, I Am," "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat," "Just a Little Bit Better," "Wonderful World," "There's a Kind of Hush," "Listen People," "The End of the World," "Dandy" and "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter." Noone will perform "There's a Kind of Hush" on the results show.

Other "fun" Herman's Hermits facts:
  • The band ultimately sold over 65 million recordings.
  • In all, 14 singles and seven albums went gold.
  • The Hermits were twice named Cashbox’s "Entertainer of the Year."
  • Noone graced the cover of nearly every international publication, including Time Magazine.
  • He performed on hundreds of top-rated TV shows, and appeared with such luminaries as Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin and Danny Kaye.
  • He starred in ABC’s musical version of "The Canterville Ghost," the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "Pinocchio" (in which he played the title role) and the feature films "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter," "Hold On!" and "When the Boys Meet the Girls."
  • Throughout the '70s, Noone performed, composed and produced recordings with such artists as David Bowie and Debby Boone.
  • In the '80s he starred on Broadway as Frederic in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of "The Pirates of Penzance."
  • He later guest-starred on the TV series "Married With Children," "My Two Dads," "Quantum Leap," "Dave’s World," "Easy Street," "Too Close for Comfort" and "Laverne and Shirley."
  • For four years, Noone hosted VH1’s "My Generation," a retrospective of popular music.
  • His fans are known as “Noonatics.”
  • In 2001, VH1 selected Noone as their viewer's choice for the "Sexiest Artist of the Year."
  • Noone starred in the recurring role of Paddington on "As the World Turns."
  • He still performs approximately 150 live concerts a year.

"Extra's" Terri Seymour sat down with Paula Abdul for a candid one-on-one about love. This is what Paula had to say:

On finding Mr. Right: "Mr. Right is the complete opposite of Simon! The truth of the matter is he [Simon] does make me laugh at times and humor to me is everything. I find that attractive."

On Seymour dating Cowell: "You [Seymour] are the perfect complement to him … you are the bright light and he is the king of darkness."

On whether she is ready for love: "I am definitely ready for love. I've been ready. Just because I'm a famous person, it doesn't make me exempt from love."


Vocally, Diana Ross Week was not a great success. Would it have been any better had some of the semi-finalists booted the week before still been competing? MTV asked a couple of them what they had planned to sing on the show.

Sundance Head: I was going to sing "Reflections" and I was going to do a slight punk rock version of it.

Sabrina Sloan: "You Can't Hurry Love." I was already planning it out in my head how I wanted the band to do it.


The American Red Cross unveils it's sixth annual National Celebrity Cabinet with 20 new members, including "American Idol" alum Kellie Pickler. The 2007 American National Celebrity Cabinet will work to promote awareness of Red Cross services in a variety of ways, such as taping public service announcements; donating their time, money and blood; feeding victims of disaster; and generally lending a hand or a hug to those in need.

Other members of the 2007 American National Celebrity Cabinet include Forest Whitaker, Bradley Whitford, Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marcia Gay Harden, Heidi Klum, Tim McGraw, Julianne Moore, Elisabeth Rohm and Rascal Flatts.


MJsBigBlog reports on the premiere of "American Idol Extra" on the Fox Reality cable channel, hosted by JD Roberto, and co-hosted by former Idol finalists Mikalah Gordon (Season 4) and Matthew Rogers (Season 3). Here are the highlights of the first show:

Ryan Seacrest said that the worst singer did not go on Wednesday night ... Carrie Underwood said her favorite Idol performance was Heart's "Alone" ... Lisa Tucker, turning 18 soon, is working on Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101" and recording original music. She does not have a label yet ... Simon Cowell said it's better to be really, really bad than forgettable – that's why the worst singer did not leave Wednesday night.

In an interview with Brandon Rogers, the first Season 6 finalist to get the boot said:
  • He was prepared to go home Wednesday because when he forgot his words on stage, he knew he was going home.
  • There is no infighting or backstabbing on the show. Everyone was nice, and genuinely enjoyed hanging out together.
  • He's going home because he never picked the right songs to showcase his voice. He picked songs that he liked, and now realizes that wasn't a good strategy.
  • He would love to cover Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You."
  • When Ryan told him that he was going home, he thought, "I want a [alcoholic beverage] with a squeeze of lime."
  • He was not nervous performing Tuesday night, but was thrown off by the crowd response – he lost his focus.
  • No one should feel sorry for him – it was a great ride.
  • The most emotional moment Wednesday night was Blake Lewis crying after Brandon's elimination.
  • Brandon cried every week when somebody left.
  • He thought he earned the judges' criticisms.
  • He will continue to write and make music.
The show ended with Brandon’s sing-out, which was cut from Wednesday’s show - he remembered his words.

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