Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Styling an Idol

American Idol stylist Miles Siggins shops with the contestants and gives them advice, but can't make any final clothing decisions or veto the contestants' choices, even if he thinks a ponytailed mohawk might ruin an otherwise stylish outfit. Siggins talked with EW.com about Idol fashion.

On Gina Glocksen's dresses: She wore a dress in one of the Hollywood weeks and she looked great. Then she wore a dress during the competition and Simon hated it and said she had to dress like a rocker. I'm sorry she got voted off. She was one of the few personalities on the show. It's a strange year. They're not fantastically charismatic.

On Melinda Doolittle: The thing with Melinda is she doesn't have much of a neck at all. And what neck she does have disappears when she puts heavy things on her shoulders. The reason to put her in dresses is to give her a bit more of a shape. I thought Tuesday's dress was great. The hairdresser was going to get a bit carried away with big hair but I said, "This has to be sleek hair to go with a modern dress."

On the dress Melinda wore during Tony Bennett Week: It was made for her by a designer named Dina Bar-El. She did a lot of Katharine McPhee's dresses last season. Dina made it in literally three days. Melinda was in the car on the way back holding the thing, going, ''Oh my gosh. This was made for me.'' She's a very genuine person. She has the tendency to be very, very shy and pull her shoulders up, though, which gives her less of a neck.

On whether Melinda's aware that she has no neck: Yes. And the whole shrinking-violet thing as well. She's really trying to get over it. She's phenomenal and she's getting there. And she's open to new ideas. Before Idol, she hadn't worn a dress in five years

On hats for the men: Sometimes they can carry it off. Sometimes not. I think Chris [Richardson] can carry it off. But Chris is in danger because it's easy for him to fall into that Justin Timberlake kind of vibe. Eventually it's going to come back and bite him in the ass because it will get less and less original. Blake has his own style that no one else really has. Maybe Common has something similar. It's a dandy skateboarder look that's going to be big in fashion.

On Blake Lewis: We shop really quickly together. It takes us half an hour. ... This week's outfit for Blake was from Paul Smith. Last year the contestants were willing to spend their money [to supplement Idol's weekly clothing budget]. This year very few want to spend their own money. Blake sees the bigger picture, that it's a whole investment in your future. For the others, thank God for places like H&M, because you can get decent-looking things. For girls it's always easier. There's a lot of disposable fashion for girls.

On Haley Scarnato wearing super-short skirts: We had to get her out of pageant outfits. She's one of the girls who gravitates toward sparkles. I had to pretty much say to her that you can go to a mall on a Saturday afternoon or a club on a weekend and see any girl in town wearing the same thing. Now, she's realizing she does look great. Simon's comment [that she has "great legs"] was a little bit inappropriate. The whole thing is, the better they look the better they feel and the better they do on stage.

About LaKisha Jones: LaKisha loves the gowns, and I think it's a throwback thing. That's her vibe — big soul diva with a big soul voice. She never really had an opportunity to wear dresses before this. But we need to change it up a little bit because the whole thing about a floor-length gown is that it ages her a lot.

On Jordin Spark's look: We're trying to keep her more age-appropriate too. She's very tall — 5'11'' — and she's big. She's on the large side of regular clothes, but not plus-size. It's a weird no man's land and it makes it tricky to find stuff for her. But her voice says everything.

On Sanjaya Malakar's clean-cut look for Tony Bennett week: He actually wanted a dark suit but I have to keep [his clothes] more age-appropriate — his fans are 8- to 13-year-old girls. It was hard this week because everyone wanted to pay respect to Tony Bennett with their clothing. We tried to edge it out with a white linen suit with a pair of sneakers. Dean, the hairdresser, cut his hair. It definitely looked better.

On whether Sanjaya is open to fashion advice: He has definite ideas. My thing is, we have to find out what his hairstyle is going to be and then we put an outfit together. I desperately tried to tell him not to do the ponytail mohawk thing. It made the whole look farcical.


American Idol Extra asked the eight finalists "What was the first CD you ever bought?"
Phil Stacey: New Kids on the Block
LaKisha Jones: Shun Pace-Rhodes, a gospel singer
Blake Lewis: Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
Melinda Doolittle: CeCe Winans
Sanjaya Malakar: Stevie Wonder
Chris Richardson: Boyz II Men
Jordin Sparks: The Spice Girls
Haley Scarnato: no answer, just laughed


Carrie Underwood appears on the cover of Cosmopolitan's May issue, which hits newsstands today. Carrie posed for the cover in nashville in January during a week that also included parties for her No. 1 singles "Don’t Forget to Remember Me" and "Before He Cheats," as well as the Nashville-based 2007 Grammy nominee party hosted by NARAS. She is the first America Idol winner to grace a Cosmo cover. In the accompanying story, Underwood reveals how she tries to remain grounded since her tremendous success over the past two years, and how she’d love to find someone special to spend time and share her life with.


We weren't surprised to read this story in The Knoxville Sentinel. The paper reports the Ashley Ferl, otherwise known as The Crying Girl, has cried her way into meeting Idol celebs before:

"This is not the first time Ashley has cried her way into an enviable situation. Last year she was at the dress rehearsal for the top 3 episode of "Idol," where she saw Mikalah Gordon, her favorite contestant from Season 4.

Ashley got so excited that she started to scream - and an usher agreed to take her over to meet Gordon.

As Ashley tells it, she was practically hyperventilating, and a concerned Gordon offered to take her backstage for a Sprite and some candy to calm her down.

"I didn't calm down," said Ashley. "I went back to my seat and watched the show, and then Taylor [Hicks] waved to me and I got all excited again."

Ashley and her family are hoping that Fox invites them back to sit in the "Idol" audience again."


People.com looks at where some former Idol finalists are now, including photos.

Diana DeGarmo (2nd place, Season 3): Has kept busy recording an album and starring in the Broadway musical "Hairspray." Her latest big accomplishment was dropping three dress sizes to a size 4! "The first time I put on size 26 waist jeans, I was jumping around the store," says DeGarmo, 19, who's lost the weight by changing her diet (staples include fish and brown rice) and working out four times a week.

Nikki McKibbin (3rd place, Season 1): McKibbin, 28 (pictured on the set of her 2006 video for the single "The Lie"), still makes music and spends her time giving voice lessons to kids. Plus, she's planning a July wedding to her childhood roller-skating coach Craig Sadler, 38. Meeting him again at a bar near her Fort Worth home last year, "I got butterflies," says McKibbin, whose son Tristen, from a former relationship, is now 9.

Jon Peter Lewis (8th place, Season 3): Released his debut album, "Stories from Hollywood," in 2006. Next up: a club tour. And so what if the venues aren't exactly stadiums? "It doesn't matter if I'm not huge," he says. "I can support myself and do what I love. That's the American dream, isn't it?"

Trenyce (5th place Season 2): Trenyce Cobbins will never forget those Idol jitters. "You know the music when the show comes on? To this day it makes my stomach fall," she says. Now a seasoned pro, the single Cobbins, 27, has been in six theater productions, including 2006's V: The Ultimate Variety Show, a Vegas-based multi-act revue (pictured center). Currently, the performer is touring in the musical Love in the Nick of Tyme with Morris Chestnut.

Jasmine Trias (3rd place, Season 3): "To this day I'm that girl from Hawaii with the flower in her hair," says Trias, 20. After going on tour in the Philippines, Trias cut a solo CD there. She also appeared in a Hawaiian music act in Vegas earlier this year (pictured). And though she plans to move to L.A. to get into acting, "I also want to open up a salon and a spa," says Trias. "That's always been my dream."

Scott Savol (5th place, Season 4): "I got married over the summer, so I'm enjoying married life," says Savol, 30, the father of Brandon, 5, from a previous relationship. Now settled in Nashville with wife Rochelle, a childhood friend, Savol spends his days concentrating on writing pop songs and recording an album. "American Idol has opened so many doors for me," he says.

Julia DeMato (10th place, Season 2): Being on Idol "has its good qualities and its bad," says DeMato, 28. The good? "I proved a lot to myself, because I'd never sung in front of anyone before." The bad? Seeing her name in the papers after she got arrested for DUI and drug possession in 2005. DeMato, who lives in Brookfield, Conn., now works as a hairstylist at her sister's salon, but the single mom gets in singing practice at home with son James, 1.

Carmen Rasmusen (6th place, Season 2): Just 17 on Idol, Rasmusen had to squeeze schoolwork into the show's hectic schedule. Now 22, Rasmusen is married to banker Brad Herbert, reports on Idol for MSNBC and has signed her first record deal, for a country CD. In her native Salt Lake City, she remains a local celebrity. "I (still) have people tell me, 'My mom voted for you 200 times,' " she says. Rasumsen has signed a record deal with Nashville's Lofton Creek Records. Her album is set to be released this summer. There are now at least seven Idol alumni affiliated with Nashville labels.

And for someone who never made it past the first audition, William Hung isn't doing too badly, either. Although he butchered Ricky Martin's "She Bangs," he has had a surprisingly lucrative "singing" career. His 2004 CD of covers, "Inspirations," hit the Billboard Top 40, and Hung, 24, says he's earned over $1 million since Idol. These days, he warbles for fans at mall appearances. "They ask for pictures and autographs," says Hung. "It happens a lot."


Fox News reports that this weekend Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and an "Idol" team will be filming in the Mississippi delta and working with Hurricane Katrina survivors for the "Idol Gives Back" pair of special shows that will air 10 days later.

Abdul also made an appearance at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser this past Saturday. She came as the guest of Suzan Hughes, the third wife of late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes. Abdul laughed when asked about this season's controversies. She said she thinks Sanjaya Malakar will go on a little longer before he’s excised from the competition.


According to the Birmingham News, as a child, Taylor Hicks got kicked out of a hospitality tent at the Regions Charity Classic for not having proper credentials. On May 17th, the Season 5 "American Idol" winner headlines the tournament's Charter Telephone Pro-Am.

Gene Hallman, the tournament organizer for the Bruno Event Team, learned Hicks played golf after seeing a photo of the singer at the Bob Hope Classic in January. Hicks played there with a 17 handicap. [In fact, Hicks, who played golf in high school, has such a respectable game that he tied for 58th place, with a 16 handicap, on Golf Digest's 2006 list of the Top 100 Golfers in Music.]

"Taylor will attract a whole new segment of fans that maybe we've never had out to the golf tournament," Hallman said. "Him playing the week before the 'American Idol' final will add an extra dimension to his popularity."

Two children's charities - Kid One Transport and Studio By The Tracks - will receive $7,500 each in Hicks' name from tournament proceeds.

Hicks, a Hoover native, used to attend the event as a child. Hallman said Hicks told him one of his biggest thrills was getting Lee Trevino's autograph.

Tickets are $15, and children under 15 get in free. Discounted tickets are available at any Bruno's grocery store or Food World.


Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, says that Kelly Clarkson has decided to release "Never Again" (you can hear it here) as the first single from her third album, "My December," according to a post on her Web site. "I know y'all have been waiting but just imagine having the music for months and not being able to show anyone...it's torture!! I hope y'all like it! The album is very much a story of my life and as you know my life is usually very intense with lots of roller-coaster rides," Clarkson wrote. "This is my favorite album thus far! It's got some killer rock stuff, some fun soulful tracks, some beautiful and intimate slower songs, and it's all me." The album is due this summer with a tour to follow.


You can watch Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder" video here. She looks younger and better than during her recent "Idol" appearance, and, yes, that new cleavage is still in place and on display in the video, looking as artificial as ever.

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