The Washington Post did a profile of Idol musical director Rickey Minor, who also was in charge of the music at this year's Grammy Awards, produced the pregame music for the last seven Super Bowls and is slated to oversee the tunes at this year's Emmy Awards.
"I have a clear respect for all genres of music," says Minor, a Louisiana native, who has served as the show's musical director for the last three seasons. "I'm fortunate in that my background is very diverse. I came up at a time where you had to learn how to read music and write and arrange."
Minor played bass on the road with Gladys Knight & the Pips when he was 19. By 22, he was working with an 18-year-old Whitney Houston, and by 1989 he was her musical director. He left that post to pursue television in 1999 and turned down the initial offer to be "Idol's" first music director -- they couldn't afford him.
"They decided, with it still being a new show, they didn't want the cost of having me do the show," Minor says of his first meeting with show creator Simon Fuller and the other "Idol" executive producers. "They didn't think the kids deserved to have A-class music." But by the time "Idol's" 2004 Christmas special rolled around, the show had become a major success -- and he was hired for Season 4. After his first episode, Minor decided to change the prerecorded "karaoke-like" nature of the music on the show and bring in a live band.
"I told the producers, 'Live music is gonna help foster a whole new type of contestant that does rock or country or any of those things. This is what they'll be faced with if they make it. This gives them an edge,"' he recalls. After a day of negotiations, the producers relented. Now, as Minor says, "Basically, I have full autonomy to run the music department the way I see it needs to run."
Working with 22 musicians and 15 arrangers, Minor oversees the rehearsals, arrangements and performances for each of the contestants. He calls it a "tedious and time-consuming process," but he still finds time to have a one-on-one conversation with each contestant after the day's rehearsals. Whether it's making sure they get their "vocal rest," keeping their egos in check or keeping their audience in mind, Minor tries to instill "life lessons" from his nearly 30 years in the business.
"We're here to help them grow," Minor says. "It's bigger than the competition, and I tell them, 'The fact that you made it this far means that you're on the road to your own destiny. In doing so, know that there will be bumps on the road.' "
SANJAYA AND THE SOUR PATCH KIDS
A new video starring Idol's very own King of Weird Sanjaya Malakar, who seems to be regressing instead of maturing. Take a peek:
Can't get enough Sanjaya? Here's a pre-Idol video of him singing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." He apparently did his impersonation of the swinging chariot with his body. Watch it long enough and you may get seasick, as we did.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH FEDOROV
The U.S. Air Force reports that Season 4 Finalist Anthony Fedorov will tour U.S. Air Forces bases in Europe this month to kickoff of the annual USAFE Services Extreme Summer program. Fedorov will also judge and perform at both the USAFE Youth and Teen Talent Contest April 13 and at the USAFE Idol Contest on April 14, both at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Fedorov will visit the following USAFE bases during his tour:
April 12 -14 Kaiserslautern Military Community, Germany
April 15 Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany
April 16 Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England
April 17 RAF Fairford, England
April 19 Lajes Field, Azores
April 21 Moron AB, Spain
For more information, visit the Extreme Summer 07 Web site.
ELLIOTT YAMIN RIDING HIGH
Donna Reynolds' ChartWatch reports that Elliott Yamin's new CD has made an impressive debut on the Billboard charts. Yamin entered the Billboard album charts at No. 3, selling about 96,000 copies. The CD entered at No. 1 on the Independent Album chart, making it the highest new artist debut on an independent label in SoundScan history. Not only that, Yamin's CD debuted at No. 11 on the R&B Chart and No. 3 on both the Internet Album Sales and Digital charts!
Daughtry, in its 18th week, continues its impressive run. The album remained at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, and was No. 7 on the Internet Album Sales chart, No. 6 on the Digital chart, and No. 2 on the Rock chart.
Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts dropped five spots to No. 15 on the Billboard 200, and was No. 2 on the Country chart. Kellie Pickler's Small Town Girl was No. 131 on the Billboard 200 and No. 19 on the Country listing.
Dreamgirls, featuring Jennifer Hudson, has been certified platinum. The album was No. 60 on the Billboard 200, No. 3 on the Soundtracks chart, and No. 22 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Katharine McPhee was No. 74 on the Billboard 200
Fantasia was No. 139 on the Billboard 200 and No. 26 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Ruben Studdard's The Return was No. 85 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
This Week’s Idols' Singles' Charts:
Elliott Yamin's "Wait for You" moved up 36 points on the Pop 100 to No. 56 and debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 67. It showed up Hot Digital Tracks (45) and Hot Digital Songs (51).
Fantasia's "When I See You" was No. 27 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, No. 27 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, and No. 16 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Chris Daughtry's "Home" remained at No. 48 on the Hot 100, and was No. 41 on the Pop 100, No. 50 on Pop 100 Airplay, No. 29 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart, and No. 28 on the Hot Digital Songs chart; "It's Not Over" was No. 7 on the Hot 100, No. 8 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, No. 8 on the Pop 100, No. 3 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, No. 11 on Hot Digital Tracks, No. 11 on Hot Digital Sales, No. 1 on the Adult Top 40 listing, and No. 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Ruben Studdard's "Make Ya Feel Beautiful," was No. 46 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles and No. 12 on the R&B Adult airplay list; "Change Me" wasNo. 44 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles, No. 43 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart, and No. 8 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Taylor Hicks' "Just to Feel That Way" moved up to No. 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" was No. 30 on the Hot 100, No. 30 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, No. 24 on the Pop 100, No. 26 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, No. 22 on Hot Digital Tracks, No. 24 on Hot Digital Songs, and No. 18 on the Adult Top 40; "Wasted," was No. 41 on the Hot 100, No. 34 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, No. 58 on the Pop 100, No. 41 on Hot Digital Tracks, No. 47 on Hot Digital Sales, and No. 3 on the Country chart.
Katharine McPhee's "Over It" remained at No. 49 on the Hot 100, No. 21 on the Pop 100, No. 27 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart , No. 37 on the Adult Top 40, No. 18 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart, and No. 18 on the Hot Digital Songs list.
Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder" was No. 30 on the Country chart.
Bucky Covington's "A Different World" was No. 28 on the Country chart.
Kimberley Locke's "Change" was No. 13 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Jennifer Hudson's "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" was No. 19 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, No. 19 on the R&amp;amp;B Airplay chart, and No. 3 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
e-mail Idol Addict