Entertainment Weekly spoke with Idol pianist Michael Orland, who coached Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson last week. Here's what he had to say:
EW: Michael, you must be so sad that your boys went home.
Michael Orland: I know. I lost two of my children!
It was a shocker, too. Phil, especially, had a few strong weeks, and Chris got high marks from the judges.
No matter who we lost this past week it was going to be hard. I will go on record saying I think this is the strongest top six we've ever had. Usually there's someone still on for personality.
Do you think Phil has a future as a country singer?
I did some PR stuff with him and Chris yesterday. To hear Phil singing songs he did early on in the show, it's like listening to a different person. I hope he makes an album because he's got such a great voice. But he's got to fulfill whatever commitment he has to the Navy. He should remake the Village People song, ''In the Navy.''
I'm sure that would go over well in our armed forces. How about Chris' rendition of ''Wanted Dead or Alive''? Did it work for you?
I thought he did a really good job. It was so open to comparison to Chris Daughtry's, but I knew Daughtry's version so we purposely put in different verses and ended it differently. I thought he would have smooth sailing this week.
I was positive at least one of them would be safe — I thought LaKisha would take the fall for her inspirations week disaster.
I'm happy for her that she was so strong this week that however the votes went for her during inspiration-songs week, she was that good this week to stay. Now it will be interesting to see that other phenomenon of the voting. You have to wonder whose votes are going to go to whom. It's anybody's guess who'll be in the finale of these four.
I think Blake will get a lot of the Phil and Chris votes. Speaking of which, there's an internal battle in the halls of EW about whether his rendition of ''You Give Love a Bad Name'' was brilliant or hideous. What's your take?
I thought it was so genius I couldn't believe it. I was scared for him, though. I knew it could go either way, as we saw with Chris Sligh weeks ago. I was in the room watching Bon Jovi with him and Bon Jovi was not digging it at all. But I thought it was so incredible and respectful of Bon Jovi's version.
I was surprised when he admitted that he used a computer to arrange it. Is that all kosher to you?
Yes, because while it's a computer program, he comes up with the drum beats and manually puts them in. It's his own creativity doing it. I love that he said that. Even during Diana Ross week, I remember he was playing beats in the background with her to hear what it would sound like.
Even though Melinda acted all dorky after she sang ''Have a Nice Day,'' I thought she kind of rocked.
Melinda was so amazing and incredible. I actually thought Jordin did a better job than the judges gave her credit for.
She took a lot of hits that night. I was wondering if she might be this season's Chris Daughtry.
She had a rougher time with it on the show than she had during rehearsals. In the morning it sounded fantastic, but as the day went on she lost some of her low register, which happens with every singer. She knew immediately she wanted to sing that song, and sure, she could have done some power ballad and made it sound incredible. But she wanted to take a risk.
It's a great top four to be doing Bee Gees songs. Who are you working with this week?
Just Jordin this week, but I've spent a lot of time with LaKisha because she was very indecisive about her song, so I went and hung out with her to go through some songs. LaKisha is one of those people that when she hears somebody else doing a song, it's hard for her to hear what it will sound like with her voice.
Please tell me someone is singing ''How Deep Is Your Love?,'' which is my favorite Bee Gees song.
Okay, I know you can't tell me. Can it be on the show somewhere?
I'll see what I can do.
Here's the latest from Idol Chartwatch by Donna Reynolds.
Carrie Underwood's rendition of "I'll Stand by You," from Idol Gives Back, is this week’s Hot Shot Debut on the Billboard 200, entering the chart at #6. It is #50 on the Country chart, and #2 on both Hot Digital Songs and Hot Digital Tracks.
Also from Idol Gaves Back: Kelly Clarkson' s "Up to the Mountain," featuring Jeff Beck, entered the Billboard 200 at #56, the Pop 100 at #48, and Hot Digital Tracks at #38. And the six-track Idol Gives Back Charity Album – Audio compilation EP also opened strong, debuting at #4 on the Digital Album chart.
The fundraiser also helped out some of the guest performers. Josh Groban is the biggest winner. The single "You Raise Me Up" with the African Children’s Choir debuts at #79 on the Hot 100 and #69 on the Pop 100. The original of this song is #67 on Hot Digital Songs. As an extra bonus, his CD Awake bounces from #107 to #56 this week. Two of Il Divo’s albums re-enter the Billboard 200 - Ancora at #192 and Siempre at #88.
Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" is up again, topping the Country chart and moving from #9 to #8 on the Billboard 200. The album remains at #8 on Digital Album Sales.
Daughtry moves up two spots to #5 on the Billboard 200 and remains at #9 on the Internet Album Sales chart. The CD is #8 on the Digital chart and #2 on the Rock chart.
Bucky Covington took a bit of a hit this week. The album dropped to #24 on the Billboard 200 and is #7 on the Country Albums list.
Elliott Yamin also slips, dropping from #62 to #77 on the Billboard 200. The album also appears on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart (#55).
Kellie Pickler's "Small Town Girl" is up four spots, moving from #118 to #114 on the Billboard 200. The album is #22 on the Country listing.
Katharine McPhee dropped to #136 on the Billboard 200.
Fantasia jumped up 32 spots this week to #134 on the Billboard 200. That gives her an increase of 58 spots in just two weeks. The album is up seven spots to #23 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Ruben Studdard’s "The Return" drops 10 spots to #89 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
"Dreamgirls," featuring Jennifer Hudson, is up one to #125 on the Billboard 200. It’s #5 on the Soundtracks chart, and #42 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The deluxe edition re-entered the Soundtracks chart at #25.
This Week’s Idols’ Singles' Charts
Kelly Clarkson's new one, "Never Again," debuted at #8 on the Top 100. It's #49 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #48 on the Pop #17 on the Adult Top 40, #3 on Hot Digital Tracks, and #4 on Hot Digital Songs.
Bucky Covington's "A Different World" has dropped to #80 on the Hot 100, #91 on the Pop 100, and #21 on the Country chart.
Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder" remains on the Bubbling Under (the Hot 100) where it's moved up to #4. The song is up one to #24 on the Country chart.
Daughtry's "Home" continues to move up the charts. It's #21 on the Hot 100 and up 10 spots to #40 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. It's #19 on the Pop 100, #20 on Pop 100 Airplay, #11 on the Adult Top 40, #17 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart, and #21 on the Hot Digital Songs chart.
"It’s Not Over" slipped again. It’s #29 on the Hot 100, #19 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #24 on the Pop 100, #14 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, #2 on the Adult Top 40 listing, #19 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #30 on Hot Digital Tracks, and #32 on Hot Digital Songs.
Another Daughtry single, "What I Want," showed up for the first time on the Mainstream Rock chart at #28. Could this be the third single from this album?
Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" may have finally hit a plateau. It’s #22 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #14 on the Hot 100, #17 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #15 on the Pop 100, #18 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, #7 on the Adult Top 40, #11 on Hot Digital Tracks, and #13 on Hot Digital Songs.
"Wasted" is #3 on the Country chart, #40 on the Hot 100, #37 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #61 on the Pop 100, and #53 on Hot Digital Songs.
Kimberley Locke's "Change" is #12 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The remix version is up three to #7 on the Hot Dance Play chart.
Elliott Yamin's "Wait for You" is up again this week, moving from #79 to #68 on the Pop 100 and from #42 to #35 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart.
Katharine McPhee's "Over It" dropped to #52 on the Hot 100, #34 on the Pop 100, #37 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, #40 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart, and #42 on the Hot Digital Songs list. Her "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" / "My Destiny" remains #20 on the Single Sales list.
Taylor Hicks' "Just to Feel That Way" remains at #20 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Fantasia's "When I See You" continues to climb. It’s up 11 spots to #75 on the Hot 100, and is #14 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, #14 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, and #10 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Ruben Studdard 's "Make Ya Feel Beautiful" is #36 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles, #36 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, and #7 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Jennifer Hudson's "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" is #60 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, #60 on the R&B Airplay chart, and #11 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Upcoming New Releases
Watch for Kimberley Locke's new one, "Based on a True Story," to hit the charts next week. Next up is Paris Bennett's "Princess P," which drops Tuesday (May 8). Mandisa's first single, "Only One World," will be released to radio May 11, and the CD single drops on May 22. Her album is expected out July 31.
On May 22, Sherman Pore, the 64-year old man who auditioned for Idol to honor his girlfriend who had died from cancer only days before, will be releasing a standards CD entitled "For My Lady Love." A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this album will go to City of Hope's programs in cancer research, treatment and education. Pore has also been named as an ambassador for this group. The album is a collection of classic love songs, from "You Belong to Me" to "Unforgettable" and was recorded in Capitol Records Studio B, once home to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
Kelly Clarkson will perform with Reba McEntire on the Academy of Country Music Awards show to be broadcast May 15 at 8 p.m. on CBS, performing their song from Reba’s upcoming duets album.
Idol will be well represented that evening, as both Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler are among the nominees. Carrie is nominated in five categories, including female vocalist, album of the year ("Some Hearts"), and video and song of the year ("Before He Cheats"). Kellie is nominated for top new female vocalist. Carrie will also perform on the show.
TAYLOR HICKS BOOK SIGNING
Season 5 Idol champ Taylor Hicks will be signing copies of his autobiography (yes, we know, he's only 30 years old), "Heart Full of Soul" on July 17 at 1 p.m. at Barnes & Noble – Fifth Avenue in New York City. It's a chance to get up close and personal with last season's winner.
ELLIOTT YAMIN TOUR DATES
Elliott Yamin is going on tour this month. Here is the schedule:
May 15: The Loft, Atlanta, GA
May 16: Innsbrook Pavilion, Richmond, VA
May 17: The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
May 19: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
May 20: The Norva, Norfolk, VA
May 22: Bowery, New York, NY
May 25: Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA
May 26: Great American Rib and Music Fest, Cleveland, OH
May 27: Diesel, Pittsburgh, PA
May 29: The Chameleon, Lancaster, PA
May 30: St. Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI
June 2: Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI
June 3: Trocadero, Minneapolis, MN
June 5: Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
June 6: In The Venue, Salt Lake City, UT
June 8: Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
June 9: Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Canada
June 10: Showbox, Seattle, WA
June 12: Slims, San Francisco, CA
June 14: The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA
June 15: House of Blues, San Diego, CA
AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE TOUR ’07 INFO
Here is the American Idols Live tour dates, each followed by day and times tickets go on sale:
July 6 Sunrise, FL BankAtlantic Center Sat, May 19 10am
July 7 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum Sat, May 19 10am
July 8 Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville Vet. Mem. Arena Sat, May 19 10am
July 10 Greenville, SC BiLo Center Sat, May 19 10am
July 11 Nashville, TN Nashville Arena Sat, May 19 10am
July 12 Birmingham, AL BJCC Arena Sat, May 19 10am
July 13 N. Little Rock, AR ALLTEL Arena Sat, May 19 10am
July 15 Houston, TX Toyota Center Sat, May 19 10am
July 16 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center Sat, May 19 10am
July 18 Glendale, AZ Jobing.com Arena Sat, May 19 10am
July 19 San Diego, CA San Diego Sports Arena Sat, May 19 10am
July 20 Fresno, CA SaveMart Center Sat, May 19 11am
July 22 Anaheim, CA Honda Center Sun, May 20 Noon
July 23 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center Sun, May 20 Noon
July 24 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion at San Jose Sat, May 19 10am
July 25 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena Sat, May 19 10am
July 27 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome Sat, May 19 10am
July 28 Portland, OR Rose Garden Sat, May 19 10am
July 30 Nampa, ID The Idaho Center Sat, May 19 10am
July 31 Salt Lake City, UT Energy Solutions Arena Sat, May 19 10am
August 3 Omaha, NE Qwest Center Sat, May 19 10am
August 4 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center Sat, May 19 11am
August 5 Milwaukee, WI Bradley Center Sat, May 19 10am
August 7 Rosemont, IL Allstate Arena Sat, May 19 10am
August 8 Moline, IL MARK of the Quad Cities Sat, May 19 10am
August 9 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center Sat, May 19 10am
August 11 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center Sat, May 19 10am
August 12 Auburn Hills, MI Palace at Auburn Hills Sat, May 19 10am
August 13 Cleveland, OH Wolstein Center Sat, May 19 10am
August 14 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre Fri, May 18 10am
August 16 Indianapolis, IN Indiana State Fair Sat, May 19 10am
August 17 Louisville, KY Kentucky State Fair Sat, May 19 10am
August 18 Sedalia, MO Missouri State Fair Sat, May 19 10am
August 19 Des Moines, IA Iowa State Fair Sat, May 19 10am
August 22 Pittsburgh, PA Mellon Arena Sat, May 19 10am
August 23 Rochester, NY BlueCross Arena Sat, May 19 10am
August 24 Long Island, NY Nassau Coliseum Sat, May 19 10am
August 27 Hartford, CT Hartford Civic Center Sat, May 19 10am
August 28 E. Rutherford, NJ Continental Airlines Arena Sat, May 19 10am
August 30 Albany, NY Times Union Center Sat, May 19 10am
September 1 Allentown, PA Allentown Fair Sat, May 19 10am
September 2 Syracuse, NY New York State Fair Sat, May 19 10am
September 4 Portland, ME Cumberland County Civic Center Sat, May 19 10am
September 5 Worcester, MA DCU Center Sat, May 19 10am
September 7 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Center Sat, May 19 10am
September 8 Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall Sat, May 19 10am
September 9 Washington, DC Verizon Center Sat, May 19 10am
September 11 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum Sat, May 19 10am
September 12 Duluth, GA The Arena at Gwinnett Center Sat, May 19 10am
September 13 Memphis, TN FedExForum Sat, May 19 10am
September 15 Huntington, WV Big Sandy Superstore Arena Sat, May 19 10am
September 16 Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena Sat, May 19 10am
September 18 Hampton, VA Hampton Coliseum Sat, May 19 10am
September 19 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena Sat, May 19 10am
September 20 Bridgeport, CT Arena at Harbor Yard Sat, May 19 10am
September 22 Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena Sat, May 19 10am
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