Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Idols Tour: Hair Over Substance

At last one reviewer was left unsatisfied with the quality of singing on the Idols Live Tour. The reviewer for the St. Petersburg Times, who attended the Tampa show, had this to say:

They came for the goofy hair, the killer legs and the creepiest bald dome since Nosferatu roamed the night. They came to see the goth chick, the pretty-boy Timberfake and the 17-year-old champ with the megawatt smile. They came, alas, for the beat-boxing.

What's debatable, however, is how many of the 12,420 fans at the St. Pete Times Forum Saturday actually came to the American Idols Live! concert for the singing. Those who wanted to hear good music no doubt left flatter than Sanjaya's high notes. But those who showed up simply for love of the No. 1 show -- such as the shrieking Fanjayas and their thirst for wide-grinning mediocrity -- had a better chance of going home somewhat satisfied.

With the exception of Lakisha Jones, who just about blew a hole in the arena roof with a jaw-dropping I Will Always Love You, the other Season Sixers who made this year's concert cut all sounded weaker in a live setting. This included R&B cutie Melinda Doolittle, who tore off a good but not great "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", and show winner Jordin Sparks, who was incandescent on the small screen but lost a little star power live.

We'll give a bit of a pass to Blake Lewis, the beat-boxer who finished second to Sparks, who was hampered by horrific tech glitches, most notably during a cover of Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved." But the hip-hop fan generated tween shrieks nonetheless, mainly because he has really cool hair and killed with his robo-take on Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name."

This past season of "American Idol" was almost exclusively about silly gimmicks and accessories and the weakest of narrative threads. About talent? Not so much. Viewers were obsessed not with who was best but with who blew the worst. I'll be the first one to admit my favorite plot line was how short Haley Scarnato could hem her skirts before the FCC stepped in. But I watched every minute. I did.

Unfortunately, watching every minute of the live show was brutal. This was only the second night of the tour, and you could almost see such also-rans as Gina Glocksen and Chris Sligh counting off their clunky dance steps. The show had a sloppy, Amateur-Hour look and pace. And that energy-sucking intermission during the two-hour show didn't help, either.

Now I could be a real creep and focus only on the bad parts, like when all the men formed a "band," playing instruments about as convincingly as the Monkees, and then performed "Hey Jude," which was one of the worst things I've ever heard at the Forum.

But instead of being negative, I'll focus on what I enjoyed. For instance, Scarnato still can't sing a lick, but she showed magnetism (and a Wild West dominatrix getup) during Martina McBride's "When God-Fearin' Women Get the Blues." Smooth-pated military man Phil Stacey deserved and received robust applause for his "Blaze of Glory." And it was kind of cute to hear the Tiger Beat screams for smirky Chris Richardson. I might have been the only one in the venue who wanted to see him fall off the stage. (Kidding, ladies. Just kidding.)

Although he's taken a ton of hits, Sanjaya Malakar is a legit showman, a crowd favorite who makes up for his inability to carry a tune with hammy gusto. With his hair slicked back, he had me singing along to his thrusty take on Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel." The kid should head to Vegas. After all, Wayne Newton hasn't been able to sing for years, and he still rules.

But the best part? Whenever Lakisha was onstage. For "Lady Marmadale," she sprawled cheekily on a long white couch. For a tribute to '60s R&B, she dueted with Doolittle, and the two brought grit and sass to a show desperate for it.

All season long I voted for (and crushed on) Sparks, who closed the show. And although her "I (Who Have Nothing)" was likable, and her signature "A Broken Wing" had oomph, the 17-year-old's career path will no doubt go through the Disney Channel rather than the Billboard charts. She just doesn't hold a concert stage. Sorry, but it's true. Alas, I voted for the wrong person. Forgive me, KiKi.


reports that Bucky Covington hit another career milestone this week as his first single, "A Different World," cracked the Top 10 on country radio, delivering the singer his first Top 10 hit. The song is currently reaching a weekly audience of 21 million listeners.

The good news of Bucky’s first top 10 radio hit comes following a weekend of travel woes for the singer. It all started last Thursday when Bucky and his band, including twin brother Rocky, flew from Las Vegas to New York City following a show on Independence Day. After a five-hour delay the group finally arrived in the Big Apple, however their luggage and instruments remained in Las Vegas, which explains why all showed up on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends wardrobed in "I Love NY" T-shirts. Bucky and his bandmates finally connected with their lost luggage and instruments two days later in Charlotte, N.C., hours before a show at the Charlotte Knights baseball game.

Covington's self-titled CD debuted at #1 on Nielsen SoundScan's Country Top 75 Chart with not only 2007's biggest unit debut from a new country artist, but also the best first week sales and highest Top 200 debut for any new male country artist since Billy Ray Cyrus in 1992.

Whoda thunk it?


A longer clip of the LOL version of "Proud Mary" performed by Melinda Doolittle and Sanjaya Malakar. Funniest part? The shoutout at the end of the clip.


AP reports that there will be no more happy feet for singer Clay Aiken. Aiken confirmed that he was involved in a dispute with a woman on a Continental Airlines flight into Tulsa for his show Saturday evening. While performing later that day at Tulsa's Brady Theater, Aiken quipped onstage about getting roughed up by a girl. In a statement to "Entertainment Tonight," the 2003 American Idol runner-up says he's taken steps to prevent future foot wanderings.

"While sleeping on a plane over the weekend, my foot evidently found a home on the arm rest of the passenger seated directly in front of me," Aiken said in the statement.

"I didn't realize I was causing the woman any distress until she woke me up with a quick hit to the chest. Unfortunately, being that this happened on a plane, the FBI was called in to investigate and eventually we were all sent on our way.

"I'd like to thank everyone for their concern; I'm fine and have taken steps to prevent any foot wandering in the future."

During his ET appearance, Clay cleverly implied that there are far greater sources of distress in the world. "Now that I have your attention," he continues, "if you'd like to learn more about how you can help the world's children, please visit http://www.unicefusa.org/."


According to ContactMusic "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest cried during Eva Longoria and Tony Parker's Paris wedding on July 7.

The "Desperate Housewives" actress, 32, and French basketball ace, 25, wed in a civil ceremony on Friday, before celebrating their union in a religious service and a reception in the 17th century Chateau of Vaux le Vicomte the following day.

But the event was too much for Seacrest when the newlyweds began their first dance.
He recalled, "[They] were just staring at each other. Then Tony dipped Eva right then and there, pulled her back up and gave her a kiss. I am crying."


Well yes, it does should disgusting, but that's what Idol judge-singer-businesswoman-choreographer Paula Abdul told TV Guide.

"I've endured life journeys that people never in a million years would ever think of experiencing," said Abdul. "I have risen from the bowels of hell and come out tripping and singing and dancing. I've always been counted out, but I come back like a stealth warrior."

"I feel like this is the beginning of my career, and I'm like a kid all over again, counting my blessings," she told TV Guide before recounting several of the tragic misfortunes that have befallen her. "Because a lot of people don't know I was in a plane crash [in 1992] that stopped my career and started all of this pain. And I was left to endure 14 cervical spinal surgeries. I have four plates in my neck and, for five and a half years, I disappeared."

Abdul has previously stated she was unaware of her "purpose in life until American Idol" in 2002, and now she apparently has a firm grasp on just what that purpose is.

"[My life purpose is] having the uncanny ability to tap into the heartstrings of people and make them feel they'll be okay," she told TV Guide. "And that if I can get through these hard times, so can you."

And Abdul also told the 'zine that while she's had a bumpy path to get where she is it has made the journey all the more worthwhile.

"What I do feel proud about myself is I don't give up. I've worked extremely hard to maintain the integrity and level of class and goodness that I have. I screw up just like everyone else. The difference with me is that I get to teach the rest of the world lessons, to learn how to bounce back a lot quicker."

"I wish I could work for someone like Paula Abdul," she told TV Guide. "Honest to God, I am the kindest-of-kind human beings."

And *ahem* modest, too.

BTW, does anyone else find it strange that "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe hasn't enlisted Abdul's choreographic services for "SYTYCD"? Just asking.

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