According to Newsday, Jordin Sparks is bursting with enthusiasm over her appearance tonight on NBC's "Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular."
"I'm so excited to do this program ... and right after that, I leave to start the tour," she said. "It's going to be so much fun, I can't wait to get started on all of it."
Fellow "Idol" finalists Blake Lewis and Melinda Doolittle will perform on the Independence Day show, too, as will Martina McBride and Joss Stone.
"It's kind of tripping me out," Sparks admits. "You watch it on television and think it's such a big event. I love the Fourth of July. Melinda actually was the one who told me we were going to be doing this, and I said, 'What are we going to [sing]?' She said, 'I have no idea. We'll talk about it later.' I just love her and Blake; we have such a good time when we're all together."
The occasion will let Sparks be in one place for a while. She says that a few weeks ago, "everything was going so fast, I was like, 'Oh, my gosh. I really just need to sit down.' So I did, and I thought of everything I'd done, and it all just hit me. It was unbelievable, and it's still a whirlwind sometimes. It's just this crazy cycle."
"It's going to be a blast," Sparks says of the Idols Live tour. "Most of us are going to be doing songs we know we can succeed in doing and that we love to perform. There will be different groups and duets. I went to the season-four 'Idol' tour, and this is so much different. It's going to be really intense, so I hope people come out and see us."
An "American Idol" fan since its debut, Sparks says the show's earlier seasons were an education for her.
"Just seeing what everybody performed and what the judges responded to, and even the little things, really helped me," Sparks says. "I would think, 'I don't want to sing such-and-such song because somebody else already sang it, and I don't want to be compared to them.'
"Also, having seen an 'Idol' tour, I know the arena in my hometown was packed. It was amazing, and I kind of know what to expect in terms of how many people will be there. I love touring; it's going to be fun to wake up in a different city every day."
The home-schooled Sparks is sure to meet countless fans along the way. "I haven't really talked to many of them, but my mom got an e-mail from a teacher who said her class had been watching 'Idol.' One of the kids said, 'If Jordin can do "American Idol" and get A's, I can, too.' Things like that have been coming along, and I think, 'All I did was get up there and sing.' My mom has been telling me I've been making an impact, though, and I feel so lucky to be doing that.
"People will be constantly watching me now, and at the same time, I still need role models. Two little girls came up to me and were like, 'Jordin, we love you. You're our inspiration.' It made me want to cry because I want to reach out to them and show them they don't have to wear the latest fashions, or have the coolest things, or succumb to peer pressure. They can just be themselves, and I want to be able to represent that."
Sparks kept remarkable company during her "Idol" season, thanks to guest coaches ranging from Gwen Stefani and Diana Ross to Jon Bon Jovi and Tony Bennett.
"I'd be looking around," Sparks recalls, "and thinking, 'Do you see this? Do you see these people who are standing in front of me?' I mean, they're all legends and household names, and I just felt so lucky to be able to meet all of them. It was really, really cool."
Once she's past the Fourth of July show and the "Idol" tour, Sparks will begin work on her first album, following the online success of her "Idol" anthem "This Is My Now." She expects her CD to be released "before Thanksgiving. People sometimes take a year to make an album, and I have just a couple of months. I'm going to start meeting with writers and talking with people about songs, and I just hope that when it comes out, people like it."
RUBEN STUDDARD KEEPS KIDS FIRST
According to MyFox Birming-
ham, Ruben Studdard paid a special visit to children in Alabama Tuesday when he spoke to a group of kids involved with a summer program called "Kids First" about the importance of education and how it is the building block for success.
IDOLS ON COUNTRY MUSIC'S MOST BEAUTIFUL LIST
Net Music Countdown reports that in the July 16th issue of Country Weekly, the results of the reader poll naming the most beautiful woman in country music are in and that the fairest of them all is ... Carrie Underwood.
Underwood takes the title from the 2006 winner Faith Hill, who placed second in this year's voting.
Cracking the Top 10 for the first time are rising stars Kellie Pickler, at No. 5, and Taylor Swift, who came in at the No. 9 spot.
McPHEE BARES SKIN, SOUL
The Detroit News reveals that in the August issue of Stuff, "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee bares some skin and her soul as the cover girl. McPhee, 23, reveals her views on dating older men (her man is 42), dealing with enormous boobs as a high school freshman and not being as innocent as people think. By the way, McPhee wants kids, lots of kids. "Oh yeah. I want to have, like, 15 babies," she says.
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