Even though her CD has dropped out of the Top 10, Kelly Clarkson is staying in the news because of the apology she proffered to Clive Davis on her Web site (a step that Simon Cowell recently advised her to take in the press):
In a posting of her Web site, Clarkson writes, "A lot has been made in the press about my relationship with Clive. Much of this has been blown way out of proportion and taken out of context.
"Contrary to recent characterizations in the press, I'm well aware that Clive is one of the great record men of all time. He has been a key advisor and has been an important force in my success to date. He has also given me respect by releasing my new album when he was not obligated to do so.
"I really regret how this has turned out and I apologize to those whom I have done disservice. I would never intentionally hurt anyone."
KELLIE PICKLER LOVES SPEED
... As in driving fast, or so she told Newsweek in an interview they recently conducted with her. Kellie Pickler also told the 'zine that she'd love to fill the empty host chair on "The View." Read on:
You sound like you're outside.
I'm doing a show in Wisconsin, opening up for Reba [McEntire], so, yay! I'm lying on the bunk of my tour bus right now.
Do you ever drive the bus?
They won't let me for some reason. I don't know why.
Well, do you have a license?
Yeah! I'm a good driver. I wanted to be a NASCAR driver. I love driving fast.
What's the fastest you've ever driven?
I once got pulled over going 95 in a 35. Let me tell you, I cried my way out of that ticket. But it was real dangerous, I shouldn't have done that. It was early in the morning and I was driving to school. We had this weird tardy thing. If you're tardy three days to class, you'd get suspension.
You were great as a guest host on "The View." I think they should offer you one of the open seats.
Omigod. I'd so do it. I've got an opinion about everything. They film two shows in the same day. So I'd tour during the weekends.
Maybe Barbara Walters will be reading this.
I know! I've been waiting for them to call. Every time I've done the show, everyone tries to create all this animosity, and there's really none. They've all been really nice to me.
Except for Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Actually, she's the nicest. Some people tend to forget it's called "The View," so everyone's got to have their own point of view. It's not called "The Facts."
Are you and Carrie Underwood friends?
We went to the "Idol" concert together. It was nice to have a girls' night out.
How was Sanjaya?
It was kind of weird. The music, the mix, was so loud I could hardly understand what anybody was singing. I think they were having some technical problems. Everybody sounded great, but Carrie and I both had a hard time listening.
Have you seen "Hey, Paula?"
Paula Abdul's reality show.
She has a reality show?! I don't watch TV ever. If I do watch TV, it's either Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel. Have you seen "Planet Earth"? It's amazing. It's up close and personal with different things on the earth, like animals, plants and trees. Stuff we don't know that's out there.
Sounds like school.
It does. But it's not.
Do you know Kelly Clarkson?
No. I haven't met her. She was at CMA's because she sang a duet with Reba, but I didn't get to meet her there. Everybody was rushing all over the place. I hope to meet her soon. Every time we're at the same place, it's like we're dodging each other. I was at the NASCAR race a few months ago, and she was performing the day after. Each time, we're in the same area but we never meet.
Have you heard the new album?
I haven't heard it, no.
You should get it.
Yeah. I will if I ever get to the store. I live on the bus.
Don't you have iTunes?
Yeah, but I'm so stupid I don't know how to do it. I'm an electronic illiterate.
So you don't have an iPod?
I do. But there are no songs on it anymore. My friend downloaded one of my CDs, "Dolly Parton's Greatest Hits," but I accidentally deleted them all. I bought one of those new iPhones, but I don't know how to work it.
How did you meet your boyfriend?
Jordin? I'm, like, which one?
Ooh. You have more than one?
Jordin [Tootoo, a NHL player for the Nashville Predators] and I are actually neighbors. It's really funny. I didn't know anything about hockey. He's never even heard of "American Idol." This lady that works at the complex I live in says there's a guy named Jordin who wants to meet you. I'm like, "Ok, I guess." He leaves her two tickets for a game to give me. I'm like, "Lisa, you're going with me." I don't know what the guy looks like. I've never been to a hockey game. All I know is that his name is Jordin Tootoo. So I go to the game, every time a new player comes on ice, I'm looking for player 22. All of a sudden, this guy comes out on the ice, rips his clothes off, throws the guy on the ice, punches the crap out of the guy. I'm like, this hockey game is turning into a boxing match! Lisa is like, "That's Jordin." I'm like, I have to go out with this monster? Afterward, we went to dinner. There were knots on his forehead, his knuckles were all bloody. Great first impression. But he kicked the dude's butt. So at least I feel protected. One thing led to another and now we're a little item, I guess you could say.
How long have you been dating?
Since January. But we've never had an official boyfriend-girlfriend day. It just kind of blossomed. I don't know what day we committed to each other.
KELLY CLARKSON, NIGHT WRITER
According to Star Pulse, Kelly Clarkson struggles with insomnia - because her songs keep her awake at night. The singer admits many of her lyrics and hits come to her as she's trying to get to sleep and has to write them down or record them on the spot.
She says, "The moment a song comes to me, I have to get it out. That's why I have a hard time sleeping, because a lot of those times are at night."
KATHARINE McPHEE RAW
Watch video of Katharine McPhee's photo shoot for Vegas magazine at Raw Vegas. The Season 5 "Idol" runner-up dishes on how she fell in love with her "Vegas" show-stopper, showgirl cover look, and offers viewers a tasty treat -- a few bars of one of her favorite tracks.
PETER NOONE: PREFERS MAGGOTS TO IDOL
Well, it's a sure bet that Peter Noone won't be invited back to mentor on "American Idol." According to Contact Music, the lead singer of the '60s group Herman's Hermits, who mentored the guys during British Invasion week during Season 6, now admits he hates the idea of hopefuls appearing on such a big show before they've made it. Noone says, "If I were a young performer today, I'd take the bowl of maggots if people said, 'Do you want to be a contestant on American Idol or eat a bowl of maggots?' I'd say give me the bowl because I can get through that quick. I think it's probably much better to play in bars and then play the next-best bar than start on such a huge stage. If people are going to hate you, they may as well hate you in a small room."
PRODUCER NIGEL LYTHGOE: WE MADE MISTAKES
EW reports that at the Television Critics Association summer press tour,
"American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe said that last season "Idol" suffered by focusing more on famous mentors than on contestants -- and says the show can learn from "So You Think You Can Dance."
Lythgoe, the executive producer of both shows who also serves as a sharp-tongued judge on "Dance," said we should all expect some changes on "Idol" next season. "We realized we made mistakes on Idol last season," he said. "We were so engrossed with the mentors and didn't really focus on the Melinda Doolittles of the show. We didn't know them as much as the Kellie Picklers of last season."
Lythgoe is referring to the marked difference in the ways the two programs showcase their contestants: In recent seasons, "Idol" has tended to shun details about its singers to instead focus on the big-name stars who come to the show to perform and work with the contestants, especially in later episodes. "Dance," however, spends quite a bit of its airtime featuring the back-stories of its dancers and their struggles to get on the show.
"We're all attached to them a little more," Lythgoe said about Dance's focus on its contestants' lives. "I think that's affected us all a little bit more. There are little emotional hooks that come out." As for an "Idol" tune-up plan for season 7, Lythgoe revealed the production team is always looking to "tinker with the program," adding that ultimately he'd like to see the "Idol" contestants be as strong as his prized top 10 on "So You Think You Can Dance."
And what of Sanjaya? Of course, the faux-hawked menace snuck his way into the discussion. Speaking about the top 10 dancers seated behind him on stage, Lythgoe said: "There isn't a Sanjaya here, although I do think Sanjaya helped the last season of 'Idol.' I think there's enough talent with enough great stories to warrant the fact that we are basing it on their talent. No one needs to alter their hair on this program."
PERKS OF THE PRESS
A firsthand experience by a journalist for the Hanford Sentinel covering the Idols Live Tour:
FRESNO -- Ben's been a security guard at the Save Mart Center for several years. He first got the job to help pay his way through school, he told me.
Ben and I got to be quite good friends Friday evening. I was at the Save Mart Center "on assignment" to cover the American Idol Live! concert, camera bag and notepad in hand, just like the good old days. But I was over an hour early, so had some time to kill. And that's where Ben came in.
We talked about our taste in music, and he told me some wild stories about out-of-control teenage girls at the Chris Brown concert the week before. As the minutes ticked by, vendors and other security staff trickled in as Ben and I chatted. A couple of EMTs walked by pushing an empty gurney. Probably for a passed-out fan, I thought.
I was sitting on the cold, stone floor, listening to what I thought was piped music. It sounded pretty good, and my feet were soon tapping away. Suddenly, the music stopped and I heard laughter coming through the sound system. Then a voice started singing "Let's Get It Started" by the Black Eyed Peas and again I heard a voice say "That was good, that was good."
It was at that moment that I realized it was Them! They were going through sound checks ... and they were just a stone's throw from me.
Suddenly Ben's walkie-talkie crackled: "We are go for doors, we are go for doors!" Fans of every age, shape and size started pouring in. A girl and her brother each carried homemade signs. Hers said "Blake rocks my world." Her brother's said simply "Blake, you rock."
Then it was time. Along with four other members of the media, I was escorted down into the bowels of the Save Mart Center, a bit like walking through an underground maze at an airport. When we reached our destination, we were greeted by the Idol tour PR person, who explained the procedure for taking photos. We had about 10 minutes, she said. First, Blake will be on stage, and then Jordin will join him, coming up on a lift in the middle of the platform ...
The rest frankly was a blur. Within minutes we were standing next to the barricade in front of the stage where we would take pictures, and I made small talk with one of the Save Mart Center's staff as we waited for our cue.
I looked up. A blond-haired guy in a staff uniform walked to the middle of the stage as the announcer welcomed everyone to the concert. He looked kind of familiar, but I couldn't quite place him. Then he pulled off his cap -- and his blond wig -- to reveal spiky brown hair and an impish grin. It was Blake Lewis. Before I had time to hoist my purse and camera bag over my shoulder, the center of the stage opened up, and there was Jordin.
The next 9.8 minutes went by at light speed. I was snapping photos, trying not to fall over the cameramen who were filming for the overhead screens. Before I knew it, I was an arm's length from Chris Richardson, Sanjaya, Gina and Melinda. I wasn't sure if they'd all been dieting, or if TV really does add 15 pounds, but they looked great! Getting swept up in the moment, I suddenly realized how much I missed the reason I got into journalism in the first place.
The fans were going wild. They were screaming and reaching out across the barricade toward the stage. I watched their faces; this was awesome! I looked over at the Idol PR person and smiled. "Thank you," I mouthed.
After three songs, we were motioned away from the stage, and I had to relinquish my camera to the PR person, for "safe-keeping," I was told. I made my way to my seat just a few rows back from the stage. It was L18, but I don't think my rear ever touched the chair. Everyone in the floor area was on their feet, camera cell phones snapping photos and video footage.
Within minutes, my ears were ringing from the loud music and the women screaming wildly behind me. I got caught up in the emotion: "Wuhoo!" I yelled as Sanjaya, dressed in a white jacket, gray T-shirt and red jeans, sang and moonwalked to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel." "Wuhoo!!"
In between songs, the guys joked and ribbed each other. They talked about their friendship, and about the first time they all met. Sanjaya and Chris Sligh remembered "the bald guy," Phil, who good-naturedly went along with the ribbing. They really seem like best friends, I thought to myself.
Then Blake took the stage again, seeming right at home behind the microphone. "Everyone take out your cell phones and wave them like this!" he said, moving his arm from side to side. I looked behind me and the auditorium was suddenly filled with hundreds of fireflies as cell phone screens danced in the dark. It was magic.
Blake took off his jacket, revealing an untucked blue shirt over gray pants. He wrapped one hand around the mic, and the sound of techno filled the air, his beat box rhythm mesmerizing us all with its intensity. The crowd went wild. Did it get any better than this?
The Idols' performances were a whirlwind, one after the other. They ran across the stage, shaking hands with fans, and then back to the middle, hugging each other and acting like they were having such a good time. As each one sang, the stage backdrop showed footage from their initial auditions. These fresh-faced hopefuls had been turned into polished performers, and I secretly wondered if that was a good thing.
After an hour and 15 minutes, it was time for an intermission. I finally sat down. L18, a red plush chair, was comfortable. I had come down from the euphoric adrenaline rush, and I was exhausted. My camera battery had long since died, and my phone's memory was full from the photos I had taken. I didn't relish the thought of battling the traffic when the concert was over, so I decided to go home.
Driving back to Hanford, my ears still ringing, I felt good. I wished I'd gotten to say good-bye to Ben, the security guard, but I was sure he was off somewhere doing the job he said "paid the bills."
What had I enjoyed most about the evening? Sanjaya strutting across the stage, LaKisha, Haley and Gina as dance-hall girls singing "Lady Marmalade," or Jordin singing her heart out in a duet with Chris Robinson? No, I thought to myself. It was being a journalist.
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