According to various sources, including the National Ledger and Trans World News, in its latest issue Star Magazine is reporting that Season 5 "American Idol" finalist Kellie Pickler might be suffering from health problems. The country singer has cancelled three concerts since June 22, and insiders say it's because she's on the verge of collapse, reports Star Magazine, relying, once again on nameless -- and most likely imaginary -- sources.
Insiders tell Star she's making herself ill on tour with country giant Brad Paisley. "She’s under a great deal of pressure to be slender and slinky," an associate explains in the report from Star. "Kellie’s trying to lose weight, but that’s near impossible when she’s working 14 hours a day," the source adds. "Something has to give, and unfortunately it’s her health."
Kellie, who, according to the tabloid, has lost about 20 pounds since last spring, cancelled two shows in Colorado and one in New Mexico. "She needs to eat and rest more," says the source. "There's a real fear that she won’t hold up."
Kellie's rep, Wes Vause, admits to Star that the singer is a "picky eater" and canceled shows "because of low blood sugar." Vause tells Star that Kellie "had gone to Canada and didn't eat enough, so she needed to get her strength back. She is well."
McPHEE SIGNS FOR ANOTHER FILM
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Katharine McPhee's acting career is revving up as fast -- or even faster -- than her singing career.
The industry publication says that the Season 5 "American Idol" runner-up will make her studio acting debut in the untitled Anna Faris project for Columbia Pictures and Happy Madison [Adam Sandler's production company]. McPhee, along with Emma Stone, Rumer Willis [Bruce and Demi Moore's daughter], Kat Dennings and comedian Dana Goodman, have signed on to co-star in the comedy, which is being directed by Fred Wolf.
The script, written by "Legally Blonde" scribes Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, centers on a Playboy bunny (Faris) who gets kicked out of the Playboy Mansion and becomes the house mother to the lamest sorority on campus. The casting fills in the major roles of the sorority sisters and solidifies the project as the first female-driven comedy to come out of the shingle.
McPhee will play a pregnant hippy [well, the pregnant part should make her happy], while Stone will be president of the sorority.
Willis will play an insecure young woman who wears a backbrace even though she could have had it removed years ago. Dennings will portray a pierced women's studies feminist, and Goodman will play the sister who keeps switching majors and should have graduated years ago.
Also cast is Sarah Wright ("Made of Honor"), who will play a conniving young woman from the popular sorority.
Filming is scheduled to begin July 23 in Los Angeles.
The comedy marks the second role McPhee has booked in as many months; in June, she nabbed a role in "The Last Caller," a dark romantic-comedy indie. Her casting in the Faris project, along with "Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson's acting turn in "Dreamgirls," shows that "Idol" is becoming a fertile ground for finding acting talent as well as vocal talent. McPhee is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
SLIGH, STACEY TO MOVE TO NASHVILLE ... SPARKS TOO?
The Tennessesan reports that "American Idol" finalist Melinda Doolittle had quite a homecoming Wednesday when the Brentwood resident and former back-up singer took center stage at Nashville's Sommet Center with the nine other Idol finalists.
"I am so excited to be home," says Melinda. "Nashville has been amazingly supportive. They have done more than their share of helping me out, so I am excited to be able to say thank you."
What's next for Melinda? "That is the best question in the world. I don't know the answer yet," says Melinda. "I'll find out as it goes along. I'm just letting God take control of that."
Finalists Phil Stacey, whose parents live in Smyrna, and Chris Sligh, who has family in Springfield, both plan on moving here soon. Phil is likely to sign with a major country label, while Chris will probably opt for a Nashville Christian label. It's too soon to announce their label or management affiliations, but it's safe to say they're in talks with top-notch folks.
"I do plan on putting out a country record," says Phil, who spent time with his parents, wife and daughters in his hotel room Wednesday. "My influences are country and gospel, so I may put out a blend of the two, music I can express my faith in as well as just hopefully make a connection with the listening audience."
Idol winner Jordin Sparks spent the day with Michael W. Smith and his birthday-girl daughter, Anna. "There's a house for sale in Anna's neighborhood," Jordin says. "I was like, 'I'm buying it.' It's a dream just talking about it, but I would love to move here."
BUCKY DOESN'T WANT TO OVERTHINK THINGS
In an interview with the Albany Time-Union, Bucky Covington said "I don't do a whole lot of thinking. I'm a big believer in not overthinking. I don't really think about things until it's done. If I thought about it before, it'd probably scare me to death."
That philosophy is serving the North Carolina native well. "American Idol's" most recent transplant to country music called from Michigan where he's busy promoting his new album.
Covington, 29, only made it to the Top Eight on "American Idol" in 2006, but his album debuted at No. 1 on Nielsen Soundscan's Country Top 75 chart. The performance of the album, released in April, has turned country music on its ear. With 61,000 units sold, Covington had the best first-week sales for any new male country artist since Billy Ray Cyrus in 1992. He was also the only new country act to open inside the Top 5 this year on Soundscan's all-genre Top 200 chart.
"I got to give some credit to 'American Idol,' " said Covington, who plays WGNA Countryfest on Saturday. "A lot of people know who I am because my face rings a bell, and I have some name recognition. But Mark Miller and Lyric Street gave me a lot of help."
Miller, the lead singer and front man for the hugely popular band Sawyer Brown, praised Covington for his honesty and believability, and came on board to produce the record for Lyric Street, the label made famous by Rascal Flatts. (Covington is Lyric Street's second "Idol"; they signed former Marine Josh Gracin.)
Critics are praising the album's diversity. Entertainment Weekly said, "The North Carolinian with the throaty drawl could sell everything from the cheeky to the weepy. And he does."
"I wanted variety," Covington said. "I love all types of country music and I wanted a little bit of all of them on the album. With a lot of time and a little bit of elbow grease, we found the right songs."
From the totally twangy first single, to the sweet ballad "I'll Walk," to the Southern Rock kicker "Bible and the Belt," Covington keeps the tempo interesting. He even earned writing credit on the sentimental "Carolina Blue," but says, "I just wanted good songs, I didn't care who wrote it."
The first single, "A Different World," is making a solid mark on the country charts, thanks in part to the video by virtuoso video director Trey Fanjoy.
"We filmed it in 15 hours, all in one day, at the Disney Ranch. It was about 15 degrees at 6 six in the morning and by noon it was 75." Of Fanjoy, he says, "She is a sweetheart, she was about seven or eight months' pregnant at the time, when she directed that. She never complained and she has done an awesome job. I would love to work with her again."
With such a strong country background, Covington might have auditioned for "Nashville Star," the country version of "Idol," but he almost didn't audition for "Idol" at all.
Hurricane Katrina forced the cancellation of the audition at the closest venue, 11 hours away in Memphis. But then, a new site was chosen, in nearby Greensboro. Covington thought it was karma and he went.
"There wasn't a whole lot of thought into it period," he said. "I thought, 'Let's give it a good hit and a miss' and it hit."
Covington says of his debut album, "We got a lot of work to go but it was a very good start."
FORMER FINALISTS HIT DIAMOND IN PA.
The Centre Daily Times reports that former Season 4 "American Idol" finalist Vonzell Solomon performed the national anthem before Wednesday's game. Solomon, 23, placed third on the popular show in 2005.
Ryan Starr, an American Idol contestant in 2003, will visit Medlar Field on Sept. 4.
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