IDOL FUN FACTS

I can’t say I was a fan of “American Idol” right from the beginning. I saw a few episodes during Season 1 and caught a bit more of Season 2, cheering on Ruben after his superb version of “Kiss And Say Goodbye” and then switching my loyalties after Clay blew me away with his take on “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (of course, if I had seen Clay’s “Build Me Up Buttercup,” one of my favorite songs, I might have rooted for him earlier).

Season 3 was good, although there wasn’t a lot of suspense as Fantasia was the clear front runner all season long. But it was really Season 4 that made me a true fan, as I rooted for Bo in his battle against Carrie.

Of course, by that time I felt like an Idol insider, thanks to my work with writer Fred Bronson, who has reported on “Idol” in such venues as Billboard and American Idol Magazine.  Often Fred was the first journalist to do an in-depth interview with the former contestants each year after the “Idol” finale, and he became friends with many of them. Thanks to Fred, I got to go backstage at three of the Idol concerts when they stopped in the L.A. area, and also got to attend Kim Locke’s Halloween party one year, interview Clay Aiken at a movie premiere and have breakfast with Blake Lewis. Of course, Fred has me beat when it comes to Idol close encounters, as he helped Kim secure a recording contract, gave Clay a tour of Las Vegas and visited Walt Disney World with Diana DeGarmo, in addition to making two appearances on the show itself!

Since I participated in so many interview with the Idols and also had the job of typing them up, I thought I would go through the transcripts and pull out some fun facts about the top two finalists each year in order of their appearance on the show…

KELLY CLARKSON:

1. Kelly’s mother was an English teacher who taught her to keep a journal, so she’s always been writing.

2. The first song Kelly ever wrote was called “Never.”

3. Kelly wrote the lyric for “Because Of You” when she was in high school about friends of hers that came from broken homes

4. When Kelly heard the demo of “Since U Been Gone,” she thought the singer sounded like Avril Lavigne… and it was!

5. If Kelly could model her career on anyone’s, she would choose Annie Lennox.

JUSTIN GUARINI:

1. Justin’s mother was an anchorwoman for CNN when the network was first getting started.

2. Before he cut it, Justin considered his hair “an unruly two year old on top of your head that won’t listen to you and decides to act up at the worse moment.”

3. Justin’s mother was ironing when she saw an ad for Idol tryouts and insisted he audition.

4. Justin says making the movie “From Justin To Kelly” was like getting paid to be on vacation.

5. If he couldn’t live in Los Angeles, Justin would live in Colorado because he loves the mountains.

RUBEN STUDDARD:

1. Ruben was born in Frankfurt, Germany (his father was in the U.S. Army).

2. When Ruben was a young child, he was part of the Cherub Choir at his church.

3. Ruben played football in high school (as an offensive tackle) but music always came first.

4. Ruben quit college early to sing in the gospel group God’s Gift.

5. A background singer in Ruben’s band, Just a Few Cats, wanted to try out for “American Idol.” Ruben went to the auditions to support her. He made it to Hollywood, but she didn’t.

CLAY AIKEN:

1. Clay shares his birthday with Winston Churchill and Dick Clark.

2. In the twelfth grade, Clay was cut from the school musical, “Guys And Dolls.”

3. Clay grew up planning to be an elementary school principal.

4. At his first Idol audition, Clay sang the theme from the TV show, “Perfect Strangers” (he has no idea why… it just came out). He followed it up with “Always And Forever” and was put through.

5. Clay’s favorite reality show is “The Amazing Race.”

FANTASIA:

1. Fantasia’s aunt was the one who first told her to go on “American Idol,” but the aunt didn’t know the name of the show. Fantasia finally saw the show at the end of Season 2.

2. Fantasia never felt pressure while on “Idol” and always thought she would win.

3. Season 1 contestant Tamyra Gray co-wrote Fantasia’s single “I Believe.” When Fantasia sang it on the finale, she saw Tamyra crying in the audience.

4. “I Believe” was the best selling single of 2004.

5. Fantasia’s favorite group is Aerosmith. She loves their song, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.”

DIANA DEGARMO:

1. Diana appeared as a regular performer in shows at both Opryland and Dollywood before her “Idol” success.

2. Diana also performed three shows a day as a “Coca Cola Kid” during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

3. Diana didn’t watch the early seasons of “Idol” because she thought it was unfair that she was too young to try out for the show.

4. “Idol” producers asked her to sing a song by Britney Spears at her audition. She refused and sang something by Christina Aguilera instead.

5. Melissa Manchester came to the recording studio to coach Diana when she recorded Melissa’s hit, “Don’t Cry Out Loud.”

CARRIE UNDERWOOD:

1. Although she grew up in Checotah, Oklahoma, Carrie was born in the nearby town of Muskogee. Yes, she really is an Okie From Muskogee!

2. Although she grew up on a farm, she has never milked a cow.

3. As a child, whenever Carrie heard Mel McDaniel’s song, “Baby Got Her Blue Jeans On,” she always ran to her room and put on her jeans.

4. At age 15, Carrie went to Nashville and recorded some demos but never got a record deal until “Idol.”

5. When she first sang for “Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe, he told her, “You know Simon hates country music, right?”

BO BICE:

1. Bo’s mother was in a group called the Singing Jays.

2. Bo got his first guitar, a Squire Telecaster, for his ninth birthday.

3. Bo’s first band was called Spinning Jenny.

4. Bo lived in England during his high school years.

5. Bo was the manager of a guitar store when he tried out for “Idol.”

TAYLOR HICKS:

1. Taylor started going gray at age 14.

2. Taylor’s favorite song is “Soul Serenade” by King Curtis.

3. In college, Taylor was in a band called Passing Through.

4. Taylor spent $ 4000 recording his 2005 independent album, “Under the Radar.”

5. “Do I Make You Proud” was originally given to Elliott Yamin to sing, but when Elliott didn’t make it to the final, Taylor sang it instead.

KATHARINE MCPHEE:

1. Katharine appeared in her first talent show in middle school. She sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero.”

2. Growing up, Katharine took dance lessons up to four times a week.

3. Katharine recorded Christina Aguilera’s song “Reflection” at age 16, but it didn’t get her a record deal.

4. Katharine sang Whitney Houston’s “Run To You” at her first “Idol” audition and followed it up with “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “Come Rain Or Come Shine.”

5. Katharine thinks her best performances on “Idol” were “Since I Fell For You,” “Until You Come Back To Me” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

SORRY JORDIN SPARKS FANS, WE NEVER GOT TO INTERVIEW HER!

BLAKE LEWIS:

1. Blake worked painting houses with his father at age 5.

2. Blake’s favorite album is Michael Jackson’s “Bad.”

3. Blake was once the top audio salesman at his local Circuit City.

4. Bono of U-2 signed Blake’s vinyl copy of “The Unforgettable Fire” during “Idol Gives Back” week by crossing out the title and writing “Unforgettable Blake.”

5. Blake picked Jordin Sparks to win Season 6 during Hollywood week.

There you have it. Now who will we be talking to after Season 7?

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One Response to “IDOL FUN FACTS”

  1. Trudy Says:

    Interesting stuff!! Kelly is still my fave– Did you see that video with Reba? Amazing!! Carrie is good too, of course : )

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