I spent 10 of the last 24 hours typing up the many, many interviews that Billboard’s Fred Bronson conducted during the past few days of taping for this season of “American Idol Extra,” which is shown on the Fox Reality cable network. I’m trying not to let my aching fingers sour me on all the fun I had yesterday when I joined Fred for his final busy day at Center Staging.

The producers of the show brought back many popular former contestants to perform and participate in a short Q&A with host JD Roberto and audience members in segments that will be shown throughout the season. Some of the Idols I missed seeing that Fred talked to on Saturday and Sunday were Ace Young (whose debut album will be released soon), Chris Richardson (who you can see for yourself as he makes appearances all over America to promote Dreyer’s Ice Cream), Haley Scarnato (who’s releasing a country single called “Girls’ Night Out), Kevin Covais (soon to be seen in a movie comedy called “College.” Surprisingly Kevin plays a shy nerd!), Ruben Studdard (who will probably have a big hit as he’s singing this year’s goodbye song on “Idol,” his version of Kenny Loggins’ “Celebrate Me Home”) and Stephanie Edwards (who’s recording in Atlanta).

I also missed sitting in on Fred’s interviews with Gina Glocksen and Chris Sligh on Monday, although I did eventually get to spend some time with each. I was hanging out in the Green Room with Fred, Chris and his friend and drummer Jon talking music. Chris is a huge Beatles fan and enjoys dissecting the intricacies of their songs and production. Chris is full of life and fun and even busted out with some opera at one point. He’s just released a single to Christian radio called “Empty Me.” His album, “Running Back To You,” is coming out May 6th.

I also made sure I complimented Gina Glocksen on the original song she performed in her segment, called “When It Rains.” Although I had never heard it before, I immediately loved it. Gina is one of the hosts of “American Idol Extra” this season and will be interviewing the exiting contestants along with Constantine Maroulis.

Fred was actually in the midst of interviewing Melinda Doolittle when I arrived at the studio around 1:30 PM. She told us a funny story about a dream she had during Hollywood week. It combined her nervousness about “Idol” with the excitement of the show “24.” She imagined that when they arrived in the room where you were told if you made it to the Top 24, gas started seeping through the vents and if you didn’t get a nosebleed, you made it onto the show. Unfortunately, if you did get a nosebleed, you died! Harsh…

Next up was Sanjaya Malakar, who turned out to be a lot taller than I imagined. He’s currently writing songs with his sister Shyamali, who was also in attendance.

Next up was Bo Bice who arrived fresh from Nashville and brought the house down with the song “I’m Gone” from his latest album, “See the Light.” Bo is the original Southern gentleman, always making an effort to be friendly to everyone. We found out Bo just got back from a trip to Afghanistan.

Last but not least, we spent a few minutes with LaKisha Jones, fresh from a stint on Broadway in the musical version of “The Color Purple.” During her time on “Idol,” I thought LaKisha sometimes seemed standoffish, but in person yesterday, she was well spoken, friendly and thoughtful. She hopes to have an album out by summer and is planning to start a charity to help other single mothers who haven’t gotten the breaks she has.

It turns out many of the former “Idol” contestants we talked to have moved to Los Angeles. Gina just arrived from Chicago a few days ago and will at least be here through the run of “American Idol Extra” and Sanjaya has also moved here. Ace Young has even opened his L.A. home to Kevin Covais while he gets his career off the ground. Now if that’s not a sit-com in the making, I don’t know what is…


2 Responses to “GHOSTS OF IDOLS PAST”

  1. Judy Says:

    I’m very happy to see that Constantine will be co-hosting the new AI Extra this year! I just saw him perform an acoustic show at the Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in New York recently and what a show it was! His energy and extraoardinary vocal talents were front and center all evening -backed by 2 guitars and his spontaneous comedic interaction with the audience that kept us all rolling in the aisles.
    The theater was packed with people, many who missed him on Broadway and hadn’t seen him perform since his AI season, and he certainly made fans that night; I stood in line for nearly two hours to tell him he is one of the best entertainers I have ever seen.
    Sounds like he and Gina will have a very good time co-hosting AI Extra.

  2. Judy Says:

    I forgot to mention that the showstopper of Constantine’s recent Acoustic Tour was his rendition of ‘Hallelujah”. Absolutely stunning!

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