Archive for January, 2009


January 8, 2009

With Season 8 of “American Idol” about to premiere, I thought it would be nice to look back one more time at the Season 7 contestants. All these tidbits of trivia were gleaned from interviews Billboard Magazine’s Fred Bronson conducted that I sat in on and later transcribed. Unfortunately, Fred conducted his interview with Michael Johns over the phone, so Michael gets left out of the rundown. Here we go…


1.  When Chikezie performed in his first talent show in middle school, he was so good his friends thought he was lip synching.

2.  Chikezie tried to join the girls’ choir in middle school because there was no boys’ choir at the school.

3.  Chikezie’s favorite Idol contestant judging by their “Idol” performances is Clay Aiken.

4.  Chikezie lost fifty pounds between Hollywood Week and appearing in the Top 24.

5.  Chikezie’s favorite album of all time is “Get Lifted” by John Legend.


1.  Ramiele was born in Saudi Arabia.

2.  Ramiele’s first live performance was in a fifth grade talent show. She sang “Too Much” by the Spice Girls in a group with four other girls.

3.  Ramiele planned on becoming a nurse like her mother.

4.  Ramiele worked as a waitress and hostess at a sushi restaurant called Wasabi.

5.  Ramiele rates herself as the most emotional contestant of her season’s Top 10.


1.  Kristy’s brother played a lot of country music when she was growing up, which got her interested in the genre.

2.  Kristy first concert performance was opening for Glen Campbell at a music festival.

3.  Kristy was home schooled but was still a member of the local high school’s girls’ softball team and went to all the school dances.

4.  “God Bless The U.S.A.” is Kristy’s father’s favorite song.

5.  Kristy once recorded a live album called “Devoted.”


1.  “A Star Is Born” is one of Carly’s all-time favorite movies and inspired her to try out for “American Idol.”

2.  Carly first met her husband at an airport in Los Angeles.

3.  Carly got her first tattoo at age 18.

4.  Carly demoed a song that ended up on Carrie Underwood’s debut album.

5.  During Andrew Lloyd Webber week, Carly was going to perform “All I Ask Of You,” but Sir Andrew suggested doing something more uptempo so Carly chose “Superstar.”


1.  When she was seven, Brooke sat down at the piano and played “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx totally by ear.

2.  Brooke’s favorite movie as a child was “Mary Poppins.”

3.  Brooke played the lead in her high school musical, “Meet Me In St. Louis.”

4.  Brooke originally planned to be a cosmetologist and was going to beauty school before she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music when she was 17.

5.  Brooke once performed in front of Kiefer Sutherland during an L.A. radio station’s “Rock Star” talent contest.


1.  Jason was studying architecture when he tried out for “Idol.”

2.  Jason started wearing dreadlocks during his senior year of high school.

3.  Coheed & Cambria was Jason’s favorite band in high school.

4.  Jason only performed in public a few times before his “Idol” audition, once at a Starbucks and once at a club called The Door.

5.  Jason was originally planning on singing a Don Fogelberg song for 80’s week before he found out “Hallelujah” was originally released in the eighties by Leonard Cohen.


1.  Syesha’s mother was once a background singer for Pops Staples of the Staples Singers.

2.  Syesha’s appeared in her first play in first grade. It was called “One Special Cookie.”

3.  Syesha was a contestant on the TV show, “The One: Making A Music Star.”

4.  Syesha writes her goals down on paper.

5.  Syesha would like to open an organic restaurant.


1.  David’s father is a trumpet player, but David hated hearing him play when he was growing up because he played so loudly.

2.  David cites Tamyra Gray’s performance of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” as his inspiration to start performing more soulful music.

3.  David quit his job working at an amphitheater to try out for “Idol.”

4.  David participated in his local CBS affiliate’s morning show’s version of “Star Search.” He lost, but just a few weeks later, he was a contestant on the network version of “Star Search.”

5.  David refuses to watch any footage of himself singing when he was a child.


1.  David’s first musical instrument was violin.

2.  The first recording David ever bought was a tape of the teen rap duo Kris Kross.

3.  David lost ten pounds during Hollywood week because he was so nervous.

4.  David appeared in three musicals in high school: “The Music Man,” “West Side Story” and “Singing In The Rain.”

5.  In college, David had a theater scholarship but quit the theater program because it was so cutthroat.



January 1, 2009

I haven’t had a lot of memorable New Year’s Eves. I’ve never gotten that fabled midnight kiss. I have been to a few good parties though.

Probably the best one was also attended by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. It was years ago at a mansion in the hills above Silverlake that I later recognized as the setting for the climax of “Scream 3.” While Tobey stuck to the upstairs VIP area, Leo was often downstairs on the first floor and was happy to take photos with his fans. Of course, my wingman Eddie was most excited by the appearance of Milla Jovovich, not that she ever gave him a second look (or a first one for that matter).

I had a little better luck at a New Year’s Eve party a few years later. A promoter had rented the Castle, a house in the Hollywood Hills which was owned by my friend Lance’s father. The Castle was built to look like, you guessed it, a castle. That night I started talking to a couple of ladies who had come together and eventually set my eye on one. I told her how I ended up at the party and she asked, “How long have you and Lance been together?” Naive little me, I replied we’ve known each other for years. Yes, I didn’t realize she thought Lance and I were a couple. I did figure it out a few minutes later. Hopefully she figured it out after I asked her out and got her number…

Other years, I’ve spent New Year’s Eve with some buddies in Palm Springs and seeing Barry Manilow up at the Universal Amphitheater (okay, maybe it wasn’t such a leap to assume I was gay… ). So what’s my excuse for staying home this year?

Well, I’m working. I’m the researcher on “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and I’ve agreed to stay near my phone and computer until 12:30 east coast time just in case one of the writers has a last minute research question. In fact, they did have one just a few minutes ago: “What is Hillary Clinton called since she hasn’t been confirmed as Secretary of State?” I said go with either nominee for U.S. Secretary of State or nominee-designate. In the end, they decided not to change what they already had in the script. Yes, that’s the kind of thing that earns me a credit at the end of the show…

So whether you’re out at a party or staying in to watch Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest ring in the New Year (you couldn’t be watching one of those motorcycle stunts on the other channels, could you?), all the best to you and yours tonight and in the year to come. Happy New Year!