IDOL INTERVIEW PARADE

Haven’t posted recently, but I have been typing up a storm! Writer Fred Bronson has been working his way through interviews with all of this year’s “American Idol” Top 10, and as always I tagged along. He’s done video interviews for hollywoodreporter.com (click on TV at the top of the page, then scroll through the video interviews. Kris Allen and Scott MacIntyre have been posted so far with more to come), as well as longer interviews with some of the Idols for their official press bios. It’s my job to type up the longer bio interviews, which has resulted in more than 100 single spaced pages so far!

The “Idol” interview parade started with the two-fer of Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta. Fred and I spent over an hour with Adam. I was fascinated to learn that for all of Adam’s confidence and mastery of the stage, his career has certainly seen it’s share of ups and downs. In fact, Adam really emphasized with the movie, “Slumdog Millionaire” because he realized that just like in the movie, all his trials helped prepare him for stardom. One of the low points was when he appeared in a production of “Debbie Does Dallas” at a Reno casino (don’t worry… we’re talking about a musical comedy version of the movie minus the sex). Adam admitted that the audience was a bit more interested in ogling the topless actresses than in hearing him sing. I was also intrigued to hear that Adam lived in my North Hollywood neighborhood when he first moved to L.A. from San Diego.

I have to admit I didn’t know much about Allison except for what I saw in her brief profiles on “Idol.” It turns out Allison didn’t quite start out as the rocker we know her as today. As a kid, she loved to sing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go” on for people. More recently, one of her high school bands was known for playing a rock version of the recent hit, “Bleeding Love.” I would love to hear that and wish she had sang it on “Idol.”

Last week, we spent an hour with Kris Allen to help Fred prepare for writing his bio. There’s little doubt the humble nice guy America fell in love with is the real Kris. Did you know that Kris has traveled all over the world doing missionary work and that he and his wife don’t even own a TV? In response to a question I asked about if he thought his dark horse status on “Idol” helped him win the competition, Kris said he always flies under the radar and his time on the show was no different.

We spent the most time with Scott MacIntyre and I learned that Scott’s “American Idol” stint barely scratched the surface of his life story. The problems he’s faced (visual impairment, kidney failure) have been mountainous, but fortunately he had the intellect and ambition not to let those challenges slow him down. Amazingly, he entered college at age 14 and later obtained a Masters Degree. But maybe what impressed me most about Scott is his determination to make sure that his appearances on “American Idol” are just the beginning of his music career. While in L.A. for tour rehearsals with the rest of the Top 10, Scott is not letting the grass grow under his feet one bit. He’s been taking non-stop meetings with both recording and music publishing companies.

Yesterday during the hour long lunch break for the tour rehearsals (yes, I heard a bit of one of the group medleys but I’ve been pledged to secrecy… I will say I can’t get one of the songs off my mind so I just put it into my Itunes!), Fred completed video interviews with Lil Rounds, Megan Joy, Matt Giraud, Michael Sarver and Anoop Desai. All of them gave great interviews, as being on “Idol” doesn’t just give the contestants lessons in stage presence. They also get plenty of practice speaking to the press. I am alarmed though by how many contestants cite Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album as an influence on their music. For instance, if you ask Kris Allen what his earliest memory of music is, he remembers playing “Dangerous” as a kid while dancing around his room pretending to be the Gloved One.

Now don’t get me wrong… I enjoy MJ’s music as much as anyone, but I went to college when Michael was King of the Discos with “Off The Wall” and “Thriller” came out the year I moved to California so “Billie Jean’ was the big song when I first started going to nighclubs out here, so it’s hard for me to believe “Dangerous” is the album that set someone on the path to music stardom. I guess it’s the choice of a new generation!

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