Monday, May 28, 2007

American Idol: The Runner-Ups

Blake Lewis joins Justin Guarini, Clay Aiken, Diana DeGarmo, Bo Bice, and Katharine McPhee as American Idol runner-ups. Let's hope he gets used to the label "American Idol Loser" because the media loves to use that particular description for the runner-ups.

All the runner-ups have a career in the entertainment business. All are recording artists albeit with varying degrees of success. Justin, Bo, Diana, and Clay are all working on a CD. Katharine is in an active cycle. In addition to recording, Justin is a TV host, Diana works in theater, Clay is getting ready for his summer tour and is very active with his foundation and UNICEF. How will Blake Lewis fare? Only time will tell the level of his success, but history says he will have a career that probably wouldn't have been possible without American Idol, a show he never watched before he auditioned. The rumor is that Blake did not receive a recording contract from Clive Davis which is either really good news or really bad news depending on who you talk to. Bad news maybe because it would make him the only runner-up who did not receive one, and good news because Clive is not exactly known for letting Idols have much creative input. Whatever people feel about Blake, he is musically creative and for my part, I think he is better-served if he is signed by someone who will let him have input on his own record. There isn't any doubt that someone will sign him, or for more creative contral he may decide to go the way of Elliot Yamin, with an independent label and distribution deal.

It will be interesting to see how many of Season Six contestants get signed to a record deal, and how well they sell. CD sales are on the decline and record companies are struggling. Even the massive exposure of American Idol does not guarantee strong sales. Some contestants only record one (Justin, Bo, Diana) album of the intital contract and then are released by the record company. RCA seems to be in the business of capturing as many sales as cheaply as they can without any long-term development of the Idols as artists.

Comparative data for Idol contestant debut albums (first-week soundscan sales numbers):

1. Clay Aiken - “Measure of a Man” - 612,859 (# 1)
2. Ruben Studdard- “Soulful” - 416,569 (# 1)
3. Carrie Underwood - “Some Hearts” - 314,549 (# 2)
4. Chris - “Daughtry” - 303,677 (# 2)
5. Taylor - “Taylor Hicks” - 298,199 (#2)
6. Kelly Clarkson - “Thankful” - 297,000 (# 1)
7. Fantasia - “Free Yourself” - 239,389 (# 8 )
8. Bo Bice - “The Real Thing” - 226,976 (# 4)
9. Kat - "Katharine McPhee" - 115,761 (#2)
10. Elliot - "Elliot Yamin" - 90,439 (#3)
11. Kellie Pickler- “Small Town Girl” - 79,133 (# 9)
12. Bucky - "Bucky Covington" - 60,814 (#4)
13. Justin - “Justin Guarini” - 58,749 (# 20)
14. Josh - “Joshua Gracin” - 57,257 (# 11)
15. Kim Locke - “One Love” - 56,894 (# 16)
16. Diana DeGarmo- “Blue Skies” - 47,000 ( # 52)
17. Tamyra Gray - “Dreamer” - 39,091 (# 23)
18. LaToya London - “Love and Life” - 12,546 (# 82)
19. Mario - “Mario Vasquez” - 11,812 (# 80)
20. Paris Bennett - "Princess" - 6,434 (# 133)
21. Jasmine Trias - “Jasmine Trias” - 4,855
22. John Stevens - “Red” - 4,349
23. Jim Verraros - “Rollercoaster” - 1,571
24. Corey Clark - “Corey Clark” - 557
25. Ayla Brown - “Forward” - 300

Two Runner-Ups, Two Takes on "Mack the Knife"

Both Clay and Blake performed "Mack The Knife" on the American Idol Top 3. It's not an easy song to perform without coming off like a lounge lizard. Blake put his spin on it with his dance moves. Clay put his spin on it with his fantastic voice. You can decide which one is better. I know which one I like. *g*


~Blake Lewis~

~Clay Aiken~

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Guillermo's Mustache Magic

I'm so glad I watched Dancing With the Stars last night. You never know who is going to pop up in the latest Jimmy Kimmel skit. Who knew that Clay needed help with his performances, a boost in his confidence or changes in his life! I always thought they were pretty perfect. I guess he thought they needed that extra little oomph, that little razzle-dazzle. If the artist in him screamed for that extra little something for his performances then I'm so glad he discovered Guillermo's mustache magic. He does like to please his fans. Not only are his performances better, but he looks fabulous. I've always had a thing for smarmy used car salesmen. *g*

~~DWTS Jimmy Kimmel Skit~~

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Clay and Jimmy: Together Again

I was visiting my dad for a few days, and when I arrived home I found out that Clay was scheduled for a visit on Jimmy Kimmel. It was a short notice visit which I find are the best kind. I hate waiting with anticipation for weeks on end like a kid waiting for Christmas. Clay was a last minute booking taking the place of Cameron Diaz who appeared on Leno that night instead. Leno has an earlier timeslot and better ratings, so I can't really blame Cameron, but I have to say that Jimmy is much funnier than Leno. I flipped channels between Leno and Letterman waiting for Kimmel to come on and I was really surprised at how bad Leno was at interviewing/talking to his guests. It was felt so totally scripted, whereas Jimmy scripted or not just seems more engaged. Anyway, Cameron pre-taped her segment to be aired at a later date before the show with Clay. It worked out all around. I always enjoy Clay's Kimmel visits because the have a chemistry together, and Clay seems more relaxed than some of his other talk show appearances.

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For a first-hand perspective by an attendee here is a summary posted by poshpenny on the message boards:

Jimmy comes out to do the monologue. Every time he mentions Clay, or us, it triggers synapses in my brain that shoot this message through my mind... "Clay is here right now!" This, of course, creates a chain reaction and needless to say, I was in a good mood. Now shut up Jimmy and go to break. As he is finishing he lists the other guests first *applause* and then Clay. *WOOOOO!* Jimmy smirked at getting the expected reaction. Only a bit of it made it to air.

Now we are at break and everyone fidgets in their seat. Two guys come out and remove the guest chair. There is nowhere to sit. Just a desk and a lot of carpet. EEE!! The horse is coming! I keep looking to the left in an attempt to glimpse Horsey Clay. I finally decide he must be behind the blue drapes next to the seats. I see them moving at about guy-in-a-saddle height. It's Clay! He's back there on a horse! EEEE! I wonder what he is wearing. Cowboy outfit? English riding breeches? Normal clothes? WHY ARE THERE SO MANY COMMERCIALS????

The applause signs blink. The director counts down with his fingers. We're back! EEEEEEEEE!! I don't think I even looked at Jimmy during his intro, I was staring intently at that blue curtain. I see the camera pan back there, a curtain rises and there he is! On a horse! Clay is led out and waves to us. He looks so comfortable up there! Not the teeniest bit scared, nervous, unsure of himself, no goofy "I'm a dork who can't ride a horse" faces.... just confident, smiling, waving, hand shaking Alpha Clay. *Swoon*

I love him in bangs but they were so much better in September. Still, he looks cute and way better than he did on GMA last time so yay for that. I'm a sucker for a man in a waistcoat and didn't even care that it was brilliant spring green. I even enjoyed the green/purple combo though he did look a bit like he was going to some sort of Derby Party.

When they held the entire interview while he was on horseback, I just had to laugh. Here he was, talking about completely serious topics while sitting on the back of a horse in a TV studio for no apparent reason. And did I mention how very at home he looked up there? He never reacted to any movement of the horse, just chatted away, alternately gesturing and resting his hands on the horn of the saddle.

He said many things that got reactions out of me. He looked like Jesus, wanted to kill Osama, and said those children he was teaching English to may be screwed. Clay just said they were screwed! How fun! Jimmy finally mentioning the horse and Clay's reaction were great.

During commercial he got off the horse. Very easily, BTW. They all posed for a photo and Taco went backstage. The mob that always appears during commercials materialized out of thin air, the chair was returned, and as he has done each time I've been to Kimmel, Uncle Frank made sure to go over and shake Clay's hand. I did not see Uncle Frank do this to anyone the night before. I have not seen him do it to any other guest on Clay nights, either. Uncle Frank likes him some Clay. I looked behind me at Live!Clay! Virgin lady and put my hand on her knee. Without removing her eyes from Clay, she leans toward me. I ask her if she is having fun. "Uh-huuuuh." I ask her if he's pretty. "Uh-huuuuh." Apparently she is enjoying herself.

After commercial, new Afghanistan footage! A teeny peek at Clay on a donkey. I'd love to know what happens to ALL that footage they shoot that never ends up in public. They'd make a fortune if they sold DVDs. Then Clay tells me some wonderful things! He's in LA talking to producers for the new album! He's actively working on the album RIGHT NOW! Huzzah! He's playing the Greek with the LA Philharmonic! Squeeee!! I was anxiously awaiting which orchestra he would use here and I am peeing myself with excitement that it's the Phil! YAY!

I didn't see the horse get excited. I was pretty much directly in front of it and Clay was about even with my head, so I was looking at him and not so much at anything else. Though other people said it wasn't erect. One person thought it needed to pee and one thought it was on tranquilizers.

Another commercial, and the mob reappears. I really have no idea what they all need to be doing up there but who can blame them for trying to get closer to Clay. The couch was still not on the stage and I was beginning to think that was the end of our fun. Luckily the wonderful stagehands brought it out and we all knew we got to stare at Boyfriend like a lion at the zoo for another two segments. Yay! I have no idea what Clay and Jimmy were talking about to each other, but they were cracking each other up. Clay sipped lots of water.

During Aida's interview I saw Clay do just what he did last time. He watches the monitor most of the time. He knows just when he is on camera and when he isn't. He was not on camera at the time, but when Aida said that one of the marks of diabetes is thirst, he scrambled for his glass of water, like he did when he co-hosted that one morning talk show. She didn't see it so he was sure to point it out to her later. Clay said she could kick his ass. Screwed and ass in one show? How did this happen? I love it.

During that break he and Aida were chatting away. At one point he was talking to her, in her ear because it's so loud in there with the band, and her jaw dropped open. She pulled back a little to look at him then leaned in again. A moment later she looked at him again and said, "Oh my God!" I thought about it and figured he was telling her about Gregory.

Alexa was introduced and Clay, of course, watched her while sitting on one foot with his arm on the back of the couch while she sang that really weird song. It sounded kinda like I was at a prom in the 50's and I kept waiting for Marty McFly to run out from backstage. I saw Clay's fingers tapping but not as much as for that chick they had on Valentine's Day. It apparently pays to have famous parents because she came right over to be interviewed. Clay and Aida had to squeeze onto that teeny little couch. At least for a moment he had his arm on the back of the couch behind her. I thought that was cute. When Alexa said her dad is tired of Piano Man and is thinking about what to have for dinner while singing it, Clay smiled and nodded and I think told Aida that he did that too. I wonder if it's a particular song (Invisible?) or if he just generally thinks about other things while singing. If one day the Aiken Random Lyric Generator spits out a word like "pizza" in the middle of a song we may have our answer.

Jimmy closes the show and we get Clay's cute little Al Borland Tool Time salute. I love his little salute. The show is over. Jimmy shakes Clay's hand and bids farewell to him and Aida

~Clay on Kimmel May 10, 2007 Part I~

~Clay on Kimmel May 10, 2007 Part II~

For more on Clay's Kimmel visit Carolina on My Mind: Clay + Jimmy = Climmel Time! which includes a wonderful slide show plus some animated gifs.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Memories of AI2: Top 4 -- "To Love Somebody" & "Grease".

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May 6, 2003 American Idol 2 Top 4 show was BeeGees Week. Coincidentally AI6 had BeeGees Week for their Top 4 also. Instead of Barry Gibb who was mentor for AI6, AI2 had Robin Gibb as guest judge. The first of Clay's two songs was "To Love Somebody". He impressed the judges with his fantastic performance, and Simon said it was probably the best of all the Pop Idol/American Idol performances. Next he sang one of my favorite performances, "Grease". His stellar vocal performance was lost in the jaw-dropping sight of Clay Aiken in his red leather jacket, tight jeans, and swivelling hips. Simon of course hated it declaring, "Everything about that was Horrible". The Grease performance even made Simon's poorly selling AI book under worst AI Performances furthering the impression that Simon really is clueless. Of course, that is my opinion since I am rather fond of the Grease performance.

~Performance of "To Love Somebody"

Judges Comments:
Randy: Yeah, yeah, yo, man, you know what? Dawg, I gotta give you your props, man. You really came on tonight. You're really tryin' to win this, and you're doin your thing. That was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Robin: You've got an absolutely fantastic voice, and this is the way the song should be sung, and it's just brilliant.
Paula: The last two weeks have been my favorite Clay moments because you've really found a safe place with your vulnerability, and your maturity as a performer has caught up with your beautiful voice.
Clay: Thank you very much.
Simon: Clay, I think this is the third Pop Idol or American Idol I've done if you include the English one, and that's probably one of the best performances I've ever heard throughout the competition.
Ryan: I guess it's safe to say you're having a good time tonight.
Clay: I'm enjoying myself, yes.

~Performance of "Grease"~

Judges' Comments:
Randy: Yo, Clay, man, I'm just sitting here laughin', man, I'm havin a good time tonight, man. I like that you're up there doin' your dance steps, dawg. I like the moves, baby!
Robin: Actually, no, I love your voice anyway, but it was, yeah, it was a great job, and ah, I love your interpretation of it.
Paula: You know I'm proud of you, Clay. You know what? You shook your thang, but most important, you know what, having a little bit of humility, and having fun, and not taking yourself so seriously....
Clay: A lot of humility.
Paula: It's a blast watchin' you, and it's just wonderful.
Simon: (shaking head speechlessly) Horrible. I mean, Sorry! Everything about that was horrible. It was!
Paula: - You're horrible!

Audience: booooooo!

Simon: I don't care! Will you shut up! I'm tryin' to talk! You know, a great performance, and then it was all thrown away with that. That was horrible.
Paula: You're horrible.
Randy: Bad Judge!

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First Song:
1. Josh Gracin- "Jive Talkin" (1975)
2. Clay Aiken- "To Love Somebody" (1967) **thud**
3. Kimberley Locke- "I Just Want T Be Your Everything" (1977)
4. Ruben Studdard- "Nights on Broadway" (1975)

Second Song:
1. Josh Gracin- "To Love Somebody" (1967)
2. Clay Aiken- "Grease" (1978)
3. Kimberley Locke- "Emotions" (1978)
4. Ruben Studdard- "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (1971)

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Battle of the Bee Gees Group Medley

Michael Orland told Entertainment Weekly that that this season's Top 6 was the strongest ever (something we hear every single season). "The strongest season ever" mantra must be written into everybody's contract because surely the strongest Top 6 would have some great group medley's. Last night the Top 4 performed a Bee Gees Medley just like they did in Season 2. I think these two videos tell the story on which is the strongest group ever.

You decide.

~AI2 Top 4: Clay, Rube, Kim, Josh~

~AI6 Top 4: Melinda, Jordin, Lakisha, Blake~

No comparison really.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Battle of "To Love Somebody"

Poor Barry Gibbs seems not to have heard Clay's rendition of "To Love Somebody" since he said Jordin Sparks' version was the best he has heard. *g* At least his brother Robin who was guest judge during AI2 knew the best version when he heard it. I doubt Jordin would have changed his mind.

Judge for yourselves:

~Clay Aiken~

~Jordin Sparks~

I rest my case.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Memories of AI2: Top 5 -- "Build Me Up Buttercup", but don't break my heart or I'll be going "Solitaire"

April 29, 2003 -- This was the first night where the remaining contestants sing two songs--one from the 60's and one composed by Neil Sedaka. Clay started with a very sexy rendition of "Build Me Up Buttercup" and finished by singing an amazing "Solitaire" which brought Neil Sedaka to tears. All three judges praised the performances and Neil Sedaka said, "you sing like Andre Agassi plays tennis - PERFECTION, PERFECTION - and I would kill to write and produce your first CD." After "Solitaire", he declared, "I have lost my song forever to you. It will always be a Clay Aiken song". This was also the night that I knew that no matter what happened Clay Aiken would have a music career if he wanted it. Thank you Obi Wan.

~~Build Me Up Buttercup~~

Judges' Comments:
Randy: Yo, yo, Clay, yo, man, you know what, you know what? What I'm impressed by tonight, you tried to change the thing up a little bit like we been sayin', it sounds the same every week, dude you did a great job, man, I was entertained!
Neil Sedaka: Clay, you sing like Andre Agassi plays tennis, perfection, perfection. And I would KILL to write and produce your first CD.
Paula: OK, Clay, I feel like I wanta get up a give you a hug.
Clay: And dance?
Paula: I really do, you know why? Cause when I critiqued you before it wasn't about dance steps, it was about your spirit dancing... and you did... good for you!
Simon: Why do you think that's a good thing for you to give somebody a hug? I'm horrified. Umm... actually, I agree with most of what everyone's said, I think you've made the effort you came out to entertain... I've just never known what that song is about... Build Me Up Buttercup, what does it mean?
Clay: Ha ha, it's a British song......
Randy: Good answer Clay!


Judges' Comments:
Randy: Clay, you know what dawg? I'm lovin' this part of this competition 'cause with you and Ruben and Kimberley Locke coming up, and Trenyce, and everybody trying to win this... Dude, you did your thing, man, I'm so impressed, dawg.
Neil Sedaka: Bravo, Clay, I've lost my song forever to you, it will always be a Clay Aiken song.
Paula: One of the most brilliant songs written. Absolutely, Clay, it's one of your most vulnerable performances ever, and you didn't give any like staged look... you just were. And I think that you've broken out of what other judges have critiqued you as better suited for Broadway, and you are now the pop singer, and you just ARE.
Simon: Ummm... I have to congratulate you, Neil, on that song, that is a 10, that song, it's just superb, and Clay I want to say something to you... I think you're one of the few people I've met throughout all of these competitions 'cause you can take criticism like a grownup. Learn... you definitely got better you've lost some of these facial things which I think was distracting, and you just did a really grownup, fantastic, performance. Congratulations.

Other Performances:

1st song:
1. Ruben Studdard- "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (The Temptations)
2. Trenyce- "Proud Mary" (Tina Turner, Credence Clearwater Revival)
3. Josh Gracin- "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" (Eddy Arnold)
4. Kimberley Locke- "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Gladys Knight &the Pips, Marvin Gaye)
5. Clay Aiken- "Build Me Up Buttercup" (The Foundations)

2nd song:
1. Ruben Studdard- "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" (Neil Sedaka)
2. Trenyce- "Love Will Keep Us Together" (Captain and Tenille)
3. Josh Gracin- "Bad Blood" (Neil Sedaka, Elton John)
4. Kimberley Locke- "Where the Boys Are" (Connie Francis)
5. Clay Aiken- "Solitaire" (Neil Sedaka, The Carpenters, Elvis)

*Clickable Wallpaper*

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