Idol Worship: This Week In 'AI' History
Here's one for the "'memba him?" file: Corey Clark. It was six years ago today that the cornrowed contestant was disqualified from season two's final 12 for withholding information about a prior arrest. Said scuffle with Kansas law enforcement involved charges of battery and resisting arrest, to which he pleaded "no contest" on December 4, 2002, days after he made it through to Idol's Top 24. But according to a statement released by the show's producers on March 31, 2003, Clark failed to disclose the incident, which they said didn't come up during a routine background check because his name was misspelled in the police report — an assertion Clark later challenged, alleging that his dismissal was prompted by a disagreement he had with producers over Idol's iron-clad contract. The week of his ouster, no one was eliminated — an Idol first.
Of course, that wasn't the last we heard of Corey Clark. In May 2005, he went public with what he claimed was a sexual relationship with judge Paula Abdul — one that also involved one-on-one coaching, expensive shopping sprees and many long phone calls. He shared the details of their tryst in a book he self-published online, They Told Me to Tell the Truth, So... (The Sex, Lies and Paulatics of One of America's Idols), and in numerous television interviews including an extended sit-down with Primetime Live. Three months after his PR campaign launched, an independent counsel hired by Fox to investigate the nature of the relationship concluded that Clark's claims "have not been substantiated by any corroborating evidence or witnesses, including those provided by Mr. Clark, and Ms. Abdul expressly denies that any such relationship ever existed," but it did acknowledge that the two had talked on the phone while he was a contestant.
In the last few years, Clark's public life may have quieted down some, but his legal troubles persist. In June 2006, Clark's wife filed for a domestic violence protective order and, a month later, he was arrested for trespassing. The next summer, Clark was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. As for his music career? It fizzled as fast as his footnote status.
Idol Worship: Joanna Pacitti Performs With BHB Tomorrow
We just got word that Joanna Pacitti will perform two songs at The Grove in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, joining her boyfriend's pop-rock outfit, Ballas Hough Band, who are on the fourth show of a ten week-long residency at the popular outdoor mall. Pacitti, the Season 8 Top 36 contestant who was deemed "ineligible" from this year's competition after ties to 19 Entertainment executives were revealed, will sing "Storm Before The Calm," a song she wrote shortly after being dropped by Geffen Records. She'll also join Mark Ballas and Derek Hough, both of Dancing With The Stars fame, for "Do You Love Me," a track off their debut album, BHB.
Performances at the Grove are a popular summer pastime for LA locals, but for the tourists, the mall's proximity to CBS Television City, where both American Idol and Dancing With The Stars tape, usually guarantees at least a handful of famous faces. We went last week and saw Hough's girlfriend Shannon Elizabeth and his sister Julianne, who also sat in with the band for a couple songs, then randomly spotted Reno:911!'s Tom Lennon strolling the grounds with his mom — too cute!
Will any of the Pacitti's Idol pals show? Considering their stage is within walking distance, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Check back for a full report on Wednesday. — Shirley Halperin
Idol Worship: Diane Warren Heaps Praise On "Amazing" Adam Lambert
We ran into all sorts of people at Perez Hilton's birthday party on Saturday night, which was held at famed Los Angeles hot-spot the Viper Room and featured a surprise performance by none other than Christina Aguilera(!), but far more interesting than vapid conversations we had with the likes of Tara Reid was our quick chat with Diane Warren outside on Sunset Boulevard. The veteran songwriter, Perez pal and former Idol guest judge admitted she only recently started tuning in to season 8, but was already fired up about one contestant: Adam Lambert.
"I think he's amazing," Warren gushed. "Adam is a star. I just dig him because he's different from Idol's normal thing, and I think he's hugely marketable with the right material." Warren should know since, like Kara Dioguardi, she's written songs for many an Idol winner, including Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia and Taylor Hicks. Still, Warren confessed, "I can't really sit through Idol, but when it gets to the Top 10, it starts to be about my business, since I'll likely work with these people."
As for any potential contenders to Adam's foreseeable victory, Warren says Allison Iraheta has the goods on the girls' side. "Allison rocks," she declared. "There's something about her that I love. And I like Matt Giraud, too. He's got a little Michael Bublé to him. But I'm still new to the show."
That's right, Diane. Give Matt some time to "develop," as they say in the music biz. — Shirley Halperin
Idol Worship: Best to Worst of Motown Night
We didn't have very high hopes for the competitors on Motown night, what with last week's crushing Alexis Grace elimination, but we'll admit: for the most part, season 8's Top 10 impressed us. Maybe having Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson in the audience brought out their A-game, or perhaps after witnessing Alexis' departure, they're all realizing how tenuous their standing truly is. Whatever it was, we're glad to see this contest kick into gear. And for that, we have one person to thank: Adam Lambert. Read on for our assessment of Motown's best to worst.
1. Adam Lambert - "Tracks Of My Tears"
Wow. Adam Lambert knocked it out of the park on Wednesday night by toning down the shtick, slicking back his hair and finally putting away those ridiculous finger-less gloves. The result? One of the most memorable performances in Idol history. In fact, by recognizing the inherent beauty of the Smokey Robinson classic "Tracks Of My Tears" and slowing the tempo just so, Adam proved he stands apart from his fellow Top 10-ers in one key area: he has a deeper understanding of music. As far as his look for the night? Somewhere between Elvis Presley, Zac Efron in Hairspray, Joe Jonas and Kurt Russell, Adam exuded star power in a glistening suit and, in the end, truly shined. Still, we wish he'd cut back on the makeup just a bit.
2. Allison Iraheta - "Papa Was A Rolling Stone"
Allison may have been a dark horse coming into the Top 36, but after Wednesday's show-stopping finale (and Alexis' exit), she's now officially the female frontrunner. And for one reason: Allison tackled a song released decades before her birth as if she'd been singing it her whole life. And lest we forget that only two years ago, a 17 year-old Jordin Sparks won the competition largely because of talent that seemed beyond her years. Kara Dioguardi had it right: pipes that strong can only be a gift from God. Hallelujah!
3. Anoop Desai - "Ooo Baby Baby"
He started the season as a wild card and an underdog, but after Wednesday's "Ooh Baby Baby" bow, Anoop Desai is quickly emerging as a serious contender. We confess; we didn't see it coming, but Anoop dazzled with an unexpectedly cool, confident and controlled take on the Smokey Robinson classic, emoting just enough to catch our attention, but not too much where it comes off as cheesy. No doubt his ever-growing fanbase was swooning, while we swayed along.
4. Matt Giraud - "Let's Get It On"
Matt played to his strengths with a sexy, soulful, spot-on "Let's Get It On," but with the unfortunate first-of-the-night slot, we had a feeling voter reaction would be tepid. Still, between his turn at the piano, the extra-tight jeans, and Matt's undeniable swagger, there's no doubt he's got star quality and deserves to be in contention. But if at the end of his run he turns into season 8's Elliot Yamin, we're OK with that, too.
5. Kris Allen - "How Sweet It Is"
"How Sweet It Is" was an apt choice for Kris Allen, because it perfectly described his performance: sugary, if not a touch on the saccharine side. While we have to give Kris points for putting his own twist on a song so universally known, we also got a distinct Jason Castro vibe and the sense that we've heard it all before. Still, there's no doubt Kris is easily marketable — and cute — and that should keep him in the game for a few more weeks, if not longer.
6. Scott MacIntyre - "You Can't Hurry Love"
Scott MacIntyre's place is at the piano, and on this performance of the Supremes hit, we got to see him in his comfort zone — visibly excited and not the least bit nervous. By picking up the tempo and adding some flair to his stage presence, it seems Scott's finally breaking out of his shell just a bit, but his delivery is still hit and miss, and his song choices remain questionable. Despite the pressure, he looks to be handling the spotlight with natural ease, if his post-performance chatter with the judges is any indication. His time may soon be up, but Scott has certainly left an indelible mark on this season.
7. Danny Gokey - "Get Ready"
Let's face it, anyone forced to follow Adam Lambert is facing a daunting task — a reality that likely wasn't lost on ol' Danny Gokey. Still, he gave it his all, parading up and down the Idol stage as if his life depended on it, which, in a way, it does. It was a valiant effort, but far from a memorable one for this frontrunner.
8. Lil Rounds - "Heatwave"
Lil Rounds gets a much-needed makeover — a hair style that's of this century and one fabulous Tina Turner-inspired dress — but the results on the vocal end were uninspiring. Maybe she's trying too hard to be everything to everyone, but her "Heatwave" felt a lot more like a meltdown. Though not of disastrous proportions; After all, Lil is the only other girl still legitimately in the running at this point.
9. Michael Sarver - "Ain't Too Proud To Beg"
It was another rough week for sweet Michael Sarver as he bit off just a little more than he could chew. The judges called his jerky "Ain't To Proud To Beg" Vegas lounge, which isn't always a bad thing, but in the case of Motown night, it simply lacked soul, even if Michael did have plenty of spunk. Of course, he wasn't the worst performer of the night, that honor goes to season 8's official puzzler, Megan Joy.
10. Megan Joy - "For Once In My Life"
We don't understand why Megan's practice sessions with the mentors always sound a hundred times better than her Idol performances. Is it just the nerves that come with being in front of a live television audience of tens of millions? Or is it strategic editing on the part of the Idol package producers, where she's really slipping up worse than they show? But one thing we do know: despite her beauty, and quirky style, Megan Joy is simply not qualified to be in this competition right now. Not that we're transferring our Alexis Grace ouster bitterness on to her. Well, maybe just a little bit, but it's definitely time for Megan to go.
What's everyone else thinking? Does Adam Lambert have it in the bag? Who would duke it out in your dream finale showdown?
Idol Worship: Alexis Makes A Graceful Exit
It's hard to describe how crushed we were to hear the news on Wednesday. We weren't able to watch the elimination episode live, no thanks to an assignment on the other side of town. Not that it makes much of a difference anyway, since the East Coast Twitters always ruin the surprise. And in this case, the results also ruined our night.
OK, we may be exaggerating just a bit. Alexis Grace was our favorite of the females, but we don't begrudge her sister contestants. And, let's be honest, the girl definitely had an off night. In retrospect (and on second performance), there was a hint of sacrilege in her reworking of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." After all, she tweaked what's arguably the hookiest moment in the song — the sort of thing that would have country loyalists up in arms.
So does Alexis regret the choice? The morning after elimination, we asked if she struggled with the decision to cover a classic rather than a more contemporary song. "Definitely," she said. "But I left like everybody knows 'Jolene,' and it's such a pretty song that I could maybe get away with it, as opposed to doing something like Carrie Underwood." Considering two of her fellow contestants also chose Underwood songs, that might not have played, either. Ultimately, said Alexis, she really doesn't know why America abandoned her so quickly, but she had a feeling Wednesday would turn out badly. "I knew the night of the show that I would be in the bottom three," she confessed. "I had a feeling from what the judges said and just the way the night went."
Alexis' immediate plans involve returning home to her family in Memphis and continuing to pursue music. Describing her sound as "soul mixed in with blues and country," she cited Pink, Sarah McLachlan and Joss Stone as dream collaborators, clearly looking forward, not back. "I’m going to take away a lot from this experience," she said. "I know who I am and what I want to do. It’s given me a lot of confidence to go out there, be a singer and pursue it. I can’t wait to see what’s next." — Shirley Halperin