Friday, June 30, 2006

MY APOLOGIES for a lack of actual blogging this week. Believe it or not, I've had a lot of things in the works, but I have been slow about getting them finished. I actually have three Idol interviews in the works that I'm getting ready to publish soon (I hope) that I hope you'll enjoy.

For the moment, though, life has been busy. So, while we're waiting, just a few quick rants.

I got one of my least favorite responses from a woman when I asked her out on a date this week. (And no, it wasn't Kellie Pickler.) "I'd rather hang out with a group." Uh???? Let's forget for the moment that that answer had absolutely no relevance to the question I posed, which was "would you like to go out on a date sometime." It's not the first time I've heard this response, so I'm curious where this comes from in the female psyche. My first assumption is that it's simply a nicer response than "I'd rather cover my body with flesh-eating leeches than go out with you." But if it's NOT, then it totally blows my mind. How can you have a quality date and learn about somebody if you're around five million of your closest friends? Or, let's be honest, HER closest friends. First off, you've got her chatty little girl friends gabbing it up with her, running off to the bathroom with her, and doing whatever it is girls do, but basically precluding her from paying any attention to you at all, let alone speak to you. Second, you've got to compete with all her guy friends who are ALSO trying to get a piece of the action whether she knows it or not. Maybe I'm old school, but doggone it, if I can't have a one-on-one honest-to-goodness date, then I don't want it. My thought is this: unless you believe in group marriages, don't group date.

And if it is the case that you don't want to go out with me, respect me enough to just say it straight out. I can't count how many times I've heard the "yes I'll go out with you, but I'll be busy every weekend until Dakota Fanning starts drawing Social Security." Y'know, I've been accepted, and I've been turned down. It happens. I can handle it. How self-important must you be to think that I have to be let down easy over you? I mean, seriously, I'll get over it. What I won't get over is a dishonest response. I will resent you for that.

I also got one of my favorite responses from a potential employer. "We don't have anything right now, but we'll keep your application on file." Never mind that the file in question is located on the liner of their pet guinea pig's cage. At a close second was "we should be getting back to you by the end of the week". Or the year. Or the decade. If ever. That's okay. I'll just sit here unemployed and subsisting off of Easy Mac till you get back to me.

If you haven't figured it out by now, Emily and I ended things amicably a little over a month ago, and I lost my job last weekend. So far it's been a banner year in JD World.

Okay, end of rant. Those are just my observations from the past few days. It's not really as bad as I'm making it sound. I consider one job lost to be another opportunity to do something I've never done before, and I hope to make the best of it. As for the relationship thing... well, let me get the job first :)

So...essay question time... What are some of the words that you hate to hear the most? It can be from anybody in any situation. C'mon. Make me feel better!

P.S. That picture of Stevie Scott at the beginning of this blog has absolutely no relevance to anything in this post, but it's awfully hard to stop looking at, so I thought I'd put it there!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

WELCOME two new blogs to the Musical Ramblings community with me, won't you?

Corporate Clips, which is already starting off well with a good discussion about CEOs and corporate satire,


Spike's Sputterings, one of my American Idol proteges.

Let's all give them a big welcome and go over there and join in their conversations!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I just got some great news from one of my favorite Idol contestants from this year. April Walsh let me know that she's landed a part in a movie. This was the message she left in the comments section of my Myspace profile:
Good news! Got a little part in a movie. It's a SAG low-budget feature. Just an indie with a nice script. I'd tried for the lead, but they thought I was young for it (I just knew I should have worn darker lipstick). But I got the teenaged part. Yay! I mean, it's not the biggest deal ever, but it's my first film. They're sending the contract to my agent. Doesn't that super professional? I'm pretty psyched.

Well, I'm super-psyched to hear about it too. She writes more about it in her blog:
Well, I finally got me a part. I'd auditioned for the lead in this movie Disfigured. It's about an overweight woman and anorexic woman pushing thirty and exploring their body image issues. I did not get the lead, but I did get a supporting role. I'll be playing Gwen- the teenaged member of the fat acceptance group (kind of like NAAFA) that the lead belongs to. It's written and directed by Glenn Gers. I liked the script a lot and I'm very excited to be part of it.

Looks like these are good people to work with. I mean, the pay won't be much. But I think it's a great and worthy project.

Yay! Soon as it's filmed, I'm gonna put that on my resume and knock off a theater line. It's almost ceremonial. Whenever something new comes along, I knock off the last line under my college section. By the way, there's now a link to my resume on my profile. Take a look if you want to.

Besides that, someone casting for Focus Features contacted me at home. Despite my dying of curiosity, I gave them my agent's info. They want a reel. The problem? Don't have one. The Idol people made me one for New Line around the Hairspray time (actual teenager got that. Shorter than me. Life goes on). I was angling for a copy. I still am. But they told me it'll be hard to find. Cross some fingers on that. Working with Focus would be awesome. They did Eternal Sunshine (which I loved) and Pride and Prejudice (which I'd have loved if I'd never been exposed to the perfection that was the BBC P&P).

In less than stellar news, I'm doing graveyard at Denny's. Why? It's flexible and it's just for the summer. I need full-time pay that I can get while keeping my days free... well, except for those hours when I just might sleep (right).

There's more info about her movie here.

I wish April luck with her new movie, and I hope it leads to more work! Keep us updated!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Toby Bloomberg of Bloomberg Marketing runs a really cool blog called Blogger Stories. Each week various bloggers are profiled and allowed to tell their stories. I was fortunate enough to be selected this week, and you guys should go check it out. You can also see the stories of regular Musical Ramblings commenters, like the lovely and talented Ann Handley, and the somewhat less lovely but doggone it we like him anyway Mack Collier.

You guys should go over there and read his site first, but I wanted to post my story here too so you guys can point and laugh at me.

Blogger Stories brings to you the guy who invented podcasting .. J.D. Matthews. But it was J. D.'s American Idol interviews that set his blog buzzing in the blogospshere and out with mentions in USA Today, TV Guide, Reality TV Magazine and more.

Blogger Story Teller: J.D. Matthews, Musical Ramblings

Okay, so Ann Handley invented blogging, but I am here and now claiming podcasting as my invention, thank you very much, Mr. Gore.

I knew I wanted to be a DJ from the EARLY days (Fridays) and I've been performing since I was a zygote. My cousin and I would sit around with a dual tape deck and a microphone, and we'd record our voices making commentary and talking about these "new" songs we'd heard (probably Journey or something current with the 80's) and then we'd play them. I have hours and hours of tapes like that. You don't want to know how many tapes I have of myself as an ACTUAL disc jock. I make narcissism look like bad self-esteem.

Blogger stories... Hmm... let me see. Okay, here goes.

I'm J.D. Matthews, a worn-out disc jock and social worker trying to turn things around and get a job in the journalism field. I write Musical Ramblings more or less every day. It's one of my main passions. It's the first thing I check when I wake up, and the last thing I check before going to sleep. Feel free to email me your shrink's number.

I got into this blogging thing more or less out of curiosity. I have what I like to refer to as "Broadband ADHD" which means that when I go online, I tend to wander around to other sites like a three year old in the Toys R Us, picking up shiny objects, oohing over them, and generally forgetting what it was I was there for in the first place. Nine times out of ten, my original purpose for being online gets accomplished maybe three hours later than I actually started.

So on one of my ADHD trips, I just sort of wondered to myself if I would be a good blogger. I didn't know. I hadn't even really read blogs before. I had heard of them, but I wasn't sure what they were all about. I just knew that I was a voracious writer, but that I was bored with prose, and I wanted a way to just type stuff out in some fashion. I never really pictured it taking off.

Then I hit my first roadblock: I didn't know what websites hosted bloggers. So, on a guess, I typed in and it led me to sign up, and the rest is pretty much history. (Yes, Blogger sucks. But I still use it. Because, that's why.)

The topic, music and its surrounding periphery, was pretty much a given, since that's the one thing that's a factor in my day-to-day life. I quickly found that the trouble with a set topic is that quite often there is NOTHING to write about on any given day. My first few topics were really crappy, mostly dealing with whether or not Ashlee Simpson was a ho-bag or a review of a craptastic R&B CD.

It was frustrating, because my blog was very quickly going down deep in the bogus bag, and I had a hard time keeping it up. Then I let my topics start wandering all over the place, until I hit a nerve with a blog on a controversial television show. I decided to cross-promote the post by going and posting meaningful and long-winded comments at other blogs and forums and inviting them back to mine. Suddenly, I went from zero or one comment to a whopping twenty.

I learned that community is what it was all about, and like a fungus or a tapeworm, mine slowly and steadily began to grow. I found that, horror of horrors, people actually wanted to read the bull crap that I was writing.

And then came American Idol.

I live-blogged recaps of that show to an ever-growing audience, and this time I took a different approach to increasing my traffic. I took those posts and copied them directly onto the official American Idol boards, the usenet group, and anywhere else I could find. I cultivated a group of (insane) fans there, brought them back, and built my base.

But I'm never content to just do the minimum. So instead of just recapping the shows, I decided to go one step further, bust my butt, get out of my house and actually interview the contestants. Nobody was doing this anywhere in the blogosphere. Suddenly, I was coming up with original content and people were reading voraciously.

I was getting FAN MAIL, for pete's sake. And when I would respond, little girls would be like "OMG, I CAN'T BELEEEEEIVE YOU WROTE BACK!!!" It was insane. And God bless Kellie Pickler, for better or for worse she's been the reason for a lot of it. I'm still waiting on her to tell me whether or not we can go on a date.

And that's where I am today, and despite the unfathomable reality that doing this has failed to bag me one single chick, I will continue to do it until my fingers fall off (which may be next Thursday.) And if it's not possible to continue by typing with my nose, I'll stop. But until then...I press on.

Consider this: I've been blogging only a little over 9 months, and I've already been mentioned in USA Today, TV Guide, Reality TV Magazine, Fox's Reality Remix, the official American Idol website, and various other publications. Why would I stop now?

That's my blogger story. You can all wake up now.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


This is taken from a Japanese cartoon video on toilet training. The language is all Japanese, but it doesn't matter, because you'll understand everything that is going on. All I'm saying is by the end, when the Japanese kid squeezes out his first poo in the potty, with the resultant celebration appearing as though the kid needed to be awarded the Nobel Prize, I was pretty much floor-bound with laughter. And the song while the kid is trying desperately to toilet is priceless.

Friday, June 23, 2006


(with apologies to Tim Wilson)

I'm taking volunteers to push my wheelchair after this year's church league softball season.

Yes, I took the plunge this year and decided to play. I don't field any particular position with any level of specialty, but I am the team's designated injury-getter. And somehow I'm the only one. Everybody else is as healthy as a horse and practically bulletproof; meanwhile, I'm hobbling around the house looking like an Iraqi prisoner of war, with big purple welts in places that I had previously never known existed.

Today's Purple Badge of Honor came courtesy of the warm-up throwing. Yes. I got injured before the game. Shut up. We were out in the outfield warming up our throwing arms, and Magilla who I was warming up with decided to throw me a heater, only at gopher-level. I couldn't have caught this if it were a virus. The only thing I could do was jump out of its path, because this thing was flying so fast toward the ground that F-18's were scrambling, and it was going to hurt something fierce upon impact. And while I was diving out of the way, praying for a sandbag bunker to suddenly spring into existence, the ball tagged me square on the inside of my right ankle. Right on the knobby part. Well, the part that used to be knobby, since it's now about twice its normal size and all these pretty colors.

I did what every red-blooded American macho male would do in this situation. I laid face down in the grass, gritted my teeth, and struggled with the fact that though I was at church league, extreme profanities were beating at my teeth, trying desperately to get out. I managed to hold back, though. I'm getting a lot better at that.

So naturally, I'm thinking, y'know, the guy who launched that land missile would be coming around to give me a hand getting up and check to see if I'm alright. Instead, what I hear, from across the field, is "get up and walk it off." I'd like to take this opportunity to explain that this guy was not the coach. Nor was he, apparently, the president of Amnesty International. I laid there for a moment more, contemplating whether I would be better off continuing to lay there or if should just go ahead and assault him right then. I figured in my current condition, I'd probably be better off not getting into a huge scuffle, so after a moment, I picked myself up.

"You need to get your glove down on it," the guy said, upon my return to uprightness. Meanwhile, a mole next to me shook his head and indicated that even he would've had to scoop it out of the dirt. A couple of grubworms nodded in agreement. I considered the assault scenario again, but I figured he'd just have to kick me in the wrenched knee on my other leg, and it would be all over.

No need to get myself injured further. After all, this was just a scrimmage. We'd already won the game by forfeit.

That's right. Injury for a game that didn't even count.

Fortunately, I was able to play the rest of the game, and when I got up to bat, I pictured his face on the ball and mashed it into center field. Hey, whatever works, right?

Somebody get me an ice pack.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Previously, I posted the top 20 signs that you are a music geek. But perhaps some of you are not yet convinced that you are music geeks. With that in mind, I present to you a completely original music trivia quiz to find out whether or not you are, in fact, a music egghead. Eyes on your own papers. Answer in the comment section:

(1.) Complete the following lyrics: "I'm your venus, I'm your fire, ________________"

(2.) Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters was the drummer for what seminal '90s band?

(a.) Blind Melon
(b.) Nirvana
(c.) Nine Inch Nails
(d.) KMFDM

(3.) Mark Mothersbaugh, writer of the Rugrats theme, was a member of what 80's group?
(a.) Montrose
(b.) The E Street Band
(c.) Devo
(d.) The Escape Club

(4.) What number would you call to get in touch with Jenny?

(5.) Elvis Presley's logo "TCB" stands for what?

(a.) Taking Care of Business
(b.) Too Cool, Brother
(c.) Thick Cut Beef
(d.) Take Care, Baby

(6.) What was the name of Conway Twitty's tour bus?
(a.) The Con-Way
(b.) The Shaggin' Wagon
(c.) The Twitty Twain
(d.) The Twitty Bird

(7.) Complete the following lyrics: "I don't know what they want from me, but the mo' money we come across, ___________________"

(8.) Which of the following musicians did NOT die from AIDS:
(a.) Frankie Lymon
(b.) Freddie Mercury
(c.) Dan Hartman
(d.) Eazy-E

(9.) Which Ozzy Osbourne song was blamed for several teenage deaths in the 1980's?
(a.) Crazy Train
(b.) Mama I'm Comin' Home
(c.) See You on the Other Side
(d.) Suicide Solution

(10.) What do Jefferson Airplane's "It's No Secret" and Starship's "We Built This City" have in common?

(11.) Vanilla Ice's song "Ice Ice Baby" contains a sample from what song?
(a.) Sheena Easton's "Strut"
(b.) Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On"
(c.) David Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure"
(d.) Led Zeppelin's "Tangerine"

(12.) Match the singer to the hair band
(a.) Jani Lane------------------------(a.) Skid Row
(b.) Vince Neil-----------------------(b.) Warrant
(c.) Sebastian Bach-------------------(c.) Steelheart
(d.) Michael Matejevic----------------(d.) Motley Crue

(13.) Which R&B group sang "Word Up"
(a.) Club Nouveau
(b.) Cameo
(c.) Riff
(d.) DeBarge

(14.) Complete the following lyric: "Sometimes I thank God for _______________"

(15.) Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Keith Levene and Terry Chimes were the original members of what punk group?
(a.) The Clash
(b.) The Sex Pistols
(c.) Green Day
(d.) The Ramones

(16.) What is the first song that was ever recorded?
(a.) "Row Row Row Your Boat" by Alexander Graham Bell
(b.) "Jazz de Luxe Fox Trot" by Earl Fuller
(c.) "Mary Had a Little Lamb" by Thomas Alva Edison
(d.) "Eating Goober Peas" by Maxwell Genovese

(17.) Jesse Frederick composed and performed the theme song to which of the following TGIF shows:
(a.) Full House
(b.) Step By Step
(c.) Family Matters
(d.) Perfect Strangers

(18.) Marvin Lee Adair was the birth name for:
(a.) Johnny Rotten
(b.) Meat Loaf
(c.) Tupac Shakur
(d.) Jerry Lee Lewis

(19.) Complete the following lyric: "Mamas, don't let your babies ______________________________"

(20.) Match the composer to the movie score:

(a.) James Horner----------------------------(a.) Ghostbusters
(b.) John Williams---------------------------(b.) Superman
(c.) John Debney-----------------------------(c.) Titanic
(d.) Elmer Bernstein-------------------------(d.) Passion of the Christ

Leave your answers in the comments. I will post the correct answers tomorrow! And yes, I wrote this whole quiz, so I automatically am a music geek.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


How many times have you watched a show like Survivor, The Real World, or Fear Factor and thought "dude, I could do that." How many times have you sat shaking your fist at a contestant on Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune and screamed "you idiot, how could you not know that???" Have you ever thought that you could make it in the world of reality TV?

If the answer is yes, then I'm going to get you pointed in the right direction today.

I met with some representatives from Reality Wanted recently. They handle casting for reality shows, game shows, documentaries, and talk shows. There are, even now, casting calls open for reality shows like Miami Ink, One Week to Save Your Marriage, Nanny 911, and many others. There are even slots open for wannabe game show contestants, and they're even searching for a host for a weekend celebrity gossip show. Reality Wanted deals with casting agents from Mark Burnett Productions, Bunim-Murray, RDF Media, Fremantle Media, MTV, Discovery, TLC, and many more.

While you're there, you can register a free personal profile, upload your pictures, add media files, search casting calls, and set up your account to email you automatically with casting alerts.

But before you go there, here's a list of Do's and Don'ts if you're looking to get cast:

(1.) Answer all questions truthfully. Don't try to answer it the way you think they want to hear. Casting agents are looking for all different sorts of personalities, including yours. So be honest. If you're caught in a lie, it'll probably be all over for you.

(2.) Be available. If you have to reschedule an interview or an audition, chances are you're not going to be cast.

(3.) Per Richard Leist, the casting agent for Fear Factor, "the number one thing I look for is personality. Do not act like someone else. Don't be fake. Be yourself."

(4.) Don't over-think things when filling out your application. If it takes you five hours to fill out the application, you've over-done it. It doesn't have to be the most creative thing you've ever done. This is important, because agents don't have time to read huge applications. Give them the main bullet points, and you can elaborate on them when you get called in for an interview.

(5.) If a video you submit isn't catchy within the first 10 seconds, forget it. If an agent isn't interested after 10 seconds, they will skip your tape and go on to the next.

(6.) Don't do harm to yourself to impress anybody at Fear Factor.

(7.) Agents do not look for and are not impressed by nudity.

(8.) You need photos. One good head shot and one full body shot should do the trick. If you submit an application without both of these, expect it to be overlooked.

(9.) Be comfortable in front of a camera. It will follow you 24 hours a day when you're on the show.

(10.) Always answer interview or application questions in complete sentences. Deborah Tarica of Nanny 911 says: "Sometimes people just answer with yes or no's." She strongly advises against that. After all, they are looking for personalities.

(11.) Be receptive during the interview process. Have lots of energy. Most importantly, be yourself.

(12.) Have your passport ready. Many of these shows require international travel.

(13.) Be punctual. Get to your interview 10 minutes early. Don't be too early, but NEVER be late.

Come to think of it, these aren't bad suggestions for any job interview...

So go register, and when you're the next reality star, I expect a full exclusive interview!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I visited my father today. It's something that I'm happy to be able to do, since we only live an hour apart. I'm not naive enough to think it will always be that way, since neither of us has been known to stick to one town for very long. Already this year both of us have contemplated career moves which would take us to different cities. But for now, we have this, and I was happy to spend his Father's Day with him.

Shopping for Dad's gift wasn't easy. It's hard to get something for a guy who is one of the least materialistic people that I know. I could get him a gift card, but he'd never spend it on himself. It would either stay in his back pocket forever, or he'd use it to buy something...ugh...PRACTICAL. That's just the way it is. Finally I settled on getting him a TV show on DVD, The A-Team, that we'd watched together when I was a child.

None of it seemed an adequate way for me to express the appreciation I feel for the man. How do you encapsulate gratitude for the years and years of teaching what is right--how to be a good solid man, how to work hard, and how to conduct oneself--into one pitiful little Father's Day gift? It's just not possible. To even begin to re-gift everything he has given me in my lifetime would require more than I could ever muster. If I worked the rest of my life, I'd never be even with him.

My Dad and I weren't always best buddies. We went through the hard times. Thank God that finally my Dad's words were finally able to penetrate my thick skull and get me back on the right path. These last few years have probably drawn us closer than ever, and our relationship has grown from being father and son into also being best friends. From our trips out to the old air base where he was stationed to taking in Memphis Redbirds games to just sitting around the house, we have fun together, enjoy talking, and enjoy each other's presence, even though our schedules don't allow us as much time as we'd like.

I look to him for so many examples too. I look at the way he cares for my Mom, and I know that if and when I get married that I will treat the woman in my life the exact same way he treats her--with dignity, respect, admiration, and such undying love. I look at him to see how to be a respectable, upright, and Godly man. I don't pretend he's perfect, but I know how hard he tries. Overall, he's just the type of man I'd be happy to become: a hard worker, a loving husband, a good father, and a respected man.

It's because of him that I also know how to relate to God, the ultimate Father. When the Bible refers to God as the Father, I have a good image of what that means because of my father on Earth. I know that it means that God will always love me, care for me, and accept me back when I do the wrong thing, because God is my Father, and my Dad has shown me what that's all about. Without my Dad's example, I don't think I'd even be able to fathom the concept.

I got an email from Dad the other day, out of the blue. It said this:

A man needs a best friend that he can share with, that he can enjoy being with, that he can feel totally comfortable around and that he can look up to with great respect. It is a great feeling to have someone to fit that bill.

It is especially wonderful when that best friend is one's own son who has grown into a fine young man.

I love you Son/Friend

I told him afterwards that it was no fair of him to make me cry at work. What am I saying...crying NOW. Because after all these years, after all my bull-headedness, rebellion, and independence, I am so happy that I can have a father and a best friend like this.

I hope someday, if and when I have a son of my own, that I can be half of what my Dad is. Maybe one day I'll have the chance to give this gift to my own child. Until then, I'll be in training, watching this great man do what he does best.

I love you, Dad!

Saturday, June 17, 2006


That's right, folks. You're now in the presence of a blogger who spent fifteen entire seconds of his life on national television. On cable, no less. With my raggedy hair and non-athletic frame. Y'all kiss my pinky ring.

Hey, I'm down 20 pounds though. Betta recognize!

So basically, yes my interview did make it to air on Reality Remix, but everything was cut except for two questions: What is your favorite reality show? and Do you sing?

On the cutting room floor is my dazzling performance of "It's Now or Never" as I held Amanda Avila in my embrace. I guess they didn't want to pay the royalties to air the clip I sung. Oh well. I guess I'll have to break out somewheres else! I was gonna upload the clip to YouTube and post it to watch, but YouTube hates me and doesn't want to cooperate.

So...I know you guys are probably getting tired of me babbling about the Convention, so I'm gonna wrap it up here in this post with as many pictures as I can scrounge up and a few anecdotes. Enjoy:

Here's another one of Amanda Avila (Reality Remix and American Idol season 4) and me. And yes, by the time this picture was taken, I was tired. Amanda was super sweet and drop-dead gorgeous. I had always thought she was tall, though. I'm about 6'1, so she's just about average height.

Jim "Skipper" Murray, Mark "Gooner" Grosbeck, and Donna and Bill Beaven (The Real Gilligan's Island season 1) all autographed this for me. Out of all the reality stars there, I found this group to be the most real, especially Gooner and Jim. I stood and talked with Jim for a while about the convention and his experiences, but he was more interested in hearing about me. Gooner was great, especially at the after party, and he's as goofy as he looks, but smart as a whip. I bought a few caricatures from him to contribute to his daughter's college fund. Jim was also raising money for the American Diabetes Association. (Those of you who don't know already, I'm diabetic.)

Wanda Shirk (Survivor: Palau) was one of the rays of sunshine there. She was very engaging and personable. No matter what's going on, her answer when someone asks her how she is doing is always "fabulous." I love her attitude, and you can't help but feel a little more chipper when you're around her.

Visiting with Toni Ferrari (Love Cruise, Paradise Hotel, Kill Reality) was definitely one of the high points of the entire experience. She's vivacious, energetic, and she wants you to be too. Toni gave me free food from the Fox Reality stash, so she gets mad props from me. She also overheard me singing to Amanda Avila, and she made sure to pull me to the side and tell me how good she thought it was. I'm probably in love right now. (She's hot!) Also, she's the sister of Nikki McKibbin (American Idol season 1.) She and I, along with Matthew Kamont (Biggest Loser) and a few others were treated to an impromptu concert on the patio by Gregory DeLang (Nashville Star).

Alex Van Camp (Paradise Hotel) is possibly the most laid back reality star I met the whole day.

Melissa Jo "Mojo" Hunter (Joe Millionaire) was super-cute. She and I have a friend in common, and I'm beginning to think I like ALL Indianapolis girls!

From the now infamous American Idol panel discussion. I love it that Jessica is totally ignoring the other camera and hamming it up for mine!

Susan Vaughn of The Amazing Race 7 was one of the more interesting people I talked to. Ever the activist, Susan took the opportunity to raise funds for none other than Musical Ramblings' official charity, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I have a copy of this photo that is autographed, but I haven't yet scanned it.

Jehan Huleisy (The Bachelor) was one of the most beautiful and classy women there. There's something to be said about a woman who can make a long, completely modest dress look absolutely ravishing. More is definitely more, in her case. She was absolutely stunning. Jennifer Candler Oldham (Fear Factor) was a bit more/too skimpy, but cute and friendly nonetheless. Photo courtesy of Jennifer, by the way.

Dennis Luciani (Average Joe) was one of my absolute favorite people to talk to. He's goofy, he's funny, and he's completely likable. National Lampoon's most famous accountant spent time with me talking about his role in the next National Lampoon movie and reality TV in general. I asked him to sign an autograph, and he was genuinely surprised. "But I'm not in a movie yet!" he said. Later on at the event, we argued over who would win Lindsey Cardinale's heart, but eventually settled for fist pounds rather than fisticuffs. He's an awesome guy.

So, as you can see, it was a full day. And know...the REST of the story.

But if you're still not satisfied, you can still catch highlights of the Convention on Fox Reality Channel's Reality Remix at 11:00 AM and 10:00 PM Eastern today or tomorrow at 2:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 11:00 PM Eastern. If your cable provider doesn't carry the channel, you can view it anytime during the weekend at Reality Remix's video site.

(Extra thanks to Reality TV Magazine for their multiple mentions of me and links to my blog!)

Friday, June 16, 2006


Kristen McNamara, a contestant on the latest season of Nashville Star, is definitely a memorable person to meet. The first thing you notice about the 20 year old California native is her infectious smile. She's a short one, but it's easy to tell that there is a lot of energy packed into that small package. What you might not realize is that there's a huge voice waiting inside of her to jump out and tickle your ears.

Kristen trained herself to sing early on. From a young age, Kristen practiced on Patsy Cline tapes. Back then, she didn't know how recording studios worked, so believing that she would only get one chance in a recording environment, she disciplined herself to nail the songs perfectly the first time. It would prove to be invaluable education. And she has the gift many singers would sell their souls for: a four octave range and perfect pitch.

Kristen's also got a bit of a comic side. She's a fun girl, and she doesn't mind laughing with you. You can check out a few video blogs that she recorded for Nashville Star if you want to see her delightfully humorous side. The blogs detail her favorite squirrel-skin, a very non-Kellie-Pickler moment conversing with a lobster, Spanish dancing, pictures of her when she wasn't a hottie, the redneck bathtub skit, and her exit interview after finishing in sixth place. I enjoyed listening to her, and guys, even if you're not interested in anything she has to say, it's worth it to just to look at her gorgeous face for about 15 minutes.

Kristen's also super nice. And honest. I met her at the Reality TV Convention, if you haven't already guessed, and we talked for a while (not an interview, just two people talking about stuff in general.) I ended up buying some of her merch, and I handed her a fist full of bills that I thought were all ones. After moving along and visiting a few other tables, I felt a very small hand on my back. I turned around, and there was Kristen. Trust me, y'all, when you turn around and see that face, it's ALWAYS nice. She was holding a fiver up to me (literally holding up, since she's quite short) and said "you gave me too much money" in this cute little voice (which is one reason her singing voice is so surprising.) She could've kept it, and I'd never have known the difference, but that's just not how she works. I thanked her, and she smiled while Average Joe's Dennis Luciani snapped a picture of us.

On to her music: Check her Nashville Star Profile to see a video clip of her performance of her original song "Blow Away" on the show. If you visit her Myspace, you'll be treated to samples from three songs. The first is "Blow Away," and by now you already know what it's like, and you know I like it. Kristin's voice flows over the strings like honey. This was the first song of hers that I heard, and it set the tone for what was to come. I had to hear more. "Hey Cowboy" picks things up a bit and shows a bit of Kristin's fun side. For the life of me, I can't understand how this song isn't getting played everyday on country radio yet. "Hold On To Your Heart" is Kristen at her cross-over best. If any song will convince you to order her CD, this is the one. Unless you're completely against country altogether, this song will move you.

So now that you want to check Kristen out (and I know you do) please visit her website at You'll be treated to more samples of her music, pictures, and a great bio entailing the world-famous producers and artists, too numerous to list here, that Kristen has worked with. She promises that her new CD "Restless" will be available to order via the website soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


One of the major features of the Reality TV Convention was the concert/after party at City Hall given by cast members of American Idol and Nashville Star. It promised to be a good show with five very talented performers.

The convention started shutting down for the day around 4, so I rolled out and grabbed some supper, then tried to kill the three and a half hours between the convention and the concert. I cruised around downtown Nashville for a while, taking a look at the Tennessee Titans' stadium and observing all the nooks and crannies of the downtown scene. That got boring fairly quickly, so I went over and sat outside of City Hall to wait on the show to start. I met up with my friend Nicole who I'd met earlier, and we watched the small crowd come in. And since there were some fairly swanky restaurants around, we also counted how many Lexus cars drove by. Soon, the reality stars started pouring in, and we again socialized with the celebs and Nicole got interviewed for some TV news package.

Before too long, we went in. Average Joe's Dennis Luciani and I had a brief and friendly argument over who would hit on Lindsey Cardinale, until I conceded that he could have Jessica Sierra. Dennis is a fun guy. We'd met and had some conversations earlier in the day. Nicole, of course, laid claim to Scott Savol.

There was a brief meet and greet to begin things off, and we settled in to a table next to the cast of The Real Gilligan's Island, whom I suspect were only there because they had nothing better to do that night, with the exception of Mark "Gooner" Grosbeck. There was a full working bar off to the side, but since I don't drink, it was only useful for really expensive Diet Cokes.

The concert was hosted by Burton Roberts and Jonny Fairplay from Survivor. Let me tell ya, if Jonny weren't on crack, he should've been. He continued to come out onstage dressed in pink girl-sized t-shirts. When he was off-stage, there was always a cup of something highly flammable in his hand, so that might explain a lot. He ended up getting thrown out later on that night after he spit on The Real World's M.J. Gregory, who didn't exactly assault him back, but didn't exactly leave him standing either. Burton just sort of looked embarrassed to be there on stage while trying to keep Drunky Jonny from saying the F-word or making any more idiotic marriage proposals to fellow Survivor Jerri Manthey. Jonny was hospitalized the next day for getting his arm stuck in the Marriott's elevator, which has got to be one of the top five most stupid ways to get hurt.

First up was Amy Chappell, from the first season of Nashville Star. I wasn't sure how I'd like Amy, but she did a good job and sang some good country songs. One thing about the Nashville Star contestants in this show was that they played their own instruments and had live supporting instruments, as opposed to the pre-recorded music the Idols used. Amy previewed some songs from her new album, which sounded amazing. Amy's a soulful country singer, and her songs cut straight to the heart. She's a talented songwriter and she's very sweet in person. You can check her out at Her performance was mellow, and the crowd was equally mellow. Almost too mellow, because only a few people actually made it out onto the open floor in front of the stage.

Next was Brandon Silveira, also of Nashville Star's first season. He's an odd sight as a country singer, what with his spiked hair. You'd expect him to come out and sing a Blink 182 song, but he actually has a very traditional honky-tonk type of country voice. I have to be honest, though. I didn't like his set. Most of his songs were over-modulated and screamed, rather than sung. It's possible that I didn't like it because I generally don't like honky-tonk style drinking music. I just was ready for him to get off the stage, and I was glad that the openers only got three songs apiece.

Up next was Lindsey Cardinale, who looked stunning with her hair swept to the side and wearing her denim skirt and cowboy boots. For some reason, Lindsey wasn't able to perform her original songs that night, but she did have a set full of some of her old Idol favorites, except of course "Knock on Wood," which she hates. Lindsey must have been working on her vocals since Idol, no doubt. She sounded unbelievable in person. She tackled quite a few difficult country ballads and nailed them all. The only thing I might even halfway have criticized is that Linds appeared to be still working on her stage presence. There were any number of factors that might have affected it that night though. For one thing, the crowd was small, and it was a lot more intimate. Lindsey's a somewhat shy person, I think, and that didn't help. And for another thing, she was still very much smarting from what happened at the Strawberry Festival this past April. Still, that was a VERY minor part of the show, wasn't nearly as bad as whoever rigged the mics, and she was VERY good. I shouted "I love you Lindsey" from just off stage, and it sort of threw her off because she couldn't find me. She smiled though. Gorgeous. She was at her best when she sang Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Jessica Sierra was with me in the audience, and she turned around and reached for me, and we sang the song to each other for a while.

I was hoping for Lindsey's set to never end, but like all good things it did. Scott Savol was up next, and his first order of business was to get everyone up out of their seats and on the dance floor near the stage. Scott, wow, what a set of pipes! He also sang his American Idol standards, including "Against All Odds," Hall & Oates' "She's Gone," and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." Scott had a complete command of the stage. He played well to the crowd, and only got thrown off a couple of times by the sound guys, who I'm sure are great people, but who did a completely incompetent job of running the music as well as making sure the mics never actually worked 100 percent of the time. Scott completely got the crowd going, and he made his way to us all, slapping hands with everyone who was standing next to the stage and singing to all the girls.

I think it was during "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" that I realized that I was at a concert like I'd never been at before. Jessica Sierra came by a few times and tried to get me to dance. The cast of Big Brother were all around me, acting goofy, particularly Howie Gordon, who kept shouting inane things up to the stage. Gooner from The Real Gilligan's Island got Nicole and started doing this crazy dance, and Dennis Luciani tried to get us doing the same. Kept's Jon the Blazer was trying to dance with every girl in the room. I was totally into the music, except when I saw Reality Remix's Amanda Avila walk by in a long dress and red heels. I think I lost consciousness for a moment. Definitely a unique party.

Last up was Jessica Sierra, who was the only Idol to perform original material. And great material it was. Jessica, who had previously been working the crowd off-stage, was now the center of attention, and the way she worked the crowd was nothing short of magic. Jessica's a short little thing, but she was a ball of energy, and where she brought that voice from, I'll never know. She sang several new tracks off her upcoming album, which I must add that I will be buying whenever and wherever it becomes available. Jessica had a way of making it seem like I was the only person she was singing to. She connected so powerfully and so intimately that I was left with the feeling that I really really knew her once the show was over. I wanted to buy her album. I wanted to see her again. She made her way over to me, grabbed my hand, knelt down on her knees and sung part of "Cheapest Secret" to me, and I melted. It was a lot like a private concert, partially because her mic went off all of a sudden and I was the only person who could hear her, and partially because Jessica just fixed her eyes on me and sang her soul out. I know it wasn't all just for me, but she definitely had the skill to connect and make it seem that way. After hearing all her original songs, I felt certain that this girl would become huge. Her songs emulated all the good qualities of Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson's bigger hits, and radio will adore them someday. I told her this, as if she didn't already know the gameplan, while she was preparing to leave the stage. Jessica rounded out the show by bringing Scott Savol back on stage and they launched into their much ballyhooed duet of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." The performance was a show-stopper on the American Idol 4 tour, and it was definitely one here.

The show was over, but the electricity remained in the air. Scott made his way through the crowd, stopped to say hi to me, and I told him that I really enjoyed his set and wished him well. We man-hugged and parted ways. And then there was Jessica. "You are the next big thing," I told her, and I think she blushed a bit. I told her which songs I really liked and complimented her on her performance. Then when saying bye, she threw her arms around my neck and gave me a great big hug. Score! I went over to Lindsey's table and said bye to her as well, not getting to go for the hug, but it was okay, because I had gotten one earlier. And then after hanging around, getting a couple more Diet Cokes, socializing, and listening to the DJ, it was time for me to go. The after party was great, but this was only the first day of my vacation, and I was aching for sleep. I said bye to Amanda Avila on the way out, and then I hit the road with a smile on my face and vivid memories to carry with me.

I didn't listen to the radio at all on the way back to Memphis. I kept replaying the concert in my head, and that was enough for me.

UPDATE: Reality Remix will be featuring the Reality TV Convention this week (as well as, quite possibly, an appearance by yours truly.) It airs on Thursday, June 15 at 7:30 PM and 11:30 PM Eastern and 4:30 PM & 8:30 PM Pacific on Fox Reality Channel. The show is also broadcast via the internet on the day after at Reality Remix's website. Anyone who can tape or record this for me, I would be grateful, as I don't get that channel.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


If we can all settle down for a moment...

I haven't had much of a moment to post, since I've been responding to all the posts on various forums that have been quoting (and often MIS-quoting) various things that Jessica Sierra said in the panel discussion. I have been on so many forums trying to defend and help sort out what Jessica said, that I'm literally exhausted! There have been discussions on TWOP, Vote for the Worst, Gray Charles, Carriefans, Katharinefans,, any number of Constantine websites, and so many others. And most of it has ranged from goofiness to outright malicious ridiculousness.

I was just about to write a post in defense of Jessica and how many of you out there have been mis-representing her and unfairly accusing her of certain things (ahem, Carriefans???), but before I could get down to it, lo and behold Jessica posted a comment on my last post and on her Myspace bulletins that say it just as well or better than I ever would have. Here's what she wrote:

Hello everyone !!!! My name is Jessica Sierra you probably know me me since ur all talking about me. I want to clarify some things; I first want to say that I have no problem with Carrie and support her album and I own it, I also want to clear up any misconceptions that were taken from the interview. I simply stated that it will be interesting to see how well her career goes, just like everyone else who has won American Idol. I'm far from jealous of anybody that has been on American Idol and support all of their careers, personal opinions aside.


I hope this will put all the Carrie vs. Jessica or whoever vs. Jessica conflict to rest. I'm almost sorry I posted the transcript of the panel discussion, because I never meant for it to cause this much disruption, but I thought there was good information in there.

Tomorrow night, more on the concert, as we get back to having fun!


Friday, June 09, 2006


One of the main features of the Reality TV Convention was the various panel discussions on different shows featuring former cast members. The very first panel was the American Idol panel, featuring Lindsey Cardinale, Jessica Sierra, and Scott Savol. What follows is a transcript of that 45 minute session to the best that I can decipher the tapes. There were many people asking questions, so the audience is represented by the term "Question" (as if you couldn't figure that out by yourself.)

Moderator: I'd like to welcome you all to the convention, first of all. The magazine (Reality TV Magazine) is happy to have with us today Lindsey Cardinale, Jessica Sierra, and Scott Savol from American Idol. You guys watch the show, so you know what questions you'd like to ask, and feel free to ask anything.

Question: Scott, when is your album coming out?

Scott: Um, I will be working on that here in Nashville come August, so we'll have to wait for the labels to open up to us at the first of the year, so I'm hoping like sometime early next year, like around the same time as the next season [of American Idol] starts.

Question: What was your biggest obstacle after your time on Idol?

Jessica: I think, um, the whole process of getting started. I mean, you're on this show where there are, y'know, 50 million people watching the show, so once you're off of it and you finish the tour, you're out of contract. They're not helping you. It's kind of getting your foot in there, finding management, y'know finding people who will actually work with you.

Lindsey: I think the biggest obstacle for me was that too, but the good thing is that Idol does put you a step ahead of the game. But as far as, like, management now looking at you and wanting you, whereas, you don't have to knock on doors anymore, and say y'know, "I'm Lindsey Cardinale and this is what I have to offer." They watched you, and they know who we are now.

Question: Who were your favorites this year?

Jessica: I personally liked Mandisa. I wanted her to battle it out.

Scott: My personal favorite was Elliott.

Jessica: Oh, Elliott was great!

Lindsey: Yeah. I liked Taylor. I liked that he could dance. He made me laugh. (audience laughs) I thought he could dance! I thought he had a good voice.

Question: When you started on American Idol, when you got up on stage, you all had such stage presence going out there, and you didn't seem nervous to me at all. I would've been getting ill...

Jessica: Oh, that was BEFORE the show.

Question: Yeah, but you all looked like professionals out there. You weren't the least bit nervous?

Lindsey: Oh yeah we were! We just hide it very well.

Scott: I mean, the attitude was, we would go out there and deliver, or we were gonna go home, so you kinda had to put the nerves, y'know, to the side. Leave 'em back in the green room.

Question: And you remembered all the words to the songs...

Jessica: Uh, sometimes...Some of us learned to cover up!

Scott: (pointing at Jessica) Some of us just used the same words twice. (audience laughs)

Jessica: Thank you, I think you did too!

Lindsey: He sang more than us, so he had more words to remember.

Question: What are your thoughts on some of the songs you had to sing?

Lindsey: I personally hated "Knock on Wood." I mean, I'm just being honest about it. I mean, I had a good time with it. It was fun. It was fast. But I really started to dislike it when they said "this is what is going on the album." I was like, "alllllright," and I was trying to get out of it, but I couldn't, so I just made the best of it.

Question: They told you what you were going to sing on the album?

Lindsey: Oh yeah.

Scott: They did that for everybody though, too.

Jessica: But, I mean, the songs...y'know, you pick your own songs [in the show.] You give them a choice of songs, and if they can get it cleared, then you get to sing it. And if they can't get it cleared, you have to choose another song, but you pick your own list of songs that you do want to sing.

Scott: But every week, the categories change, and they give you a list that has roughly 100 songs on it.

Jessica: Right.

Scott: So, if yours didn't clear... Like, one week, I sang a song I had never heard of. I had to learn it in like two days.

Jessica: Let me tell ya, "Shop Around"... (audience laughs)

Question: But y'all, you came out, you memorized it, that's amazing.

Jessica: Yeah. It's fun. It's fun to actually learn new songs, though, because it's really challenging. It challenges'know your ability and stuff.

Question: I guess it's not your fault if you pick the wrong songs. Y'know, the only time you really know what you're doing, I think, to get the right song, is when Rod Stewart or Burt Bacharach or y'know somebody helps to say y'know "you're voice is good for this or that" or "go up a little more or down a little more"...

Jessica: Not really! Because nobody knows your voice better than yourself. So YOU know what you can or can't sing. You know what's too challenging for you, what you honestly could not do. You know that.

Question: Well that is something the judges will say, y'know, is you picked the wrong song.

Lindsey: And a lot of the time if you watch the show, like if you watch a Tuesday night show, the next week, they will a lot of times contradict themselves. They'll tell you one week "well, you didn't sound like Faith Hill," and then the next week they'll say "well, you really took that song and made it your own," and I'll be thinking "well, that's what I tried to do last week, but I didn't sound like the original artist!" So, you never know what they're going to say.

Question: That's part of the hype though?

Jessica: Exactly. Controversy. That's exactly what American Idol is about.

Scott: It's "scripted reality."

Jessica: Pretty much.

Lindsey: (pats Scott on the back) Very well said, Mr. Savol! (audience laughs)

Question: Jessica, do you have an example of where it is scripted reality TV for you?

Jessica: Um... I wouldn't say it was "scripted." I mean, they don''re not standing there and they've got words in front of you telling you what to say. Everything you say and everything you do is on your own. No one's forcing you to do anything. But as far as "scripted," I think what he meant by that is that Simon, Paula and Randy have the same comments that they've said EVERY SINGLE WEEK. And whether you did good or you did bad, I think it was more or less their opinion, if they liked the song. If they didn't like the song, they're just gonna kinda rip you apart. You could've sang it great, but if they didn't like the song, they're rippin' you apart. Especially Simon. So I don't wasn't like scripted. (turns to Scott) What did you mean by "scripted?"

Scott: Like, there's a lot of other reality shows, like Survivor, that more comes across like it's just happening and cameras were just rolling...

Moderator: I've worked in reality TV for 10 years. It's pretty much "creative editing." Do you know what I'm saying?

Jessica: There! Exactly.

Moderator: Creative editing, where the story might be out of order, there's a whole team that creates this.

Jessica: Which it, y'know, it kinda stinks... Because, like, they'll interview you, and they'll cut and paste it. They make it sound however they want it to sound. You could've been like "you know what, I love Simon." And then, they can make it sound like you said "Simon sucks." I mean, they can do whatever they want, that's your right you're signing away, that's your rights. But um, for the most part they didn't do that.

Question: Exactly how tall is Simon?

Jessica: Well, I'm five feet, and I'll stand next to him, and he's probably like 5'5.

Lindsey: He's probably my height [Lindsey is about a head taller than Jessica.]

Question: You're kidding!

Jessica: He's not tall.

Question: That explains the Napoleon complex.

Scott: They're all smaller than me.

Question: Randy is too?

Scott: Randy's like up to here on me. (puts his hand about nose level)

Jessica: Paula's like up to my ankles, and I'm short! (audience laughter)

Question: As far as the American Idol contract, was there any reservation on your behalf before signing any of those contracts? Did you send a copy back to your mom or someone in your family to look it over, or did you just say y'know what, it's Idol, I'll do it anyway?

Jessica: Well it's not THAT bad. But it's your choice, basically. Sign your life away or not. I mean it does benefit you. I mean, you do sign your life away, but, I mean, for the first two years, because once they pick a winner, you have until the end of the tour, and then you're pretty much out of contract. So it's not like you're going to be trying to do anything anyways while you're on the TV show or on tour. So I mean, once you're kinda free from the tour and from American Idol, you're free from the contract to do what you please.

Question: How much time did you have before you saw the contract and you had to turn it in?

Jessica: Which one? Because, yeah, there were different ones.

Lindsey: Sometimes they were just handed to us. Like y'know, there were sometimes when we'd have producers come in and said "ooh, I forgot to do this" and we're all kinda like "wait a minute..."

Scott: You sign it, or you don't go on.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jessica: Exactly, you have to pretty much sign it, or you're not gonna sing.

Scott: It's not that there was anything in there that was...

Jessica: ...bad.

Scott: Or really cutthroat, but to make it all legal, I guess that was a step they missed between then to now, so it was like "we got a show to do...wait! we can't put them on!"

Lindsey: And this would be, like, 3 hours right before you're supposed to go on the TV show live. But that's life on a reality TV show.

Moderator: A lot of reality shows will push a contract on you, like a 3 page contract, and tell you that if you don't sign it, somebody else will, so that's how they get that. They know you want to be in the show, so you'll sign.

Question: Did everybody do the same thing with their contracts?

Scott: I gave mine to my attorney. He said "well, if you don't win, you might be okay!" (audience and panel laughs) I mean, in all fairness, the contract, it basically walks you from your first audition all the way to if you win. You know, and a lot of people think that the contract that they get is that bad, but there's some things from the contract that top any company in the U.S. as far as percentages. Y'know, they take their management percent off the BOTTOM of everything. You'll never NOT make any money with them. It might not be a lot, but you won't go home at the end of the day and say "well I paid everybody, I hope I can crack a can of beans." (audience laughs)

Question: 19 has the right to sign anybody in the Top 12, right?

Jessica: Absolutely, they have first dibs on anybody who...

Lindsey: It actually starts in...

Jessica: Actually, I think it starts in the Top 24.

Question: Is there a certain date by which they have to tell you whether or not they're going to sign you?

Scott: Within 90 days from the finale.

Jessica: Yes. So if 90 days from the finale they have not signed you, you're on your own. You can do whatever you want.

Scott: Which, 90 days are up before the end of the tour.

Question: And you don't have any say about whether or not you want them to sign you?

Scott: It's not one of those, uh, good faith things where you signed it...

Jessica: That's what you signed the contract for.

Scott: They really have you anyway in black and white, but if they want to, they'll...

Jessica: They didn't want any of us. They don't want anybody who doesn't win, because what is it gonna gain them? I mean, they feel like we're not gonna make them money, or we would've won. I mean, you figure because the fans, the people that like you, are voting for you. They're the ones that will buy your album. So the winner has all these fans. That's how they won. If they didn't win the show, then they must not have had enough fans to push them that far, so see, 19 Management is not gonna have enough confidence in them making them money.

Question: So they eliminate lower placing people?

Jessica: Well, they usually sign, like, number two.

Lindsey: I think they signed Constantine.

Jessica: (rolling eyes and laying head on table)

Question: So...Constantine??

Jessica: Yeah! (brushes off obvious question) I'm not positive, but I think that they did sign him. I don't know if he's still in a contract with him or WHAT he's doin'. I don't really...

Scott: They didn't keep him...

Lindsey: No, they kept him.

Scott: I think the artist agency...

Lindsey: No. They kept him.

Scott: Oh, they did? (sort of an "ugh" tone.)

Question: Do you see any money off the Idol game that they have?

Lindsey: What Idol game?

Question: There was an American Idol CD or DVD game.

Lindsey: Is Ryan on the front of it?

Question: Yes, there were actually clips of Lindsey in it.

Lindsey: Really? (throws hands in the air) I'm on the game! I made it onto the game!

Question: I think 19 signed William Hung too.

Scott: Well, obviously they keep the best AND worst (rolling his eyes at the thought of William Hung being signed.)

Question: Do you have a choice in your attire or hair that you wear on the show?

Lindsey: You pretty much have a choice in anything that you do. They'll help you, though. They'll guide you. I had problems though, because I'm, y'know, just a small town girl, and there were certain things that I didn't feel comfortable wearing.

Jessica: Well, I wouldn't say that you have a choice on anything that you do, because...

Lindsey: Well, on an outfit and hair! I mean, I'm not gonna go out there in pigtails if I don't want to!

Jessica: Hair and outfit, you choose what you want. I mean, they have somebody guiding you, and kinda telling you y'know what looks good and what doesn't look good, what to buy...

Scott: Ultimately, it's your responsibility.

Jessica: Yeah. And they pay for it. Remember that time we went shopping and they wanted you to make you wear that huge hat?

Lindsey: Oh yes. Our wardrobe lady, she bought this huge hat, like the bill, it stuck out like THAT far. She's like "please would you wear this?" And I was like "no, that's not me." And she was like "come on, pleeeease?" And she tried it out on me, and I was just like "no."

Jessica: I wouldn't even let her take me shopping just because I'd see what she wore. What was her name? I forgot her name.

Lindsey: Agnes, I think.

Question: Did you all have the same one?

Scott: Well, they have like a female and a male. I wish I could remember the guy's name. Agnes, oh my goodness! I asked, week to week, please do not give me her.

Jessica: We had this one guy. There was this one guy who worked with Prince and stuff. I can't remember his name. He was fabulous, but they actually hired him, like, just a um... somebody said that he was just a substitute. Y'know. I don't remember his name.

Question: Does Simon have any other wardrobe besides a black t-shirt?

Lindsey: At the finale. He dressed up nice for the finale.

Scott: Blue. White. A couple of the others.

Jessica: He was snazzy at the finale. It was kinda hot., blue...I think he wore a couple of turtlenecks.

Question: You guys are all smiles onstage, but was there any drama going on backstage?

Scott: No comment. No comment.

Question: I'll take that as a yes, then.

Jessica: Yes. Obviously, if you think about it, there's always controversy behind the stage. You figure everyone's not gonna get along. I mean, you'll get along and sometimes you don't. It's really the things that everyone is gonna have. You've got twelve different personalities. It's silly to think that everyone's getting along backstage.

Question: What kind of compensation do American Idols receive? Are there different stages of pay?

Jessica: Yeah, I think the pay started at the top 12, no, top 24. You sign um... oh, what is it when you're under um... a union. Basically, you get paid for every show that you're on.

Lindsey: AFTRA.

Jessica: Yeah, AFTRA. And then once you actually hit the tour and stuff, um, you get paid on your shows. Y'know, a certain amount every show, a percentage of ticket sales, all that good stuff. So we walked away with a little bit of money.

Scott: It's just like anybody. You're paid an hourly rate for whatever kind of show you're on.

Question: So, you didn't get paid at all until you were part of the final 24?

Jessica: Yeah, they really didn't show you on TV, enough. Yeah, you have to be on TV a certain amount of time before you can become part of AFTRA.

Question: Okay, so if you are part of the final 24, how much were you paid? Does the amount change when you move from Top 24 to Top 12?

Jessica: I think it, um, I don't even remember how much it was, but for a 30 minute set you get the same amount every week. Y'know we had 30 minute sets, you get paid the same amount. And then for an hour set you get paid a little bit more. That's just how the union works. And I think that it's any, like any TV show, you get paid the same thing, since they're all under a union.

Question: So you're getting paid scale. Was it the same amount when you were part of the 24?

Jessica: Oh, I don't even remember. That's been so long ago. I need to find a check stub lying around somewhere.

Scott: I mean, we weren't, like, shopping for Bentleys or anything. (audience laughs)

Jessica: Yeah, right! I didn't buy the Lamborghini I wanted, so... I bought a Mitsubishi though!

Question: Clear this up for me, because I've heard that you don't just go straight to Simon, Paula, and Randy. There's judges before that, before you get to that point. Because I knew somebody at work that knew somebody that worked there before I did, and they were telling me that they couldn't get past the beginning.

Lindsey: There are two rounds before. I don't know how it was in their audition cities, but there were eleven booths with producers, and maybe like 2 or 3 people [contestants], and you would actually line up with three different people, and you would sing, like, ten seconds of a song. And then you had another, if you made that round, you had another, which was the executive producers. And after you went through the audition process and got to the final twelve, the first audition were all the producers we worked with, and the executive producers we saw all the time. It's just everything comes together. But yes, there are two auditions before.

Question: They let some of those really bad people go through those two auditions!

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jessica: Come on. I think that's what draws people in. People, like, wanna see the bloopers.

Moderator: There's a comedian named Chris Wylde who works for E Channel. He went in last year as a rapping babysitter [Christopher Noll].

Jessica: Oh yeah, I remember that. That was awesome. That was great.

Question: Going back to people getting along, you do have roommates, right?

Jessica: Yeah, they put us in apartments, because the house [from Season 1] was falling off the hill.

Question: Were there ever any bad experiences with roommates?

Lindsey: I had Jessica for, like, three weeks, and I tried SO hard to get rid of her.

Scott: Who had the worse end? (said playfully)

Lindsey: (smacking Scott on the arm) Shhh, these people don't know me!

Jessica: Actually, I had Carrie [Underwood] as a roommate, and then I had this other lady who worshipped the devil and thought Lucifer was sitting at the end of her bed. WOOO. (audience laughs) They actually did change me from that room. Yeah, and then, I had Lindsey for, like, three weeks. And that was like all during the audition process, actually, until we got to the top... 12?

Lindsey: Yup.

Jessica: And then we moved to apartments, and then I had Vonzell and Nadia.

Lindsey: I had Carrie.

Jessica: But I got along with all my roommates.

Lindsey: Other than minor stuff.

Jessica: You got along with all your roommates, didn't you?

Lindsey: Oh yeah.

Jessica: All my roommates were from Florida, including me. We were all Florida girls. Quick question from us to you: who in here is going to the concert, let me see your hands? (half the room raises hands) If you're not, come down to City Hall in downtown Nashville. All the reality stars will be there afterwards, just hanging out, partying, selling merchandise, you know, all that good stuff. There's a bar for the parents, y'know. People who are old enough to drink. Not me.

Question: How did it come to be the three of you who are doing this show [panel and convention]. Were other people invited, or how does that work?

Jessica: Well, I live in Nashville. I guess they contacted my manager, and Scott shares management with me, so we both came. And Lindsey found out through...

Lindsey: I got an email from them.

Jessica: From Verge, my management...

Moderator: The magazine tried to reach out to as many of the personalities as we could.

Question: Do you keep in touch, the three of you?

Jessica: Yes.

Question: So you've kind of been friends all along?

Jessica: Scott and I have been friends the whole time. Lindsey too.

Question: Would you guys ever cut a record together? Because you really sound great.

Jessica: Scott and I were talking about recording "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and really singing it. So, yeah.

Scott: That would be great.

Question: Seriously, that was a great duet during the concert tour.

Scott: Even, like I was telling somebody, everybody has their own group of fans, but they kinda joined the tour when it started, and throughout the tour, like, everybody's fans were like blogging to message boards and were talkin' about our duet and everything so...

Jessica: It was really cool, actually. It was a really cool experience getting a lot of Constantine fans, Bo fans, everyone's fans, like, leaving us emails saying how great the duet was and how it was the highlight of the show. It was really nice.

Question: You know, the message boards can be really cruel.

Jessica: Oh yeah. And we tried not to go on them.

Question: Once you went out in that concert, you changed a lot of people's minds.

Jessica: Yeah. Actually, you know what, I think when you're on tour, they get to see your personality more.

Scott: You're more accessible.

Jessica: Exactly. At the shows, you're onstage, you get to talk to your fans. You get to relate to them and stuff. And when you're on the show, you really don't have time to talk to them or have one-on-one with your fans. It's over a camera. And, y'know, also personalities on camera are not perceived very well.

Lindsey: And, y'know, Simon's not there, either.

Jessica: Good point.

Question: Address the haters. How have you guys dealt with criticism that you've gotten?

Scott: Well, one thing I live by is that there's nobody in this world who is loved by all.

Lindsey: Exactly.

Scott: If everybody loves you, that means you're not being yourself. Because there is nothing about one person that everybody loves. There is something about me that somebody likes, and there is something about me that somebody hates. So, if I try to put on such a big mask to make everybody love me, odds are, with time, I'll be found as a phony, and then EVERYBODY will hate me. So I'd rather have those who love me to love me, and those who hate me... whatever side you're on, thank you. Because any publicity is good publicity.

Jessica: Amen!

Question: Lindsey, how do you deal with criticism?

Lindsey: Actually, I... often I would deal with it pretty well. And like Jessica said, they would always tell us "don't get on message boards," because not everyone is going to like you. And, um, so we dealt with that pretty well. And then, this year, in April, we had the big Strawberry Festival where I'm from [Ponchatoula, Louisiana], and I was headlining that this year. And I saw two signs that said "Lindsey Cardinale Sucks." And I will tell you, it hurt me. It really like broke my heart. And my mom was just like "there's so many people out there, and those two people came out, and they didn't like you, and they actually took the time to make those signs." And it, y'know, it took me like a week to get over it. I cried every night after it. I don't understand who these people are or what I did to them. But y'know, it's like Scott said, not everybody is gonna like me. I mean, y'know, there are so many million of people that didn't like me, obviously, because I was number 12, but...

Scott: You have to look at it, too, even though they thought you suck, they actually took time to create something that was for you. (audience laughs and claps)

Jessica: You've gotta think about it this way too. Not only did they take the time to make the posters, they actually had to spend a day out of their life to come see your show. They obviously had to like you a little.

Scott: Yeah, they could've been somewhere else, home, playing Playstation, whatever, but they came out for you.

Lindsey: They weren't there for very long, because I acknowledged that I saw it. And I was like "that's not very nice," and I was like, "BUT I did deal with Simon Cowell for six weeks, and if I can deal with him, I can deal with anybody." I mean, in a way, it helped me to make it through to realize my mom was there for me.

Question: Jessica, was Simon really mean?

Jessica: Yes.

Lindsey: I don't even wanna think about that.

Jessica: I mean, he was always really nice to me, but he was really mean to some of my friends, and I don't like that.

Question: When y'all got voted off, did y'all have to go, like, immediately that night, or did you have any time?

Jessica: That night. THAT night. Pack your stuff, and they take you to a hotel.

Scott: Then you have to get up in three hours, and do eight hours of satellite.

Lindsey: Forty-five interviews.

Jessica: Yep.

Scott: Five minutes with every radio and TV station from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

Jessica: Then you get on the airplane, and they start flying you to do other interviews.

Scott: And they're like "so, how do you feel." Oh, I, just lost! (with a fake smile on his face) (audience laughs)

Jessica: Oh yeah, I feel great, y'know...

Scott: I get to go home and not win! (laughter)

Question: What do you think of American Idol this past year. Did you watch?

Jessica: Yes.

Question: What about Katharine McPhee's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow?" I thought it was over the top.

Scott: Personally, I thought it was a little bit UNDER the rainbow. (audience laughs)

Question: I don't like her, and I don't know the reason, but now that I've seen her with Taylor and all on the tour... I don't know, I'm starting to like her now. I see more of her now versus when on the show. I just never cared for her.

Jessica: Yeah, I think that performance was great, but um... No, I just think that performance was a great performance, but I didn't personally... I thought she was a great singer, didn't like all of her performances or her songs. And she was very pitchy at times, but again, y'know what I mean, there ARE fans of hers, and she's got a HUGE fan base. People watch her, and she's got votes. She made it to second place, obviously. Almost won the whole competition. So, and yeah, there's many that are not a big fan of hers. I love her, I'll support her, I'll buy her album since she was on American Idol, but um... I'm not a big fan.

Question: There's been talks about the voting. Do you really believe that the voting process is legit?

Jessica: Voting? There's gonna be controversy about voting on ANY type of reality TV show. I mean, there's no way to prove it. We don't know. Everyone can have their assumptions and assume things and, y'know, listen to the controversy that's going around, but there's nothing really to prove it.

Question: I ask that because when Jasmine [Trias] from Hawaii was on, the whole island clogged the lines, and there was a lot of negative publicity saying something was fixed, they were buying time, and a lot of under-handed things were going on. That's why I asked if you feel it was on the up-and-up or what.

Scott: Well, a lot of people make the mistake of feeling that their favorite is safe, and then they'll vote for someone else.

Jessica: Yes, absolutely.

Scott: And if that happens with enough people, then that person doesn't make it through, because everybody...

Lindsey: So THAT'S what happened to me! (audience laughs) Yay!

Jessica: It affects so many different people, especially in the top 8 or 9. Because there are so many different people to vote for. I think you should vote for who you don't want on the show. It's so hard to tell, of the top 12, who is your favorite. You've got so many favorites. You like so many people, but there is always that one person that just gets on your nerves, that you're like "I don't like them, I want them to go."

Scott: Right.

Jessica: I think you should have to vote for who you want to go.

Scott: Vote off!

Lindsey: Every reality show is about voting somebody off, though, y'know?

Jessica: Why vote for the person you love? Usually when it's the Top 12, there's not just one person that you love. There's more than one person that is your favorite. It's hard to say. You haven't had enough time to, y'know, get to know them or watch their control with their voices and stuff.

Question: So, I'm not following you. You're saying the voting should be rearranged to where you're...

Jessica: Vote for the person you most want kicked off the show. Vote for the person you want to leave the show.

Question: Why?

Jessica: Because, you figure when you're in the top 12, there's so many... there's 12 people out there. It's hard to pick one favorite. You have, y'know, 3, 4, 5 favorites. But usually there's one person you just don't like, that gets to you, and you just want them to leave. So why not vote for the person that you want to leave the show?

Scott: It's harder to pick your favorites than the one you don't like.

Question: Are you guys surprised at the success of Kelly Clarkson?

Jessica: No. No. She's amazing. And she well deserves it. I think she's great, and I think she's...

Scott: Her voice

Jessica: And she's blown up beyond American Idol. Y'know, she's beyond it already.

Scott: I think she would've made it otherwise.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jessica: Um, yeah, I think one day she would've. It may have taken longer. Like, American Idol gives you, y'know, five years of experience that you would've taken... I mean, it would've taken you forever to get in front of fifty million people. It takes most new artists at least five years, if not more, to get to that point.

Question: Have any of you met any celebrities who were fans either of you or of the show?

Jessica: Oh yeah.

Lindsey: Ooh! I met Willie Nelson! He's my favorite, and I went on his bus, and he's like "we watched you," and I was like "what??" So that's my favorite celebrity encounter.

Jessica: Mine was Rascal Flatts and Babyface and um...

Scott: Mine was George Benson. Most of mine were like rappers and Hall & Oates, yeah...Babyface, everybody from the finale. I had a lot of rap guys that liked how I did the R&B thing, so I had a few come to the show and actually hang with my friends.

Jessica: Method Man stopped him in, like, a shoe store.

Scott: Yeah, HE stopped ME walkin', and it's like that's what happened when, like I met him and Ice T, I was like walkin' through the mall, and he stopped me. I'm like, I'm not a big star. I wasn't going to stop him, because I'm not a big celebrity stalker, but he stopped me. It's like somebody told me, "I already know who you are," because believe it or not, people on that level of that magnitude watch the show. They enjoy the show. They already know, like, anybody that we may work with in the future, they probably already know us. We may not know them yet.

Jessica: The President knows us. He watches it. You can't tell me he doesn't. (audience laughs)

Question: Did you have anybody, like, in high school, or anybody back home just come out of the woodworks once you became famous?

Jessica: Ohhhhh yeah.

Lindsey: Family, the most.

Jessica: They're your long-lost sister. Actually, I really did meet a sister of mine that I never knew I had. You guys go figure that one.

Question: So they just come up to you, try to talk to you, and be your friend?

Jessica: They still do that. It's just weird.

Scott: "Yeah we went to school together!" And I'm like "Well, ya didn't talk to me then, so..." (audience laughs)

Lindsey: Yeah, really!

Question: Did you care who would win once you got kicked off? Did you call in and vote?

Jessica: Yeah. Oh yeah. I did. It wasn't that I cared who would win, but there was certain people that I like didn't want to win.

Scott: I didn't care.

Lindsey: Oh, you know we ran up our cell phone bills voting for ourselves. (audience laughs)

Scott: I was texting away!

Lindsey: You know I voted for myself! I'm not why I got voted off!

Question: Is there a reason they don't do internet voting?

Lindsey: I don't know.

Jessica: Because they get paid for the phone voting. Yeah, because Cingular is their sponsor.

Question: You mentioned earlier that Kelly Clarkson has gone beyond American Idol. Does that mean for some people that American Idol is a blessing and for some it is a curse?

Jessica: No no no no absolutely, anybody who gets on American Idol it's a blessing, but what I'm saying is that she's already moved beyond that station. She's so much above it. Y'know, like with American Idol any of the other contestants that won or even came off the show have only made it just so far. And they really haven't done anything with their careers. And, for Kelly, I mean Kelly Clarkson, sorry I almost said Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, she like blew up. Like, she sold how many gold or platinum albums and is still putting out amazing music, so I think she just kind of, she's very beyond American Idol.

Question: Do you think Carrie might possibly have that kind of career, maybe in the country realm?

Jessica: (shaking head no)

Question: You don't think so? (sounds incredulous)

Lindsey: Well I hope so!

Scott: I think, with Carrie, Carrie's kinda cross-over. She's got country fans, but she's got a lot of pop fans too. Because a lot of her stuff isn't... I mean if you listen to her songs, they're all not, y'know, steel guitar and...

Lindsey: Right, yeah.

Scott: Anybody listens to her... I mean I can play it. There's even a few songs she has that I like.

Jessica: Yeah, I bought the album. I think that her first album did great, y'know. First album did great, because it's her first album. Everybody that gets off of American Idol, y'know, their first album always does great, but it will be very interesting to see exactly how far their careers could go. So...

Question: Does she stay in touch with any of you?

Jessica: With her (pointing at Lindsey)...

Moderator: Alright, that's our time folks, thank you so much... (audience applause for panelists)

J.D.: Lindsey, just for the record, you don't suck.

Lindsey: Awww, thank you!

Wow. Now my fingers really hurt.