Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hey Girl, I Wanna Catch Your Idol Wave...

Just poking my head out so you'll know I'm still breathing!

I've been a little light on posting the past week for a couple of reasons. First, obviously is the holiday season, and I've been trying to take things a little easier. I figure it's better if I bring you quality rather than quantity. And hey, the front page has been chock full of great articles, if I do say so myself, for a while now, so hopefully you guys and gals have been catching up on your reading.

Second, I've been working on an Idol Waves special. This week, you'll get the chance to hear not only the Top 20 but the Top FIFTY songs on my weekly Idol Waves countdown show. That's over five hours of pure listening enjoyment hosted by me.

The show airs, as always, on Idol Waves Radio. The dates and times are as follows:

Friday, December 29, 2006: 11 AM Central/12 PM Eastern

Monday, January 1, 2007 (New Year's Day): ALL DAY. That's right, the show will repeat all day long, so if you miss part of it, you'll be able to catch up. Or you can just listen over and over just because you love my voice.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007 - 10 AM Central/11 AM Eastern, 6 PM Central/7 PM Eastern, with a special 2 AM airing on Wednesday morning for our overseas listeners.

Thursday, January 4, 2007 - 10 AM Central/11 AM Eastern, 6 PM Central/7 PM Eastern, with a special 2 AM airing on Friday morning.

So tune in, get all you can handle of me, and support your favorite Idols and see how they ranked!

My new years' resolution so far: another interview with Heather Cox, a sit-down with the Molfetta twins, and who knows what else!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Congratulations Are In Order

It's my pleasure to announce two success stories from a couple of our former Idols tonight. Both are friends to this site, and both have been working hard.

First, Brooke Barrettsmith made an announcement today that made me glow with excitement and happiness for her. This from her Myspace page

Last Friday afternoon ~ after many years of hard work, tears, victories, and heart breaks ~ I officially signed a recording contract with Provident Label Group, the Christian division of SONY BMG. Soooo many things have already been taking place...writing, recording, meetings,'s been such an amazing whirlwind!! I will keep you all updated about the progress of my album, tour dates, and other goodies after the New Year!

This makes me very very happy, and it's nice to know that one of my favorites from last year is making it!

Also, Nadia Turner of American Idol Season 4 will be co-hosting on The View with Barbara Walters and Rosie O'Donnell on Thursday, December 21st at 11am eastern. Undoubtedly she will be talking about the movie that she has just completed. It's called A Taste of Us, and I can't wait to see it. Check out the trailer below.

Congratulations to both Nadia and Brooke. You two make me proud.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This Week on Idol Waves Top 20 Countdown

Catch the show today at 3 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Extra Christmas cheer from Kelly Clarkson, Kimberley Locke, Elliott Yamin, and others!

Brand new singles from Bianca Ryan and Carrie Underwood!

Taylor Hicks' and Jennifer Hudson's new singles had a great week!

And a tight race between Anthony Fedorov, Kellie Pickler, Nikki McKibbin, and Daughtry for the number one spot! Who made it? You'll have to tune in.

Don't miss it!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Taylor Hicks: The Runaround? Or the Right Place?

I know I'm a little late delivering the Taylor Hicks debut CD review. That's what tending to the Fedorov Fandom can do sometimes! But I wanted to be fair to this CD and give it plenty of time to decide exactly how I felt about it. After multiple listens in multiple locations, I have come to a conclusion.

It's a'ight.

The first thing I had to do was get the Daughtry and Kellie Pickler comparisons out of my mind, because it wouldn't be fair to compare Taylor to them. While those two are outstanding albums, they're in a totally different field than Taylor, and shouldn't be used to judge him. Secondly, I had to forget everything I knew about Idol and try to come at this from a fresh perspective, which proved difficult.

The CD didn't come across very well for me while I was driving. But once I was settled in and relaxed, my perception of it changed quite a bit. Quite simply, this is music to chill to. It's upbeat enough, but it's the kind of music you'd sit and politely listen to in a smoky jazz club or in the comfort of your recliner. Once you're in the proper context, the CD is relaxing and enjoyable.

My knee-jerk reaction was to say that this was about to be another "Bo Bice" effort. But I think they put a little more thought into it than that. I was excited to see songs by Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson, because their kind of music was Taylor's strong point. I was a little startled to see a Bryan Adams songwriting credit in there, as well as Diane Warren, who apparently is contractually obligated to pen at least one song per Idol winner release. There are a lot of good influences here, though. Matchbox 20 comes directly to mind, with Matt Serletic producing the album and Rob Thomas contributing the song "Dream Myself Awake." Taylor himself gets a writing credit on only three of the songs (four if you bought the Wal-Mart version) with only two of them being solo credits. I suppose that ought to cement his publishing contract. Without a doubt, Taylor is at his most Taylor-ness on the songs he wrote. (Ironically, he sounds most like I remember him from his Idol days on the bonus song "Hell of a Day," which is only included on the Wal-Mart version of the disc.)

I do like this disc, but in the interest of honesty, I do have to point out a few negatives. The first is sort of trivial, but I have to mention it. The sticker on the front of the CD is misleading if you don't look at it closely. "Do I Make You Proud" is not included on this album, however you can use the information inside to download it. It's not a huge deal, and I actually like the fact that they finally decided to leave the "winner song" off, especially since it doesn't fit well with the rest of the music.

The rest of the bad: (1.) There's not really a stand-out track on this CD for me. I sort of enjoy them all the same, but none of them really scream "single" at me. "Heaven Knows" probably comes closest. (2.) If I were a program director at a radio station or group of radio stations, I'd be at a loss to know what to do with Taylor or where to put him. Would I put him in the Adult Contemporary format? Heritage Rock? Pop? Soul? On the other hand, cross-genre appeal has worked for others before (hey there, Carrie Underwood!) so maybe this isn't as much of a negative as I initially thought.

But minor negatives aside, this is a good CD, fairly solid in terms of most Idol productions, and worth having. I mean, after all, I've played it nearly ten times today. Go out and pick up the Wal-Mart version so you can have the bonus track. (Sigh, I thought I'd never say that again.)

Good CD, and the Season 5 streak stays alive. Soul patrol!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

American Artist: Anthony Fedorov

Regular readers here have become accustomed to the Idol Interviews that appear here from time to time. Through the course of the year or so that this site has been around, I've gotten to converse with many stand-outs and just flat out fabulous people via the Interviews, as well as our off-the-record conversations. But sometimes it's difficult to figure out who will be next.

This one, however, was a no-brainer. For months now, fans of Anthony Fedorov have been clamoring for me to do an interview with their beloved Season Four star. They're easily one of the most faithful groups out there, rivaling even those of Constantine or Kellie Pickler. And they not only post, but they also make good on their love for the guy by flying across the country, supporting him at shows, and shilling for him at every chance they get.

I found out about AnthonyFanClub, The Canthony Forums and Young and Beautiful only after finding out that they had talked about me (or an article or show I had done) so I took the opportunity to join their community. They in turn read my stuff, and since then, they've been bent on getting me to interview him.

So I thought, sure, why not, but ONLY if they would ask the questions. And as it turned out, they did. Questions poured in by the hundreds. And then, after a few rounds with Nelly Neben, Anthony's manager, the stage was set for the interview.

Here's how it went!

J.D.: I'm loving your song, "Culpa Me" has just been fabulous for us.

Anthony: Well, thank you very much! I appreciate that.

J.D.: Let's go back to your Idol career just a little bit. Tell us a little about your Idol experience.

Anthony: It was a very interesting one. It was pretty much a rollercoaster from the beginning to the end. It was a wonderful experience for me in many ways. The most important thing that I got out of it was that I pretty much took a crash course on the music industry in about a year. And I've kinda experienced a little bit of what the life of a famous artist is gonna be like or would look like if that were me. So, y'know, I learned a lot of new things, a lot of good things. It was a phenomenal experience. The best thing was that I got a lot of fans who are so supportive of what I'm doing. Hopefully that will continue, and I will try not to disappoint them, I guess.

J.D.: How have things been for your family since your brother's passing?

Anthony: It's been a little tough. No, not a little tough. It's been tough. I do have a very strong family, and we're sticking together. I think we're gonna be alright. I know it's gonna take time, but the most important thing is that we lean against one another and help each other out, and that's pretty much it.

J.D.: How has it been for you going through the whole whirlwind of instant fame, tabloid chatter, or all those things that maybe you really weren't looking for?

Anthony: Well, to be honest with you, I didn't really focus on any of that stuff. The most important thing for me was to just focus on what I was doing. It's difficult enough to focus on the things that are in front of you, let alone think about things that are outside of what's going on.

J.D.: Were you already planning on a music career prior to Idol?

Anthony: Oh, absolutely. That's been my goal since day one, and I just got lucky, because, for whatever reason, they chose me for the show, and they gave me a lot of opportunities.

J.D.: Obviously being on American Idol for a decent run like yourself, you get the advantage of starting to develop a fan base. Can you tell me a few memorable things about your interactions with your fans?

Anthony: The most memorable thing that I have, and I continue to have, is just the kind of attention that I get from people. It's not so much like "oh Anthony, y'know, you're the best" and all that stuff, but it's the kind of sincerity that I get from people when I get approached by somebody. I see that I'm making a difference in their life, or in their day, and it's the kind of sincerity that I got, and the kind of affection that I got from fans has been absolutely incredible.

J.D.: You have fans of all ages. I know a lot of them were flying out to the Texas tour that you did with the other Idols recently just to hear you sing three songs. It must amaze you that there's that kind of devotion amongst your fan base.

Anthony: Yeah, I mean, it was pleasantly surprising for me. I saw some familiar faces. I try to remember as many faces as I possibly can, and I did recognize some people. Like I said, I have a very loyal following, and I am just so blessed to have it.

J.D.: Other than obviously Carrie Underwood, do you keep up with or collaborate with any of the friends that you made on Idol?

Anthony: While I was on Idol... I talk to Nikko once in a while. I talk to Scottie. I haven't spoken to Nadia or Anwar in a while. Y'know, I haven't spoken to Bo. But like Bo, Nikko, and Vonzell, like, we all stay in touch once in a while, or we call each other and just see how we're doing and stuff. I think Carrie's the only one who I kept in touch with on a consistent basis.

J.D.: From the end of the Idol tour, what have you been up to?

Anthony: The most important thing that I've been doing is really concentrating on getting great songs, because the one thing that Simon Cowell told me at the end of my season is "the only thing that's gonna make you successful in the end is your material. You are only as good as what you put out." The reality of the situation is that I'll probably have one shot to come out and make a statement and to kind of leave my mark on the music industry. And that one shot will tell whether or not I'm just gonna do one and done, or whether I'm gonna be a successful artist for many years to come. So I've been really focusing on just getting the best quality material, been working with some tremendous songwriters and producers on both the English and Spanish side, and just gearing up for 2007. We're taking our time to make sure that we do it right, because if you don't do it right, or if you hurry things up just to put it out there, the reality of the situation is that you might not be successful, because you need great songs if you're gonna succeed.

J.D.: So do you consider shows like Fear Factor or the talent show that you were a judge for steps toward that end as well?

Anthony: I mean, sure. I wanna keep my face in the public eye. I had a good time doing that stuff. I'd do it over again. It was fun. It was good exposure. I think it's very important to do everything you can to keep your face out there as much as you can doing the proper stuff. I haven't been in the public eye as much as I have been in the past, in the previous maybe six months or so, but that's because I've been really focusing on music. So, y'know, shows like that and other stuff, it's great. Whatever helps you maintain your visibility. But like I said, the songs are the most important thing that you could get in the beginning.

J.D.: So we've played "Culpa Me" on Idol Waves quite a few times. I wonder if there are other songs recorded out there?

Anthony: There are a lot of songs that are recorded. With "Culpa Me," it's interesting that it's doing as well as it is, because it's a simple piano track, with some string arrangements behind it, so it's not fully produced. It was interesting for me to see that people still enjoy it, because it's kind of stripped down, and it's naked, and you can really feel the soul. It's very interesting to see that "Culpa Me" is doing so well, and thank God, because it gives me some hope for the future when the rest of my stuff comes out.

J.D.: We've heard a couple of songs that you've either co-written or written yourself, and I've heard that you've even written the music for several songs that you're hoping to record for your album. What inspires you to write?

Anthony: Life. I mean, I don't write a lot. I'm not one of these people who has the natural ability to just write a great song about absolutely anything on any given day. I'm just starting out in the writing scene, so when something happens in my life that triggers that part of me that I haven't developed willfully yet, I can't help myself but to sit down and I start having melodies in my head, and words start to come out. I'm just writing because life is telling me to do it.

J.D.: Do you have any publishing contracts yet?

Anthony: We will pursue that as soon as we're gonna be getting closer to putting out a record, because I can get a lot more money from a publishing company when they know that my record is gonna hit the stores. And if there's any possibility that any of my songs could make it on the record, they give you a lot more money, so we're kind of holding off on that for now.

J.D.: A lot of fans don't really understand what's involved in securing a record deal or recording a CD. What has your experience been like thus far?

Anthony: I mean, it's not easy! You'd think that you'd get off the number one show in the world pretty much...and you'd be a no-brainer. But the fact of the matter is that the rest of the music industry doesn't look at American Idol the same way as fans do. The truth is that not a lot of people want to sign people from American Idol because they're not sure what to do. They don't want to lose their jobs. Everybody's kind of scared of their own shadow in a lot of ways. But you know, they say it only takes one. So that's kind of the philosophy that we go by. It's a long process. It really is a long process. It takes a long time, because not only do you want to get a record deal, because anybody can get a record deal...well, not's a lot easier to get a record deal rather than to get the right record deal, with the right company, where you have the right people surrounding you and pushing you forward. It's gotta be right. You can't just get a record deal. You have to get the one that's most convenient for you.

J.D.: When you're shopping your demo around, which I assume you're preparing to do, do you work with a team in choosing the songs that you might include on an EP, or do you like to keep creative control over that?

Anthony: No. I mean, I have a management company that has been in the business for, wow, a very long time, and they know a whole lot more about this stuff than I do. So I listen to them and everything they tell me. It's a collective team effort. We come across a song, we listen to it, we discuss it and see if it fits what I'm trying to do and the kind of message that I want to put out, and then we all collectively decide whether I should put my vocal on the song or not.

J.D.: Do you have any idea when a debut CD might be released?

Anthony: It'll be some time next year. I don't want to give you any dates. I don't wanna disappoint, but I do promise you that it will come out, and when it does come it, it's gonna be right. And God willing, my fans will continue to stand behind me, and they will help me to succeed with this thing.

J.D.: If, God forbid, a major record label doesn't come through, are you prepared to release independently?

Anthony: No. We will sign with a major, because I think that's... I don't know if there's any other way to be successful if you don't have a deal at hand. In order to be successful, you need a machine to push you forward. I mean, take American Idol for example. Why do you think it's so successful? Because it has become such a tremendous machine. Anybody who is a part of that show and gets on that stage is an instant celebrity. Why? Because the show is just everywhere, and they have an enormous amount of money that they spend on promotion and all these kind of things that make us "celebrities" overnight. So I think at the end of the day, you need a powerhouse. You need a machine to drive your career and just launch your career. I do believe that, based on the situation that I'm in right now and the kind of progress that we've been making, we're in a very very good position to sign a deal with a major and be successful.

J.D.: Do you ever have those mornings when you just kinda wake up and say "wow, I'm chasing my dreams, and I can't believe I've come this far, and how far am I gonna be able to go?"

Anthony: Well, I'll be honest with you, it's a surreal thing for me every single day, because just to be where I'm at at this point in my life, it's really a blessing. The fact that I was on American Idol has been...y'know, I got lucky. For whatever reason they chose me, I'm glad they did, because that was my one in a million or one in a billion chance to break through and start having a realistic shot at being successful. I think if it wasn't for American Idol, I'd still be singing in clubs and waiting for my big break to happen. It's a surreal experience every second of the day, but I really enjoy it as much as I can. It's not easy to go to the top, but that's why you have to enjoy it and if you really cherish it, then you'll know how valuable it is to work harder to go to the top.

J.D.: Never let anybody out there think it's easy!

Anthony: No, this stuff does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of hard planning. If people think that it happens just like that? Rarely ever does.

J.D.: And it's a world where you can be everybody's darling one minute and yesterday's news the next.

Anthony: Absolutely, and that's when you really have to take things for what they are, and you can't really let anything go to your head, because at the end of the day, you've gotta stay human. You've gotta be a person before anything else. Because they will love you one day, and when something doesn't happen, they won't love you the next day. But like I said, I've been so blessed. Even though this is kind of my down time right now, my fans have been behind me 150 percent, and I'm just lucky for that.

J.D.: They've submitted an awful lot of these questions. I hate that I couldn't get to all of them, but I know that you've got a short amount of time that you have to rest and lay down and soak it all in there. One more question.

Anthony: Sure!

J.D.: At what point in your life will you be able to say "that's it! I've done all I wanted to do! I can die happy now."

Anthony: Honestly, as far as saying "I've done all I wanted to do," probably never, because there's so much that I want to accomplish. I think I'm never gonna say this. As far as why I can die happy now, I'll tell you this much. When we started on tour last year, and I got up on stage--I think it was Tampa or Fort Lauderdale, our first show--I got up on stage in front of 20,000 people. Every singer, every performer, has a dream to do it at least once. So it was like, well, if nothing else happens, I can die happy. I happened to go up there and get that one chance. When I got off the stage that day, I cried like a little baby, because it was just the most incredible experience in my life. And I was like enough to do it 45 more times, or 50 times, or how ever many shows we did. And hopefully, I'll get a chance to do it as a solo artist later on in my career. I have accomplished that thing I wanted to do at least once. Now what I'm looking for is to do it over and over again and hopefully for many decades.

J.D.: I'm confident that's gonna happen. The guys over at the and Young and Beautiful and The Canthony Forums contributed these questions. They're all rooting for you, and they post 24/7 about you, so they're keeping the dream alive for you, I think.

Anthony: Thanks! And one thing I want to mention...I just got the good news today...y'know, since my brother's death...the cancer that he died from is called Ewing's Sarcoma. So the thing that I'm trying to do is make a difference in people's life, and really deal with this cancer and raise awareness for it. So I've been chosen as the official spokesperson for the Sarcoma Foundation of America. And I'm gonna be doing a lot of work for them, and we're gonna be doing public service announcements all over the country for next year. I'm involved with them a lot, so if people want to check it out and see what it is, you can go to and just see what it's all about. I'm glad that I will be able to now make a difference and raise awareness of these things.

J.D.: That's awesome. It's definitely a cause that needs to be addressed, and it's great that you're getting to do so much in memory of your brother. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day and letting the fans ask you a lot of questions and letting me ask a question as a fan. I really hope for the best for you.

Anthony: Thank you very much, and just look out for everything next year! I'm not sitting around. I haven't disappeared. Just been putting in the time to make sure that next year is gonna be a good one for me!

We trust that it is. Thanks so much to the fan forums out there. You guys make this writing so much more enjoyable, and I'm looking forward for many conversations to come!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Roxie Mae - Vintage Love Letters

So my girl Roxie has put out a new CD, and knowing my weaknesses, she sent me out a copy all autographed up and everything. It's definitely a nice disc, and the niceties extend into the music itself.

There's something incredibly honest about Vintage Love Letters. It's far and away a maturation above Shades of Blue, which I liked, but also which was a freshman effort, and as is the case with most first releases had room to grow. There's something very raw, though, about Roxie's music. It's geared more toward a pop/country sound, but it's very stripped down, un-produced, and that helps some of the emotion of the songs come through very clearly.

I like it. And I think you just may too.

Roxie's CD is available for the low low price of $9.99 through iTunes, and at that rate is well worth your buy. And for those of you who still like the thrill of having a jewel case and an actual CD to have and hold, you can order it through CDBaby for just a little over $12. There are also six tracks available for sampling on CDBaby. I must emphasize, though, that the CD is meant to be heard in its entirety. There are quite a few different styles represented here, so check out ALL the samples.

You might also check out her Myspace and her website. Tell her J.D. sent ya.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What It Do, Hulk Hogan?

It's been a busy Saturday. Between going out and detailing my car and trying to get business taken care of, I've been back-to-back. But I did take time out to go check out Brooke Hogan at a CD signing she did in Cordova today.

I've enjoyed Brooke's personality ever since I caught on to Hogan Knows Best. Of course I grew up with her dad on TV, ever since Hulk Hogan's Rock N Wrestling premiered on Saturday mornings. There were plenty of fights between me and my young peers between imaginary Hulksters and imaginary Roddy Pipers. Seeing Brooke turn into a young woman, though, has been interesting, especially with the over-protective antics of Hulk in the background.

The crowd who showed up for the signing were a mixed lot. Many of them had heard that Hulk Hogan would be making an appearance, so they were there for him. (I didn't know he'd be there. I just wanted to meet Brooke.) So imagine if you will this dichotomy: a crowd of tweenage girls mixed in with a crowd of much older male wrestling fans. Granted, there was some overlap, and many of them brought their wives with them, but it was quite interesting to see.

One thing was certain: all the fans who were there were excited. At one point, Hulk sneaked out of the back area prior to his signing time so he could visit the restroom. As it turned out, it was the crowd peeing their pants and screaming when they saw him. He did finally get to the restroom and then disappeared again.

Hulk is always looking out for his little girl, so he stipulated that he would only give autographs and take pictures with people who also bought Brooke's CD. Being a fan of both, it was a no-brainer that I would want them both to sign something, so I ended up purchasing Brooke's CD and Hulk's new DVD box set, both of which I will get great enjoyment from. I thought this was a rather shrewd marketing move on their part, though, since one had to purchase her CD in order to get to him.

And purchase they did. The shelf had previously been stocked with hundreds of Brooke's debut CD and Hulk's DVDs. By the end of the two-hour session, the shelf was picked clean.

Brooke is quite an elegant young woman. She's rather tall, but she is drop-dead gorgeous in person. She was kind and gracious to everyone, especially children. There was a "no picture" policy that Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart was trying to enforce, but Brooke paid little attention to it, and she never failed to give attention to each child. She really was great with all her fans. I complimented her on the show, mentioned that we'd once been on the same episode of Reality Remix which made her smile a bit, and then she signed my CD. I think I may be in love. I watched her later, as I waited for my film to develop, and if she ever tired of her fans, she didn't show it. She didn't have sunglasses and a fierce demeanor to hide behind like her father, but she stayed so bright and cheerful that she wouldn't have needed it.

Then it was on to the Hulkster. Let me just say right now that Terry Hogan is a massive man. He's tall and stacked. His arms are each literally as big as two of mine together. And his hands are like softball gloves. However intimidating he might be, though, Hulk is genuinely a nice guy. The no-picture rule went out the window right away for him. He would autograph anything and everything, and he really took his time with each fan and made sure they were happy. It was a great experience meeting an action hero from my childhood, and he made sure that I didn't forget it.

After leaving, I popped Brooke's CD into the car stereo. I actually like it, even though I was afraid I might not. It's nothing too earth-shattering, but as the old Bandstand saying goes, you can dance to it. Scott Storch really did a number on this album, and it's one of those light sort of albums that you can bump in your speakers and just groove to. Despite the cover, it's not overly sexualized, but you will be hearing several of these tracks in the dance clubs.

So it's been a fun Saturday, but I'm ready for the really good part: going to a basketball game with my Dad.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

American Teen: Jaclyn Crum

There are two types of Idol fans. There are people who watch Idol. And then there are people who KNOW way more than any human being should be allowed to know about Idol. As many of you are aware, I fall into the latter half. I remember things about the fourth season in particular that most of my friends who watch the show are clueless about. But it brings me great joy to be in touch with a lot of these past contestants, because I find it's interesting in a sort of a "where are they now" sense, and also because a lot of them are doing things that are really interesting.

One of my season four favorites was Jaclyn Crum. She just missed making the cut for the Top 24, so she never got to be voted on by America, but she was definitely one of the stars of the show during the Hollywood rounds. The camera seemed to love her, even though (or, perhaps, because) she got emotional in front of it a lot.

But not all Idol contestants go on to pursue fortune and fame in the music industry after their run. In fact, a good portion of them settle down and settle in for a good normal life. This is where Jaclyn is two years later. She's a mother now, with one on the way, a high school graduate working on a college career, and she's living the normal life in Gahanna, OH. She sat down with me on the phone and talked to me for a while about Idol and life after.

J.D.: What was it like being a 16 year old walking into something that's as huge as American Idol?

Jaclyn: Well it was really overwhelming. Definitely nerve-racking, because, I mean, I was 16. Now I'm about to be 19, but when I was 16, I was so excited, because when I had first heard about the show, like before it came out and became all big, I was really excited. And it was something that I wanted to do ever since I heard about it, but you have to be 16, and I was only like, I think 14 at the time when it came out. Either 13 or 14. And I watched it when Kelly was on it, and I watched it when Ruben was on it, and I watched when Fantasia was on it. I had my favorites each time, and I would root for them and participate in the show. I just got so excited with them, and when I actually made it, I was like "whoa! I can't believe I made it!" So, it was a lot of fun.

J.D.: You made such a transition, it seems just from watching you, you seemed kind of shy and quiet when you were not singing, and then you turned into this powerful, confident singer. How did you do that?

Jaclyn: Well, I guess I wouldn't say that. If you knew me personally and you talked to my friends and family members, I'm definitely not a shy kind of person like that. I was just nervous. It was a new environment, and basically my main thoughts were on the show, and how well I was going to do, and each day going there and each day giving it your best. And then, y'know, figuring out whether you were going to get cut or not. You basically lived by that day by day, like "oh my God, am I gonna go home?" And once you made it to the next round, you were like "yes! Oh, but there's tomorrow. Y'know, I could be cut tomorrow." So that's what I was mainly shy and nervous about. When I'm on stage, basically I'm there thinking about nothing but singing. It's one of my favorite things to do, so I just let it all out, I guess.

J.D.: Do you think you were ready at that young of an age for the kind of pressures that instant fame can have on you?

Jaclyn: I probably wasn't 100 percent ready. I would say around maybe 80 or so. I was just so excited to be out there. I think that if it were now, it would be totally different. I'm not really sure how, but I know from watching myself on TV, I know what to do and what not to do now!

J.D.: One thing that people seem to remember about you a lot is that you cried a lot on the show. Are you an emotional person?

Jaclyn: Thanks to my mother, yes. If you couldn't tell, my mom is too.

J.D.: One of your defining moments on the fourth season of American Idol is when you were called to the hospital because of your mom, who I believe suffers from multiple sclerosis. Is that correct?

Jaclyn: Wow, you have a good memory.

J.D.: How was that, coming in the midst of all the auditions? How did that affect you?

Jaclyn: To be honest, that was the only time that we had had a problem, was that night. It was mainly me, because I was sick each time that I was in auditions. For some reason, I don't know if it was because of nerves, it's something I get all the time, is strep throat. And I get it constantly, and it's the worst thing for me. And each time that I went out there, I was sick with strep throat. The last time was completely horrible. Like the time that I got cut, I was so happy that we didn't have to sing that day, because I had to come home and get a shot and everything because I was sick. But when we were out there, that one night was the only night that she had a problem. I didn't think that it was her M.S. at first, but I mean, it was part of was something that she ate and she's allergic to, and her throat started closing up. They gave me a choice to either stay there or go with my mom. I love to sing and everything like that, but my family is far more important than singing or anything for that matter. And I wasn't just gonna leave my mom. I was scared that something bad would happen to her.

J.D.: One thing I remember particularly about you was how you reacted on the set of The O.C., which had to be fun, because who wouldn't want to be on the set, right? I was talking to Lisa Tucker the other day, and she actually got a walk-on role on that. How was it to be around all that talent and all that stardom, just even for the briefest moment.

Jaclyn: Well we didn't actually get to meet anybody. Ben (McKenzie) was actually there. He plays Ryan on the show. But his hairdresser was busy with him, so we didn't get to meet him. I think we did get to meet Lindsey (Shannon Lucio), who was Ryan's girlfriend. She had like the really long hair. She was on last season, but she ended up moving away. I don't know if you remember her. That's the only person we got to meet. But I am like the biggest O.C. fan. I adore The O.C. And it was a complete surprise when they told us. We were on the bus, touring and stuff like that, they were showing us around Hollywood. And they stopped in front of the place, and they were like "yeah, so we're going on the set of The O.C." and I was like "" and I started like freaking out. I love that show. It's my favorite show, even though I'm not happy that they killed Marissa, but I still watch it every now and then when I get the chance.

J.D.: I wasn't real happy about that either, but at least we still have Rachel Bilson.

Jaclyn: Yeah.

J.D.: What, aside from the trip to The O.C., were some of the more positive experiences you had with Idol? What do you look back on with really fond memories?

Jaclyn: Staying up late, singing, and being around a bunch of people that love to do the same thing that I did. I met a couple of really great people out there that I really really love, and I'm still friends with a couple of people. I know from being out there, I couldn't have met anybody like them. Just being out there and singing and doing what I love, it was just, I don't know, an amazing experience. I don't think I'll ever experience again something that overwhelming and exciting, especially since I was only 16.

J.D.: I think you told me once before that you had been friends with Carrie Underwood. Are you guys still in contact?

Jaclyn: Yeah, we talk every now and then, but she's a really really busy person.

J.D.: How does it feel watching her win those awards? Do you feel really proud for her?

Jaclyn: Yeah, I do. I get really excited, just because when you're friends with somebody and you see your friend doing a good accomplishment, even if it's my friends in school winning an award or getting recognized, I get excited just like it's me. I know my daughter adores her. She freakin' loves her. We basically talk through email, and I told her I'll always give her a heads up every now and then and tell her how Maria and I are doing. I congratulated her on her last award that she won, because Maria got so excited when she won and started clapping. So we talk every now and then when she has time, but she's really busy, and I'm really busy, so we talk maybe twice a month. Every now and then.

J.D.: You were a friend of Mikalah Gordon's too, weren't you?

Jaclyn: Yeah.

J.D.: Did you guys get along pretty well?

Jaclyn: Yeah, we were supposed to go shopping when we were out there, but we never ended up getting to, because things got cut short. But yeah, we were close.

J.D.: Mikalah's a friend of mine, also. And she's been through a bit of a rough time lately. Do you think that when you're at the age that you and Mikalah were, more problems tend to come up, as opposed to somebody who is in their mid-20's and knows more about where they want their career to go?

Jaclyn: Yeah, I would say they have more experience and everything. And they've been there at that age, like the age that we were at the time, so they've been through it all. I mean, if I were going into something now, I would know more than what I did going into it at the age of 16. So, I mean, I guess that I would say that 16 year olds as younger people have more problems, because they don't really know what they're going into, but they're so excited about going into it that they'll do anything.

J.D.: What are some of the negative things that you remember about being there that maybe you wish you could forget?

Jaclyn: I don't really know. Probably being sick. If I could've helped being sick...I remember the last time I was there, right before I got cut, I had the worst case of strep throat. I didn't even want to be there. I wanted to go home because I was sick, and the plane ride made me even sicker because my ears were popping. And I had to go back home from not only being cut but also from being sick. It was the day before my birthday that I got cut, and I had to go home and get a shot of penicillin because I was so sick that I couldn't even talk. I think that was probably the worst thing about the whole entire episode, going out there and being sick each time that I went out there. Other than that, I had the most wonderful time ever. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

J.D.: When the Top 24 was being chosen, and you were all in the room wondering if it was going to be you or not, it all came down to a choice between you and Amanda Avila. Simon asked you if you didn't make it if you would come back the next year, and you said yes. Do you think by answering yes that that might have influenced their choice at all?

Jaclyn: No, I think, to be honest, they just sat down before we were even brought back out to Hollywood, and they watched the tape and went back over the tapes, and they picked all the people that they wanted to, and they just sat them in the order of how they were gonna call them out, one by one, how they were gonna be chosen or how they were gonna be cut. So I think that their decision was already made before we were even brought out in Hollywood.

J.D.: I know you hold no hard feelings toward Amanda. She's a great girl. Even let me sing to her once.

Jaclyn: Oh, it was never a competition between just me and her. It's a competition between everybody. To be honest, she was really really nice. She was in the elevator babying me, and she was holding me, and she kept telling me she was sorry. And she didn't have anything to be sorry for, just because they chose her over me. It's not like she and I were both sitting there and they said "you're a better singer than this person" or "you're a worse singer than this person, so I'm going to choose you." I know that they didn't choose it just on voice. They chose it on a lot more other things. She's a lot older than me, and she has way more experience than me. Like Randy said, I don't think that at the time I was exactly ready, because I was so nervous going into it, and that was the first big big thing to happen to me. I don't think it was anything between me and her, and she's a great person. I really liked her the whole time we were out there. She was always really nice to me, so I have nothing against her.

J.D.: I really enjoyed meeting her. I still would've liked to see you in front of America's vote though. I think you might've gone a little further than that. You had a lot of exposure and a lot of people rooting for you. A lot of people really enjoyed your personality. I sure did. Did any opportunities open up for you after Idol?

Jaclyn: Well, I did a cancer benefit. Everything was kinda like here and there. I didn't get a lot of things done, because you have so many months before you're out of contract. You have to stay under contract with them, and they get to choose what you do. Also, I was still finishing up school, and I had a lot to make up, because it was my junior year, and I didn't want to fall behind or anything. Right after the show, I had to come back and get some extra tutoring in to catch me up from where I had missed out. The beginning of April was when I got pregnant with Maria, and I didn't want to do anything after that. I was kinda embarrassed at first. I mean, now I wouldn't trade her for the world, but... I told my dad I wanted to limit things, so I did a couple of national anthems at football games. I did the cancer benefit. I sang at this memorial tribute thing that we have in Gahanna for the veterans. Just small stuff like here and there.

J.D.: Do you think maybe once Maria and the second child that's on the way get a little older that you might look towards that field again?

Maybe. I haven't really thought much of it. I hope Maria does it! I would be so excited if Maria does it, because she is a such a good singer! I mean, I know she's only about to be one, but she sings really good, so I hope she'll follow in my footsteps and be famous for me!

J.D.: Maybe she'll have all your energy.

Jaclyn: Oh she has double my energy!

J.D.: What was it like to be finishing high school and starting a college education while getting used to being a new mom?

Jaclyn: It actually wasn't really that hard. I mean, I have a lot of people that support me, like my family and friends, so it wasn't hard. It's not really hard when you have a lot of help from the people that you love.

J.D.: You have voiced your strong opinions about your current pregnancy and how you feel about keeping your baby. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Jaclyn: My thoughts on abortion. Yeah, I don't believe in it. I think that basically by somebody getting an abortion, they're putting all their faults on an innocent human being, and that's not right. I mean, I know people that have gotten it, and I'm not going just not ever speak to them again because of it, but it's not something that I even believe in. I don't think it should be an option for anybody to do, because that's basically you saying "even though I made a mistake, it's all this baby's fault." And that's not right. The baby had no control over anything whatsoever, and it's not right to kill an innocent little child because of the mistakes that you've made. God put us all here for a reason, and He didn't make a woman become pregnant with a child for her to go out and kill it. So, I'm totally totally totally against abortion. I hate abortion. I wish it was illegal.

J.D.: That's a really profound statement coming from somebody so young. I definitely respect you for your belief there. Apparently, you've had a lot of time to think about it.

Jaclyn: Yeah.

J.D.: I know you're not the only girl out there who may have gone through this, becoming a single mother and having regrets about becoming a single mom. Fantasia is one, and she's still successful.

Yeah, really, and I would have to say I look up to her. My mom did it with me, and I look up to her for her. But to be honest, I know that some day I'll meet somebody that will be just like my dad, who is actually my step-dad, but I think of him as my dad, because he's been there ever since I was two. So I have a dad. I didn't lose out on anything because my real father wasn't ever there. I couldn't ask for a better person to be my dad. I love him a lot, and so does my mom, and Maria adores him. So I know that one day God has a plan for me that will consist of somebody else. I have plenty of family and friends to help me out along the way.

J.D.: What would you say as someone who has been through this, and who is going through this at the moment, to girls out there who are in your situation and may need a little advice.

Jaclyn: Don't be stupid, and listen to your parents. This is exactly what I was telling Maria today. We tell you this stuff for a reason, so you better listen. Because we're not doing it to be mean, we're just doing it to keep you from being hurt. I swear I wish I would have listened. My dad told me from day one, and I never ever listened, but I wish I would have. I only can hope that Maria doesn't follow in my footsteps there and that she actually listens to me. I would just basically say to them, keep your head up and God has a plan for everybody. You may be really unhappy now, but one day God will make you really happy, and you will meet somebody who you are supposed to be with and spend the rest of your life with, and everything will all be worth it afterwards.

J.D.: If you're never ever famous ever again, and you wanted us to remember one thing about you, what would that be?

Jaclyn: Um... I don't know! Unfortunately, I didn't really get a say in that, but everybody remembers me as two things: the girl who's really emotional and always cried a lot, and the girl whose mom went to the hospital. I don't know what I would want people to remember me by, but I know that that's what people do remember me by.

One last word of wisdom for people out there?

Jaclyn: I would just say, give it your best shot. Because you can only do so much as a human being, but if it's something that you really want to do, go for it. And don't let anybody tell you that you can't do it, because if you think that you can, then you can do it. You're the one who makes the decisions in your life. The goals you've got in life are not anybody elses. So go do it!

Sounds like words to live by. Thanks Jaclyn, and best of luck. We'll look forward to seeing Maria on American Idol Season 22!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Will Makar Part Deux: The Return of the Mak!

Oddly enough, one of my absolute favorite Idols this past year has been Will Makar. He has one of the best attitudes I've seen, and for a guy his age, his work ethic is unbeatable. We've become fans of each other's work, and his mom has been keeping me in the loop about what's going on with him, but tonight, I thought I'd give him a call and find out what's up!

Will: What's up, what's up, man? How are ya?

J.D.: Doing great, doing great! It's great to hear from you again.

Will: It's great to hear from you!

J.D.: What's going on with you these days, man?

Will: Oh, well man, I tell ya, it's been great. I've been working a lot lately, so... because it's the holidays, and everybody I guess wants a show. So I've been doing a lot of performances around Houston, and not only Houston, but around the state of Texas. I actually just got back from New York around Thanksgiving. I am actually now working on my record.

J.D.: Awesome, awesome! When are we gonna see that?

Will: Well, I'm not totally sure about that. We want to make it right, so I don't want to give you an exact date right now.

J.D.: What kind of songs are we gonna hear.

Will: It's really the style that I love to sing. It really is. It's a style that I love period, listening to it, singing it. I think a lot of people will think that it's pretty interesting. So we'll see.

J.D.: So what about this winter show that I keep hearing about?

Will: Yeah! Hey, the winter show is great. We're getting like drum lines and all this type of stuff. It's gonna be great. It's called Winter Fantasies, and you can go to (it's not fantasy, it's fantasies) and you can get tickets for $25 online and $30 at the door, and it's at Montgomery College in The Woodlands, TX. It's gonna be a hoppin' show. It's a show for the family and everything. It's something that The Woodlands community is trying to make as a whole new thing for the whole Woodlands. So it's good, and it's also for charity. It's a charity of my choice, and everything like that, so we're lookin' forward to it!

J.D.: So, looking into the future here, we're looking for great things from you. I can't wait. You have to make sure to let me know when that album comes out so I can premiere it on Idol Waves.

Will: Definitely, man! I will definitely get you some songs, for sure.

J.D.: We've been paying "Texas Angel" a little bit. I actually like that song.

Will: Oh yeah? It's a great song, and a lot of people are really loving it. My brother-in-law was the guy who wrote that song, and he sings in it. It's really nice to have another musician in the family.

J.D.: It's great talking to you again, and thanks a lot.

Will: Thank you so much for everything, JD.

Happy to do it for a friend! By the way, after talking to Will for the Idol Waves spot, he clued me in that he was recording on the same label that just released Ayla Brown's CD, so we're definitely in for something good!

You guys can listen to Will and I talk on the Idol Waves show, which airs WEDNESDAY this week instead of Tuesday. Also on the show, Jaclyn Crum from American Idol 4, and many many other great things!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Idol Waves Show Postponed Until Wednesday

Same times, just one day later. Technical difficulties.


Friday, December 01, 2006

I Should Get Sick More Often

I have been extremely ill the last few days, but if things go as well as they have been while I've been ill, perhaps I should get a virus more often.

Don't get me wrong; it hasn't been fun. I've been in an indelicate situation for the better portion of a day, even though I did eventually decide to wander in to work, delirious though I might be.

But I've been unusually productive for some reason the last few days.

For those of you who were bummed out because my interview with Paris Bennett fell through, I've come through with a whole new round of Idol Interviews. I've just gotten off the phone with Jaclyn Crum from A.I. season four, and let me tell you, she is just a joy to talk with. I honestly have a lot of respect for her, and I was a huge fan of hers during the fourth season. You can look for that interview to be on the Idol Waves Top 20 Countdown Show, as well as reading it here in a few days. (We talked about a lot, so it's going to take a while to get typed out!)

Fourth season fans will also be happy to know that I will be talking to Anthony Fedorov next week. His song, "Culpa Me," is really hot on Idol Waves right now. I intend for most of the interview to be questions from his fans (though I am reserving the right to modify it to suit the situation.) You Anthony fans have already poured in your questions, and while I won't be able to ask all of them, you've posted some really good ones. Dig deep and come up with more!

I'm also pursuing leads to get in touch with Ace Young. There are others, but I'll just keep them under my hat for now.

News has been good from the Idol camp of late. Big-ups to Elliott Yamin for signing a publishing deal with Sony. It's good to see some Idols getting recognized not only for their singing skills, but also for their writing. Elliott, I feel, has been the only element missing from this post-Idol phenom whirlwind, and now it appears he'll be stepping up to the plate. Yaminions, rejoice!

And one last piece of great news, via MJ, who keeps up with spoilers much better than I ever could, my favorite dental assistant Gina Glocksen may just have made the Top 40 this year on Idol 6!! Not only that but one third of the "Brokenote Cowboys" is rumored to be in the Top 40 this year. (Matthew Buckstein, not Bishop Stylez or Garet the Turkey Whisperer.)

Anyway, I should go lie down now, but I just wanted to share all this with you!