Top 20 Things You Never Knew About American Idol That I Learned at the Convention
1. Most former Idol contestants are really really nice, but a few can be divas.
2. A lot of former Idols are worried about Kelly Clarkson's career choices lately.
3. During Hollywood week of Season 6, American Idol camera crews routinely wake up contestants at odd hours of the night for impromptu interviews. This was done on purpose. Also, prior to going onstage, producers would tell select people "hey, don't forget your lyrics!" immediately before they started performing just to plant the idea of forgetting lyrics in their minds. It worked on more than a few people.
4. The rant that Derrell Brittenum (season 5) went on in protest of his brother Terrell's elimination in Hollywood was fake. Derrell knew the entire time that his brother had made it through, but he also knew that doing that would ensure him maximum coverage and exposure. (Not that it mattered, since he and his brother both were in jail by the time Idol aired.) Said Derrell to Nigel, after leaving stage, "Sorry, but I had to do that to y'all."
5. Ace Young, Taylor Hicks, and Ryan Seacrest all had crushes on Heather Cox. Ryan asked her out. Ace was the only one she actively returned any sort of affection toward.
6. Kellie Pickler (season 5) already knew what calamari was. She had ordered it in a restaurant in Hollywood prior to the Top 24 shows hitting the air.
7. Paula Abdul was often aloof to contestants during the Hollywood rounds, and more than once appeared tipsy. Conversely, Simon Cowell is described by almost all previous contestants as being a surprisingly nice guy.
8. Almost all contestants appreciate the show for the opportunities it has given them, but every single one I've talked to has at least one axe to grind with it as well. The majority of contestants at the convention have their suspicions that the show may be rigged.
9. Nobody liked Brenna Gethers (season 5.) Not even Chris Daughtry. The producers tried to make it look like people didn't like Becky O'Donohue (much to the chagrin of the contestants) with some creative editing, however most people liked the O'Donohue twins. This sort of editing is known in the industry as "Frankenbiting," where sound bites, video clips, and situations not related to each other are combined together to create the illusion of something happening that did not. This happens more often than not on episodes of Idol that are not broadcast live.
10. Paris Bennett and Lisa Tucker (season 5) disliked each other at first. Later they became best friends. On the other hand, Kellie Pickler and Heather Cox were great friends initially, but now are no longer speaking.
11. Nobody has anything bad to say about Melinda Doolittle.
12. Gedeon McKinney (season 5) was at the season 6 Memphis auditions, offering voice lessons for $75 to auditioners.
13. Stevie Scott and Heather Cox (Season 5) were both extremely sick during the early Top 24 rounds, and thus were eliminated. Neither got to sing the songs they wanted to sing.
14. Dani McCulloch (season 6) was not allowed to sing her original song choice for her audition in front of Randy, Simon, and Paula. (If she could've, I wonder if she might not have been in the Top 10 this year.) She got to Hollywood anyway, but her initial exposure didn't carry well enough with the fans or the producers to boost her to the Top 24.
15. David Radford (season 5) is now in college studying music.
16. Most former Idols idolize Carrie Underwood more than Kelly Clarkson.
17. Jon Peter Lewis is one of the nicest guys in the world, and is considered to be the fun one of the group. It is not known for sure whether Taylor Hicks might have imitated Jon's dancing just a teeny bit. UPDATE: According to Jon Peter Lewis, he and John Stevens got along quite well. Musical Ramblings regrets any misunderstanding that may have emerged over the previous statement.
18. Heather Piccinini (season 3) will tell you she's coming to a convention, confirm it for you on the phone the day before, allow you to book her into a concert event, and then not show up at all.
19. During this year's Superstar Idols tour in Texas, Ruben Studdard (season 2) had no contact with any of the other former Idol contestants on the tour with him. He had to have a separate bus and prep area. Ruben was also frequently late to the stage, leaving Justin Guarini (season 1) to carry the show. Justin did the job well, and often by the time Ruben got to the stage, the crowd would have followed Justin back to meet and greets and would pay Ruben very little attention.
20. Chris Richardson (season 6) did a concert with Ace Young (season 5) earlier this year, almost immediately after Idol was over. This is a direct violation of his contract with 19 Entertainment. Especially since the tour has not yet started. A couple of 19 executives actually attended the show, and nothing has been said to Chris about it since, so it appears, at least for now, that he's in the clear.