American Idol finalist Michael Johns to release “Hold Back My Heart”

Michael Johns
Michael Johns
A year after his electrifying performances made him a favorite with “American Idol” fans around the world, singer-songwriter Michael Johns will release debut album Hold Back My Heart on June 23 through TRP Records being distributed by Downtown Records/Fontana.

Johns was a top ten finalist during season 7 of “American Idol” and his departure from the show drew outcries from the series’ mega-million-strong audience and helped inspire a new rule for the current season. This year sees the show using a new “judges save” rule for the top 13 finalists, allowing judges to keep a contestant from being eliminated prematurely. When introducing the new rule, the show ran footage of Michael Johns, Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson and asked “what do these three Idols have in common,” with the answer being that all three were sent home too soon.

Not that Johns is complaining.

“Talk about the chance of a lifetime,” says the Aussie native. “’Idol’ allowed me to introduce myself to the world and I plan on making the most of that opportunity.”

He’ll start with Hold Back My Heart, an album that sees Johns drawing inspiration from his own idols—Paul Weller, Joe Cocker, the Faces—to create a stunning collection of blues-soaked rock and classic soul songs. Among the album’s many highlights is lead single “Heart On My Sleeve,” co-written by John Shanks (Carlos Santana, Sting, Bon Jovi). The track impacts radio on April 21 and iTunes on April 14.

In between his time on “Idol” and the recording of Hold Back My Heart, Johns recorded the holiday song “Another Christmas” and donated its proceeds to the Red Cross and ALS. He also co-wrote the soundtrack for the acclaimed documentary Don’t Look Down, based on Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, performed on the west coast run of Kanye West’s “Glow in the Dark” tour and on the PBS special “Hit Man: David Foster and Friends,” the latter featuring Michael Buble, Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli. Additional appearances include “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” ‘Live with Regis & Kelly,” “The Today Show,” and “Ellen.” In addition Johns just co-wrote a track for the upcoming album from “Idol” alum Brooke White.

”I remember driving down the freeway at age 15 and Pearl Jam’s ‘Daughter’ was on the radio,” Johns recalls. “I don’t know what it was about that song, but afterward I kept singing it over and over. The feeling it gave me made me say, ‘I have to do this for life.’ I started a band a few months later and have been going ever since. I never dreamed it would take me here.”

Kellie Pickler returns to American Idol

Kellie Pickler
Kellie Pickler
Kellie Pickler will return to the AMERICAN IDOL stage, to perform her hit single, “Best Days of Your Life,” which she co-wrote with pal Taylor Swift, on the results show Wednesday, April 8 (9:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

On her return to American Idol Kellie said, “Going back to American Idol is like going to a family reunion, well, it’s more fun than going to my family reunions,” she laughed. “Seriously, it’s always great to see the gang and feel the excitement from the contestants. And, I’m thrilled to be singing “Best Days of Your Life” which is a blast to perform,” she continued.

“Best Days of Your Life,” the second single from her self-titled sophomore album, is a sassy revenge song about a cheating ex-boyfriend and is climbing up the country charts. In addition to her performance, Pickler will also be seen on Idol Extra and will make an appearance on On-Air with Ryan Seacrest next week.

Kara DioGuardi ‘Disappointed’ By Paula Abdul’s ‘Idol’ Comments

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Following Paula Abdul ‘s comments that she doesn’t think the idea of four judges on “American Idol” was such a good idea, Kara DioGuardi , who joined “Idol” this year as the fourth member on the judging panel, is firing back.
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“Paula has a right to her opinions, but I was disappointed by her comments, and hurt that she did not address them to me in person,” Kara said in an exclusive statement to Access Hollywood. Read the entire story here.

American Idol David Cook kicks of headline tour

Reigning American Idol winner, David Cook, has announced plans for his first ever solo tour to promote his debut self-titled album, released in November 2008. This will be first time that Cook has been on the road since headlining the American Idol season 7 tour. Cook exclusively unveiled his tour dates on AOL Music’s PopEater.com on Friday, January 23rd.

David Cook
David Cook

Cook entered the Billboard charts at #3 with David Cook (19 Recordings / RCA Records). The Rob Cavallo produced album also debuted as the #1 album on the digital album chart and is the best debut from an American Idol winner since 2006. The first single, “Light On,” dominated the AOL Top 40 radio chart with 8 (non consecutive) weeks at #1 and is currently Top 10 at Hot AC radio and still growing. In late September “Light On” premiered on AOL Music’s pop culture news site, PopEater.com, receiving over 1 million plays in less than week.

Rolling Stone Magazine deemed Cook “the most imaginative American Idol talent to date.”

“I’m more than excited to hop on the road and support this record. This tour represents both a new beginning and a return to form for me,” said Cook. “It’s our first full tour, and we’re all ready to pour whatever blood, sweat, and tears that we can muster into making this show, and every show from here on out, an experience. Part of that experience is bringing back this college tour idea. There’s something inherently nostalgic about playing college shows. So many amazing acts used to do it, so it’s nice to be able to bring that ideal back, in some small way. And besides, touring on a bus beats what we used to do, which was cram five guys into a 7 passenger van for one show, 13 hours away… ”

Cook’s first single, “The Time of My Life” recently went platinum, with over one million tracks sold. “The Time of My Life” is not only the biggest single debut but the highest selling coronation single in the show’s history. Cook is the 34th “American Idol” contestant to appear on a Billboard chart.

Cook kicked off 2009 by performing for troops during a USO tour. He visited seven different bases, singing songs off his self-titled album.

On February 12, Walt Disney World Resort will host the world premiere of their new blockbuster attraction, “The American Idol Experience” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. David Cook will perform live from the attraction on GOOD MORNING AMERICA (ABC) that morning, and will headline a special guest performance during the night’s event.

“The Declaration Tour – 2009” will kick off February 13, 2009 in Tallahassee, FL and will continue nationwide hitting various college campus and major venues.

The full schedule for David Cook’s tour is as follows:

* Friday, February 13th – Tallahasee, Fl – Florida State University
* Saturday, February 14th – Biloxi, MS – Beau Rivage
* Sunday, February 15th – Oxford, MS – Ole Miss
* Wednesday, February 18th – Eau Claire, WI – University of Wisconsin
* Thursday February 19th – Cedar Falls, IA – University of Northern Iowa
* Friday, February 20th – Green Bay, WI – University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
* Saturday, February 21st – Valparaiso, IN – Valparaiso University
* Monday, February 23rd – Waverly, IA – Warlburg
* Tuesday, February 24th – Fullton, MO – Westminster
* Wednesday, February 25th – Conway, AR – Central Arkansas University
* Friday, February 27th- Portsmouth, OH – Shawnee State University
* Sunday, March 1st – Newburgh, NY – Mount St. Mary
* Tuesday, March 3rd – Carlisie, PA – Dickenson
* Friday, March 6th – Morgantown, WV – W Virginia University
* Sunday, March 8th – Willimantic, CT – Eastern Connecticut State University
* Tuesday, March 10th – Poughkeepsie, NY – Marist College
* Friday, March 13th – Niagara Falls, NY – Seneca Niagara Casino
* Saturday, March 14th – Elkins, WV – Davis and Elkins
* Monday, March 16th – Bloomington, PA – Bloomington University
* Thursday, March 19th – Mansfield, PA – Mansfield University
* Friday, March 20th – Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata
* Saturday, March 21st – Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata
* Monday, March 23rd – Selinsgrove, PA – Susquehanna University
* Tuesday, March 24th- York, PA – Penn State York
* Thursday, March 26th – Blues Creek, NC – Campbell, University
* Friday, March 27th – Pemberton, NJ – Burlington Community College
* Monday, March 30th – New London, NH – Colby Sawyer College
* Tuesday, March 31st – New Haven, CT – So. CT State
* Thursday, April 2nd – Wilmington, NC – Azalea Fest at Wilmington University
* Friday, April 3rd – Towson, MD – Towson University
* Sunday, April 5th – Radford, VA – Radford University
* Wednesday, April 8th – Macon, GA – Mercer University
* Tuesday, April 14th – Malcomb, IL – Western Illinois University
* Tuesday, April 21st – Searcy, AR – Harding University
* Wednesday, April 22nd – Kansas City, MO – Ameristar Casino
* Saturday, April 25th – Tulsa, OK – University of Tulsa

David Cook to release album in November

david cook

American Idol winner David Cook’s debut album will be released on November 18th, 2008 on 19 Recordings / RCA Records. Cook has teamed with Grammy winning producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Kid Rock) on the album.

Today marks the launch of DavidCookOfficial.com, Cook’s official social networking site where fans can interact with David, his music and each other. Fans can create their own profiles, make friends and contribute their own blogs, photos, videos and connect with other fans in their towns by various search functionality.

Cook describes the site as a place where he and his fans can communicate with each other. Cook will be hugely involved in all interactive aspects of the site. He personally welcomes fans to his site via video blog and fans can communicate with David by sending him email to [email protected], Cook’s personal mailbox. Those that sign up to his newsletter will be the first to be notified of the title of his first single in the coming weeks. Additionally, Cook will regularly message his fans so they are the first to know breaking news and album updates.

Kellie Pickler – biography

kellie pickler

America just keeps on voting for Kellie Pickler! As an American Idol Season 5 finalist, Kellie Pickler earned a reputation as being cute, honest and well maybe, a little ditzy. “I just say what I’m thinking,” admits Pickler. “And if I don’t know the answer or what it is somebody is talking about, well, I ask. If I didn’t know the answer but acted like I did, well, isn’t that playing dumb?” As usual, Kellie makes a lot of sense.

Fast forward almost two years and fans keep voting for Kellie. Her debut album, Small Town Girl, was certified Gold just three months after its release and the album has yielded three top 15 singles. The first song and sassy, “Red High Heels,” went top 15 and as a co-writer, earned Kellie an ASCAP song as one of the most played songs of 2006 – 07. The deeply personal, “I Wonder,” the song she wrote about her mother, was her next top 15 hit and her performance of the song on the CMA Awards was one of the highlights of the evening.

Her current song, “Things That Never Cross A Man’s Mind,” is top 20 and Kellie found it to be a favorite among the U.S. troops in Iraq when Kellie made her first trip overseas on a USO Tour in December. A documentary of the week long visit was turned into an hour special that is running on Great American Country TV. The special was the highest rated show in its debut week.

Kellie performs all of her hits and more on tour. She spent 2007 on tour with Brad Paisley on his Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour and 2008 has kept her busy opening for Rascal Flatts. She’s now also singing songs that she’s written for her sophomore album.

Working with producer/songwriter Chris Lindsey, Kellie has recorded several songs that she has written and hope to have the first single from the new project out in May. She’s also written with Aimee Mayo and good friend and fellow artist Taylor Swift. A new album should be ready in late summer or early fall.

It’s a pretty wild ride considering Kellie’s somewhat twisted fairy tale begins at the Stanly Memorial Hospital on June 28th 1986, in Albemarle, North Carolina, a small town 45 minutes from Charlotte. When her parents split up and her mom left, Clyde “Bo” Pickler, Jr. he was left with a two year old baby girl. When he was drinking or doing drugs, she lived with her grandparents, Faye and Clyde Pickler, Sr.

“I’ve seen my whole family struggle—with money, with relationships, with alcohol, and I thought there must be a better way. I wasn’t sure how I would get out, but I knew I would.” In school, she dove into every activity that would put her in the spotlight—gymnastics, drama, varsity cheerleader. “I’ve always been comfortable in front of people. I’ve always been the joker, the class clown. Music and laughter is how I dealt with everything. I’d rather laugh about it than cry about it.”

But, her grandmother’s death when she was a sophomore in high school left a void in her life and a hole in her heart that has yet to heal. “Of all the things I have been through in my life, the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through is the loss of my grandmother. She was always there for me, and then she was gone.”

Kellie, living with grandfather Clyde, and searching for a way out Friends alerted Kellie’s attention to the 5th season of American Idol. “They announced they would hold auditions in Greensboro, North Carolina. So my grandpa Ken and I loaded up and off we went. It was an adventure.”

She zipped through the initial phase of auditions—three rounds before she ever got to Paula, Randy and Simon. “By then, the American Idol people knew me pretty well, they knew my story. So I had nothing to hide about my background. All I had to do was sing. I did Since You’ve Been Gone and then about 20 seconds of Broken Wing and the next thing you know, I was going to Hollywood!”

The flight to Hollywood was Pickler’s first time on a plane, and her feet barely hit the ground when she was off and running. “The first week, we call it Hollywood Week, was scary. They were sending a few people home every day. Then there was the top 24, and then when they cut that down to the top 12, we moved into the apartment.”

Kellie’s vibrant vocals, boundless energy, bubbly personality and refreshing honesty not only won over the judges, but endeared her to viewers as well, and she made it all the way to the top six, before being voted off the show. The next week, I was in New York doing all kinds of press, then I flew to Nashville to meet with [BNA label head] Joe Galante and signed a record deal. The tour started and in between shows, I was recording my album. It was a whirlwind.”

She was also, for the first time, writing songs. “I had tried to do it before, but I couldn’t figure it out. I was making it much more complicated than it needed to be. Then they put me with Aimee Mayo, and it all came together. She and I are on the same path when it comes to songwriting, and she was such a gift to me. She helped me write what I wanted to say.”

The two most poignant and deeply personal songs are I Wonder and My Angel, written about her mother and her grandmother, respectively. “I Wonder was really hard for me to record and sing live” says Kellie. Performing the song has been a source of therapy that has, just recently, seen her able to sing the song without tears.

My Angel, on the other hand, blossoms with love for the woman who planted flowers with Kellie, her beloved grand mother; she seeded Kellie’s dreams. “I dedicated the album to my grandmother, and wanted that song to close the record,” says Kellie, her smile lighting her face.

With Kellie’s own dreams taking root, she reflects on her past and finds strength and inspiration. “What I’ve learned the last year is that no dream is too big. You can let things bring you down or you can use them to make you stronger. I used everything that happened to me as fuel to get me where I am today. You can’t give up on your dreams ‘cause sometimes, that’s all you have. You should always give yourself the benefit of the doubt.”

American Idol adds a fourth judge

american idol

Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi has joined AMERICAN IDOL as a fourth judge. She will sit alongside Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson at the judges’ table and use her background as an award-winning songwriter and producer to praise or critique the wannabe hopefuls throughout the competition. The eighth season of AMERICAN IDOL premieres January, 2009, on FOX.

“We are turning the heat up on ‘Idol’ this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “She is a smart, sassy lady, and one of America’s most successful songwriters. We know she will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the show.”

“We had originally intended for AMERICAN IDOL to have four judges,” said executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “We’ve seen from our international series that having a fourth judge creates a dynamic that benefits both the contestants and the viewers.”

Mike Darnell, President, Alternative Programming of FOX, added “For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges’ table. She’s been as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon, offering her invaluable expertise as a performer and No. 1 artist to the thousands who have competed on AMERICAN IDOL. With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some back-up and now there is going to be a lot more ‘girl power’ on the show.”

One of the industry’s most sought after songwriters and producers, DioGuardi’s songs have appeared on more than 100 million records. Her songs have been recorded by Grammy award-winning artists including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Santana, and Pink. Scores of major recording artists including Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Pussycat Dolls, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Natasha Bedingfield, Jewel, Ashley Tisdale, Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, Bo Bice, Clay Aiken, Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff, Jessica Simpson, Kylie Minogue, Enrique Iglesias, Nick Lachey and Marc Anthony have also released DioGuardi’s songs.

Over the last four years, she has been awarded 10 BMI Pop Awards for having written the most performed songs on radio. From her catalog of several hundred songs, over 264 have been released on major labels worldwide; and over 165 have appeared on multi-platinum selling albums. DioGuardi co-owns Arthouse Entertainment, where she develops and mentors fellow hit writers, producers and artists.

American Idol Ace Young to release album

ace young

Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Ace Young will release his self titled debut CD, Ace Young on July 15, on Pazzo Music. The first single off the album, “Addicted” is now available on iTunes.

The album, Ace’s first, took over 16 months to record. It took Ace from Los Angeles to New York, Florida, Nashville and Stockholm, Sweden. Says Ace “I’ve taken my time because I realized how important it is to make sure it’s right, true to me and up to my level of expectation. I only get one chance to tell my fans who I am.”

Ace’s album is a collaborative effort with the legendary Desmond Child (Aerosmith, Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys) and many other renowned writers including Andreas Carlson and Diane Warren. Ace says working with Desmond Child was “a dream. He wrote the music I grew up with and loved.” Both Desmond and Ace shared the album costs equally, while making Desmond Executive Producer. Ace Young is a Rock/R&B/Funk collaboration drawing from Ace’s experiences and observations of life. Ace co-wrote 7 of the 11 songs on his album with one song “You Redeem Me,” written specifically for Ace by the legendary Diane Warren.

Watch the video for “Addicted”

Proof Clay is gay… maybe

clay aiken

Clay Aiken is expecting a child with music producer Jaymes Foster, the sister of David Foster, this summer. That sounds pretty damn manly right?

I know what you are thinking… that we tricked you into reading this. Well…

According to E! Online “The couple certain to be dubbed Faiken conceived via artificial insemination and their progeny is due in August. ‘She looks great, glowing and very happy. She and Clay have been good friends for a long time,’ the rep told The Insider.”

Um, artificial insemination? That definitely isn’t manly. Is there one straight guy out there that wouldn’t be working really hard on knocking up Foster old school? No where do they say that Clay or Foster had issues making babies the way God intended so we can only assume, and we aren’t going out on a really long limb, that Clay must be gay.

If you have proof to contradict us please pass it along. Otherwise agree or disagree.

More proof?

Who gives a sh*t? Is David Cook dating Kimberly Caldwell?

david cook

According to E! Online David cook went on a date with Kimberly Caldwell. all we do is ask “Who gives a sh*t?” Apparently we do, or we think you will. Who knows. I guess we’re just as lame as everyone else. It appears that Cook went on to Regis and spilled the hookup.