The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Central Kentucky has more of a rooting interest in the Hollywood round of American Idol as Winchester’s Lauren Mink, a Georgetown College alum, is getting a second chance at the competition. Mink advanced to Hollywood last year but did not make it to the live competition.
She will be joined in Hollywood by Kelly Casey of Nicholasville, who advanced out of the Baton Rouge auditions.
Mink auditioned in Charlotte, which was shown Wednesday night, and impressed a mostly new slate of judges including Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.
“The judges were so different this year,” Mink says in a video on the Idol website. “I was really excited there was Keith Urban, who is a country person, which is awesome. They never had a country judge before. But I was shocked that Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey liked me so much. They’re probably the ones that were most complimentary to me.”
According to her Facebook page, Mink started singing at age 9 and has performed around Central Kentucky and recorded two albums, an inspirational/contemporary Christian album and a collection of country originals.
Like Casey, Mink counts fellow country singer Carrie Underwood among her favorite Idol winners, though she’s also a fan of original winner Kelly Clarkson.
And like pretty much everyone else in the competition, Mink thinks she would be an ideal Season 12 winner.
“I think I’m a good singer,” Mink says on her video. “It’s taken me a long time to say that I’m a good singer. It’s taken a lot of people telling me I’m a good singer. I don’t feel like I’m cocky about it. I feel like I’m just very confident in who I am as an artist, and I think that I’m also a good role model.”
Also like Casey, Mink was not seen in the episode covering the audition from which she advanced. But Hollywood is coming.
Note: The original posting of this story misidentified Mink as a Georgetown College student. She is an alum.
Nicholasville farm girl Kelly Casey says she auditioned for American Idol so friends and family would stop bugging her to audition. It seems like they had the right idea, because she’s going to Hollywood.
“I’ve always kind of been told that I should audition, and I never have in the past,” Casey says in a video on the Idol website. “This is my first time, so I was just kind of trying to get people off of my back about doing it and, wow, I got a golden ticket. It’s incredible.”
Casey advanced out of the Baton Rouge auditions, which were broadcast Thursday night on Fox. She was not seen on the episode, and there are several more audition cities to be shown before Hollywood episodes next month, which will be the next chance to see Casey compete.
As a two-time Miss Kentucky contestant, Casey is no stranger to competition, and she has maintained an active singing career in Central Kentucky. In the Idol video, she says her rural upbringing will be a key to her success on the show.
She says, “I think I’m the next American Idol because growing up in a rural area and living on a farm in Kentucky has taught me a great work ethic, which I can convert into music, because no matter how cold it is outside or what’s going on, if it’s Christmas, the animals still have to be taken care of.”
Casey’s Facebook fan page lists her as a country and Christian musician with favorites and influences including Shania Twain and Martina McBride. Her favorite Idol contestant is fairly easy to guess: Carrie Underwood.
““She’s extremely successful, and it’s the same genre of music that I have grown up listening to,” Casey says. “I love country music.”
Apr26Filed under: dance, Derby, Fashion, Louisville, Music, Television; Tagged as: American Idol, Audrina Patridge, Betsey Johnson, Bob Costas, Chris Thieneman, Derby Eve, Fred Thompson, Illeana Douglas, Jamie Kennedy, Jennifer Tilly, Jordin Sparks, Julie Benz, Kia Hampton, Kris Allen, Linda Davis, Matt Battaglia, Miss Kentucky Teen USA 2011, Miss Teen Kentucky 2011, Nole Martin, Palace Theatre, Phil Laak, Stephanie Jones, Tom Thieneman Jr., Vicki Gunvalson
American Idol winners Jordin Sparks (Season 6) and Kris Allen (Season 8 ) top the guest list at this year’s Mint Jubilee, which will be Derby Eve (May 6) at the Palace Theatre in Louisville.
NBC sportscaster Bob Costas will be the host the event founded by actor, producer and former NFL player Matt Battaglia, along with former NFL player and Louisville real estate developer Chris Thieneman and his brother and fellow real estate executive Tom Thieneman Jr.
Joining them will be Dexter actress Julie Benz, comic and Scream actor Jamie Kennedy, former presidential candidate and actor Fred Thompson (also announced as a guest at the Barnstable-Brown Gala), actress and former Pegasus Parade grand marshal Jennifer Tilly, actress Illeana Douglas, The Hills and Audrina star Audrina Patridge, designer Betsey Johnson, Real Housewives of Orange County Star Vicki Gunvalson, country star Linda Davis, former America’s Next Top Model judge Nole Martin, professional poker player Phil Laak, Miss Teen Kentucky 2011Stephanie Jones and Miss Kentucky Teen USA 2011 Kia Hampton.
Tickets for the Jubilee are still available for $200 to $750. Proceeds go to benefit cancer research.
Aug1Filed under: American Idol, Music, Rupp Arena, Television; Tagged as: American Idol, American Idols Live, Andrew Garcia, Carrie Underwood, Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, Daughtry, Didi Benami, Gwen Steffani, Janis Joplin, Justin Timberlake, Kate Bush, Katie Stevens, Kelly Clarkson, Lee DeWyze, Leonard Cohen, Michael Lynche, No Doubt, Paula Abdul, Rolling Stones, Rupp Arena, Siobhan Magnus, The Black Keys, U2
The central conceit of American Idols Live is that you can take 10 singers who were begging to be heard last summer and have them command an arena concert tour this summer.
More than the American Idol TV competion, this event could really tell us who is ready for the big time.
After all, the American Idol series is as artificial an environment as any reality/competition show. Singers deliver a song a week – maybe a handful if they make it deep into the competition – and usually it’s not even the entire song. Everything is tailored for TV, and the singers are immediately judged to their faces.
On Idols Live, the Top 10 contestants play to a live audience, which is essentially what they will have to do if they are to have successful musical careers. The audience passes judgement by getting on its feet and singing along to every word and by buying your albums and T-shirts. Or not.
Saturday night, before an estimated crowd of 4,000 at Rupp Arena, some artists seemed right at home and some should probably savor this tour while it lasts.
Like the TV show, the concert counted down the Top 10 from No. 10 Didi Benami to American Idol winner Lee DeWyze.
Even with five full songs near the end of the concert, it was still hard to see what propelled DeWyze to the championship. He’s certainly a good performer and seems like an amiable fellow. But basically he boiled a bunch of established hits like U2′s Beautiful Day and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah into mid-tempo country-pop tunes. Of course, there are numerous artists touring the country selling pretty much the same thing. It will be interesting to hear what DeWyze has to offer when he puts out his own album.
But several artists seized the opportunity to make good second impressions, particularly third place finisher Casey James. On the show, James always seemed to be a little lost trying to make the judges happy. But taking the stage playing The Black Keys’ I Got Mine, he quickly established himself as a Texas bluesman who had a Stratocaster and wasn’t afraid to use it.
Since its premier following the second to last episode of American Idol last year, Glee has enjoyed a nice relationship with the “reality” TV juggernaut.
Maybe too nice.
Much has been made of the disappointing group of contestants for this year’s Idol which, along with the impending departure of Simon Cowell, is making Idol look like it’s on its last legs. That impression is crystalized in the final two on Idol.
I’m definitely backing Crystal Bowersox as the stronger artist and performer of the pair, like I did with Adam Lambert last year. But I don’t find her as compelling a stage presence as Lambert – though her Up to the Mountain last night certainly was a moment where we watched an artist find the proverbial next level. And Lee DeWyze has pulled off the feat of being even blander than last year’s winner, Kris Allen, which I why, unfortunately, I think he’ll win.
Yes, a diminution of talent, loss of a marquee judge, and a voting base that seems to be attracted to mediocrity make Idol harder and harder to watch.
And then it has Glee making it look worse.
Granted, AI is a mostly non-scripted amateur talent search show while Glee is a scripted drama with professional performers. But the centerpiece of each show is the same: reinterpretations of pop songs.
And even if the storyline on Glee has roller coastered this season, the performances are usually captivating, be it a frame-by-frame recreation of Madonna’s Vogue video or last night’s deconstruction of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face by Lea Michele as Rachel and Idina Menzel as her mother, Shelby – granted, the sex anthem was a strange choice for a mother-daughter duet.
Put that imagination and creativity next to the karaoke of DeWyze and most of his fellow competitors this season, and it seems like the best thing Idol can do to preserve some integrity next season – aside from coming up with a strong replacement for Simon – is put some distance between itself and Glee.
Apr18Filed under: Classical Music, Rent notebook, SummerFest, Theater; Tagged as: American Idol, Berea College, exington Shakespeare Festival, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joe Cannon Artz, John Dawson, Kentucky Classical Theatre Conservatory, Mark Calkins, Partly Cloudy, Rent, SummerFest, Tracey Bonner, Trish Clark
- See the entire cast list for Rent and the other SummerFest shows, The Merchant of Venice and Pride and Prejudice.
- Read the first entry in our Rent Notebook.
Tracey Bonner and Mark Calkins had seen several traditional musical theater vocal auditioners for SummerFest‘s production of Rent. Then things got a little American Idol on them.
John Dawson, a member of the Lexington-based band Partly Cloudy, stepped into the room. He didn’t have 16 bars of prepared sheet music as the others did. He didn’t need an accompanist. He just had a song from the rock-opera band Dear Hunter to sing.
And in many ways, he was exactly what Bonner, the stage director, and Calkins, the music director, were looking for.
“You have a real musical soul,” Calkins said, taking Dawson through some vocal scales.
Bonner had given him a little direction on how to sing his song a second time, and “he jumped right into that world,” she said.
Rent is a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, but it’s also a rock show. SummerFest officials hoped to attract local musical theater talent to auditions last weekend, but they also were looking for people like Dawson, rock singers with stage experience that’s more oriented to fronting bands.
SummerFest and its predecessor, the Lexington Shakespeare Festival, have had success with rock musicals the past decade, but casting has often been a nail-biter.
“We did five auditions for Hair,” Kentucky Classical Theatre Conservatory director Trish Clark said of the 2008 production. In 2004, the Shakespeare Festival put out a specific call for actors to play the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar after several rounds of auditions failed to yield a leading man.
This year, things weren’t left to chance. SummerFest and conservatory president Joe Cannon Artz trolled local clubs with business cards, encouraging singers to come out for roles including Roger, the rocker trying to write one great song before the effects of AIDS start to take his life. That attracted Dawson, who was cast as Roger.
Although it’s cast for a rock vibe, the Rent ensemble will get a classical experience working with Calkins, an accomplished tenor and an assistant professor of music at Berea College.
Even with actual “American Idol” Season 9 programs now filling the void, speculation still seems to be at a fever pitch over what the judging table will look like in Season 10.
Your next American Idol? Afterthought – hey, it is early, and I still like General Larry Platt.
While this week’s big speculation has been about the possibility of satellite radio superstar Howard Stern taking over Simon Cowell’s seat when he leaves at the end of this season, “Idol’s” other love ‘em or loathe ‘em judge Kara DioGuardi made a good point about filling his role on the panel earlier this week.
“”If you are going to replace Simon, you have to have that background,” DioGuardi said in numerous press accounts. “Someone who knows about signing great artists and being a part of their career from the very beginning.”
While Simon’s directness makes him the show’s biggest lightning rod, DioGuardi highlights the major asset he brings to the table: the guy has been instrumental in creating television and recording enterprises and has spotted and developed talent such as Leona Lewis.
If that kind of cachet is what “Idol” producers go for, it may not be an established celebrity that takes over that chair, like we are seeing this week with Ellen DeGeneres’ debut as an “Idol” judge.
“Ellen makes it seem like there’s finally an adult on the panel,” a commenter on Joanne Brokaw’s Beliefnet blog said, in my favorite evaluation so far.
She came out of the gate with a few great quips Tuesday night telling a barefoot auditioner she should wear shoes because Hollywood is a filthy town and rejected competitor Skii Bo Ski that there’s a thin line between sexy and scary. So it seems she’ll give up some laughs, but not for histrionic outbursts like her predecessor Paula Abdul. When she wasn’t showing her comic chops, Ellen seemed very serious in her first two episodes, popping on the reading glasses during deliberations and cutting through competitors with almost Simon-esque precision. She also was showcased as a benevolent judge, getting to tell several entire groups they were through to the next rounds.
Of course, these are still highly edited episodes. When we get to live rounds, we’ll start to get a clearer picture of what kind of judge Ellen is and how she fits on the panel. It’ll probably be a while longer before we know who actually replaces Simon.
Last night, you saw her sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
June 13th, you can see Carrie Underwood at Rupp Arena. The chart-topper and “American Idol” winner’s concert adds to a strong 2010 concert lineup for Rupp, which has already welcomed Brad Paisley and Breaking Benjamin-Three Days Grace, and has Black Eyed Peas, Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift on the way.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the Rupp Arena ticket office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Craig Morgan and Sons of Sylvia are opening.
Underwood is touring on the success of her latest album, “Play On,” which features the hit, “Cowboy Casanova.” Here in the Bluegrass State, we have to enjoy it when the Oklahoma native invokes the name Louisville Slugger in her hit “Before He Cheats.” She won season four of “American Idol,” besting Southern rocker Bo Bice.
Los Angeles was coming across as boring as Chicago and most other “American Idol” audition cities this year that didn’t have General Larry Platt singing “Pants on the Ground.”
Then, Tuesday night, toward the end of the L.A. episode, we saw what the show needed: More Katy Perry. To be more precise, more Katy Perry going womano-a-womano with Kara DioGuardi. In the last segment, we saw a montage of little dustups between the two, including DioGuardi mocking Perry’s hit “Hot and Cold” and Perry threatening to toss the product of a primary show sponsor in her face.
But the line of the night, really of the auditions thus far — aside from “Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground” — was Perry’s response to DioGuardi’s evaluation of auditioner Chris Golightly. The curly-headed Californian definitely had a tough story, having gone through more than 25 foster homes as a child. And his version of “Stand by Me,” was poignant and well sung, with some flares of individuality.
DioGuardi started praising his voice, but then turned to his story, to which Perry quipped, “This isn’t a Lifetime movie, sweetheart.”
And she was absolutely right, drilling down to one of the things that is making the audition episodes such a slog. Yes, anytime you gather tens of thousands of people in arenas across the country, there are going to be some compelling stories in there. But now, “AI” might as well cue violins if they go out to an auditioner’s home to produce a featurette, because it will be some sob story that would make the judges look like heartless clods if they didn’t give the singer a golden ticket. And while there have been some compelling stories over the years, between Andrew Garcia and Jim Ranger Tuesday night, I was starting to wonder if fathering children was the sole qualification for a weepy feature.
Jan16Filed under: American Idol, Television; Tagged as: 24, Ally McBeal, American Idol, America’s Most Wanted, Beverly Hills 90210, Big Brother, Bones, CBS, Conan O’Brien, COPS, Dateline NBC, Fear Factor, Glee, In Living Color, Jamie Foxx, Jay Leno, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey, Lie to Me, Married ... with Children, Melrose Place, National Football League, News Corp., Nielsen ratings, second-rate Fox, Super Bowl, Temptation Island, The Simpsons, The Tracy Ullman Show, To Catch a Predator, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?, Wife Swap
The first time Jay Leno addressed the cancellation of his prime-time NBC talk show, he said, “I understand that Fox is beautiful this time of year.”
And all week, in the drama surrounding NBC’s boneheaded moves with its late-night programming, the Fox network has been mentioned as a primary suitor for Leno or Conan O’Brien, whichever one of its late-night stars ultimately leaves NBC.
Still, while two of the most powerful personalities in television cast longing glances toward Fox, there were references to “second-rate Fox” sprinkled around the Internet.
I thought about “second-rate Fox” last Sunday night while watching “The Simpsons’” 20th-anniversary specials.
The first family of Springfield emerged when Fox was indeed a second-rate network, programming just two hours of prime-time shows three nights a week. Homer and family, in fact, made history for Fox as its first show to break the top 30 in the Nielsen ratings.
As much as entertainment hounds like me loved “The Simpsons,” a spinoff of “The Tracy Ullman Show” and some of the network’s other options, the idea that it would compete with the Big Three networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — seemed far-fetched in the late 1980s.
How could you do that with only two hours of programming a few nights a week?
How could you do that with crazy stuff like a prime-time cartoon, that raunchy “Married … with Children” thing and that “reality show” COPS?
And where was the news, any news? Most of Fox’s stations were previously independent channels, and once 10 p.m. came, they went back to running syndicated shows, infomercials and other stuff. It seemed like a “network” only in the loosest sense of the term.
Then, things started happening.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich