Friday, May 05, 2006

The news, the gossip backstage at 'American Idol'

In case you haven't had enough of "American Idol," there are these backstage secrets:

• The contestants, living in a Hollywood hotel, have nightly curfews.

• They also have roommates. Kellie Pickler of Albemarle rooms with Katharine McPhee. Chris Daughtry of McLeansville lived with Ace Young, eliminated this week.

• Young's real first name is Brett. He was named after George Brett of the Kansas City Royals. But "Ace" is a family name, and that's what he was called; he says he didn't know about Brett until he saw his birth certificate when he was about 6.

• Young shined himself up this week for the episode on musical standards. The suit he wore was the first he'd ever bought. He had to dig in his own pocket to buy it because it cost $2,000 and overshot his "Idol" clothing allowance.

• Family members pay their own way out there to see the show. Pickler's grandfather Clyde helps finance his trips by selling autographed Kellie T-shirts on eBay. One this week fetched $300.

• Oddsmakers like Daughtry, Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee as finalists. Daughtry's odds of winning are 1.7 to 1 from and 8 to 5 from Pickler is 5 to 1 to win at both sites. Betmaker's odds are that Paris Bennett and Elliot Yamin are the next to be cut.

• Charlotte is hypnotized. Wednesday's show was viewed in a fourth of all households in the region, one of the highest ratings in the nation. Of all the TVs in the area turned on at that hour, 36 percent were tuned to "American Idol."

• Bucky Covington, the contestant from Hamlet who was eliminated a week ago, says he let the stylists have their way with his hair once and didn't like the outcome. After that, he did his own hair.

• Covington says he had an edge on some of the contestants because of his thrice-weekly gigs at Rockingham-area bars. "It definitely gives you an edge as far as voices being strong. When you're used to playing Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights in a smoky little barroom, a minute and a half every week is nothing."

• Paula Abdul sometimes gives the contestants gifts. So far, she's given them two necklaces. One had a small horn dangling from it and the other had a star with the engraving "Reach for the stars" on the front and "You just might become one" on the back.

• The contestants go out to dinner after the show. Those who are eliminated remain in Hollywood for about a week for publicity work.

• The top 10 contestants will be reunited in the "American Idol" national tour after the show ends in May.

• When the top three contestants are determined, they will jet to their hometowns for a concert and homecoming ceremony.

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Via IdolStalker by way of Charlotte Observer

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