Life after ‘American Idol’: Kellie Pickler interview, Clay Aiken, Katharine McPhee

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 01: Singer Kellie Pickler performs onstage at the 4th ACM Party for a Cause Festival at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on April 1, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for ACM)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 01: Singer Kellie Pickler performs onstage at the 4th ACM Party for a Cause Festival at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on April 1, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for ACM)

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kellie Pickler performs in metro Atlanta almost every year. And she’s back this Friday at the Fred in Peachtree City.

(Buy tickets here.)

I caught up with her by phone while she was at home in Nashville Monday. She is always sweet as punch. What you see is exactly what you get, which is why CMT called her reality show “I Love Kellie Pickler.” And the show is back for a second season August 25.

She said doing so many shows can become a bit of a blur. “It can become monotonous,” Pickler acknowledged. “It bleeds all together. But every place I go has a different energy. Every show has its special moments and people you meet. People say and do things you’ll never forget.”

She said it can be a challenge to freshen up songs she has been singing for years. (Pickler has no choice but has to sing hits such as “Red High Heels” and “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful.”) “You almost go on autopilot,’ she said. “That’s why you throw in other songs and covers. There’s new music and you can rotate songs around.”

Pickler recently popped up on the first episode of season 2 of “Celebrity Family Feud.” (Read my recap here.) She practically bowled over host Steve Harvey with her excitement. She even missed the buzzer on the first question.

“I was so nervous!” she said. “During rehearsal, I missed the damn button, too. I hit the microphone. They need bigger buttons! They’re too small for me! I was so concentrating on the question. And I can hardly hear. That’s why I talk so loud!”

Still, she won $25,000 and she had fun with her family. Another game show she’d love to do is “Wheel of Fortune.” She said she used to watch that a lot with her grandma, who raised her. “My friends call me ‘Golden Girl’ because I like that stuff,” she said. “Gardening and old stuff.”

Pickler, who has been married to producer Kyle Jacobs for five years, gave me a preview of the upcoming season of “I Love Kellie Pickler.” “We had even a better time” than season one, she enthused. “We just had so much more fun this season because we were all just more comfortable. We’ve introduced more family and friends. Kyle’s parents moved from Minnesota.”

She said they got to mark off items off their bucket list such as jumping out of an airplane and visiting Tokyo. The “Family Feud” episode was taped during the season as well so we’ll see some behind-the-scenes shots of that.

“We just want to make people smile,” Pickler said. “We have amazing people in our lives that are just so cute. We’re not saving the world. This isn’t surgery. We get to be silly and just ham it up for everyone and be goofy.”

And what happened with her Black River Entertainment deal? She said it was just a one-album deal (which unfortunately did not generate any hits). “It was absolutely nothing bad,” she said. “Everyone there will always be like family to me.”

She isn’t sure what her next step will be for her next album. “Right now we just live in a time where we have so many options,” she said.

As for the “Idol” series finale, she found it both “wonderful” and “surreal.” “It was a special moment to share the stage together,” she said. “We laughed. We told stories. It was just really cool. The girls had this big dressing room. It was like a circus back there.”

CONCERT PREVIEW

Kellie Pickler

8 p.m. Friday, July 29

$45-$100

Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater

201 McIntosh Trail
Peachtree City, GA 30269

www.ticketalternative.com

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Clay Aiken's run for a House seat was chronicled for Esquire for a four-part series starting April 7, 2015. CREDIT: Esquire

Clay Aiken’s ran for a House seat, which was chronicled for Esquire for a four-part series which aired April 7, 2015. CREDIT: Esquire

Clay Aiken, who finished second on “Celebrity Apprentice” back in 2012, predicted Donald Trump will win the presidency on the Netflix talk show “Chelsea” this week. He certainly doesn’t want that to happen but he has good reason to think Trump fans are very motivated to vote.

“I feel like he in person can be very gracious and can be nice,” Aiken said. “But I think everybody talks about him being a narcissist. We saw that. Although he was nice, he was a narcissist on the show. I don’t think this campaign is about being president. I think it’s about having 100% name recognition and to say he won. I think he probably will. I don’t want him to win and adamantly will vote for Hillary and encourage everyone to do so.”

He said many people liked Aiken when he ran for Congress because he’s not a politician. He said Trump taps into that even more. And he feels folks who don’t like politics and politicians will go out of their way to vote for him. “Hillary doesn’t inspire people enough” to vote, he said.

Aiken is saddened that Trump’s children, especially Ivanka, are supporting him given his views on women’s rights.

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The 12 NFL players who will join Carrie Underwood this fall in her new video for the new Sunday Night Football theme song “Oh, Sunday Night” (based on her song “Somethin’ Bad”) will be the following:

  • New York Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown
  • Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant
  • Seattle Seahawks S Kam Chancellor
  • Oakland Raiders LB Khalil Mack
  • New York Giants QB Eli Manning
  • Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu
  • Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews
  • Denver Broncos LB Von Miller
  • Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
  • Seattle Seahawks S Earl Thomas
  • Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

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SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 09: Actor Elyes Gabel (L) and actress/singer Katharine McPhee laugh as they attend CBS TV Studios' panel for "Scorpion" during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 9, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 09: Actor Elyes Gabel (L) and actress/singer Katharine McPhee laugh as they attend CBS TV Studios’ panel for “Scorpion” during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 9, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Katharine McPhee had been dating “Scorpion” co star Elyes Gabel but they have now broken up, Us magazine reports. They remain friends, the magazine said. It shows how little I pay attention to such things. I had no idea they were even dating!


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