Radio and TV Talk 

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

‘American Idol’ bits: Jasmine Murray, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Caleb and Jena Irene

  • 9:39 am Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Katharine McPhee plays the mother of a genius. Elyes Gabel plays Walter O'Brien, another genius who recruits smart folks to help solve complex problems. The story is based loosely on a true story. CREDIT: CBS

Season 5 runner up Katharine McPhee has landed another TV role after NBC’s two-season run of “Smash.” Now she’s on CBS in “Scorpion.” She plays a waitress whose son she considers “challenged” but is actually a genius. Ho does she find out? A genius tells her so. It’s a show full of socially awkward geniuses helping solve complex problems. It sounds very much like a show CBS would embrace and is based loosely on a true story.

“Scorpion” debuts Monday, Sept. 22. Here’s an extended trailer culled from the first episode:

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Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene somehow work well as a duo. [More]

‘American Idol’ briefs: Harry Connick promises more seasoned performers; Ryan Seacrest, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson

  • 4:36 pm Monday, September 8th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Harry Connick Jr. CREDIT: Getty Images

For a time, “American Idol” espoused the “diamond in the rough” theory. And on occasion, it works.

In the early years, some performers improved markedly while on the show, with Elliot Yamin from season five one of the most notable ones. But it is true. Most of the time, this theory fails.

Sam Woolf, for instance, didn’t exactly magically turn into Adam Lambert. His improvement over the weeks was modest at best.  While promoting “Dolphin Tale 2,” Harry Connick Jr.  told press:

“I think Jen and Keith and I have raised the bar a little bit,” he says, noting that Kansas [More]

‘Idol’ briefs: Carrie Underwood expecting first child

  • 7:22 pm Monday, September 1st, 2014 by Rodney Ho
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 04: Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher attend the 2014 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

Carrie Underwood announced on Instagram today that she’s expecting her first child with her husband Mike Fisher.

“In honor of “Labor” Day, Ace & Penny would like to make an announcement. Their parents couldn’t be happier,” she wrote with a picture of her two dogs, each wearing shirts saying “I’m going to be a big brother.”

She is due in the spring. She is 31. Fisher is 34. The couple married at Reynolds Plantation in Georgia in the summer of 2010.

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In New Orleans, “Idol” released a snippet of Harry Connick Jr. jamming with a season 14 contestant.

Check it out here. [More]

‘American Idol’ briefs: Clay Aiken, Danny Gokey, New Orleans auditions

  • 9:11 am Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Clay Aiken is the likely winner getting the Democratic seat in a North Carolina district that is heavily Republican. CREDIT: AP

Clay Aiken campaigned in San Francisco to raise money for his underdog effort to become a House representative in a Republican-favored district in North Carolina. He is facing off against an incumbent Renee Ellmers.

According to the San Francisco Gate,  “Aiken’s speech to the crowd at Catch lasted 15 minutes without missing a beat on education, interest-free student loans, veterans support, his pre-Idol past working with disabled children, and why he’s seeking a seat in Congress now. Clay Aiken made articulate, well-rounded points. I don’t mean to sound shocked, but this is the guy who got beat by Arsenio Hall [More]

‘American Idol’ bits: optimism out of Kansas City auditions, Josh Gracin, Michael Johns, Ryan Seacrest, Carrie Underwood, Sam Woolf

  • 8:01 am Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
AMERICAN IDOL XIII: L-R: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr, on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Thursday, April 24 (9:00-9:30 PM ET / PT) on FOX.  CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

I’m on vacation this week so I’m leaving this space for you regulars to talk amongst yourselves. I apologize if all this news if a bit old but I needed to fill the space with something while I’m gone!

The ‘American Idol’ judges last week liked what they saw in the Kansas City auditions.

“I think we did find some future superstars,” said Lopez, wearing a sparkling black blouse with sparkly shoes,

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Scotty McCreery released a set of tour dates this fall but nothing closer than Columbia, S.C. from Atlanta.

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Sam Woolf on his website noted “Idol” has not signed him to [More]

‘American Idol’ bits: Caleb Johnson debut numbers, Kelli Glover on ‘AGT,’ Kris Allen

  • 10:56 pm Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Testify caleb johnson

Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson’s debut album “Testify” dropped yesterday and HitsDailyDouble projects based on first-day sales that he will sell a mere 9,000 to 11,000 copies. That’s even worse than Candice Glover‘s 19,000 last year.

It would officially be the worst-selling debut of any “Idol” winner to date. Not surprising given how the show has disappeared off the pop culture radar screen and the fact album sales continue to slip away with each subsequent year.

His album is coming out sooner than any other winner in history, less than three months after the finale. Most winner albums debut in the fall.  [More]

‘American Idol’ bits: season 14 auditions with judges begin

  • 4:21 pm Thursday, August 7th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
A contestant in Nashville gets to slow dance with Jennifer Lopez in a scene we'll likely see on Fox in five months. CREDIT: Fox

Harry, Jennifer and Keith showed up in Nashville earlier this week for the first audition site for season 14.

The season 13 contestants are still on tour and already, season 14 is a mere five months away. And “Idol” has released video from the season at the earliest possible moment I’ve ever seen. A contestant ends up slow dancing with J. Lo to the latest torch song by Sam Smith “Stay With Me.” I have a feeling we’ll be hearing that song a few times come January.

The judges talked to press after day one and Harry Connick Jr. was blunt about [More]

Video: Talking FX’s ‘Partners,’ Michael Johns, 11 Alive changes

  • 3:10 pm Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 by Rodney Ho

CineStars’ Brittany Umar and I discuss Atlanta ties to FX’s new “Partners” with Martin Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer, the passing of former “American Idol” contestant Michael Johns and a shakeup at 11 Alive.

‘American Idol': Former Atlantan Michael Johns has died and why Dexter Roberts left tour

  • 3:09 pm Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Michael Johns at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2008. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rhO@ajc.com

Season 7 “American Idol” finalist and former Atlanta denizen Michael Johns died yesterday, multiple sources tell me.

The administrator for his fan website confirmed his death on Twitter as well.

Details have not been revealed as of yet but from what I hear, the family is not in a position yet to provide a statement. A source told me what the Hollywood Reporter reported: the death was related to a blood clot emanating from a minor ankle injury. (UPDATE: People talked to doctors about how a minor injury like this could cause the heart to stop.) The last photo [More]

‘American Idol’ bits: Catching up with Phillip Phillips, the two Davids reunited, chart update

  • 12:29 pm Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Phillip Phillips comes to Atlanta's Chastain with O.A.R. July 26. CREDIT: Getty

Georgia’s own season 11 “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips performed Saturday night as co-headliner with O.A.R. during his first appearance at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.

Given the rocket launcher of a song “Home” to propel his career, Phillips is now onto his second album and has bagged two more hit singles “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Raging Fire.” (American Family Insurance is still using “Home” in its ads in 2014.)

He has recovered from his kidney stone issues that plagued him in 2012 and in an interview last week sounds thrilled to be touring around the country almost nonstop since he left “Idol” two [More]