Radio and TV Talk 

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

‘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]

‘American Idol’ live tour photos and recap from Verizon Wireless July 24

  • 10:44 am Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson were a worthy final two with contrasting styles. They sang Rolling Stone's "Gimme Shelter" during the tour. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

“American Idol” is definitely a case where you can look at it as the glass half empty (cratering ratings, no recent breakout stars) or glass half full (great judges’ panel, decent talent from season 13).

The same can be said about the tour itself, which has always been a way for the contestants to remind paying customers why they voted for them in the first place with no pressure of judgment and the ability to choose songs they know they can sing. That hasn’t changed.

From a glass half empty perspective, “Idol” tour producers cut costs by slimming down the stage, recycling [More]

‘American Idol’ bits: Jena Irene interview for Atlanta tour stop July 24; Fox chief comments;

  • 4:32 pm Monday, July 21st, 2014 by Rodney Ho
AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Jena Irene performs on AMERICAN IDOL XIII at the NOKIA THEATRE L.A. LIVE airing Tuesday, May 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX.  CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

‘American Idol” runner up Jena Irene had her share of critics on this blog this year. Many just found her style grating, her enunciation poor.

But you have to give her credit for working on her craft, taking critiques seriously and improving week by week. She was also far more versatile than most of her competitors. able to work behind a piano a capella and rocking it with the live band. And the bottom line is she has charisma and can sing, two important components for any artist.

I spoke with her in an advance of the upcoming stop at Verizon Wireless [More]

‘American Idol’ bits: Dexter Roberts disappearance from tour, Taylor Hicks, Clay Aiken

  • 11:35 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Dexter Roberts is off the "Idols Live" tour with no explanation. CREDIT: Fox

Where is Dexter Roberts?

He did four “Idol Live” tour shows, then disappeared, last seen July 1.

The Alabama singer, who finished seventh,  left under mysterious circumstances. This story wonders if perhaps he was sick but he’s been seen around Alabama not looking so sick.

I did just receive at least a confirmation that he’s out but it doesn’t explain what happened behind the scenes:

“Both parties mutually agreed that he would be released from his contractual obligations to continue performing on the tour,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

I’m not clear if Dexter’s departure will really hurt the show in a [More]

TV briefs: Ryan Seacrest’s new girlfriend; Whitney Houston; Todd Chrisley; Erin Andrews and Pam Oliver;

  • 5:42 pm Monday, July 14th, 2014 by Rodney Ho
Shayna Taylor and Ryan Seacrest are an item. CREDIT: Getty Images.

Former Dunwoody resident Ryan Seacrest, the busiest man in Hollywood, has a new girlfriend Shayna Taylor.

She acknowledged this for the first time on TMZ when the pair returned at LAX from a vacation to Italy and France.

He broke up with actress, singer and dancer Julianne Hough last year after more than two years together.

On her Instagram page, she identifies herself as a model, fitness trainer and chef. I guess Ryan has a type, doesn’t he?  You can see shots of her with Ryan on said page such as this oneRumors of their coupling started [More]