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ClayManiacs.com  |  Archive  |  Media & Appearance Archive  |  2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
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Author Topic: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA  (Read 9298 times)

Marilyn

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2010, 08:51:10 PM »
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  NEW YORK NEWSDAY - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2003, 02:43:14 PM »   

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No Tribute Need Be Paid These 'Idols'
By Rafer Guzmán STAFF WRITER
August 2, 2003

Lacking any sense of drama or a unifying theme, the concert featured generic characters who posed on chintzy sets and pretended to get carried away by their emotions. Often, the performers weren't even allowed the dignity of finishing an entire song. Instead, they delivered mostly just verses and choruses, spliced together at random.

In other words, climax after climax after climax.

The emphasis was on the "money note," a crude music-industry euphemism for the high-octave vocal spasms that come near the end of most successful pop songs. Every performer got at least one - which meant the audience had to sit through about 20 of them. The effect was numbing, like watching a film in which the villain is slain at the very start, and then slain continuously for two solid hours.

The concert began with an attempt to help audiences distinguish among the performers. While there's no mistaking the disconcertingly obese Ruben Studdard, the show's winner, or the sparkly eyed runner-up, Clay Aiken, it's hard to tell the others apart. Each Idol was introduced with a video montage, plus a subtle mnemonic: Kimberly Caldwell was called "the rocker of the group," Carmen Rasmusen "the baby of the group," and so on.

Few of the singers distinguished themselves; most chose obvious pop hits and didn't even attempt to interpret the material. All they could do was imitate. Rickey Smith ran through Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" with a "hee-hee" and a "woo-hoo." Caldwell reproduced a current dance-pop track, Stacey Orrico's idiotic "Stuck." Julia DeMato turned Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" into some sort of weird, middle-class fantasy, sporting a diamond choker and lounging on a divan.

Only the stick-thin singer Trenyce showed her own flair: Wearing white go-go boots and a jean skirt, she ripped through a gospelized, double-time version of "Proud Mary," with stuttering dance steps and guttural growls. For one refreshing moment, it was like being at an actual concert.

Aiken and Studdard performed their "signature" songs serviceably. Studdard tackled Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much," but his delivery was as rough as a wooden roller-coaster compared to Vandross. Aiken, whose voice is clearer and stronger, fared better on the just-add-water pop hit "Invisible."

But the bulk of the show was short, pointless ensemble pieces. A bizarre medley of "Bootylicious," sung by the girls, plus "The Lady Is a Tramp," sung by the boys, resulted in total cacophony. Other singers took the snap out of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," the glamour out of the Bee Gees' "Night Fever" and what little bounce there ever was in Deneice Williams' "Let's Hear It for the Boy."

As a final insult, Studdard turned John Lennon's "Imagine" into the kind of tinkling lullaby the papa lion might sing to the baby lion in a Disney cartoon. But there was yet another climax: The whole cast gathered for an obligatory rendition of Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be an American." With fireworks.

AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE. The Fox TV franchise that keeps going, and going, and ... Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.  If you've ever rented a cheap porn video, you have a general idea of what it was like to sit through American Idols Live.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2010, 08:51:52 PM »
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« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2003, 10:36:22 AM »   

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'Idols' not worthy of worship
By STEVE BARNES, Arts editor Tuesday, August 5, 2003

ALBANY -- Given the number of school buses lining Pearl Street on Monday night and the hordes of preteens in matching T-shirts inside the Pepsi Arena, it seems safe to assume that a large number of kids from sleep-away camps came to see the "American Idols Live!" concert.
Given the generic singing and showmanship on the arena's stage during the tour's 2 3/4 -hour extravaganza in Albany, it's equally safe to assert that the biggest difference between some of those campers and the "American Idol" singers is the price of their buses. The "Idol" kids may be riding on $500,000 tourmobiles, but surely Karaoke Night at Any-Camp-o-the-Woods has as many thrills and embarrassments as Monday's concert.
The show was too long, too sweltering and too mediocre to have any real musical merit. Gonzo medleys like the nine-tune Bee Gees marathon gave individual songs short shrift. Worse, when the medleys weren't overblown, they simply were wrongheaded: How else to explain white-dressed boys singing "The Lady Is a Tramp," while the black-outfitted gals countered with "Bootylicious"?
Finally, "Idol's" attempt to be democratic meant that we heard and saw far too much of five or even six singers who just don't matter. Trenyce may have been a good TV contestant, but she failed to impress onstage, even during a stamping, twirling "Proud Mary." And nothing more than " 'bye" need be said to or about Charles Grigsby, Rickey Smith, Carmen Rasmusen, Kimberly Caldwell and Julia DeMato.
Which leaves us with the three who truly can sing, and who deservedly finished as the top trio on TV: Kimberley Locke, the best pipes of the three; Clay Aiken, the most accomplished performer and most likely to have a long career; and Ruben Studdard, the so-called "Velvet Teddy Bear" whose soulful delivery almost makes up for his limitations as a stage presence.
Individually and together, the three provided the most genuine and worthwhile moments of the concert. Locke's "Band of Gold," "Inseparable" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" wowed with power. Aiken's voice had too few chances to go on and on -- he didn't do "Bridge Over Troubled Water," for instance, and his new single, "Invisible," is undistinguished FM Lite -- but the guy's got immense talent and he's developed significant charisma. For his part, Studdard managed the best moment all evening when, seizing a skimpy red undergarment that was hurled at him, he put the thing on Aiken's head, one of the leg holes serving as a chin strap.
Give those three a tour, ditch the also-rans, the fireworks and the shamelessly manipulative flag-waving (literally -- on "Proud to Be an American"), and there just might be music worth hearing.
The 41-city "American Idols Live!" tour is sponsored by Pop-Tarts. It's just about pointless to make a joke out of that, because it's pre-interpreted -- one mass-marketed sweet treat piggybacking on another. But the confluence does provide an opportunity to reiterate what your mother told you: Processed confections offer little in the way of sustenance.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2010, 08:53:49 PM »
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« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2003, 07:34:11 AM »   

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'There's no place like home'
By MATT EHLERS, Staff Writer
Thursday, August 7, 2003 6:26AM EDT

RALEIGH -- Rising triumphantly on a platform from beneath the stage, Clay Aiken wowed a sold-out hometown crowd Wednesday and bathed in an ovation that nearly brought him to tears.  Dressed in a sharp, black suit and a violet tie, Aiken made the dramatic entrance singing his hit "This is the Night."

When he finished, he stood silently for several minutes as the audience screamed its love.  "Thank you so much," he said, appearing to tear up. "There's no place like home."

After months of following the Raleigh native's televised journey to superstardom on the talent show "American Idol," his fans got what they wanted: Clay live.   He fulfilled every expectation.  "Words can't describe it," said 15-year-old Sarah Pearce of Raleigh.

The "Pop Tarts Presents American Idols Live!" tour hit the RBC Center Wednesday, featuring nine of the singers who performed earlier this year during the grueling "Idol" competition. Through toll-free phone lines and text messaging, America crowned the ultimate winner, Ruben Studdard. Aiken, 24, and a graduate of Leesville Road High School, finished second.
Aiken had a busy day filled with homecoming activities. He visited local radio and television stations for interviews.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker had him over for an afternoon press conference, during which a fan group presented Aiken with a check for more than $42,000 for the singer's nonprofit foundation. Meeker gave him a certificate for a tree planted in his honor.  But it was all a prelude to the big concert.

Inside the RBC Center, fans cheered politely for the other performers while waiting for their beloved. Then Kimberly Locke, the contestant who finished third in the competition, introduced Aiken. As the crowd screamed loud enough to overwhelm the first part of the tune, Aiken smiled broadly, perhaps blushing a tiny bit.

Studdard followed with a song of his own. When he was finished, he told the crowd how much Aiken meant to him.  "I just want to thank Raleigh for sending me one of the best friends I've ever had."  And Raleigh cheered some more.

Aiken basked in the audience's "9-1-9" cheer for the Triangle area code, a playful jab at Studdard's "205" boasting, the area code of his hometown, Birmingham, Ala.  Before singing "Invisible," a song from his upcoming full-length album, Aiken again became emotional, introducing his mom and showing his appreciation for the crowd.

"I would never be able in a thousand years to thank you for what you've done for me."

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2010, 08:56:04 PM »
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« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2003, 12:14:39 AM »   

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Charlotte screams for Clay
JACKIE MAH Staff Writer

Fans at the Coliseum Friday night cheered and stood on their feet for Trenyce, Charles Grigsby, Julia DeMato and others, but you could tell they were saving it for one man. American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke couldn't even finish her intro for Clay Aiken, appearing before "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard.  "We're in Clay-town now," she said. The 15,000-person audience screamed their agreement.Aiken, decked in a black suit and purple tie, sang his fan-favorite, chart-topping single with new meaning.  "I've been waiting forever for this," he belted out, pointing to the hometown audience. "This is the night."Fans treated the former UNC Charlotte student to an extended ovation. Aiken stood still, put his hand over his heart and looked around the stadium with glistening eyes. "There is no place like home," he said. "That's for sure."Since the "American Idol II Tour" kicked off exactly one month ago, Aiken has bused from city to city and keeping track of the date has been more than he can handle.But earlier in the day, during his barrage of publicity stops around Charlotte, Aiken had at least one fact straight."All I know is today is Charlotte day," he told a group of 40 starry-eyed fans at the WLNK-FM ("The Link" 107.9) radio station Friday afternoon.The feeling, apparently, is mutual. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory named Friday the official "Clay Aiken Day."Kristin Patton, 10, and her grandmother Dianne "Heart meltin' for Clay" Melton, 54, of Rock Hill, won passes to see Aiken by calling into the station. As Patton waited for Aiken to appear, she said she hoped she wouldn't faint when she saw him.Kevin Porter, 32, another lucky fan and one of the few men in the room, recalled unabashedly, "He sent chills (down my spine) when he sang Elton John."Kayla Stachniak, of Greenville, S.C., said she fell for Aiken when she saw him shake his hips and sing "Grease" while wearing that red leather jacket on the show.But her mom, Cheryl Stachniak, 46, proclaimed, "I'm his biggest fan in Greenville."To which Kayla replied, "I don't know. You may have to fight for that."The fans at 107.9 and at WSSS-FM (Star 104.7) similar show Friday morning got hugs and autographs from the runner-up Idol who is still the "idol" of many Charlotteans.During a Q&A, Kim Snider, 37, of Charlotte, asked to touch Aiken's frosted blond hair, which she did -- multiple times.Other fans were less lucky. Deanna Jarzabkowski, 15, of Chicago, stood alone on the corner near the 107.9 radio station, holding a "Honk if U (heart) Clay" sign, which she said got cars and semi's blowing their horns.Jarzabkowski had tried all morning to get in to see Aiken, but going to Wednesday's concert in Raleigh and Friday's here in Charlotte would have to be enough."Oh my god," she screeched, recalling the Raleigh show. "It was the best!"The interview between Aiken and 107.9 radio personalities Matt and Ramona ranged from rumored romances (he said he's platonically moving in with Kim Locke in September) to his initial American Idol rejection in Charlotte.Ramona, who was on the panel of local Idol judges that canned Clay, admitted her mistake, saying to Aiken, "You were fabulous. How many times can I apologize?"Aiken said he was excited and nervous to be back in his second of two "hometowns.""I've been talking about the North Carolina crowd on the bus, and everyone else is like, `Hey, I don't wanna hear about it anymore,' " he said, laughing. "But when they got (here) they agreed."He said it's always harder to perform at home, just like singing at his own church was always more nervewracking than singing at his grandmother's."You're performing for people you know. It's like family," he said. "I'll probably be scared to death tonight."I guess it's important to me to make people in Raleigh and Charlotte proud."

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2010, 08:57:37 PM »
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« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2003, 02:39:09 PM »   

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Click HERE for a link to some pictures from the Atlanta concert Saturday night

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2010, 08:58:10 PM »
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« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2003, 06:27:42 PM »   

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'Idol' evening in ATL

The "American Idol" finalists gave the tour organizers a symbolic middle finger Saturday night at their sold-out Philips Arena stop by bringing Atlantan Vanessa Olivarez onstage during the finale, "God Bless the USA." Olivarez, the first contestant voted off earlier this year, was inexplicably left off the tour but came as a spectator and sat near the front of the stage.
About 40 minutes into the concert, winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken pointed Olivarez out and had a spotlight placed on her. Later, Trenyce and Kimberly Caldwell dedicated the show to her. "We miss you," Caldwell said. "You should be here!"
Olivarez, who is making local appearances, couldn't be reached for comment, but her father, Paul Parillo, told Buzz she had "mixed emotions" about the whole situation.

With no competitive pressures, the Idols sang with more confidence than on the TV show. Caldwell even sounded good. In fact, the group showed more vocal depth than the first crew, which came to Philips last October. Then, weakest link Jim Verraros memorably tripped and fell in the middle of crooning "Easy."

This time there was no tripping, but fake smoke, "Solid Gold"-style dancers and a stage in which singers popped in and out like slow-motion Whack-a-Moles. The crowd, heavy with middle-aged women, cheered wildly whenever Aiken appeared -- even in taped clips.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2010, 09:00:12 PM »
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« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2003, 12:40:46 PM »   

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Studdard's the Idol, for sure
BY Sean Piccoli , Pop Music Writer
Posted August 13 200

SUNRISE · Let the alleged debate over who really won American Idol end here: The crown went to Ruben Studdard, and rightly so. He earned it over the eight also-rans who trailed him on stage Tuesday night at the Office Depot Center, including the runner-up, Clay Aiken.

Not all the partisan cheering and sign-waving by self-styled "Claymates" can change the simple, observable fact that Studdard is the superior vocalist and more natural public performer. The new king idol proved it in front of a near-sellout crowd, and he had his supporters, too, among people who had followed the second season of Fox's hit karaoke-fest all the way from their living rooms to the arena.

What significance this discovery might have in the scheme of popular music is another matter. American Idols Live, for all its spunky showmanship and television-bred excitement, felt much the same as it did last year in concert -- like the world's most elaborate dinner-theater training program.

Studdard, Aiken and the rest of the field -- two more men and five women -- charged through a program of cover songs sung to album specifications, with backing from a five-piece band and some pre-recorded backing vocals. The only moments of invention were more like contraptions: a strange hybrid of The Lady is a Tramp and Bootylicious stood out in one of the evening's many wash-and-wear revues as especially ungainly.

Idol contestants stood on top of the proverbial jukebox all night, punching up borrowed fare from Motown, the Bee Gees, Prince and Whitney Houston. Among the trailing seven, Kimberley Locke was the most gifted singer, bringing something like nuance to Band of Gold, although she pummelled Over the Rainbow with Celine Dion-like howls -- what passes for expression in popular song today.

Aiken seemed more capable of reining himself in, and with his genteel manner and voice like milk, was by no means unpleasant to hear. He sang Can You Feel the Love Tonight with about as much soaring grace as that Disney movie ditty can support. He and Studdard had genuine chemistry as duet-mates, albeit on one of the most cringe-inducing duets ever written:

The Girl Is Mine by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.

But big man Studdard not only outweighed his new beanpole buddy. He also outsang him. Studdard's baritone showed more power, texture and ease of movement from note to note, whether he was exulting in Luther Vandross' Never Too Much or crooning the lows and highs of the Carpenters' melancholy hit, Superstar.

Whatever glitches attended the viewer telephone voting in a season finale watched by a staggering 38 million people, the outcome was borne out by the performances on Tuesday. Aiken may sell more albums when full-length albums by both men hit the street, if only because Studdard's maiden single, Can I Get Your Attention, is awful regardless of how it is sung.

Studdard going on about his "thugs" and his "crew" over faux hip-hop beats was a regular Six Flags gangsta.

But then, the whole appeal of American Idol can be summarized in that song, with its blandly borrowed style.

Sean Piccoli can be reached at spiccoli@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4832.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2010, 09:01:23 PM »
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« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2003, 05:16:16 PM »   

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Idol' Tour Better the Second Time Around
BY HOWARD COHEN hcohen@herald.com
August 13, 2003   
   
Seems South Florida hasn't had its fill of American Idol.
On Tuesday night, plenty of families turned Sunrise's Office Depot Center into a screamfest (but not sell-out) for the good-natured American Idols Live! Tour 2003, the second tour spawned from the popular television show that manufactures instant idols.
If the decibel level on the applause meter could be converted into CD sales, runner-up and clear fan favorite Clay Aiken could retire a wealthy man about now. This makes sense, too. Clay is Idol's find. He's the one with the most talent, the surest voice, the most presence. His song choices could be schmaltzy (Elton John's Can You Feel the Love Tonight) but his charisma cuts through.
By comparison, the portly Ruben Studdard, who won the Idol title, has a good -- but not especially versatile -- voice. With its sameness of tone on tunes such as Luther Vandross' Never Too Much (the artist to whom he's most compared) and Leon Russell's Superstar, he frequently was drowned out by backing vocalists. Ruben also has the personality of a boulder, his size limits his movement, and his attempts at modernizing his material with hip-hop elements came across as calculated and false.
Idols Live!, sponsored by -- this is no lie -- Pop-Tarts (gotta give 'em credit for a sense of humor), works hard to duplicate the TV show. A glitzy set with pyrotechnics and video screens flashing clips acts as the kids' playground. The accompanying dancers were dreadful and should sue their choreographer for defamation of character. The show was structured in the same manner as last year's Idols Live! but was slightly better, owing to the fact that a good half of this bunch can sing circles around most of the first season's cast.
The first half of the show offers the nine finalists each singing a familiar pop song in the order in which they were eliminated on TV. Charles Grigsby was first up and seems a nice kid. Nice guys finish last. He has no voice.
Carmen Rasmussen and Julia DeMato, both lousy on television, were the surprises. While neither has a killer voice, both had poise and flair on the arena stage. Carmen's take on Shania Twain's cute Up!, in particular, was a smart match of singer and song. Mono-named Trenyce handily outsang her female counterparts all through the night -- on a fiery Proud Mary early on and a powerful I Have Nothing later. But Trenyce becomes the artists whom she's performing (Tina Turner, Whitney Houston) through her mannered choreography and delivery and so it's hard to discover who she really is. But Trencye has potent pipes. Kimberley Locke, who finished just behind Clay and Ruben on Idol's voting, was as inconsistent live as she proved on TV. Like last year's winner, Kelly Clarkson, Kimberley too often mistakes yelling for singing with passion. Only her soulful rendition of Over the Rainbow worked.
The show's second half -- after a wasteful 20-minute intermission in which fans endured commercials for maxipads, Pop-Tarts and pink razors -- was split between solos and several awkward medleys. Money went into this production, but the whole thing is glorified karaoke with cheese piled higher than in a Wisconsin factory.
A Bee Gees medley by the entire cast was an enjoyable highlight. Clay and Ruben, taking Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney's parts, respectively, on the sappy The Girl Is Mine, was somewhat hard to take. Worse yet: Rickey Smith and Charles Grigsby's shrill Let's Go Crazy and the women trying to rock out, and stubbing their toes, on Pink's new Charlie's Angels tune, Feel Good Time. Bosley, yank 'em.
Still, these kids are so obviously thrilled to be here -- and, face it, most you'll never see again -- so it's churlish to be too hard on them.
We'll leave the Simon-izing for the TV show.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2010, 09:02:04 PM »
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« Reply #38 on: August 14, 2003, 10:05:32 AM »   

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American Idols in concert
By Darryn Simmons - Montgomery Advertiser

"The Velvet Teddy Bear" comes home this weekend, and he's bringing some friends. Birmingham's Ruben Studdard, winner of the 2003 "American Idol" TV show, will join eight other finalists from the past season for the American Idols Live Tour, which comes to the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center on Friday. He was given the "Teddy Bear" nickname by guest judge Gladys Knight.  Studdard won the title a few months ago over Raleigh, N.C., native Clay Aiken.
Over 40 million people watched the finale of the Fox network No. 1-rated show earlier this year.  Since then, both Studdard and Aiken have released Top Ten singles — Studdard with "Superstar/Flying Without Wings" and Aiken with "This is the Night/Bridge Over Troubled Waters."
Studdard is returning home for the show in the middle of some controversy in his hometown.
He recently filed a lawsuit against 205 Flava Inc., the company that made the trademark jerseys Studdard wore when he was competing on the show. Studdard sued the company, accusing the owners of wrongly profiting from his image.
Since then, the owners of 205 Flava Inc. have said that Studdard was secretly paid by them to wear the jerseys on the show — a direct violation of the rules of "American Idol."
The company's legal team has produced copies of $10,000 in checks made out to Studdard's brother, Kevin, and his manager Ron Edwards.
Still, Studdard can expect to have a positive reaction from his numerous fans in his hometown.  Along with Studdard and Aiken, others on the tour include third-place finisher Kimberly Locke, Trenyce, Charles Grigsby, Julia DeMato, Rickey Smith, Kimberly Caldwell and Carmen Rasmussen.
Each of the artists will put on a solo set during the first half of the show and then all come together for various group and duets during the second half.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2010, 09:02:56 PM »
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« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2003, 10:08:17 AM »   

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No heart, less soul
By BRIAN ORLOFF © St. Petersburg Times
August 14, 2003

TAMPA - After throngs of people cheered on their favorite crooners all season, more than 30-million American Idol fans watched in May to see who would be crowned the winner. Wednesday night, 9,832 Idol worshipers came to the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa for a 21/2-hour revue loaded with medleys, misfires and actual talent.
Sponsored by Pop-Tarts, the American Idols Live! tour exhibited what's problematic about the American Idol phenomenon. There's nothing wrong, in theory, with a contest to propel the talented; Star Search did it years before. But the show, so laced with cross-promotions and unsatisfying spinoffs like American Juniors, just denigrates the sagging music industry with its spawn of prefab pop singers. The American Idol singers are an inauthentic, disposable bunch.
The evening began with solo spots from nine of the final ten Idols in the order they departed; contestant Joshua Gracin is in the Marines, so he could not join the tour. Contestants were introduced through video clips reminding the crowd of their televised glories.
But ponder this: America said "No" to eight.
Lowlights included Julia DeMato's tepid reading of Christina Aguilera's Beautiful and Rickey Smith's shrill take on Michael Jackson's bouncy The Way You Make Me Feel. Did Smith inhale a helium balloon before his performance? Sure sounded like it.
Things improved, as expected, and Trenyce gave Tina Turner's Proud Mary a robust shot. And thank goodness for Kimberley Locke. She was feisty and had the pipes to match, unveiling a full-bodied alto that roused the crowd to ovation.
Screams were deafening as runner-up Clay Aiken hit the high note in his soaring This is the Night. Aiken, dressed in a dapper suit, can handle the multioctave songs, singing like a Broadway belter.Winner Ruben Studdard preferred the subdued approach. His voice is rich and doesn't skimp on soul. Never Too Much was supple and funky but Studdard occasionally oversang. Ruben, just because you can ho-oh-oh-ld (yea, oh, yea!) every note doesn't mean you should.
The second half was dominated by medleys galore. Men and women squared off for an insipid duel; the men performed The Lady is a Tramp and the women writhed to Bootylicious. Smith's high pitch was helpful in Stayin Alive, part of a fast-paced Bee Gees medley misstep, though Studdard sounded strong on the group's Nights on Broadway.
Too bad he followed that with the plodding Can I Get Your Attention, a mess of hip-hop beats and breathy vocals. Even the crowd looked nonplussed, not responding to his frequent cries of "come on Tampa."
Locke fared much better; her version of Inseparable was easily one of the show's highlights. Aiken even delivered the typically mawkish Can You Feel the Love Tonight? with sincerity and showmanship.- To contact Brian Orloff, e-mail borloff@sptimes.com

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2010, 09:04:12 PM »
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  PALM BEACH POST - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2003, 10:15:01 AM »   

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Also-rans show up 'idol'
By Charles Passy, Palm Beach Post Arts Writer
Thursday, August 14, 2003

SUNRISE -- There are essentially two ways to look at the American Idols phenomenon. You can see it as a talent show-meets-reality TV spectacle, a packaged entertainment in which the very amateurishness of the contestants is what makes for such voyeuristic pleasure.
Or you can see it as something more honest and homespun: a chance for everyday people to prove themselves and, in the process, offer an alternative definition of pop stardom.
Both facets of the popular series were on full display at the American Idols Live! tour that came to the Office Depot Center Tuesday night. The concert edition of the 2003 show featured nine of the contestants, topped by "Velvet Teddy Bear" champ Ruben Studdard and geeky runner-up-turned-Rolling Stone cover boy Clay Aiken. And with the series entrenched as a fave of the preteen set, it was attended by a near-capacity crowd, heavy on the shrieking girls.
The show stretched for nearly three hours and tested the patience at several times. (Let's just say a Bee Gees medley was more Saturday Night Fabrication than Saturday Night Fever.) But it also rewarded even non-fans with a few superlative performances in the first half, when each idol took to the stage for a solo number.
Aiken emerged as the true joy of the night. As viewers witnessed during the series' run, he's a performer who's grown into his Broadwayesque voice and admittedly nerdy persona.  He can deliver a simple pop song with unbridled gusto: Think Celine Dion in her best moments. But he does it without a trace of ego and with a genuine sense of gratitude: Think a kid who hasn't left the candy shop.  But Aiken's talent has been well-heralded.
More surprising on this tour were the lesser idols who rose to the occasion.
Rickey Smith's confident take on a Michael Jackson classic, The Way You Make Me Feel, allowed him to put his falsetto to perfect use. Carmen Rasmusen, on the other hand, dared to tackle a recent hit, Shania Twain's Up, and gave it a more giddily inspired turn than the country diva. It's hard to fathom that these performers were not on anyone's radar screen pre-Idols, but that's the very point of the show.
Or is it? Just when you began to believe in the promise of these young entertainers, you were quickly reminded of how the series has provided a platform for a range of non-talents. (Charles Grigsby as pop star? Puh-leeze.)
But more distressing is how Idols has tried to mold a bona fide singer -- namely, Studdard -- into a sensation. Yes, he's got a sonorous voice, but he's also got all the personality of a lamppost.
The bottom line? Studdard is the sort of homegrown talent who's probably better heard in a local church or rec hall. But that's not where an idol belongs, let alone the American Idol. Too bad the show's victor can't live up to the hype.
charles_passy@pbpost.com

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2010, 09:04:49 PM »
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  TAMPA TRIBUNE - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2003, 08:47:48 PM »   

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American Idol Roadshow Running On Empty
By CURTIS ROSS cross@tampatrib.com
Published: Aug 14, 2003
 
TAMPA - Minus Simon Cowell's nasty Brit act and Ryan Seacrest's bleached brain drolleries, "American Idol'' is karaoke with choreography.  At least that's how it looked Wednesday night when the touring version of the TV talent show drew a crowd of 9,832 to the St. Pete Times Forum.  The show's first act featured solo turns by nine former contestants. They performed in the order in which they were eliminated, and it was hard to argue with the voters' choices. 

Of the first six, Julia Demato's version of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful'' featured the best match of performer to song. Trenyce tried gamely but had neither the legs nor lungs to take on Tina Turner's version of "Proud Mary.'' As for the rest, Charles Grigsby was forgettable, Rickey Smith was screechy, Kimberley Caldwell was Britney Spears-lite (if such a thing can be imagined) and Carmen Rasmussen did a Shania Twain song, which is never a good idea, even for Twain.

Contest winner Ruben Studdard did a fine job crooning in the style of Luther Vandross. When he ventured into other styles later in the show, as on the excruciating "Can I Get Your Attention,'' he was clearly out of his element.

The strong voice of second-place finisher Clay Aiken, a crowd favorite, was wasted on the paper-thin melody of "This Is the Night.''

Third-place finisher Kimberley Locke, however, looked and sounded great on Freda Payne's "Band of Gold.'' She was equally strong on later performances of Natalie Cole's "Inseparable'' and The Bee Gees' "If I Can't Have You.''

The second half of the show featured group performances and opened with a medley of the Rodgers and Hart standard "The Lady Is a Tramp'' and "Bootylicious'' by Destiny's Child, a pairing for which no one has been clamoring. It didn't really pick up after that. Then again, how could it?

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2010, 09:05:35 PM »
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  GO MEMPHIS - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2003, 11:24:46 AM »   

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Trenyce, Idols rock Pyramid
By Victoria Y. Morton - morton@gomemphis.com
August 17, 2003

When many people think of American Idol, they think of the cheesy renditions of classic songs that sound more like show tunes. But those who streamed into The Pyramid Saturday night for the "American Idols Live!'' concert clearly knew what to expect - a great show.

Memphis's own idol, Trenyce, along with Idol winner Ruben Studdard, runner-up Clay Aiken, and six other finalists from the show, took Memphis by storm, drawing a crowd of 10,264 to the 14,200-seat arena. Finalist Joshua Gracin is back in the Marines fulfilling his sworn duty.

Young and old piled into The Pyramid, many showing support for their favorite idol (mostly Clay Aiken) with homemade T-shirts and posters.  "I'm rooting for Clay,'' said 44-year-old Linda Sweeney of Memphis as she held her poster and an orange teddy bear for Clay. "I think he's a beautiful singer and a wonderful, Christian man.''
 
At 7:32 the arena went black and the American Idol theme music played. A video montage came on with Randy Jackson, one of the show judges, introducing Charles Grigsby, the first performer of the night. Grigsby got the crowd going with smooth R&B sounds and showed off some of his dance moves.

Up next was Julia Demato. Gracefully rising from the stage on a white couch, she did an impressive rendition of Beautiful by Christina Aguilera.
The crowd warmly welcomed Rickey Smith's high-pitched voice. He burst onto the stage singing, The Way You Make Me Feel.  "This is the home of the baddest female singer I've ever seen in my life - Trenyce!'' yelled Smith before introducing Kimberly Caldwell, who has come to be known as the "rocker'' of the group.  Although Caldwell's performance was weak and she seemed to have a trouble with the choreography, she looked great in her cargo pants as she sang Britney Spears's Stuck.  Next up was Carmen Rasmussen, who delivered a karaoke moment when she attempted to sing Shania Twain's Up.

The crowd seemed relieved when she finished and moved on to introduce Trenyce.  Everyone stood up as the Memphis native belted out Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary.  The upbeat tempo had the crowd dancing and singing along and flames shooting from the stage added to the excitement.  "You guys do not understand how much this means to me,'' Trenyce told the crowd. She also took time out to point out her mom.   "I'm rooting for Clay, but I think Trenyce is awesome,'' said Mary Joe McCarver, 16, of Bartlett.   Next were the last three finalists, starting with the classy and smooth sounds of Nashville's Kimberly Locke singing Band of Gold like a pro.

The Memphis crowd let it be known who they came to see, though, as they roared their loudest when Aiken's video montage came up and his voice echoed throughout The Pyramid as he sang the ballad This is the Night.

"Ruuuuuuben!'' was all that could be heard as American Idol winner Ruben Studdard's velvet voice won the crowd over. Cameras flashed and fans on the floor ran closer to get a better look at The Velvet Teddy Bear's dimples.  Studdard crooned classics including Superstar and Never Too Much and showed why he is America's Idol as he chatted with audience members and got them to sing along.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2010, 09:06:11 PM »
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  BIRMINGHAM NEWS - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2003, 11:09:05 AM »   

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Studdard, team idolized for performance
08/17/03 MARY COLURSO

It was easy to feel like Ruben Studdard's mama Friday night if you were in the audience at the BJCC Arena.  Easy to feel proud of Birmingham's favorite son, its TV hero, as he returned to his hometown in the American Idols Live tour.
           
Easy to clap along with the rest of the crowd during the sold-out show, which ran for two hours and 45 minutes, including intermission.  Easy to beam at Studdard's strengths on stage and forgive his flaws, because how often does our city produce a bona fide pop star?  Detached and cynical was not the way to approach the Idols concert, which featured nine finalists from the Fox television series.  Such an attitude would make you seem like a spoilsport on an evening when almost everyone else was indulging in unconditional fandom.

We were there to praise Ruben, not to bury him, as he sang amid the smoke machines, flash pots, fireworks, disco balls, video clips and glitzy production numbers.  Those who've followed "American Idol" this season knew exactly what to expect, including Studdard's soul- and gospel-tinged covers of "Superstar," "Flying Without Wings" and "Sweet Home Alabama."

A few notes missed the mark, but in general Ruben did a good job, popping into the program like an oversized cherub, strutting in T-shirts that read "UAB Blazers" and "Alabama" in graffiti-style type.  As a treat for ticketholders, Studdard tossed in a new tune from his debut album, "Soulful," which comes out next month. It had a rap-dancehall reggae flavor, jauntily expressing the sentiment that there'd be no Ruben without his family and friends in the Magic City.

Although Studdard was at his best as a solo act, he joined runner-up Clay Aiken for an amusing duet on "The Girl is Mine," participated in a fun Bee Gees medley and helped the three other guys with "The Lady is a Tramp."
The latter number seemed like an oddly chosen antique until it turned into a showbizzy battle-of-the-sexes romp with the female Idols, who countered with bouncy, aggressive "Bootylicious." The contrast worked.

Each member of the ensemble was given opportunities to grab the spotlight, from the coyly impish Aiken ("This is the Night," "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?," his next single, "Invisible") to brassy Kimberley Locke ("Band of Gold," "Over the Rainbow") to wispy teen Carmen Rasmussen ("Up!," `Let's Hear It for the Boy").

Aside from Studdard and Aiken, Trenyce emerged as the best of the bunch during her cover of "Proud Mary," channeling the fiery spirit of Tina Turner. When the "American Idol" hoopla dies down, Trenyce still may have a career.

Finally, let's not forget that bassist Alvin Garrett, a member of Studdard's old group, Just a Few Cats, was part of the team on Friday. It was a pleasure to watch him, and to listen, as Garrett - tasteful, understated - provided the pulse of the Idols' five-member band.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2010, 09:07:06 PM »
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  ST LOUIS POST DISPATCH - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2003, 02:53:00 PM »   

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American Idols Live!
By KEVIN C. JOHNSON Post-Dispatch
08/18/2003

Let's face it: The real reasons most of us watched "American Idol" for two seasons had nothing to do with the singing. We enjoyed hearing judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson bash the contestants and soaked in the manipulative drama as the dreams of singing aspirants were dashed weekly.

As for the music, it was merely a backdrop. And taken out of the competitive context of the show, as it is on the "American Idols Live!" tour that came to the Savvis Center Sunday night, discriminating fans are left with a heap of scraps with a few tasty morsels mixed in. For every Ruben Studdard or Clay Aiken, there were three Charles Grigsbys.

Grigsby opened the show, which drew more than 9,000 fans to the Savvis Center, with his rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do," marginal even by "American Idol" standards. The same goes for Rickey Smith, whose take on Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" left little reason to want to hear more from him. His question to the crowd - "Are you ready for your next act?" - couldn't have come too soon. Julia DeMato then followed with Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful."

At least they were really singing, which is more than can be said for some of the famed pop stars they want to become so badly.

One by one, the second-season "American Idol" finalists (minus Corey Clark, Joshua Gracin and Vanessa Olivarez) had their turn in the spotlights against the backdrop and visuals seen on the hit show. Kimberly Caldwell and Carmen Rasmusen, the visual stunners of the bunch, provided more to look at than to listen to on their "rock chick" numbers.

Performances got better as the set progressed.

"American Idol" winner Studdard, who closed out the show's first half, was in full Luther Vandross mode, his favorite, on "Superstar" and "Never Too Much." A sleek Trenyce, looking more much glam than her unearthed mug shot, came with "Proud Mary." As Tina Turner, she's no Beyonce, but we'll take her. Kimberly Locke brought reserved star power to Freda Payne's "Band of Gold."

Based on the screams he drew and the amount of homemade signs thrown up during his every appearance, Clay Aiken, who preceded Studdard, drew the most people to the concert. His fans are among pop's most rabid. Clay's overly dramatic "This Is the Night" was just what fans needed to send them over the top.

The show's second half, which contained many collaborations, had moments as painful and as pleasing as the first, beginning with the men offering bad cabaret on "The Lady Is a Tramp." The women then spiced it up a bit with Destiny Child's "Bootylicious," with the two songs oddly juxtaposed.

Studdard and Aiken exchanged some awkward dialogue as a prelude to an awful "The Girl Is Mine," and both previewed a song from their upcoming CDs. Studdard's "Can I Get Your Attention" was surprisingly awful as Studdard crooned and rapped something about thugs on the corner and shot-calling. He redeemed himself later on the faux-anthem "Flying Without Wings" and with Locke on the Janet Jackson/Vandross duet "The Best Things in Life Are Free."

Aiken's "Invisible," treated as though it were already a No. 1 hit by his fans, gave him a tiny bit of edge that "This Is the Night" lacked. Another song, Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," also showcased him well.

Locke sparkled on the classic "Over the Rainbow," while Trenyce's Whitney Houston routine on "I Have Nothing" and "I'm Every Woman" showed her strengths. Grigsby and Smith continued showing their shortcomings on Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." And a Bee Gees medley - featuring all the Idols and songs like "How Deep Is Your Love," "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" -ran too long.

As the Idols wrapped up the extended evening with John Lennon's "Imagine" and the flag-waving finale of "God Bless the U.S.A.," it was clear this was the last time we'd be seeing some of these people on a major stage. And we're left mildly soothed by that thought.

Critic Kevin Johnson
E-mail: kjohnson@post-dispatch.com
Phone: 314-340-8191

 
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