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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 10638 times)

Marilyn

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2010, 08:28:11 PM »
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  HARTFORD - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2003, 04:52:57 PM »   

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`American Idol' Live, Just How Cool Is That?
July 19, 2003
By ERIC R. DANTON, Courant Rock Critic

Clay, Ruben, Julia - all the "American Idol" finalists are soooo dreamy. And they were on TV, so they're famous, which means they must be talented, right?

Yeah, they must be, because not everyone gets to tour the country and sing to huge crowds in big arenas like the Hartford Civic Center on a Friday night.

And not everyone gets to sing so many songs written by other people - stuff by Christina Aguilera, Destiny's Child, Michael Jackson, the BeeGees, Prince. And omigosh, you know they were all on TV, right?

One of them, Julia DeMato, is from Connecticut, and it was totally cool that she got to sing that Christina tune "Beautiful" while sitting on a comfy-looking white sofa. She sang it with almost as much conviction as the original version, and so what if she didn't walk around much on stage?

The guy who came on after her, Rickey Smith, he sang a Michael Jackson song, "The Way You Make Me Feel." He was wearing these bangin' baggy jeans and a leather sport coat, and he sounded just like he'd practiced singing Michael Jackson songs a lot, maybe at karaoke bars.

It was kind of hard to hear this other woman, Carmen Rasmussen, when she did a Shania Twain tune called "Up!" It sounded like they turned her microphone down, which was so unfair - she was nearly on key for part of the song. You rock, Carmen!

Oh, and there was Clay Aiken. Maybe he didn't quite win the competition on the TV show, but plenty of people think he's their idol, and they had hand-lettered signs saying so. He sang "This is the Night," which was a little weird because he, like, wrote it. That seems like a lot more work than just singing someone else's words. Either way, people cheered and cheered for him.

The "American Idol" winner, Ruben Studdard, showed he knew where he was by wearing a UConn baseball cap - trés cool. He sang two songs, and then there was an intermission.

All the guys came on in white clothes in the second act to sing this famous old song that might have been about a Disney movie, like "Lady and the Tramp." Some dead guy did it a long time ago, someone called Sinatra something. Anyway, halfway through, the ladies came on, wearing the coolest tight black outfits (like they were saying, "Tramps? As if!") and sang "Bootylicious" to put the guys in their place. Take that, Sinatra!

Then Clay and Ruben did another Michael Jackson tune, "The Girl is Mine."

Later on, everyone did a bunch of BeeGees songs like "Jive Talkin'" and "How Deep is Your Love." Then Ruben came back out and did a song from his album, which is totally going straight to No. 1 when it comes out in September.

Clay got to sing his new song, "Invisible," in the encore, and then Ruben did "Flying Without Wings." The whole cast came on for "Imagine," which is about peace or something.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2010, 08:29:29 PM »
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2003, 05:41:43 PM »   

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Idols Make Late Night Hit At Black-Eyed Sally's
July 19, 2003

American Idols voted, and Black-eyed Sally's was the winner. On Thursday night, the downtown ribs and blues club got a call that members of the cast of "American Idol," here for their performance Friday night at the Hartford Civic Center. They wanted to come down and grab a bite.

"It hit me out of left field," said owner James Varano, who admitted he never got into "Idol" or any of the trendy reality TV shows.

But everyone else was psyched, he said.

"Then we waited and waited," he said.

It got to be 11:30, they closed the kitchen, and most of the fans went home.

A few faithful remained, and then about 11:45, the Idols arrived, complete with a video crew filming their tour.
"Word started spreading," Varano said. "People were calling their friends."

Yup, now we had a party. They re-opened the kitchen, served up some ribs, the Tim McDonald band started playing and the kids started singing. Varano ran home to get his camera.

"There was such a warm, fuzzy feeling," he said. "All these young people singing their hearts out. And they were good, too."

Mayhem broke out at one point when Varano was heard talking about a man named Simon, referring to the name of the show's producer. The crowd thought he meant Simon Cowell, the mean-spirited, boldly honest "Idol" judge.

The cry went out that "Simon was in the house," but order was soon restored.

Varano's watching those shows more carefully now.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2010, 08:31:21 PM »
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2003, 06:13:17 PM »   

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'Idol' hands do their work
By Jen Aronoff
News Contributing Reviewer7/20/2003
 
"American Idol" endeared itself to millions of TV viewers last spring, and Saturday night the Svengalis behind the "Idol" empire brought their "American Idols Live!" road show to HSBC Arena. Nine of the show's 12 finalists - minus third runner-up Josh Gracin, who took his surly country act back to the Marines - performed three hours of ballads, disco tracks, and pop and R&B classics. Calling "Idol" cheesy is like calling the sky blue, but those who love the show know there's more to it than that. Underneath the "let's vote someone off" reality-TV veneer lies a talent show that plays to people's karaoke dreams and celebrates the sheer joy of singing. Ultimately, the young contestants' charm and enthusiasm was what kept people coming back for more, and it kept a crowd of middle-aged couples, preschoolers, grandparents and - of course - teenagers cheering Saturday night, too. Without perma-grinning host Ryan Seacrest or caustic judge Simon Cowell, it was up to the finalists to carry the show, and after a stumbling start, they mostly delivered. Though few of the performances were likely to change anyone's mind about "Idol," they were almost certain to delight those who followed the ups and downs of the current season. During the first half the contestants - yes, even long-ago types like Julia DeMato and Rickey Smith - performed in the order they were eliminated. Those who were voted off earliest couldn't seem to make it through a tune without asking, "How y'all doin', Buffalo?," and their halfhearted dance moves proved "American Idol" is the search for a superstar singer, not a dancer. And as Simon might say, "Song selection is key." Too bad not everyone realized it: Kimberly Caldwell's husky voice adds a nice rock edge to anything, but did anyone really show up Saturday to hear her sing Stacie Orrico's current radio hit, "Stuck"? Indeed, nothing really seemed to stick until Trencye separated the also-rans from the winners with a scorching soul-punk version of "Proud Mary." Later, Kimberly Locke brought down the house with a soaring rendition of "Over the Rainbow."
And, of course, what would an "Idols" concert be without the top two finishers, both polite Southern boys: winner Ruben Studdard, the supersize R&B-flavored "velvet teddy bear," and runner-up Clay Aiken, the charmingly geeky, skinny ham with the rich, soaring voice. The two had the audience in their corner from the get-go, but they did better with the songs that weren't their own. Despite from-the-heart renditions, their best-selling "original" singles "Flying Without Wings" and "This Is the Night" were straight out of the netherworld of early-'90s adult contemporary ballads. With Elton John or Luther Vandross' songs, though, they took off. Studdard officially took the "Idol" crown, but he and Aiken were as close to co-champions as could be - and while the audience loved their "Ruuuben" - despite a slightly embarrassing R. Kelly-style slow jam from his upcoming CD - they were clearly "Aiken for Clay." His performance left no doubt as to why: He hits the high notes, charms the crowd, and has a surprisingly powerful stage presence. The audience could hardly catch a glimpse of Aiken without bursting into deafening screams, and he could hardly believe his success: He grinned and laughed as he basked in the adulation, and was rendered speechless by signs like "I'm pregnant and I'm naming my baby Clay." "Idol" fans may have heard much more from him by the time that kid grows up. Until then, they can rest assured that even in the face of pyrotechnics or scripted banter or songs like "God Bless the USA," talent won out in the end - just like on the show.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2010, 08:32:03 PM »
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2003, 05:41:52 PM »   

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'American Idol'-worshiping crowd gets its fill
Show is a family hit as polished singers take stage
July 21, 2003
BY KELLEY L. CARTER, FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Eminem and 50 Cent had nothing on Ruben and Clay.
Last weekend's hip-hop concert, which was lauded as the it-fest of the summer, brought standstill traffic to downtown Detroit.
So did the Sunday night's "American Idol" show at Joe Louis Arena.
Fans by the thousands -- parents, grandparents, black and white, young and old -- came to the sold-out show to hear their favorite personal "Idols" do it live and upclose. They got just what they wanted.
The "Idols" -- there were nine of them minus Westland native Josh Gracin -- treated the fans to a variety of songs made popular by artists such as Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and Ike and Tina Turner.
Signs filled the transformed hockey hall, telling all of Detroit who their favorite "Idol" really was: "Hercules, I love you," one said. "I love Charles," said another. And of course, there were the Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken signs.
As Kimberley Locke sang Freda Payne's "Band of Gold," her fans yelled out, "You should have won!"
"I thought that Kimberley made the biggest improvement. I think she did a great job tonight. Freda Payne would be proud," said Oak Park resident Joe Barrett, 36. "I think the show is energetic. It's a lot of fun, and I think the best thing is that it's a family show with no bad vibes at all."
The "Idols" knew how to play to the crowd. The showmanship was top-notch, and the singing was better than when the performers were on the Fox show.
They opened the show starting with the contestant who got voted off first, and each singer introduced the next act. They sang in front of a live band and moved fluidly with back-up dancers.
And of course Studdard and Aiken played up to the crowd just right, performing, "The Girl is Mine," together.
Katherine Matthews, 35, of Livonia came out to see Studdard, the man for whom she constantly voted during the show's run.
"I have his number on speed dial," she said.

Contact KELLEY L. CARTER at 313-222-8854 or carter@freepress.com.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2010, 08:33:41 PM »
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2003, 12:38:59 AM »   

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Live: American Idols Live!
Wednesday July 23, 2003 @ 06:30 PM
By: ChartAttack.com Staff
Air Canada Centre Toronto, ON
July 22, 2003
By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

I’ll admit it — I started watching American Idol II at the beginning of its season because I thought it was funny when the very British Simon Cowell told the very American contestants that they were "appalling" and "absolutely dreadful." But, by the time the AI group was whittled down to a tidy Top 12, I found myself hooked. I wanted to follow the fates of Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Kimberley Locke and the rest of them. I even came to love the show’s perky host, Ryan Seacrest. So, by the time the American Idols Live! Tour was announced, I couldn’t wait to go cheer on my faves (Kim L., Trenyce) and jeer the duds (Kimberley Caldwell, Carmen Rasmusen and Joshua Gracin, the latter of which was thankfully called away to military duty and had to pull out of the tour).
The American Idols Live! show is more like a professional wrestling event than an actual musical concert: TV personalities are brought to life and forced to spur on the crowd and ham it up for the in-house cameras. Still, while the program resembled the theme park song and dance shows that Cowell was always mentioning during the competition, it was thrilling to see the Idols in the flesh and fascinating to see how they’ve blossomed (or in some cases, floundered) after training with professional voice coaches and choreographers. The show opened with a performance by Charles Grigsby — the first of the group to be voted off — who has improved immensely since he was booted off the TV show. Dancing, crooning and charming the audience, Grigsby is more than likely on his way to securing a record contract and enjoying a career sans the stigma of being an American Idol winner.
After Grigsby, the rest of the Idols came out in the order they were voted off, with each performer singing one song and then briefly chatting with the audience ("We love y’all," "Canada is sooo beautiful," "Thank you for making my dreams come true"). The audience politely sat through it all, happy that some of the contestants, like Grigsby, had surprisingly improved (read: Julia "Son Of A Preacher Man" DeMato, Rickey "Hercules, Hercules" Smith) and resigned to the fact that others were just as wretched as they were on television (Caldwell, Rasmusen). But, when Clay Aiken rose from the middle of the stage surrounded by billowy fog, and later, when Ruben emerged, having already sung the first few lines of "Superstar" from offstage, it was clear that the crowd weren’t there to see the losers — they wanted the men who won.
After Ruben’s grand entrance, the AI kids took a brief intermission and then returned with a set of medleys (including a killer Bee Gees tribute that saw Clay opting for "To Love Somebody" instead of resurrecting his horrendous cover of "Grease"), group songs (there was something incredibly gratifying about seeing Kimberly Locke shaking around singing "Bootylicious") and solos from the top three contestants. There was a fair bit of tomfoolery — primarily between Ruben and Clay — but all in all it was a good, clean, family show, which was sort of sweet.
One thing was clear after seeing these kids play live — while Ruben Studdard was likely voted American Idol fair and square, the people’s Idol is, without a doubt, Clay Aiken. Before the show even started, girls (many of whom were clad in homemade Clay t-shirts with captions like "Proud To Be A Claynadian") and, in many cases their mothers (a couple of whom held a sign that read "Clay, We Left Our Husbands For You," making Aiken blush and yelp "Oh my goodness — I wouldn’t go that far!"), began to scream if a picture of Clay appeared on the video screen. Despite all of his creepy (albeit endearing) wholesomeness, the boy is indeed an unlikely teen idol.
But, if Clay Aiken is the Idol of the people
, Kimberley Locke is the Idol of the true music fan. While Ruben may be the Velvet Teddy Bear, Locke’s voice is warm honey. While she was classy all the way through the show, it was her rendition of Natalie Cole’s "Inseparable" that really made the crowd gasp. If Ruben and Clay become reality TV has-beens in a year or two, Locke will likely have the stamina to become a career artist.
And that was that. Despite a bizarre finale of "God Bless The U.S.A." (complete with flashy pyro), American Idols Live! was actually a fairly touching experience. Sure, it’s has very little to do with what Canadian Idol’s Zack Werner would call "artistry" and the entire thing is little more than a big karaoke party. Still, there’s something nice about seeing regular kids from small town America getting a crack at stardom (when Ruben thanked the audience for making his dreams come true, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house). Either way, for all the AI kids’ awkwardness, compared to all of the pre-fab pop stars out there, it was nice to see a bunch of diamonds in the rough halfway through the process of being polished into superstars.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2010, 08:34:35 PM »
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2003, 09:41:59 AM »   

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Screams, tweens greet the 'Idol' troupe
07/24/03  Clint O'Connor
Plain Dealer Reporter

Idolmania roared into Cleveland last night. It was high-energy, highly entertaining and invoked a great deal of screaming.
Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and seven other "American Idol" finalists were a resounding hit at the sold-out Cleveland State University Convocation Center. Backed by a five-piece band, dancers and a horde of video clips, the idols sang, joked with the audience and managed to display a genuine freshness, despite all of their prime-time TV exposure.
Each singer had at least one solo. The second half of the show featured pop medleys and male versus female singathons. The audience was packed with lots of young girls - and parents who were grooving right along.
"I had to come," said Rachel Reichlin, 11, of Canal Fulton. "I loved the competition on the TV show, and I like it that America got to vote."
America picked Studdard last May. But runner-up Aiken also received a lot of high-pitched adulation last night. The duo were clearly the best singers of the bunch. Aiken performed his hit, "This is the Night," while Studdard opened with "Superstar," and Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much." Kimberly Locke belted out a beautiful "Inseparable," Trenyce shook up "Proud Mary," and Aiken teamed with Rickey Smith and Oberlin's own Charlie Grigsby for a moving rendition of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody."
Studdard and Aiken showed their winning chemistry as they accepted gifts of underwear (male and female) from fans in the front row. Studdard even scored some nachos.
The phenomenally successful Fox TV show, which starts its third season next January, has already spawned a No. 1 album, No. 1 single, a spin-off show for younger performers and two successful, well-produced concert tours.
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: coconnor@plaind.com, 216-999-4456

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2010, 08:36:27 PM »
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2003, 10:54:12 AM »   

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Aiken no runner-up with CSU crowd
American Idols Live! tour not much more than glorified karaoke
Malcolm X Abram / Beacon Journal

First, a little bit of disclosure.
Out of the two seasons of Fox's phenomenonally successful show American Idol this reviewer has seen a total of about 40 minutes.
I neither got to "know'' the contestants nor felt any emotional stake in their relative success or failure, or caught the fervor millions of people seem to feel for the show and people on it.
Consequently, the sold-out American Idols Live! show at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center was like stepping into a bizarro world where the mere sight of a 350-pound black man and his scrawny, geeky, pale buddy could elicit shrieks of hormone-fueled delight from thousands of tweenies and pubescent girls and their chaperones.
To be fair, there were plenty of adults doing their share of noisemaking. But the at-times deafening din was dominated by young girls, with runner-up Clay Aiken drawing most of the screams.
The first half of the two-hour show featured the top nine finalists (marine Josh Gracin wasn't available), who each performed one song in the order they were booted off the show. Each singer introduced the next followed by a brief montage apparently to remind the audience for whom they were screaming.
Oberlin native Charles Grigsby (who had family members in the audience) warbled his way through an R&B tune, then gave way to Julia DeMato, who performed a subdued version of Christina Aguilera's Beautiful.
Next the jubilant Rickey Smith did a reasonable job with Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel, followed by perky Kimberly Caldwell, who sang Britney Spear's Stuck about as well as Spears herself.
Carmen Rasmusen's take on the dance version of Shania Twain's Up was as boring as the original. Popular mono-monikered Trenyce (who also had family in the audience) did a decent Proud Mary in a micro miniskirt complete with faux Ikettes shimmying along with her.
Big-voiced Kimberly Locke showed her potential with an old Stevie Wonder chestnut, and then it was time for the big dawgs.
Clay Aiken may not have won the competition but he has won the hearts of millions of females. When he rose out of the floor for his solo -- and every other time he took the stage -- he was greeted by screams that would make a family of banshees jealous. His voice and diction are perfect for cabaret/Broadway (watch out Michael Feinstein!) and he performed his hit single This is the Night with ease and confidence.
Then came winner ``Rooooben'' Studdard, who performed a couple of songs by Luther Vandross, an obvious influence.
After a short break allowing fans to snap up merchandise, all returned for lightly choreographed medleys that ranged from decent (an extended trip through the Bee Gees catalogue to egregious (Studdard and Aiken resurrecting the awful Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney duet The Girl Is Mine).
Studdard also gave a sneak preview of his debut CD due out in September. But the song's club-ready, contemporary R&B/hip-hop beat and references to ``ballers,'' ``shotcallers,'' and ``thugs'' seemed lost on most of the crowd.
As concerts go, the American Idols Live! tour is essentially an elaborately staged night of good karaoke with a built-in and rabid audience for which Clay Aiken is king.
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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2010, 08:36:55 PM »
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2003, 08:55:20 PM »   

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*reads review*

hey.. they didn't even mention the good parts!

a fan threw up on stage a bib for clay that said "canada drolls for clay" which ruben put on him, and made him wear for at least 5 mins.

another fan threw up a pair of full-length long johns that said "100% authentic canadian thong.. EH!" which trenyce and kimberly c wrapped around clay.

a girl from manitoba wrote a very sweet letter that she attatched to a stuffed cow (i think) which ruben was reading quietly to himself and was like "clay.. this is beautiful".

when clay was trying to be serious, a cameraman put a person holding i sign that said "clay.. i'm pregnant!" on the big screen.. which really cracked him up.

for the last part, where he usually wears a hockey jersey, he wore a tshirt that said "I love T.O." (he didn't know wat it ment at first, lol) and a pair of authentic canadian moccasins, both gifts from fans.

i think those are most of the highlights, if you haven't heard already. :)
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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2010, 08:38:25 PM »
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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2003, 10:15:49 PM »   

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Idols Ruben, Clay Soar, The Rest Are Just TV Fare

WORCESTER- Fox Television's "American Idol" is a testament to commercialism in pop music. Why would one expect its national tour to be any different?

The "AI2" tour, as promoters call it, stopped by the Worcester Centrum Centre this weekend as part of its 39-city schedule.

In a show marked by karaoke-style covers, campy special effects and overused dancers, it is no surprise the true stars were the contest's winner, Ruben Studdard and runner-up, Clay Aiken. They were the only singers who did not require the distraction of flashy outfits, dancers or pyrotechnics to accompany them while on stage. The only attention-getters they needed were their voices.

The 2½-hour show was broken into two halves. In the first, each of the nine finalists sang a solo. Aiken was the star of the first half. The cheers before, during and after he sang his No. 1 single, "This Is the Night," were deafening.

Although visually, Aiken's was the simplest performance of the evening, he seemed to have the whole audience on the edge of their seats - and all he needed was a microphone and a black suit.


Studdard was also impressive. He gained immediate crowd support by "representing the 617" in a Red Sox hat. Although he has an impressive stage presence, he lacked the energy of Aiken during his first appearance, as he seemingly went through the motions of a Luther Vandross song. It was not until his encore, "Flying Without Wings," that he stole the show back from Aiken.

The second half of the show featured a number of group songs and medleys, ranging from an overly rehearsed version of "The Girl Is Mine" to a 10-minute tribute to the Bee Gees. This presentation was an attempt to feature all of the finalists numerous times. However, it ended up being a watered-down hour in which dancers and those finalists with more talent tried to cover for those who could not follow suit.

Aiken and Studdard were solid throughout the entire performance. They sang numerous duets with each other and with other finalists, such as second runner-up Kimberly Locke. One of the nicer aspects of the group performances was the comfort with which they shared the stage. Each singer seemed at ease with the other singers onstage and knew how to complement each other vocally.

The choreography may have come off as forced, but the singing seemed sincere. The most enjoyable group effort was a cover of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," which closed the show with fireworks and American flags - fitting for an American Idol concert.

The seven runners-up were hackneyed in their performances with a few exceptions. Kimberly Locke showed that her vocal talent is how she made it to No. 3, but her stage presence is what kept her there. Young Carmen Rasmusen showed vocal talent and maturity beyond her years, but was held back by the bubble-gum songs that she was forced to sing. Ricky Smith was the most enjoyable runner-up in his solo performance. He seemed relaxed onstage as opposed to the other performers who were desperately trying to stretch their 15 minutes for another few months.

The concert seemed to be a carbon copy of the TV show, even down to the commercial breaks. There was a 20-minute intermission during which commercials for Pop-Tarts, Gillette and "NOW that's what I call Music 13" were forced upon those fans who didn't leave to buy souvenirs.

The clearest parallel to the TV show, besides the commercialism, was the fact that when this tour is over, the winners will still be around and the runners-up forgotten.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2010, 08:39:52 PM »
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« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2003, 01:26:30 PM »   

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Spirited and talented group shows why they are America's Idols

Music Review/by Amy Amatangelo
Monday, July 28, 2003

American Idol Live! tour, at the Worcester Centrum, Saturday night.
The "American Idol'' Class of 2003 brought their American Idols Live! tour to the Worcester Centrum Friday and Saturday night. Like a high school yearbook, there was Most Improved (Julia DeMato), Worst Hair (Carmen Rasmusen), Worst Dressed (Kimberly Caldwell) and Most Likely to Succeed (Clay Aiken). Charles Grigsby, the second singer eliminated, was the first of nine performers. A good dancer, Grigsby was barely audible and is the contestant most likely to be working at the Gap a year from now.
DeMato emerged from underneath the stage lounging on a sofa and sang a surprisingly good rendition of Christina Aguilera's ``Beautiful.'' The hairdresser from Brookfield, Conn., would have lasted much longer in the competition if she had always displayed this much poise and talent. Taken out of the stress of the contest, they were all more comfortable and entertaining. Still sporting his million dollar smile, Rickey Smith delightfully covered Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel.'' Kimberley Locke and Trenyce commanded the stage like seasoned performers.
Four extraneous backup dancers popped in from time to time. Not that talented or professional (one dancer seemed to be constantly giggling), the dancers were, as judge Simon Cowell might have said, positively dreadful.
Runner-up Clay Aiken sang his single "This is the Night'' before introducing "your American Idol Ruben Studdard.'' Sporting a Red Sox hat and a delightful stage presence, Studdard sang the song that guaranteed him a spot in the final 12 - his show-stopping version of The Carpenters' "Superstar.''
The three-hour show used the same stage, special effects and format as the original tour. But while that show, which featured winner Kelly Clarkson and her cohorts, felt distinctly like a live version of the TV series, this felt more like a concert. That's probably due to the overall level of talent this time around and the fact that "American Idol 2'' produced two idols. With a powerful voice that belies his slight stature, Aiken outsang everyone, even the silky smooth Studdard.
After a 20-minute intermission, Aiken and Studdard did a suave duet of "The Girl Is Mine.'' Polar opposites in appearance and style, their debonair and blithe attitude had a distinct Rat Pack feel. These two could take their act to Vegas and do just fine.
The pacing of the second act was uneven and there were numbers that should be voted off the stage. The nadir of the evening was Caldwell, DeMato and Rasmusen's version of Pink's "Feel Good Time.'' Suffice it to say, Caldwell's confidence still far exceeds her talent.
But these kids are just so darn happy to be there and so darn grateful to the audience who made their success possible, it's hard not to root for them. "Thank you for giving me the chance to follow my dream,'' Studdard told the crowd.
After ending with the appropriate "I Had the Time of My Life,'' the gang returned for an encore. Aiken sang his upcoming release "Invisible,'' which certainly sounds like a radio hit. Studdard sang his current release "Flying Without Wings'' and everyone joined in on the American Idols' version of ``God Bless the USA.''

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2010, 08:41:18 PM »
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  PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2003, 12:23:02 PM »   

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It's amateur night as Idols Live rolls into town
By David Hiltbrand
Inquirer Staff Writer

The Wachovia Center - the venue formerly known as First Union - was christened Sunday night with a giant disco ball that glittered above the stage during the American Idols Live show. Activated for an extended Bee Gees medley, the ball was one of many extraneous flourishes in an evening of mix-and-match fashions, musical styles and eras. Disco? Much of the crowd looked too young to remember Mariah Carey.
The most jarring collision was a call-and-response involving all nine Idol singers, with the boys (dressed in ice-cream-white outfits) singing the 1937 Rodgers & Hart ditty "The Lady Is a Tramp" as the girls (in black) answered with "Bootylicious."
The fact is, none of the performers was ready for this jelly. While the singing was occasionally outstanding, the stagecraft at this training-wheels concert was busy yet banal, resembling a kitschy cruise ship revue. Carmen Rasmussen, for example, appeared in a frilly pink outfit and corkscrew curls the likes of which haven't been seen since Tammy Wynette's first tour.
Not surprisingly, this edition of American Idols was the Ruben and Clay Show. The series' top two vote-getters, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken got, by far, the most solos, the most time in the spotlight, and the most deafening cheers at the sold-out Wachovia.
If the CD preview each offered is representative, Aiken got the better material. His performance of "Invisible" was goosebump-inducing
. Studdard fared more favorably on familiar covers, such as "Superstar" and "Never Too Much."
But, please, no more singing together, guys. "The Girl Is Mine" hasn't improved with age since Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson first offered it as a duet in 1982.
The night's revelation was Kimberley Locke, who delivered puissant renditions of "Band of Gold," "Inseparable," and "Over the Rainbow." She even had her own rooting section with fans holding up placards for K-Lo.
The sign that got the most reaction, shown twice on giant screens that flanked the stage, boldly declared "Clay = Female Viagra." Studdard, whose wardrobe included an XXXL Donovan McNabb jersey, nearly collapsed with laughter when he spotted that one. When he regained his breath, he announced, "Now I've seen it all."
Aiken has undergone a startling makeover since his auditions for Idol, when he looked like Mayberry's Opie with caterpillars for eyebrows. He came out Sunday impeccably groomed in a tailored suit and tie that suggested the second coming of Bobby Darin. But as sex symbols go, the ungainly Raleigh, N.C., native is still closer to Austin Powers than James Bond.

All the other second-season Idols had similar chinks in their performance armor. There was energy, variety and talent on ample display at the Wachovia, but rarely at the same time.

Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2010, 08:43:02 PM »
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  WASHINGTON POST - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2003, 06:58:44 AM »   

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Orchestrated 'Idols' With Real Live Fans
By Arion Berger
Special to The Washington Post Wednesday, July 30, 2003
 
"The '00s make the '50s look like the '60s," whispered a friend halfway through the "American Idols Live" show at MCI Center on Monday night. Nothing onstage contradicted that statement -- not the treacly ballads, cute boys-vs.-girls pairings, simple choreography, G-rated audience banter or the nine fresh-faced kids putting all of this over with more accuracy than finesse.
But it was the larger picture that drove home the calculated appeal of the singers, the top tier of contenders from Season 2 of Fox TV's insanely popular talent contest. Image- and career-managed by television and record label suits, thrown out on a nationwide tour to intensify brand awareness among young audiences, the "American Idols II" singers are newfangled products of an old-fashioned idea -- latter-day "Bandstand" kids who are cast as the supply to America's demand. If Charles, Ricky, Julia, Kim C., Carmen, Trenyce, Kim L, Clay and Ruben won our hearts and dialing fingers on the show, Fox and 19 Management made sure we'd pay the piper (see the tour! buy the records! see the movie!), at least until "AI3" comes along.
The live show was as tightly controlled as the TV version, offering the small-screen look writ large, with elliptical bands of light hovering over the stage and the "AI" logo front and center. Each singer came out in order of disappearance to sing a familiar hit -- Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" for the wanly lovely Julia DeMato, "The Way You Make Me Feel" for falsetto specialist Ricky Smith, Stacie Orrico's "Stuck" for the token rocker chick in the bunch, scarily over-cosmeticized Branson blonde Kimberly Caldwell.
As the talent level inched upward, so did the quality of the performances. Stalking the stage from side to side gave way to burning the thing up. Trenyce, a female drag queen with a diva's intimidating presence, rolled out "Proud Mary" to the accompaniment of shooting flames and shaking dancers. Hers was the first performance worthy of the stage for something other than curiosity value.
Many audience members had come to see the Idols one and all, simply because they were the Idols. But the top contestants attracted fervent fan bases, and these made for a monkey-wrench factor that rendered Fox and its management team's calculations virtually moot.
Rotund, ever-smiling Ruben Studdard, a crooner whom Gladys Knight dubbed "America's Velvet Teddy Bear," may wear the "Idol" crown, but it was runner-up Clay Aiken, a lanky Southerner with an epic voice and flirty ways, who swanned away with the audience gold. From the number of homemade T-shirts, signs and earsplitting screams that erupted at his slightest peep, Aiken was the night's winner, if not the show's. (Studdard even joked about his own single peaking at No. 5 while Aiken's reigned at No. 1.)
He performed the FM-lite "This Is the Night" to the accompaniment of shrieks and swoons, indulging in heretofore unseen displays of emotion -- deep knee bends that brought the vocal lines swooping up from his toes, unexpected moments of stillness that snapped his voice into focus.
If Aiken has the charisma, Studdard has the charm. He teased the audience, acknowledged his mom, played to the nosebleed seats and did everything a good performer should do except showcase his voice. A repetitive hip-hop single from his upcoming album turned him into the Velvet Thuggybear, and his signature song, a painfully slow rendition of "Superstar," seems to be mostly made up of the word "baby."
During the show's second half, the kids relaxed and put on a solid, energetic theme-park-style revue, while the dancers frenetically enacted the songs. They pretended to be swanky (the boys in white singing "The Lady Is a Tramp"); they pretended to be funky (the girls draped over a motorcycle singing Pink's "Feel Good Time" to the hip-shaking delight of one skinny 7-year-old boy in my row).
They pretended to be couples, and pretended, for about 30 seconds, that the encore wasn't set in stone. They even pretended, during the Bee Gees medley, that Aiken's delivery of a verse from "To Love Somebody" was one of the glory moments in transcendent pop. When the whole thing culminated in a group sing of "God Bless the U.S.A.," with the dancers waving huge American flags as cannons boomed and sparks exploded over the stage, the audience had been forcibly transported by the hard work and good cheer. And if the result of all this micro-managed fun is one 7-year-old blissfully shaking everything he hasn't got, well, there's nothing bad about that.

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2010, 08:44:25 PM »
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  NEW YORK TIMES - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2003, 12:57:16 AM »   

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POP REVIEW | 'AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE!'
No Contest as the 'Idols' Sing for Fun
By KELEFA SANNEH

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., July 30 — Here's a great idea for a sport: get a bunch of boxers together, and have them beat one another up for hours. There would be no judges, no scores, no surprising victories or disappointing defeats. The athletes would be flailing away purely for fun.

That's pretty much what happened at Continental Airlines Arena on Wednesday night, when "American Idols Live!" — the touring version of "American Idol," the television program — came to town for a three-hour concert. There were no judges or audience polls, no dashed hopes or dreams come true. Just lots of singing — for fun, if that's the right word.

Notice how the name has changed: suddenly, everyone's an idol. Ruben Studdard, this year's champion, was joined onstage by Clay Aiken, the runner-up, and seven other losers, many of whom seemed to have forgotten that there was ever a contest in the first place. One balladeer called her counterparts "fellow idols," which seemed to undermine the whole premise. Somehow, a field of competitors has congealed into a singularly unwieldy (and more often than not, awful) vocal group.

The singers were introduced one by one. Trenyce roared her way through "Proud Mary." Rickey Smith pranced his way through Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel." Carmen Rasmusen mugged her way through Shania Twain's "Up." Mr. Aiken drew out long, smooth notes while raising his eyebrows and half-closing one eye. His version of "This Is the Night" was as competent as it was unpleasant.

Finally Mr. Studdard emerged, less impressive than Mr. Aiken but a good deal more charming. He has perfected the role of gentle giant, grinning widely and singing softly. His version of Luther Vandross's "Never Too Much" was a success in part because it had what most of the other songs didn't: a good beat.

The second half of the show was mainly given over to group performances. A few were perplexing (a girls-versus-boys hybrid of "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Bootylicious"), but most were just excruciating. For anyone wondering what "excruciating" means, the words "Bee Gees medley" should suffice.

Of course this everybody-wins honeymoon won't last very long; soon, the singers will have to start competing again, by making hits. This second, more interesting competition has started already. Mr. Aiken performed his agreeably shameless new single, "Invisible," built on a creepy fantasy: "If I was invisible, I could just watch you in your room." And Mr. Studdard did a messy version of his new single, a collaboration with Fat Joe called, "Can I Get Your Attention."

All night the singers onstage pretended that there was no such thing as competition, let alone failure, but at least a few audience members hadn't gotten into the spirit of nonjudgmentalism. Outside after the concert, two fans were discussing merchandise for sale. "Look, it's Clay's poster," one said. "I want Ruben's — to throw darts at it."

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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2010, 08:48:14 PM »
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  NO OTHER IDOLS BEFORE CLAY - NEWS OBSERVER ARTICLE
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2003, 09:41:45 AM »   

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No other Idols before Clay
The Raleigh crooner owns the crowds on the 'American Idols' tour

By MATT EHLERS, Staff Writer
Sunday August 3, 2003

For a chance to see him, or to touch him, to maybe tell him that you love him, you've got to put in the time.
So Katie Ciukaj sat. And she waited.
She was there with her friends at 11:15 a.m., more than eight hours before the appointed one. When it was time for lunch, they all scooted over to a nearby mall. No one could stay behind, on the chance that one would brush the glory while the others basked in the food court.
By 2 p.m., the quartet had stationed themselves beneath a shade tree, near a side entrance to Worcester's Centrum Centre. The "Pop Tarts Presents American Idols Live!" concert was to begin at 7:30 p.m. This group hoped to score some autographs and perhaps some pictures with the made-by-TV superstars and they were stocked with patience.
But Ciukaj, 19, didn't have much else.
"I don't have a lot of hope," she said with the sour look of a freshly booted "Idol" contestant. "I feel like if I meet them, I'll die. I'll die right on the ground."
Nine of them are on the tour -- Julia, Charles, Rickey, Carmen, the two Kims, Trenyce, Clay and Ruben. But there is only one Mr. Aiken, the Raleigh-born balladeer with the big voice and the knee-knocking wink that have made him a pop-culture icon at age 24. Ruben Studdard may own the "American Idol" crown, but Clay Aiken owns the crowds. He's the one they wait hours hoping to meet, the one they scream the loudest for.
After making it to the final round of the televised singing talent show, Aiken scored a No. 1 single, outselling Studdard's. He appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, traveled to London to record his debut album and became the darling of the tour, which hits Raleigh on Wednesday for a sold-out show.
Studdard has his fans, too, but all one had to do was look across the parking lot before the July 25 concert in Worcester to know what people in Raleigh have bragged about for months -- Clay rules. The Aiken T-shirts and homemade signs outnumbered the Ruben paraphernalia 10 to 1. And if the fan reaction in a faraway place like Massachusetts is any indication, Aiken can expect a joyfully riotous welcome this week in Raleigh.
"He has the best voice ever," said Ciukaj, a college student. "He's mesmerizing."
That's why she was willing to spend an entire day waiting for the chance to meet him and the other Idols. Ciukaj and her friends didn't even have tickets to the evening performance, as they planned to see the next night's concert at the Centrum.
Then a little after 3 p.m., the moment struck. Someone told someone else who passed it along that the tour buses were on the other side of the building. Everyone ran. About a dozen got to the door just in time to see the buses pulling up. Through tinted windows, Aiken waved to them.
Ciukaj put her hand on her chest. "My heart is racing."
Then Aiken's bus slipped into the building as a giant garage door -- and the dreams of the fans who hoped to meet him -- closed behind it.

There's a routine to the life of a traveling pop star, and on this Friday afternoon, Aiken's was pretty much on schedule. After hopping off the bus and sitting down to speak with a reporter, he and the rest of the Idols moved to a hospitality room for the fan meet-and-greet.
Seated side by side behind long tables, they were ready to say hello to about 80 radio station contest winners and assorted People Who Knew Somebody Who Could Get Them In.
With a couple of bodyguards in position and fresh Sharpies in hand, the line filed in. One by one, the crowd made up mostly of girls and their moms moved slowly along the table. First they met Ruben, then Clay, then all the rest. The Idols signed tour programs and posed for pictures, as fans nervously smiled and shook their hands.
Plenty of fans wore homemade Aiken T-shirts -- and one even asked him to wink, then took his picture. But of all the fans there, perhaps none was as excited as 14-year-old Kelly Sullan.
Kelly and her mom, Sheryl, drove in from their home in Amherst, N.H., for the big show. They arrived early, hoping for a chance to meet Aiken. Kelly is a dedicated fan, having designed www.aikenforclay.com with a friend.
Outside the venue during the afternoon, Kelly asked anyone who looked like they could be important whether they knew how she might get backstage. For a while, she had no luck, but then she happened upon a whole bunch. Kelly recognized one of the tour's bodyguards from a photograph taken by a friend at an earlier tour stop. She approached the man, who was impressed by her fandom and her art. Kelly carried a portfolio of her computer-generated Aiken-inspired art work, which she hoped to present to her Idol.
The bodyguard added her to the meet-and-greet line.
Kelly and her mom stood at the end, out of sight of the superstars. They were in line for at least 15 minutes before she got her first glimpse.
"Oh my God, he's right there," Kelly said to no one in particular. "He's even more gorgeous in person."
Then she looked closer. Dressed in an Old Navy T-shirt, track pants and flip-flops, and without his famous spiky 'do, Aiken looked like a college kid on summer break. "Oh my God, I love his shirt."
The nearer they got to the table, the more nervous Kelly became. The anticipation was almost too much, as her face burned bright red and she wiped her sweaty hands on her jeans.
"I don't want him to think I'm a psycho," she said to her mother, who gave her a bit of advice.
"Talk slow."
When it was their turn, Kelly proudly opened her portfolio to show him her work.
Aiken smiled.
"How do you do that? " he asked. "That's really impressive."
After explaining the ins and outs of the computer programs she used, and putting in a plug for her Web site, Aiken asked her to sign the portfolio.
"Oh, gosh," she said. "Are you serious?"
"Absolutely."
So she did, and then she gave him a hug. Kelly and her mom were the last to leave.
As soon as they got out of the room, Kelly grabbed her mom, gripped her in a hug, and cried. Not a sniffling sob or a handful of tears, but a full-on I-can't-believe-it wail.
Kelly had hoped that she could keep her tears inside until she was out of Aiken's eyesight. She didn't want to seem like a babbling schoolgirl in front of her hero. Then she pulled it together.
It was nearly show time.

Inside the arena, 11,000 fans packed the Centrum for the first of two sold-out shows. Merchandise vendors did great business hawking $30 T-shirts and $10 posters. Moms pressed to the front of the line clutching handfuls of $20 bills, scooping up Aiken T-shirts for their daughters.
The concert started right on time, with a live band pumping out the tunes for the young singers, who appeared in the order in which they were kicked off the show. There were Shania Twain covers and Michael Jackson covers, and all the lights, smoke and pyrotechnics one would expect for a first-rate arena show.
After each singer finished a tune, he or she would introduce the next one, and video clips from "American Idol" played on the big screens. As Julia gave way to Rickey and Trenyce, the crowd became more and more anxious. Then Kimberly Locke, who made the round of three, introduced the man they were waiting for.
Those in the crowd who were sitting, rose. The girls screamed. The signs, including, "Clay, will you wink at me?" and "Aiken for backstage passes" went into the air. And Aiken, dressed in a dapper black suit and with his hair properly mussed, sang his hit, "This is the Night." Camera flashes lit up the room, and Aiken belted the song as if he were doing it for the first time.
The rest of the show motored along much the same way. There were solos and group sings and silly between-song banter. The crowd applauded all the while, but saved its ear-piercing shouts for Aiken (and a few for Ruben).
Aiken worked the crowd, waving and winking and smiling. The ladies loved it.
Kelly, who has spoken with Aiken's brother, Brett, used that acquaintance to her advantage when she made the sign she held aloft. "Brett says blow me a kiss."
Near the end of the show, Aiken saw her sign. He pointed.
He blew her a kiss. She blew one back.
A few minutes later, it was over. Kelly smiled a stunned smile and summed up her Friday. "I'm completely deaf and I'm losing my voice, but this was the best day ever."
Bliss.

Staff writer Matt Ehlers can be reached at 829-4889 or mehlers@newsobserver.com.
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Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2010, 08:49:59 PM »
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  PROVIDENCE JOURNAL - CONCERT REVIEW
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2003, 10:16:26 AM »   

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IDOL AUDIENCE IS LIKE PUTTY IN CLAY'S HANDS
Andy Smith, Journal Staff Writer

Television has been an integral component of American pop stardom ever since Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. But seldom has the connection been as direct and dramatic as Fox's hit American Idol, which manufactures stars out of thin air.

For those who can't get enough of their Idol's on the tube, there is also the American Idol tour, which --no joke--is sponsored by Pop Tarts.

The Idols came to the Dunkin Donuts Center last night, and packed the place. There were lots of families on hand, and many fans waved signs supporting a favorite Idol, most often Clay Aiken, the skinny guy with the big pipes.

The rotund Ruben Studdard actually won the American Idol competition, but it was Aiken who received the loudest screams on stage.
Of course, it's one thing to watch a TV show, it's another to shell out hard-earned money (tickets were $46.50, 36.50 and $26.50) and drive downtown on a hot summer night.

Moreover, the concert lacked some of the things that supposedly make the show so popular - the competition, the pressure, the nasty comments from judge Simon Cowell.

Nah, said the 45 year-old Karen Dunham of Worcester, who was wearing a Clay Aiken t-shirt and attended her third American Idol tour concert.

This is better than the show. Nobody get kicked off, you don't have to listen to Simon, I got tired of Simon.

Perhaps the participatory element within the show -viewers get to vote on who stays in the competition - is the secret.
Perhaps fans identify with ordinary people who are suddenly catapulted into stardom. Or maybe they just want to see Clay.

The producers of the American Idol tour cannily worked to combine the appeal of a concert- glizty set, live band, lots of pyrotechnics-with plenty of reminders of the TV hit, in the form of clips that ran on the video screens flanking the stage.

In the show's first half, the nine Idols each got a solo turn, with predictably mixed results. Charles Grigsby, for example, barely made an impression, while Ricky Smith came through with a jubilant version of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel".

Sure enough, Aiken showed the most talent and stage presence, starting with a soaring version of "This is the Night".

Studdard's "Superstar" seemed stolid by comparison. Studdard
is frequently compared to Luther Vandross, and he did a better job on the Vandross tune, "Never too Much".

The show's second half mixed up the solos with duets and group sings, which ranged from an absurd attempt by the women to sing rock 'n' roll to a decent Bee Gees medley.

Both Aiken and Studdard have albums on the way and each showcased a new song.

Studdard's attempt to inject a hip-hop influence into this sound was labored and unconvincing. Aiken's "Invisible" sounded like a hit.

The show ended with a couple of group singalongs, first John Lennon's "Imagine" and then "God Bless the USA" complete with fireworks and giant sparklers.

Lennon is probably spinning like a top...
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