Archive => Media & Appearance Archive => Topic started by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 07:57:23 PM

Title: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 07:57:23 PM
« on: June 25, 2003, 09:36:10 PM »   

Coming soon to a town near you?!

Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, MN
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (651) 989-5151, and

United Center - Chicago, IL
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (312) 559-1212, and

Nationwide Arena - Columbus, OH
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (614) 431-3600, and

Conseco Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, IN
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (317) 239-5151, and

US Bank Arena - Cincinnati, OH
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (513) 562-4949, and

Mellon Arena - Pittsburgh, PA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (412) 323-1919, and

First Union Arena - Wilkes-Barre, PA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (570) 693-4100, and

Hartford Civic Center - Hartford, CT
Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone
(860) 525-4500, and If tickets remain, also at the box office beginning Sunday, May 18th at 10AM.

HSBC Arena - Buffalo, NY
Tickets are available at box office, all outlets, charge by phone (888) 223-6000 and

Joe Louis Arena - Detroit, MI
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (248) 645-6666, and

Air Canada Centre - Toronto, ONT
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (416) 870-8000, and

CSU Convocation Center - Cleveland, OH
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (216) 241-5555, and

Worcester's Centrum Centre - Worcester, MA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (617) 931-2000, and

First Union Center - Philadelphia, PA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (215) 336-2000, and

MCI Center - Washington, DC
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (202) 432-SEAT, and

Continental Airlines Arena - East Rutherford, NJ
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (212) 307-7171, and

Nassau Coliseum - Uniondale, NY
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (212) 307-7171, and

Dunkin Donuts Center - Providence, RI
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (401) 331-2211, and

Pepsi Arena - Albany, NY
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (518) 476-1000, and

Richmond Coliseum - Richmond, VA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (804) 262-8100, and

RBC Arena - Raleigh, NC
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (919) 834-4000, and

Charlotte Coliseum - Charlotte, NC
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (704) 522-6500, and

Philips Arena - Atlanta, GA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (404) 249-6400, and

TD Waterhouse Centre - Orlando, FL
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (407) 839-3900, and

Office Depot Center - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (305) 358-5885, and

St. Pete Times Forum - Tampa, FL
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (813) 287-8844, and

BJCC Arena - Birmingham, AL
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (800) 277-1700, and

Pyramid Arena - Memphis, TN
Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone
(713) 629-3700, and If Tickets remain, also at the box office beginning Monday, May 19 at 10AM.

Savvis Center - St. Louis, MO
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (314) 241-1888, and

American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (214) 373-8000, and

Compaq Center - Houston, TX
Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone
(901) 525-1515, and If Tickets remain, also at the box office beginning Monday, May 19th at 10AM.

Ford Center - Oklahoma City, OK
Tickets are available at box office, all outlets, charge by phone (800) 511-1552, and

Delta Center - Salt Lake City, UT
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (801) 325-SEAT, and

The Pavilion at BSU - Boise, ID
Tickets are available at box office, select a seat outlets, charge by phone
(208) 426-1766, and

Key Arena - Seattle, WA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (206) 628-0888, and

Rose Garden - Portland, OR
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (503) 224-4400, and

Arco Arena - Sacramento, CA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (916) 649-TIXS, and

HP Pavilion at San Jose - San Jose, CA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (408) 998-TIXS, and

Arrowhead Pond - Anaheim, CA
Tickets are available at box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone (213) 365-6300, and

PopTarts ® Kellogg Company © 2003 Kellogg Company

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 07:57:57 PM
2003 'Idol' Tour Tracks Stronger Than Last Year
Sat June 21, 2003 04:33 PM ET

By Susanne Ault

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - The popularity of American Idol is reaching beyond the show once again. As soon as the picture faded on the second season, fans turned their attention to the Idol tour.

This summer's arena trek of the contest's finalists -- which include second-season winner Ruben Studdard and first-runner-up Clay Aiken -- is outpacing the ticket sales of the first American Idol road trip. That comes after the TV show's second installment beat the ratings of its debut season.

These two high notes go hand in hand: Logically, bigger TV audiences for American Idol's second round created a larger consumer market for the live shows.

Overall, the Tuesday/Wednesday average of the second season trumped the first by 71% among total viewers (21.7 million vs. 12.7 million), according to Nielsen Media Research. Typically, fewer people watch TV during the summer months when American Idol bowed, but its fall performance is impressive, considering there is more original programming competition during that period.

Expanding to 41 dates from 30 in 2002, the tour starts July 8 at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and wraps Aug. 31 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. Tickets range from $25-$45 apiece, the same as last year.

Tour organizers say planning adjustments for Pop Tarts Presents American Idols Live are also spiking ticket sales. Onsales for the 2003 concerts rolled out the week prior to the TV series' finale. In 2002, onsales kicked off after the TV show ended.

"The time before, there was a fall-off of attention. Here, there was an extra week of Idol mania, and it helped build sales," says Debra Rathwell, senior VP of AEG Live, which is promoting the tour nationally.

To illustrate, Rathwell says that in 2002, about 10 shows sold out immediately, 10 eventually filled to 70% capacity, and 10 were overall slow sells. This year, at least 23 are sold out, 10 are close, and five are soft.


Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 07:58:44 PM

« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2003, 07:35:24 PM »   

Clay Aiken gets a taste of Minnesota nice
C.J., Star Tribune

Published July 3, 2003

Clay Aiken reportedly can't believe how nice Minnesotans are. The "American Idol" finalist dropped by Q.Cumbers in Edina shortly before the end of Bonnie Gustafson's shift Sunday night. The idols are rehearsing at St. Paul's X for next week's start of their 38-city tour. Gustafson, a St. Paul Hancock Elementary School phy ed teacher who works on the side at Q.'s, said, "We got a call ahead of time that they were going to be sending somebody important. I have to be honest; I really didn't follow the show other than the last couple days. But he's so distinctive, it was real obvious who it was." After checking a CD cover, Gustafson has concluded that Clay was in the company of another idol candidate, Carmen, "and then the bodyguard who kind of stops interviews and that kind of thing." Gustafson said Aiken told her that the hotel recommended Q.Cumbers as offering healthier fare. "He said, This is awesome, we'll come back," she said. Aiken said he's trying to be more health-conscious while he's out on the road. "They were all very pleasant," Gustafson said. "I didn't want to bother them. He was like, Everywhere we go, people are so nice. I was making every attempt not to bother them. He said, I walked through Marshall Field's in St. Paul and this gal said, Come on over, I wanna meet you! You try to avoid bothering just for that reason. But they stayed and visited, and he was so nice," she said. "He said, Is everyone in Minnesota this nice? I said we're Minnesota nice until you get behind the wheel of a car, and then we have a different reputation."
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:00:15 PM

« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2003, 02:55:26 PM »   

Review: Familiar faces, familiar formula at 'Idol' concert
Jon Bream, Star Tribune
Published July 9, 2003 IDOL09
"American Idol" is the music world's hottest franchise.

The formulaic TV talent contest, now in its second season, is like McDonald's, providing fast-food stardom. Overnight, Clay Aiken, the "AI2" runner-up, and Ruben Studdard, "AI2" champ, sent songs to the top of the charts. Last year's champ, Kelly Clarkson, already has chalked up three hit singles.

In concert, "American Idol" is more like another formulaic franchise, Disney.

The second "AI" tour, which opened a 39-city trek Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, was very Mickey Mouse -- in both senses of the term.

The music was lightweight and predictable -- a lot of fluff, a lot of sentiment and a couple of Goofy moments. And the two-hour show was like an overproduced Disneyland/World variety show starring some familiar TV faces.

The crowd of 12,274 -- mostly preteen girls, as well as middle-aged women -- loved hearing songs from the show and hits from the radio. But mostly they loved seeing Roooo-ben and especially Clay in person. The screams for both rivaled the shrill thrills at an 'N Sync concert.

During the past two weeks in St. Paul, the "AI2" cast and crew have tried to put together a show that shows off the strengths of all nine singers. To ask cutthroat competitors to suddenly become collegial collaborators is about as daunting a challenge as asking "AI's" nasty judge Simon Cowell to become as sweet as fellow judge Paula Abdul. But these singers seemed to have a rapport and a sense of determination like a high-school drama club on opening night.

This tour is using the same stage set and concept as last year -- solo turns in the first half, ensemble numbers after intermission. One noticeable difference is that the singers interpret contemporary tunes -- including Shania Twain's "Up" and Stacie Orrico's "Stuck" -- as well as oldies by Tina Turner and Michael Jackson.

The biggest -- and most important -- difference is that this cast has two true stars. Last year's ensemble may have had more depth of talent, but no performer impressed as if their instant stardom had any kind of legs. (How big a bomb was last month's movie "From Justin to Kelly"?) But on Tuesday, it was clear that Aiken and Studdard could be contenders for a long time.

Aiken, 24, from Raleigh, N.C., showed true star quality. Not only was he a natural onstage, conversing with confidence and glee, but he also commanded the stage. He sang his No. 1 "This Is the Night" with schmaltzy aplomb, standing at a mike stand in a black suit. With his frail physique, spiky hair and elfin face, he looked geekily handsome, like Barry Manilow without the schnozz. He can match Manilow for sentiment and style, but he has a much more impressive voice -- strong and rangy with Broadway potential. And when he moved away from the mike stand and crouched for emphasis, the crowd went wild.

Aiken then graciously introduced Studdard, 25, your "American Idol." The big guy from Birmingham, Ala., did an abbreviated but unstoppable version of "Superstar," a favorite from TV. Studdard sweated like Whitney Houston, sang like Luther Vandross and seemed as lovable as a velvet teddy bear.

In fact, he showed a Vandross fixation. After "Superstar," he took on the veteran soul singer's "Never Too Much," but he couldn't handle the speed of the song. He seemed out of breath and out of sync. Studdard's "Can I Get Your Attention," from his forthcoming solo album, was a likable slow-groove party jam set to hip-hop rhythms, a stark contrast to the pop and soul of the rest of the evening.

During the second half, Aiken also offered a tune -- the catchy, can't-miss pop piece "Invisible" -- from his forthcoming solo effort. And befitting the Disney-like second segment, he did a heartwarming, somewhat understated reading of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."
Much of the second set was devoted to cheesy ensemble numbers. The long Bee Gees medley was crowd-pleasing fun. But Simon Cowell might have offered some scathing comments for the tasteless interweaving of four guys singing the jazzy "The Lady Is a Tramp" with four gals doing the funky "Bootylicious."

Cowell also might have suggested that Kimberly Caldwell dump her trailer-park perm and heavy mascara, and that J.Lo-wannabe Julia DeMato ditch the glitter on her eyelids. At least Carmen Rasmussen was able to pull off her Olivia Newton-John-does-Britney Spears look. Vocally, Kimberley Locke was the lone woman with the potential to move beyond the "American Idol" franchise. But this was all about the Big Macs, Rooo-ben and Clay.

Jon Bream is at 612-673-1719 or
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:01:37 PM
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2003, 09:32:34 PM »   

From the Chicago Tribune-'American Idol' tour on a roll
By Joshua Klein

Typically the music industry signs an artist, releases a record and later tries to develop an audience. In a brilliant twist, "American Idol" works the other way around. Over the course of several weeks the show fosters an audience, which then gets to vote for their favorite singers and their ready-picked songs. It's only at the end of the process that a winner is crowned and a single finally released, ready to be bought up by the show's millions of built-in fans.

Still, you can make someone a star, but you can't make that star stick. While the latest batch of fresh-faced winners and runners-up from the second season of "American Idol" seemed to be having a ball Wednesday night at the United Center, it was hard to overlook the fact that most would be put out to pasture as soon as the tour concluded. Or worse: They could suffer the fate of last year's second-place finalist, Justin Guarini, who was reduced to a punch line in record time. The embarrassing "American Idol" movie might have come and gone in a heartbeat, but mop-topped sop Guarini will remain late-night monologue fodder for months.

But "American Idol II" offered something its predecessor didn't have: character. This year's first- and second-place Idols, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, have rich, soulful voices, and, unlike last year's square pegs—Kelly Clarkson and Guarini— Studdard and Aiken already seem less willing to be pounded into round holes. No doubt some executive is working on a scheme to recreate the pair as more familiar Top 40 fodder, so the United Center was one of the last chances to catch them before the transformation begins. And in the case of the other performers, it was a last chance to catch them, period.

But for a while it seemed even that was unlikely. The show began nearly an hour late, and by the time the smoke machines sent their tendrils out from under the curtains, much of the not-quite-capacity crowd was booing. When Charles Grigsby finally appeared, few seemed excited; and Julia DeMato's take on Christina Aguilera's ballad "Beautiful" was too slow for the already sluggish crowd. Rickey Smith did an adequate job with Michael Jackson's upbeat "The Way You Make Me Feel," but Kimberly Caldwell and Carmen Rasmusen left little of an impression.

Thankfully, Trenyce perked things up with her rousing "Proud Mary," replete with Tina Turner-style dance moves, and Kimberley Locke showed off her better-than-third-place pipes. But the evening was all about Aiken and Studdard. When the former appeared on stage, the volume from his screaming fans nearly overwhelmed his voice. As things settled, it soon became clear his microphone was on the fritz. Looking sheepish as he more or less mimed his words, Aiken at least got to end his fraction of a song with a nice quip. "Hope you enjoyed that half a song," he joked. "The first half was off key, anyway."

Studdard received an almost-as-enthusiastic reception, which he used to fuel his slightly longer solo set (that is to say, three songs, including his take on the Carpenters' "Superstar"). Yet even in light of the epic delay at the start of the show, Studdard's set was followed by an audacious 15-minute intermission, which emptied a few more seats of parents and their sleepy kids.

Act Two began terribly, with a confounding boy-versus-girl sing-off that set "The Lady Is a Tramp" against "Bootylicious." Following Studdard and Aiken's duet on the insipid Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney collaboration "The Girl is Mine," it was all downhill.

A Bee Gees medley was disastrous, and a hip-hop flavored song from Studdard's album-in-progress showed how quickly the Velvet Teddybear could lose his charm.

If there was a winner of this perpetual competition, it was Aiken. While he and Studdard have comparably strong voices—and Locke threatened to better them both with her impressive "Over the Rainbow"—only Aiken has the natural charm to do justice to the "Idol" mantle.

Expect him to steal your heart when he stars opposite Studdard in the second "American Idol" movie: "When Ruben Met Clay." But let's hope he has the good taste to steer clear should such a terrible idea come to pass.

Chicago Tribune Review
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:02:20 PM
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2003, 12:06:36 PM »   

'Idol' worship not deserved
July 11, 2003

As much as "American Idol" has done for the musical careers of Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, the franchise is as much about making music as Dairy Queen is about making hamburgers.

Sure DQ does burgers, but it's the Blizzard you're after.

Sure "Idol" serves up hits, but it's the show fans are after.

So when the 39-city tour of Simon Cowell's Traveling Karaoke Carnival--culled from nine contestants of "AI2"--rolled into the United Center on Wednesday night, there were sideshows (an endless brigade of advertising led by Pop-Tarts and Stayfree), freak shows (Julia DeMato rising on a chaise longue from under the floor through a dry ice mist) and there was the big top: Ruben vs. Clay.

The Ruben/Clay question seemed as significant to the near-capacity crowd as the Splendid Splinter/Yankee Clipper question was to baseball fans in the 1940s or the Magic/Bird question was to basketball fans in the 1980s.

Their fervor was clear.

Cheryl Holmes of Chicago brought Laurice Williams, 8, and 13-year-old twins Bianca and Bonita Ross to the show because they all love "Idol" as good family entertainment. "We never missed an episode," Holmes said proudly.

But asked why they were really there, the four ladies let everyone in Section 113 know--"Ruben!"

Still, one row in front of the Ruben quartet, Mary Cooke-Hall, also of Chicago, issued a salvo of her own. "Clay is my boyfriend," Cooke-Hall said, "even if I am married. Just because you don't eat off the menu doesn't mean you can't look."

Musically, "American Idols Live!" is as prefab as a concert can get, one step removed from a theme-park extravaganza. There were the superbly understated five-piece band, four anonymous dancers and the nine Idols. Each was summoned to the stage by his or her "best friend on the whole tour," warbled a single cover, unleashed 13 "I love you Chi-Towns!" and promptly introduced, via video clip, his or her own "best friend on the whole tour."

Charles Grigsby introduced DeMato, who chased a vocal track of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" before introducing Rickey Smith, whose strut to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" was just a touch less convincing than the original.

Onward it went, through Shania Twain's "Up!" (by Carmen Rasmusen), past Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" (Trenyce) and through Stacie Orrico's "Stuck" (Kimberly Caldwell) until Kimberly Locke finally introduced Rolling Stone cover boy Clay Aiken, whipping the crowd into an ear-bloodying frenzy of Nickelodeon-sculpted screams.

Aiken seemed fully prepared to belt his single "This Is the Night." But his mike was dead.

Three-quarters of the way through the song he was given a new mike, completed the song, apologized and introduced Ruben, who slid through a Luther Vandross two-pack of "Superstar" and "Never Too Much" before announcing a 15-minute intermission.
The second half of the show consisted of a series of musical theater collaborations.

These included a battle-of-the-sexes morphing of "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Bootylicious" in which the lady Idols, dressed in all black, dueled the boys, dressed in all white.

And there was a Bee Gees medley in which Ruben emerged from the floor with a dancer under each arm like Superfly, while Clay flopped like a grownup Raggedy Andy tossed on a plush sofa at Studio 54.

By the time Ruben and Clay emerged to sing more of their solo work, many of the younger fans were surely getting tired because the show itself was an hour late in starting.

The extended wait elicited two energetic rounds of boos from the family-heavy crowd. There was a dimming of the lights, a flirtation of dry ice smoke and a bizarre animals-of-the-Serengeti video montage. But there were no Idols.

Then, suddenly, about an hour into the delay, one of the show's judges, Randy Jackson, appeared on a video message. And before you could say "Wait until after the show to call," Charles Grigsby was bounding across the stage looking like the long-lost member of Jodeci.

David Jakubiak, a Chicago freelancer, writes a weekly hip-hop column for WeekendPlus.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:03:11 PM
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2003, 03:02:37 PM »   

MUSIC REVIEW: American Idols not all on same scale
Special to the Pioneer Press

It's just not the same without Simon, Paula and Randy. I miss my dogs.
When "American Idols Live!" kicked off its national tour Tuesday before 12,274 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, there were nine finalists from the hit Fox TV show and none of the funny judges, unless you count an audio cameo by Randy Jackson telling everyone that Pop Tarts is sponsoring the tour.
While the nine singers — "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard, runner-up Clay Aiken and finalists Kimberley Locke, Trenyce, Carmen Rasmusen, Kimberly Caldwell, Rickey Smith, Julia DeMato and Charles Grigsby — had some nice moments, this was a show in serious need of judging.
Things started off with solo performances by each of the finalists, going in order from worst to first. Grigsby, who finished 11 spots from the top, came out hyped up and dancing, running around during an upbeat number.
Let's go to the judges. Randy: You know, dog, that wasn't bad. I like the way you move. Paula: I loved it! But the vocals could have been stronger. Sorry. Simon: Dreadful. Awful.
As DeMato, Smith and Caldwell took their turns in the spotlight, the talent level seemed to increase accordingly, though Caldwell's questionable wardrobe — a red crop top, military fatigues and high-heeled black boots — had the fashion police on high alert.
Highlights of the show's solo moments included the energetic Smith doing a fantastic Michael Jackson on "The Way You Make Me Feel," while Locke blew everyone away with a powerful version of "Somewhere over the Rainbow."
But the audience, which ranged from teenage girls wearing homemade "American Idol" T-shirts to 40-somethings, saved its biggest screams for Clay and Ruben.
When Clay started into his hit single, "This is the Night," the screaming was so loud it drowned out most of his vocals. When he appeared onstage later in the evening wearing a Minnesota Wild hockey shirt — well, our ears are still ringing. While Clay was the crowd's  clear favorite, Ruben's soulful voice on his hit single, "Flying Without Wings," proved America got it right.
But for a show that charged $46.50 for its top ticket, "American Idols Live!" came off as this: Nine amateur singers with some up-and-down performances, an utter lack of choreography skills and little stage presence, unless you count shouting "St. Paul!" several dozen times during a two-hour show as working the audience.
Again, let's go to the judges. Randy: You know you're all my dogs. I liked it, I liked it. It just needs some work. Now, when I talk to Mariah Carey. … Paula: Oh, shut up! It was great! It was fantastic. You blew me away. (Wipes a tear.) I love you all. Simon: Dreadful. Awful. I've seen better from all of you. Clay, Ruben and Kimberly were the only ones who truly belonged on that stage tonight. The rest of you have some work to do.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:04:19 PM
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2003, 01:21:05 PM »   


 Saturday, July 12, 2003
By Margaret Quamme

It's appropriate that the American Idol Tour is sponsored by Pop-Tarts. As synthetic as it is sweet, the show makes up in reassuring predictability what it lacks in subtlety.

This year's tour follows the template established last year. The first half of last night's concert counted down nine of the final contestants of the television show, allotting one song to each of the finalists and two to the contest's winner.

Though the mostly female audience that nearly filled Nationwide Arena gave the requisite cheers to each singer, they were clearly waiting for the last two appearances.

This year's selections bounced between pop classics and more contemporary pop and soul numbers, with many of the singers out-brassed by a synthesizer-heavy five-piece band. Julia DeMato gave a pallid rendition of Christine Aguilera's Beautiful . Rickey Smith seemed comfortable with a low-key version of The Way You Make Me Feel , but Kimberly Caldwell's pseudo-rocking Stuck and Carmen Rasmusen's uninspired Up didn't transcend the band's blandly similar settings.

The energy of Trenyce's Proud Mary rejuvenated the crowd, while Kimberley Locke's smooth and supple voice took over in Band of Gold.

But it was the next act that drew deafening cheers. Clay Aiken, wearing a suit and tie that contrasted with the more informal attire of earlier contestants, was elevated from beneath the stage to sing his unapologetically sappy hit This Is the Nigh t. Though his gestures were stiff, his voice was unforced and natural, and his endearingly goofy smile cut through pop-star pretensions.
This year's winner, Ruben Studdard, was greeted disconcertingly with a tumult of noise composed almost equally of cheers and boos. Making good use of a rich baritone, he sang two slow and soulful numbers, including Luther Vandross' Never Too Much.

After a 15-minute intermission, the group returned to do a cluttered second act, which included fragments of songs by all the singers, a hip-hop-flavored medley of Bee Gees numbers, and a jarring juxtaposition of The Lady Is a Tramp sung by the males and Bootylicious by the females.

The production didn't stint on special effects. Dry-ice smoke billowed, fire flared, colored lights glared, and singers rose from and descended to the depths beneath the stage with nearly every song. The video background favored the kind of psychedelic effects beloved by '60s movies: swirling colors, fluttering butterflies, and neon-bright amoebas.

The show throws several decades of pop music into a blender and gives it a whirl, with results both colorful and insubstantial.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:05:39 PM
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2003, 05:20:40 AM »   

Concert Review
American Idols' tour improves from 2002

By David Lindquist

If you're the type of person who's waiting for the "American Idol" craze to fade, this report will offer little hope.

The second touring franchise of the Fox television series rolled through Indianapolis on Saturday, and there were notable improvements from the first edition's visit in November.

By actually having top dogs Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken sing current hits and upcoming releases, the show boasted better preparation. Kelly Clarkson had a hit single last time around, but the final curtain fell without the song being sung.

And while the 2002 show featured random Stevie Wonder selections in fits and spurts, the new production pays organized tribute to the Bee Gees.

Of course, the biggest draw for the estimated audience of 9,500 at Conseco Fieldhouse was the chance to see Studdard and Aiken in the flesh.

The concert's first half consisted of solo showcases for all nine Idols. For Studdard and Aiken, the tunes perfectly fit their personas.

Studdard transformed the Carpenters' "Superstar" into a cascading volcano of soul, while Aiken nailed his easy-gliding ballad "This is the Night."

The official competition went Studdard's way this spring, but Aiken is proving to be a bigger seller in record stores. His hot streak continued in Saturday's live setting, where he was quicker with a quip and stronger with a lyric.

After an audience member tossed something past Aiken's face and into the carpet of dry ice that lined the stage, the singer responded with deadpan self-deprecation: "If those are somebody's panties, I'm out of here."

Luckily, the item was a harmless knitted-doll likeness of Aiken himself.
When the duo re-created the roles of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney for "The Girl Is Mine," Aiken displayed twice the vocal range.
Studdard failed to wow when attempting to generate excitement for his upcoming solo album. A sneak peek of "Live It Up" sounded like "Hip-Hop for Dummies" as written by Carson Daly. The song's best line -- "The party don't stop until we hit the IHOP" -- fell to a backup singer.

For the rest of the "AI" players, this tour amounts to a public parade toward obscurity.
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:08:11 PM
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2003, 04:29:25 PM »   

Ruben Studdard Confronted By Rabid Claymates At Tour Stop
07.14.2003 2:11 PM EDT

CINCINNATI — "American Idol" Ruben Studdard is lucky he has a healthy ego.

Not only is "Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken beating the champ on the Billboard singles charts, but on the fifth stop of the "Idol" summer tour, the spiky-haired crooner proved that he's winning the battle for the hearts and minds of "Idol" fans across the country.

Even before the nine "Idol" finalists took the stage at U.S. Bank Arena Sunday night to perform a nearly two-and-a-half-hour medley of covers, the mere sight of Clay's face on the two Jumbotron screens flanking the massive neon ballroom set was enough to elicit deafening screams of approval from the more than 9,000 (mostly preteen) female audience members.
But, once Ruben calmly waltzed out in a denim suit and Yankees cap 35 minutes into the show to sing the Carpenters' "Superstar," it was clear why the "velvet teddy bear" took the crown. Studdard's smooth vocal styles and his million-watt smile were enough to win over the "Claymates," drowning as they were in a sea of partisan signs ("Every day is Clay day," "Clay is the word," "Achin' 4 Clay," "I've been Claymazed" and perhaps most stinging, "Clay was robbed"). Amid a parade of countless questionable fashion choices and enough dry ice fog to fill a stadium, the shrieking fans also got a chance to hear a preview of songs from both Studdard and Aiken's debut albums, both due in the fall.

Ruben was notoriously unflappable during his "Idol" run, but the no-pressure, good-time vibe of the tour proved that the other finalists — sans flame-haired singer Vanessa Olivarez, who didn't make the trip, Marine Joshua Gracin, who was called back to duty, and Corey Clark, who was uninvited due to his legal entanglements — earned their spots as well, even if their futures as performers don't seem quite as bright.

After a taped introduction from judge Randy Jackson and the first of a dozen live vamps on the thumping "Idol" theme song from the five-piece live band, Charles Grigsby took the stage in a crisp NBA throwback ensemble for a spirited run-through of Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do." His set was a good barometer of the evening's cross-generational appeal. While the kids cheered his hip-hop dance moves, parents grooved to the classic soul tune and a few likely got a chuckle from the two male backup dancers sporting Sex Pistols T-shirts.

Grigsby graciously introduced a video montage of Julia DeMato highlights, and the satin-tuxedo-clad singer rose to the stage through a mid-set trap door and a haze of dry ice fog while reclining on a couch and singing Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." Lanky Rickey Smith busted out his falsetto for Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," Kimberly Caldwell did her Pink-style rocker chick thing, adorable Carmen Rasmusen impersonated country pop singer Shania Twain, Trenyce brought some gospel soul to the party and Kimberley Locke channeled soul diva Aretha Franklin as she sang Freda Payne's 1970 hit "Band of Gold."

It was Clay they wanted, though. When the slight singer with the perfectly tousled hair finally emerged, the arena exploded in flashbulbs and screams. With an uncharacteristic five o'clock shadow, Aiken made his way down one of the stage's two grand staircases as he sang his current single's sweeping B-side ballad, "Lift Me Up." The cheers were a bit quieter for Ruben, but the "Idol" champ got the crowd on its feet with his cover of the uptempo Luther Vandross hit "Never Too Much." Just to prove how good a sport he is, Ruben even grinned as he asked the girl holding the "Clay Was Robbed" sign to lift it up higher so he could see it.

After a short intermission, the "Idol" boys, all dressed in white and singing "The Lady Is a Tramp," squared off against the girls, all dressed in black and shimmying across the stage to Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious." The collaborative vibe continued with Clay and Ruben awkwardly jousting over female conquests as they sang the Michael Jackson/ Paul McCartney duet "The Girl Is Mine," followed by the whole cast alternating leads during a 10-minute Bee Gees tribute.

In the inimitable words of judge Simon Cowell, the "real competition" started when Clay and Ruben unveiled songs from their debut albums. And, again, Clay seemed to have the advantage. Ruben's R. Kelly-wannabe hip-hop soul anthem, "Can I Get Your Attention," was a muddled mess of spare beats and cliched gangstaisms of the "ballers, shot callers, all my thugs and party don't stop 'til the sun comes up," variety.

The audience members seemed a bit confused by the street attitude, but they were clearly on board when Clay took his turn during the show's first encore. Clad in an audience-pleasing Ken Griffey Jr. Reds baseball jersey, Aiken sounded powerful as he performed the midtempo ballad "Invisible," which mixed a slight rock edge with Aiken's proven pop balladeer persona and a somewhat creepy lyric. 
"If I was invisible/ Then I could watch you in your room/ If I was invisible/ I could make you mine tonight," Clay sang, adding the computer-morphed aside, "Wait, I already am." Not surprisingly, the song brought down the house, though Ruben quickly regained the love with a commanding, soul-stirring rendition of his signature hit, "Flying Without Wings."

The whole cast emerged once more for a respectful cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" and a flag-waving, fireworks-sparking finale of "God Bless the U.S.A." that brought the heartland audience to its feet. For now, Ruben may have the crown (and a seriously bling watch), but as long as he keeps seeing signs like "Let's Get Clay-Z," the big man will have to work hard to stay one step ahead of Clay.

—Gil Kaufman     

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:10:32 PM
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2003, 12:01:35 AM »   

Hooters customers get to indulge in 'Idol' worship
C.J., Star Tribune
Published July 15, 2003 CJ15
Maybe we didn't see more of Ruben Studdard when he was here with the "American Idol" runner-ups because the big guy was resting his eyelids. Roo-ben certainly wasn't able to keep those lids at half-staff long enough to take a photo with Prior Lake's Cindy Pasbrig. Many thanks to Kim Mitchell for pestering Pasbrig into calling me. Pasbrig, owner of Taco John's franchises in Savage and Rosemount, took a night off from Mexican fare to dine at Hooters a week before the "AI" show at St. Paul's X. She was entertaining a cousin from Denmark, Maria Vingaard, at the MOA restaurant when her brother Gary Lund saw Clay Aiken. "I said, 'No, it is not," Pasbrig said. She reversed course when she saw Kimberley behind Clay. "I saw Clay and said, 'Can I get a picture?' and he said, Sure. We got our picture and then he said, Well, Ruben's on his way. I said, 'How come you're at Hooter's?' " Excellent question. "He said, Because that's where Ruben wanted to eat. I said, 'Well, how come Ruben gets to decide?' and he said, Because he's bigger than I am. I thought that was funny," Pasbrig said, laughing. As she explained the "AI" frenzy to cousin Maria, she noted that another cousin, Maj-Britt Vingaard, spent three months here and never missed an episode of the FOX show.

A man of few words

Roo-ben walked into Hooter's with Idol Trenyce and took a seat at the head of the table. Cindy Pasbrig wanted a picture, but she didn't approach him. "I'm not going to bug him while he's eating," she thought. "Finally, he looked at me. I said, 'Can we get a picture?' I don't know if he said Yeah or kind of nodded. Then he stood up and we got our picture." Roo-ben didn't say anything. Not even You're welcome. The guy always looks dawg tired, and he probably is now that everybody wants a piece of him. As a mother and her young son queued up, Pasbrig saw Roo-ben's security guy go into protective mode. "Like he needs a bodyguard," she said. "His bodyguard was smaller." Ruben is not yet watching his weight if he's eating at Hooter's. "I just saw he was offered a Jenny Craig spot if he lost weight," Pasbrig said. "Where did I see that? You know, the most important paper ever, right, the National Enquirer." Although Roo-ben would be healthier at a lower weight, Pasbrig isn't judging. "When you look at the American Idol thing, you've got Kimberley who's heavy, Ruben who's extremely heavy and then you've got the geeky Clay. Yea, America, for finally saying you don't have to have the certain look to be able to make it."

Wake up and smile!

Maria Vingaard thought it would be so cute if Clay Aiken talked to her cousin Maj-Britt Vingaard in Denmark. "It's 9:30 p.m. while we're at the restaurant and 4:30 a.m. in Denmark," said Cindy Pasbrig, who quickly decided "so what, let's dial it up." Cindy told Maj-Britt there was somebody who wanted to talk to her. Startled from a dead sleep, Maj-Britt probably thought the drawling caller was from another world. How y'all doin? It's Clay Aiken from American Idol. Just a minute, we're going to get our picture taken. He held the phone up and said Smile.
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:19:08 PM
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2003, 02:06:54 PM »   

Aiken Steals The Show - July 15, 2003
Other 'Idols' perform admirably but runner-up on top

By Mandy Jenkins
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Clay Aiken may not be the American Idol, but he is America's sweetheart, hands down. He owned the audience at U.S. Bank Arena before ever stepping on the stage Sunday night as part of "American Idols Live."

Even though the audience greeted Charles Grigsby, Julia DeMato, Kimberly Caldwell, Rickey Smith, Carmen Rasmusen, Kimberly Locke, Trenyce and TV show winner Ruben Studdard with exuberant screams, their hearts belonged to Aiken. Those cheers moved from exuberant to deafening the moment the geek-chic charmer appeared on stage to sing the soaring "This Is the Night."  
Trenyce, Locke, Aiken and Studdard all have star quality. And each has grown in stage presence since the TV show, making the concert - complete with talented backup band and a multimedia presentation - more than just the overblown talent show it could have been.

The first five performers were all solid. The problem is, Grigsby sounds like Usher, Rasmusen like Mandy Moore, Caldwell a bit like Avril Lavigne and so on. It isn't that they aren't talented, but none has a unique sound.

Trenyce was the first performer to wow the audience, rocking the house with the rock gospel "Proud Mary."

Then Locke did a powerful cover of Natalie Cole's "Inseparable." Both have the voices for this music and seem to have the ability for more impact, given the right material.

Studdard's classic sound, however, is already being wasted. His rendition of Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much" proved he won the competition because of a voice made for an older R&B sound, but judging from his upcoming single "Can I Get Your Attention," it seems the industry execs are intent on making him into a new R. Kelly. The song was utterly common, complete with hometown shout-outs, rap riffs and empty lyrics.

Despite the occasional cheese, the three-hour show managed to keep both grandmas and grandkids interested by capitalizing on the fan-friendliness of the TV show. These were TV heroes, live in the flesh, and they kept their images to a tee.

Maygan Eldridge, 14, of Bellbrook, came to the concert armed with a homemade Ruben T-shirt and begged anyone who would listen for backstage passes.

"Ruben just seems so sweet, I'd give anything to meet him," she exclaimed. "I voted for him, like, 20 times."

Eldridge came out to meet her "Ruuuben," and she'll definitely buy his record when it comes out. She's exactly who this show aims to please. It succeeded admirably.


Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:20:04 PM
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2003, 03:46:54 PM »   

Music Review: Locke a standout on 'American Idols Live' tour
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
By Scott Mervis, Post-Gazette Weekend Editor

If you were dragged to "American Idols Live!" Tuesday night by your girlfriend, your grandma or, say, your job, and were hoping for a train wreck, you may have gone home disappointed.
The "karaoke death squad," as Rolling Stone called it, has been well trained to maneuver through a song while avoiding the trap doors and throwing out every show-biz cliche in the manual.
The tour, starring nine finalists from the Fox show (Josh Gracin, mercifully, is back in the Marines), drew about 10,000 fans to the Mellon Arena, many of them young girls, many of them screaming for Clay Aiken.  
The Idols came out in the order in which they exited, which is to say the show got better as it went along. Early on, we got featherweight Charles Grigsby in his B-boy get-up laboring through his R&B workout, Julia DeMato (rising from the floor on a white couch) sounding not dreadful on Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and Rickey Smith singing "The Way You Make Me Feel" like he just sucked helium (that voice would come in handy later on "Stayin' Alive").
Kimberly Caldwell, the blonde bombshell you just know Fox wanted to win all along, pulled off a look of rolled-up camouflage pants and pumps while sounding at least as good as Britney on "Stuck." After a feeble attempt at Shania Twain by Carmen Rasmussen, the charismatic Trenyce did Tina Turner proud on "Proud Mary," despite some ridiculous dancing on either side of her.
That brought us to the final three, where, as "AI" viewers know, it was a toss-up. Kimberly Locke, a singer in the Whitney vein, nailed "Band of Gold" and everything else she sung the rest of the night.
It was hard to hear Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" for all the high-pitched screaming. Simon Cowell is right about him. The kid who came in like Opie and went out like a young Manilow can hold a note and has a nice career ahead of him -- in Vegas or on Broadway. (Hold your letters, please, there's nothing wrong with that.)  
The "American Idol 2003" shuffled out in oversized clothes and crooked Pirates cap looking like a 350-pound kid. Once he opens his mouth, though, Ruuuu-ben Studdard is all man, evoking the great soul singers from decades' past, whether doing "Superstar" or "Nights on Broadway."
The second half began promisingly enough with a clever swapping of the boys, looking like the Mouse Pack in all white, doing "The Lady is a Tramp" and the black-clad girls strutting through "Bootylicious." The rapid-fire Bee Gee's medley -- great songs, well sung -- was a can't miss.
The last hour -- which would include Clay holding up a piece of flying lingerie and saying "Ruben, I got panties!" -- degenerated into a parade of fragments, pairings and duets that seemed determined to cover a day's programming on lite FM.
It was great entertainment for karaoke fans or people with wrecked attention spans. Just when it looked like "Time of Your Life" would put it to rest, they roared back with the obligatory "Proud to be an American" tribute and show-stoppers from Ruben and Clay.
Could the 2003 Idol have carried a 70-minute set? That remains to be seen. Studdard, who stumbled on a half-baked hip-hop song and soared on "Wings," left you wondering if he has the presence or energy for the long haul.
At the end of the day, it was Locke who displayed the most potent combo of soul, voice and presence. In the immortal words of Randy the judge, "It was awwright, dawg, I was feeling it."

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:22:20 PM
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2003, 10:26:31 AM »   

'Idol' live earns 8,000 high marks

WILKES-BARRE TWP. - It's no surprise that a concert tour based on a TV show that draws 21 million viewers a night drew a capacity crowd at First Union Arena. What was surprising was how well it translated into the live setting, and how much fun it was.
The "American Idol" tour came to town Wednesday, bringing Ruben, Clay and the rest of America's favorite new singers with it. It came with a real band, an impressive stage show and, most important, some very talented and personable vocalists who just a year ago were honing their crafts in obscurity.
The show opened with a smooth R&B performance by Charles Grigsby.
"Pennsylvania, how y'all doing tonight?" he asked. The question was met with a roar by the crowd of 8,000.
Julia DeMato was next with a strong showing and was followed by Rickey Smith, Kimberly Caldwell, Carmen Rasmusen, Trenyce and Kimberley Locke.
The arrival of Clay Aiken brought the house down with Beatlemania-type shrieks from the thousands of young teens in the audience.
With Aiken, the comparisons are true: the kid is a young Barry Manilow, right down to the body language. And like Manilow, he can really sing.
Up next was the latest "American Idol" winner, Ruben Studdard, whose booming voice resonated through the arena with just as much command as any of the great artists who have performed there in the past. The first half of the show ended with Studdard's rendition of Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much."
Each singer introduced the one that followed, and there seemed to be a genuine rapport between the former competitors. Each had kind, supportive and complimentary words for the next vocalist.
The men of the show opened the second half with Sinatra's "Lady is a Tramp" and Studdard and Aiken later offered a humorous duet of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson's "The Girl is Mine."
There also were solo and ensemble performances of Bee Gees' classics, and songs by Prince, Elton John, Whitney Houston and Judy Garland. There was also choreographed dancing, lots of wardrobe changes and tight close-ups on large video screens. More than anything, however, there were loud roars from the crowd after each number. The show ended with Aiken's "Invisible," Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" and the full cast offering "Imagine" and "God Bless the USA."
"This is the smallest place we've played, but it might be the loudest," said Aiken at one point. What he didn't know was that it was probably the loudest the building had ever been. But these "American Idols," who are truly living the American dream, deserve the cheers.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:25:21 PM
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2003, 01:07:25 PM »   

American Idols 2
Date: July 11, 2003
Nationwide Arena
Columbus, Ohio

The Review
As the thousands of fans streamed into Nationwide Arena it was clear that Clay Aiken was Ohio's Idol.   There were signs touting love for Clay everywhere you looked. Not that Ruben didn't have his own legion of fans. "205" dotted the fronts of not a few shirts, while others declared their love for the winner of this year's American Idol TV competition.

At 7:41 the lights went down and the familiar theme music echoed through the halls. The formula was the same as last year's tour. Each of the singers performed a solo song in the order in which they were booted from the show. They would then introduce the next performer, (always a "very dear" or "very close friend") by kicking off a video montage, building to the show's second half of duets, group numbers and solos.

First up was Charles Grigsby who showed he's got the moves on stage. Quite the flirt with the audience, Charles charmed the crowd as he danced and sang. He was much better than expected, and promised that this was just the beginning of what we would see from him.

Next up was Julia Demato. She rose up through the floor on a chaise lounge very Diva-ish singing "Beautiful". She has a very sweet voice, and showed a power that wasn't seen in her TV performances. Despite her attempts to interact, she always seemed a bit removed from the crowd. She happily introduced the next performer....

Rickey Smith received such a warm welcome by the crowd, you have to wonder why he didn't make it further in the show. His rendition of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" was full of funk, spunk and appeal. The female dancer enhanced the mood of the song as Rickey dazzled with his voice. Rickey was great at working the crowd and getting the audience into the song. Rickey's greatest asset is his personality, which really shone through during his performance.

Rickey also showed grace under pressure as he introduced Kimberly Caldwell, and her video montage did not play. Just 3 days into the tour, Rickey handled the mishap without breaking a sweat and introduced his dear, dear friend, the "rocker of the group", who hit the stage like she owned it. Singing "Stuck On You", Kimberly gave the crowd a taste of what she has to offer. This girl was raised on the stage, and you could tell. If she would have sang like this on the show, she may have gone a lot further. She should have no problem having a great career after this tour.

Following the formula, Kimberly then introduced the "Baby" of the group. Carmen came on with Shania Twain's (of course) "Up". I'm sorry - Carmen is cute and she can dance (I'm convinced after this tour if she doesn't have a great singing career she'd be set as a stripper with those moves) - but this song was just awful. She has a unique voice that I've sometimes admired, but not tonight. Not with this performance. Of course I hated the song too - which probably didn't help.

Next was Trenyce. I had to leave the room. In fact I had already prearranged to meet up with Ms. Sassy during Trenyce's performance. We could hear it - and didn't mind listening to her belting out "Proud Mary" - but I can't watch her perform. Between her freakishly long fingers always trying to poke out my eye (I was on the floor - it could happen!), and her huge expressive eyes and mouth which swallow her face - I can't look. Besides - she just about disappears when she turns sideways. I think someone needs to introduce her to the Pop Tarts they were handing out to the crowd after the show. The girl needs to eat!

It is at this point I must go off on a little teeny tiny rant about concert going etiquette. (Mostly because we talked about this in the smoking room with a couple of other concert goers who not only agreed - but even offer to be quoted on this. Of course I had to rush back to see Kimberly - so I didn't get a quote - but believe me - they agreed!) So here it goes: It is OK to stand up at a concert. Especially when you're young, a kid, a short young kid. It is OK to hold up the signs professing your love for the performer - especially when they put it down once the performer hits the stage. The woman sitting next to me has obviously never been to a concert. She started the show by going up 3 rows ahead of us (yes! 3 rows!!!!) and arguing with 2 girls to sit down. She then proceeded to scream throughout the first half "Sit down!" and proclaiming how rude it was for these girls, God forbid, to be standing, dancing, and enjoying the show. Never mind the fact that it was rude for her to be screaming about it in my ear, and the ears of all of us around her. Her attempts to get security to act went unheeded. Maybe because security also thought she was a stick-in-the-mud who just didn't get it. Lady - this show is for the kids. Maybe next time you shouldn't get a seat on the floor - or you should stay home.

Whew. I just had to get that off of my chest! Now back to the show....

I was making it back to my seat when Kimberly Locke gave her best performance of the night, "Band of Gold". She continued to prove she has a voice that won't quit, but a very reserved quality in her performing. She is all class.

Now it was time for me to go deaf. Clay hit the stage with his hit single "This is the Night" and the crowd went absolutely wild. You could barely hear him over the crowd. I quickly learned that if the screaming begins it is because Clay has come on stage. I had to wonder if this was what it was like during Elvis's shows. He was so comfortable on stage, he even proclaimed that "this is fun. I'm having fun!". But the voice. I'm sorry - that should be "The Voice". The best male voice I have ever heard live. Seriously.  

Now Clay seems to be a humble sort, (he seemed stunned to hear the screaming and reactions he received every time he was on stage) so not to out-do the victor, Clay gave Ruben a huge, warm welcome. The crowd also went wild, but thankfully a little quieter than for Clay. My ears needed the break. His first song was "Superstar", which has almost become his signature song. After calling for the house lights to be brought up so he could see the crowd, he launched into a song by his Idol, Luther Vandross, "Never Too Much". Ruben looked like he was having fun while wooing the crowd with his smooth, velvety vocals. Ruben brought a bit of home with him in the form of the group's bass player, who is his former band mate. They broke the song down "Birmingham style", bringing much of the crowd to their feet.

It was almost an hour into the show as they broke for a 20 minute break. Warning to all future American Idol 2 concert goers - this is not the best time to use the rest room or get a beverage. The lines instantly became miles long. And you couldn't even see the souvenirs for sale through the throngs of people. Ay yi yi!

At 8:56 the show resumed with a fervor and the crowd was on it's feet. (Which is where they stayed almost throughout the rest of the show. Poor woman next to me - what will she think when she returns. Or maybe she left??) The set was pretty cool and serene as Charles rose up through the floor seated at a bar / counter. The remaining males joined him in singing "The Lady is a Tramp". Great harmonizing showed this wasn't going to be last year's show - this year they actually have talent! The pace picked up a bit, the fireworks went off, and the girls emerged with "Bootylicious". The girls sounded great on this number, and looked fabulous. The number became a bit of a "sing-off" between the guys and the gals. Sorry guys, but in this round I think the gals won.

Clay and Ruben then chatted with the audience a bit about the competition and their hectic schedules since the show has ended. Joking around a bit they began an argument about a girl named Eileen which led to "The Girl is Mine". These two sound incredible together, and I hope someone takes advantage of that on an upcoming album. The playful acting between the two was a joy to watch. It is no wonder these guy were America's top 2 choices.  
Kimberly Locke then slowed the pace a bit with "Inseparable". Man can she belt it! This was a performance very deserving of the standing ovation it received. She then introduced the Bee Gees medley which would get the audience dancing and singing along.

The Bee Gees medley featured many solo performances, duets and group numbers. It was a testament to the talent this year's performers had over last year's. It was also the only cheesy moment in the show. The highlights from this medley were Clay's How Deep is Your Love (Rickey singing back up - great job! I really hope he sings with either Clay or Ruben on their upcoming releases) and Clay singing "To Love Somebody". I could have done without the line of singers in white singing "You Should Be Dancing" - but I'll give them a moment of cheese. Charles and Kimberly Caldwell worked throughout the numbers getting the crowd going. They were the best at really interacting with the crowd - almost like cheerleaders for the group. It was also during the medley that they introduced the 4 dancers that have been working their butts off during the show. Great job!

Clay then talks with crowd about Ruben recording with R Kelly the night before for his new album. As Clay, Trenyce and Kimberly Caldwell get the crowd going with a little friendly shouting competition to bring out Ruben, Clay once again showed his humorous and easy-going style. Exmaple - Trenyce's group shouted "Ru-ben" and Kimberly's shouted "Studdard" that left Clay's group with nothing to shout. The girls questioned him on this so he said "They'll just have to shout 'Clay'" with a big smile on his face. This got a laugh from everyone. Finally the crowd is worked up enough, and Ruben is brought out singing a song from his upcoming album, "Can I Get Your Attention". This had a very groovy, mellow feel, which I really enjoyed. I may have to buy his album.....

The show continued with Rickey launching into "Let's Go Crazy". From the opening "Dearly beloved..." I could tell this would be a hit with the crowd. Another technical glitch when Charles tried joining in (he didn't seem to have any volume on his mic) showed that Rickey is great at improvising. The crowd was singing along, so I'm not sure how many people noticed the mishap as Rickey promptly took over the singing duties.

Carmen's "Let's Hear it for the Boy" didn't inspire any desire in me to see her live again. But as the mass screaming begins I know Clay is on stage somewhere. He is, and his rendition of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" would make Elton John proud. Kimberly Locke then sings "Over the Rainbow", but a different version than we usually hear from her - ending with a jazzy, hopping feel. Her beautiful voice brings life to this song every time she sings it.

Up through the floor rises a motorcycle, with Kimberly Caldwell, Trenyce, Julia and Carmen singing "Feel Good Time". Kimberly seems to feed off the crowd, which just fuels her performance which the crowd really responds to. Julia manages a weak "Hello Ohio", but I don't think a life on stage is for her. I've always said it, and this show pretty much proved my point. At times she seemed tired and / or bored. But her voice is so pretty. She should really stay in the studio.

Rickey then showed his vocal range with (I believe this is the name of the song) "If I Never Knew You". Julia joins him in the duet, and they are great together on stage. Julia sang with power and passion - who knew she had that in her. This is a song that should be recorded by these two. Definitely!

OK - don't look at the screen. Don't look at the screen. Trenyce is up with "I Have Nothing" and doing way too much pointing. She has a fabulous voice - but seems like a great Whitney impersonation. There doesn't to be much of herself in the song. But as the rest of the girls join her on "I'm Every Woman", you can see the range that all of these girls have. This also seems to be the best time to check out Carmen's stripper moves. Watch her and see if I'm making this up!

Another great duet, "The Best Things in Life Are Free" this time with Ruben and Kimberly Locke. Kimberly is always smiling and just seems to be having a blast! Clay then begins "I've Had the TIme of My Life" and I swear the woman in front of actually swoons! I understood, Clay's voice was making me go all pitter-patter the whole night, too. The rest of the cast joins in while they play a video montage of the group in the background. Great way to end the show...

Not. Of course not. They introduce the band, say lots of thanks, then it's good-night.


Clay inspires more screaming (aren't these people hoarse yet?!?!?). Either just by being on stage or by his wearing a Columbus Blue Jackets jersey. He jokingly asks if these guys are any good, holding out the jersey. (Of course they aren't, but it was nice that he made the effort - LOL). He then gives some very heartfelt thanks to everyone for making all of their dreams come true. Clay goes on to say he's currently recording his new album which should hit stores the beginning of September, and begins singing a track, "Invisible".

OK - this boy can move (running back and forth across the stage). And this boy can dance. And he can SING! This was a great song! A fabulous song!! Very Rob Thomas-ish (from Matchbox Twenty). Oh yeah - he is going to sell MILLIONS. I wonder if I can find a copy of this song anywhere yet Great, great song!  

Of course it wouldn't be an American Idol show without what Clay described as the "Anthem of American Idol" - "Flying Without Wings." Just as I was lamenting about not hearing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and writing how much better this show was than last year's, Ruben introduces "Imagine", which Clay and Kimberly Locke help him sing. Everyone is back on stage for "Proud to be an American" and I can't believe it almost makes me cry. I'm not lying. The dancers come out with American flags, and the whole place is singing along. I'm not sure what happened during this number. I watched Clay watch the crowd as everyone was singing. His ear pieces are out and he isn't singing. I don't think he has a mic or that he can hear anything through his monitors or whatever. He seemed to be telling his fellow performers something through the number, and would attempt to sing every now and then. Regardless, it was a knock-out performance ending in fireworks. At 10:22 the show is over.

Of the shows I have been to so far this year, this is the only one I would have paid more money for and thought it was worth it. The talent this year over last year made it a better show without a doubt. With the one Bee Gees exception they didn't have to resort to cheesy group numbers. These singers have talent, which was showcased by the number of solo and duet performances. It appeared to me that the audience had as much fun as the group on stage, and that is what really matters.

The shows are almost all sold-out. For the thousands that will experience the show, you will not regret it! For those lacking tickets - try to get some. Especially if you were a fan of the show. This was much better than expected!!!!

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:28:11 PM
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2003, 04:52:57 PM »   

`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.

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

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.

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

'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.

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

'American Idol'-worshiping crowd gets its fill
Show is a family hit as polished singers take stage
July 21, 2003

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

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

Live: American Idols Live!
Wednesday July 23, 2003 @ 06:30 PM
By: 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.

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

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:, 216-999-4456

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

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.
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:36:55 PM
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2003, 08:55:20 PM »   

*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. :)
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:38:25 PM
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2003, 10:15:49 PM »   

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.

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

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.''

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:41:18 PM
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2003, 12:23:02 PM »   

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

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:43:02 PM
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2003, 06:58:44 AM »   

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.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:44:25 PM
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2003, 12:57:16 AM »   

No Contest as the 'Idols' Sing for Fun

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."

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:48:14 PM
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2003, 09:41:45 AM »   

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 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?"
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."

Staff writer Matt Ehlers can be reached at 829-4889 or
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:49:59 PM
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2003, 10:16:26 AM »   

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...
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:51:10 PM
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2003, 02:43:14 PM »   

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.

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

'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.

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

'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."

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

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."

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

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

link no longer works
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 08:58:10 PM
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2003, 06:27:42 PM »   

'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.

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

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 or 954-356-4832.

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

Idol' Tour Better the Second Time Around
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.

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

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.

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

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

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:04:12 PM
« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2003, 10:15:01 AM »   

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.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:04:49 PM
« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2003, 08:47:48 PM »   

American Idol Roadshow Running On Empty
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?

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:05:35 PM
« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2003, 11:24:46 AM »   

Trenyce, Idols rock Pyramid
By Victoria Y. Morton -
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.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:06:11 PM
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2003, 11:09:05 AM »   

Studdard, team idolized for performance

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.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:07:06 PM
« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2003, 02:53:00 PM »   

American Idols Live!
By KEVIN C. JOHNSON Post-Dispatch

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
Phone: 314-340-8191

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:08:12 PM
« Reply #45 on: August 20, 2003, 05:54:07 PM »   

American Idols fall into deep end in Dallas
Review By Dave Ferman, Star-Telegram pop music critic

Well, at least this year they started on time. That's about the best thing I can say for the second American Idols Live! tour, which included winner Ruben Studdard, runner-up Clay Aiken and the other finalists and which drew a far-short-of-capacity crowd to the American Airlines Center on Tuesday night. Last October the inaugural AIL! tour filled the AAC but started a full hour late - the time was spent having to watch commercials on the big screens above the stage. Here in 2003 we didn't have to wait very long for the mediocrity to start - but when it did, it just didn't stop. At best, most of these young hopefuls have fair, unexceptional voices - and that includes Aiken, who took the stage in a sober suit to the delighted mega-squeal of thousands of teenage girls. He projects a cuddly aw-shucks, boy-next-door quality, and his big signature song, `This Is the Night,' had a nicely earnest, understated feel. But, as was the case last year, there is not a shred of originality to be found here - at least Trenyce didn't even try to pretend she has any, doing a straight-up Tina Turner imitation on one of Turner's signature songs, `Proud Mary.' She and Kimberly Locke both have good voices and a modicum of stage presence, although neither is in any way exceptional. Others, including Charlie Grigsby and Julia DeMato, have voices as thin as my hair and looked distinctly uncomfortable onstage. And then there's Studdard, who closed out the first half of the night with two songs. It's obvious he's going for Luther Vandross' tubby-teddy-bear persona, but his thin, sometimes downright flat voice compared to Luther's as a fast-food hamburger does to the best steak in town, and he lumbers about the stage with a minimum of charisma. I'm not trying to be mean - he really looks unhealthy, lost and unsure. Picking up a toy thrown onstage seemed to pose a problem. I felt sorry for him. All in all, this show was worse than last year's - less energy, less talent. Asking these youngsters to go from, in many cases, fairly limited stage experience to playing a huge arena is throwing them in at the deep end, and they all score points for trying. But this is the path they've chosen, and the truth is that, try as they might, many of them are just not up to the task. 
Dave Ferman, (817)

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:10:00 PM
« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2003, 11:23:22 AM »   

'Idol' singers bring show to center
Sandi Davis, The Oklahoman

"American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken described the Oklahoma City Ford Center crowd perfectly.  "This is one of the smallest audiences we've played for, but you have got to be the loudest."

The audience, which filled the floor and first level of the center, was treated to a variety show that included everything from solos by each of the nine finalists on tour, an all-male quartet of "The Lady Is a Tramp," and an outstanding tribute to the Bee Gees.

The program began in reverse order, from the 10th place finisher up to runner-up Clay Aiken and winner Ruben Studdard.

The first and biggest surprise of the night was courtesy of Rickey Smith. The Fox "American Idol" Web site lists him from Keene, Texas, he's told people he is from Wichita, when actually Smith graduated from Del City High School in 1998.

His extended family -- including his mother Dolores Moore of Oklahoma City -- stood and cheered every time Smith sang. Studdard singled Moore out for special attention during the show.

The first set was solos from each artist. Julia DeMato's cover of "Beautiful" was well done, as was Smith's upbeat cover of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel."

Kimberly Caldwell's "Stuck on You" was appreciated, as was "Up" from the pig-tailed Carmen Rasmusen and especially Trenyce's "Proud Mary," a nice tribute to Tina Turner.

Third-place winner Kimberly Locke made her debut with "Band of Gold" and her introduction of Aiken was nearly drowned out by applause and shouts from the crowd.

He sang his hit single "This is the Night" to a continuous standing ovation.  

He talked about the last "10 amazing months" as his prelude to introducing "the" American Idol Studdard, who came out and sang a touching rendition of Leon Russell's "Superstar."

His big moment was marred by an appalling lack of manners by the audience, who booed him. It wasn't the song being criticized but more likely sour grapes over the voting controversy surrounding Studdard's close victory over Aiken. The contest being over for some time, the display was embarrassing at best.

The group took a short break and the second half of its show was a great display of duets, trios, quartets and all nine singers out on the stage in highly energetic and entertaining song and dance numbers.

The show wound down with a few more solos, and ended with Studdard singing "Imagine," an appropriate number considering the audience's earlier behavior. As other members of the group joined him, the audience finally got into the spirit and was singing along.

Though this show was short on musicians -- the backup band was a drum kit, two sets of keyboards and two guitarists -- the biggest disappointment was the canned background singing that accompanied each solo, which at some points made "American Idols Live" feel like a slick karaoke show rather than a showcase for nine very talented performers who should have nice careers ahead of them.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:10:52 PM
« Reply #47 on: August 24, 2003, 12:42:56 PM »   

'IDOLS' ON TOUR: Concert draws thousands to see finalists of the talent show perform
By Dan Nailen

Anyone can be a pop star.
That's the idea behind FOX television's "American Idol," and the reason about 10,000 people crowded the Delta Center to watch nine of the ratings-giant's finalists perform Saturday night.  None of those nine singers would have drawn a second glance on America's streets a year ago, but the second-season finale of "American Idol" attracted 38 million viewers, and the televised talent contest averaged about 22 million people per episode in its second year.

Numbers like those made this 39-city and aptly sponsored "Pop-Tarts Presents American Idols Live!" tour a natural extension of the TV show, and have turned former unknowns like Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Bountiful's Carmen Rasmusen into minor celebrities.  The tour is big business -- tickets in Salt Lake City sold for $45 and $25, as much as Bob Dylan's show in July, and more than Willie Nelson's stop in Ogden this month -- and for further proof, one need only look at the merchandise tables in the Delta Center. "American Idol" tour T-shirts sold for $30, hats for $25, CDs and "American Idol" teddy bears for $20. Posters of Aiken and Studdard, the two finalists getting the biggest push toward stardom by Fox, were $10 each, and sold briskly.
Aiken was clearly the crowd favorite during the show, although Utahn Rasmusen drew a raucous ovation when she first appeared, singing Shania Twain's "Up!" And Aiken's face adorned more merchandise being carried away from the souvenir stands than any other performer.  "We kind of like Clay the best, he's the best singer," said Sandy 16-Year-old Teresa Alger, who bought tickets by phone the minute they went on sale and attended the show with siblings, parents and friends. Her sister, 12-year-old Natalie Alger, was quick to add "[Clay's] the coolest, but we like Ruben, too. He's cool."  

Ogden's Willa Rogers, who is "pushing the big 7-0," got hooked on "American Idol" during its second season, and she drove to Salt Lake City for Saturday's show with 10 fellow fanatics.  "I watched the latter part of the show, and my daughter wanted to come, so here we are," said Rogers, who also bought tickets to the show as soon as she heard the "American Idol" tour was coming to Utah. "We like Clay. He's just a good ol' Southern boy."

The concert itself was a slick production, with video screens showing highlights of the season that ended with the night's performers competing for the title of "American Idol." Winning the title was no small victory, considering the winner of the first season's contest, Kelly Clarkson, has a platinum album on her hands a year later.
Each of the nine finalists on hand had a solo turn on stage during the first hour, singing either classic songs or current pop hits. Aiken's "This is the Night" elicited deafening squeals, and Studdard's takes on The Carpenters' "Superstar" and Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much" showed why he ultimately won the contest.
The second half of the show consisted of a variety of medleys -- Motown cuts, disco-era hits -- by different combinations of singers.  Most of the performers noted that Salt Lake City was the last hometown show of one of the finalists, and Rasmusen made the most of it with an energetic performance and gracious nod to the locals that voted for her.  "It's so good to be home!" Rasmusen explained after her solo turn. "I have to say, this is the best crowd we've had all tour."
Sure, each of the finalists probably said the same thing in their respective hometowns, but if anyone can be a pop star in 2003, any town should be able to stake a claim as the best crowd.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:11:48 PM
« Reply #48 on: August 25, 2003, 12:56:55 PM »   

Aiken steals the 'Idols Live' show
Rasmusen also stirs Utah crowd in homecoming
By Scott D. Pierce
Deseret Morning News
AMERICAN IDOL TOUR, Delta Center, Saturday.

It may have been Carmen Rasmusen's homecoming, but it was Clay Aiken's show when "American Idols Live" hit the Delta Center on Saturday night. Which is not to say that the less-than-capacity crowd didn't heap love upon Rasmusen, the 18-year-old Bountiful girl who was No. 6 on "Idol's" top-10 list this past spring. But there was no doubt that the same crowd would have voted runner-up Aiken the top spot over winner Ruben Studdard, judging by the screaming — which began when Clay appeared in video clips that were shown before the almost three-hour concert officially got going. And once it got going, it seemed it would never end.
Nine of the 10 finalists from the hugely popular TV talent show performed in a concert that was part TV variety show, part polished performance, part amateur hour and part road show. (The undertalented Marine Joshua Gracin wasn't there because duty called.)
Bouncing around a high-tech stage — with a five-piece band, light show and occasional flames and fireworks — Charles Grigsby, Julia Demato, Rickey Smith, Kimberly Caldwell, Trenyce, Kimberly Locke, Rasmusen, Aiken and Studdard kept the energy level high throughout the evening, mostly powering their way through nearly three-dozen songs.
A couple of things quickly became obvious. First, these are not the most polished performers, and this was not the slickest of shows. As a matter of fact, attempts at slick sometimes went badly awry — such as a boys-vs.-girls performance of "The Lady Is a Tramp" (by the white-clad boys) and "Bootylicious" (by the black-clad girls), which came off as something out of a cheesy Las Vegas show.
We can only wonder what always-honest "Idol" judge Simon Cowell might have said about that one.
More important, however, was the fact that, almost to a person, the nine "Idols" sounded better in person than they did on the show. And that includes Rasmusen, who shone as she sang the Shania Twain tune "Up," and "Let's Hear It for the Boy" in solo, as well as joining in on several of the group numbers.
Grigsby (who only made the top 10 because ex-Utahn Corey Clark got kicked off the show when criminal assault charges against him surfaced) and Smith were not impressive, but DeMato, Caldwell, Trenyce and especially Locke were. Studdard was good, and there were plenty of people shouting "Rooooo-ben!"
But Aiken was the one who got crowd — dominated by teen and pre-teen girls — really going.
Rasmusen's homecoming included a chance to continue her improbable ride, to perform in front of a whole bunch of her family members and to listen to her fellow "Idols" talk about how much they love her.
And a chance for local "Idol" fans to revel in the madness.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:12:32 PM
« Reply #49 on: August 28, 2003, 12:35:55 AM »   

Ruben and Clay ride high on the 'Idol' wave
The second edition of the "American Idols Live!" offered something for everyone Tuesday night.
The TV show, famous for letting the audience vote on the winner (as well as for judge Simon Cowell's cutting criticisms), is a ratings behemoth. Its widespread appeal was apparent at KeyArena, where entire families (screaming like teenage girls) watched their favorite finalists perform classics and new tunes.

The nine performers sang an hour's worth of solos in the order in which they were eliminated from competition. The second season crop was much stronger than the first (Jim Verraros, anyone?) and more polished on stage, shaking their tail feathers like true divas-in-training.  The second half of the show kicked off with a monotonous, lame, all-male rendition of "Lady Is a Tramp," which was swept off stage by the ladies' rousing "Bootylicious." A Bee Gees medley was more successful, and the group closed the show with "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" and "God Bless the U.S.A."

With more solos, duos and trios thrown in between, it became apparent who had underrated star charisma (Kimberly Caldwell, belting Pink's "Feel Good Time") and who better served as backup singers (Julia DeMato and Carmen Rasmusen, who were just that on Caldwell's number). Kimberley Locke received a standing ovation for her scorching "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and Trenyce belted the socks off the Whitney Houston tune "I Have Nothing."

But it was winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken that everyone paid to see, judging from the number of handmade signs in the crowd. Each performed a power ballad as well as tracks from their upcoming solo albums. Aiken, winking and starry-eyed, played the newly minted teen heartthrob (in the gawky Tobey Maguire sense). With a rich voice more ripe for show tunes, it will be interesting to see how well Aiken's album fares on Top 40 radio.

Studdard, coined the "velvet teddy bear" for his musical and physical likeness to Luther Vandross, sang two Vandross tunes and the haunting version of "Superstar" that made him famous. He's become notably more comfortable after performing, lumbering across the stage to interact with the crowd and crack jokes.

Studdard's chemistry with Aiken was the highlight of the evening, as the buddies read the crowd signs out loud and sang "Happy Birthday" to a grandmother in the audience before duetting on "The Girl Is Mine." As they sang, fans threw onstage a lei for Aiken and a teddy bear for Studdard.  "I guess I can say I got lei'd in Seattle," Aiken joked. The crowd ate it up, but here's hoping these two don't try to turn their camaraderie into another "From Justin to Kelly
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:13:47 PM
« Reply #50 on: August 28, 2003, 01:30:39 PM »   

Runner-up Clay steals spotlight in 'American Idol' concert
By Pamela Sitt

Ruben Studdard may be America's Idol, but it was Clay Aiken for whom Neena Gardner and her fiancé drove four hours Tuesday to Seattle's KeyArena, all the way listening to downloaded music by — who else — Aiken.  "He wants Clay to sing at our wedding," said Gardner, 23, of Tri-Cities, gesturing to fiancé Josh Cockrun, 28. (Indeed, Cockrun held a sign: "Clay, Will You Sing At My Wedding?")  

The Tri-Cities couple weren't the only ones at the near-capacity show, part of the "Pop-Tarts Presents American Idols Live" tour, who were crazy for Clay. The skinny, spiky-haired runner-up to the 25-year-old Studdard elicited the loudest screams when he appeared onstage about 45 minutes into an unnecessarily long, nearly three-hour show.

Wearing a pin-striped suit and a purple tie (in his first appearance), Aiken, 24, commanded the stage with the practiced ease of a talk-show host, resembling a young Martin Short as he bantered with the crowd.
"Wow, what a good crowd. It's so good!" he practically squealed midway through his monologue.  Then he sang — and the boy can sing — and the crowd screamed, impossibly, louder.
Next up was Aiken's "good friend" — and close competitor, as both have albums coming out this fall — Studdard, whom the crowd greeted with his trademark call, "Roooo-ben!"  With diamond studs flashing in his ears, the affable "Velvet Teddy Bear" strolled onstage and launched into smooth covers of The Carpenters' "Superstar" and Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much."  He was later joined by the rest of the nine "American Idol" finalists (minus Marine Joshua Gracin, who was called back to duty): Charles Grigsby, Julia DeMato, Rickey Smith, Kimberly Caldwell, Trenyce, Kimberley Locke, Carmen Rasmusen and Aiken. The group performed a medley of hits, including "The Lady Is A Tramp (by the boys) and "Bootylicious" (by the girls).

The singers' solo performances were mostly forgettable, with the exceptions of the perky Rasmusen, 18, who looked like a mini-Baby Spice as she belted out "Up!" (by Shania Twain), and second runner-up Locke, 25, channeling R&B star Faith Evans during several solos.  Trenyce's hair-flipping, booty-shaking rendition of "Proud Mary," meanwhile, prompted this reaction from one fan: "I like the Tina Turner lady."

A highlight of the show was Studdard and Aiken's playful duet, "The Girl Is Mine," the 1980s hit by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, during which fans threw a lei and a teddy bear onto the stage. (Aiken wore the lei around his neck; Studdard perched the bear on his shoulder.)

Later, Studdard performed the first single from his upcoming album, a harmless, PG-rated R&B ditty that was a bit incongruous with the rest of the pop-heavy show (sample lyric: "From a little block to a little 'hood, to the whole world, it's all good").  And at long last, the entire group converged onstage for the (pre-encore) finale, "I've Had The Time Of My Life."  It was a fitting choice, given that this group of Idols' 15 minutes are just ... about ... up. Next!

Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2291 or

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:14:34 PM
« Reply #51 on: August 28, 2003, 03:12:37 PM »   

'American Idols' delight Rose Garden crowd

PORTLAND - It was the night American Idol fans had been waiting for.
Ruben, Clay, and the rest of the gang brought their act to Portland Wednesday night.   American Idol winner, the "Velvet Teddy Bear", Ruben Studdard got the audience warmed up for the show, and Clay Aiken showed off his stuff to the delight of his devoted fans who came dressed for the occasion.  If you're wondering if there's any jealousy among all the idols on tour, former waitress Julia Demato says contrary to rumors they all get along really well.   The American Idols keep a grueling schedule; tonight they'll perform to a sold-out crowd in Sacramento.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:15:32 PM
« Reply #52 on: August 29, 2003, 05:58:03 PM »   

Review: Aiken turns out to be fans' idol at Arco
By Chris Macias -- Bee Pop Music Critic   

Clay Aiken is the "American Idol."
Sure, Ruben Studdard, the so-called "velvet teddy bear" from Birmingham, Ala., won the "American Idol" title in May. That's just a technicality.
Judging by the scream-athon that greeted Aiken at Thursday night's American Idols Live! show at Arco Arena, he's eclipsed the competition. Studdard was supposed to be the star of the concert, and seven other finalists from the insanely popular TV talent show were on hand. But that almost seemed like a side point.
The arena morphed into a collective freakout whenever Aiken was onstage. Scores of homemade signs declared their devotion to Aiken, "American Idol's" runner-up. Those in Aiken's fan base (aka the "Clay Nation") who didn't have signs just shrieked and stomped their feet. Or they pelted him with teddy bears, flowers and even underwear.
Studdard wasn't exactly shunned. There were plenty of screams for him and a few signs proclaiming allegiance to the champion -- "Ruben 4 Governor." Some of his fans even wore shirts emblazoned with "205," the hometown area code that Studdard plugged endlessly on "American Idol."
Still, it was no wonder that adulation was skewed toward Aiken. In terms of record sales, Aiken clobbered Studdard when their debut singles each were released in June. America has simply gone insane for Aiken, and he landed on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine a good month before Studdard's own Rolling Stone cover.  
Whatever the case, "American Idol" needs drama like this to keep the show's momentum and interest. "American Idol" will enter its third season in 2004, yet there's evidence that the show's appeal is waning. About 13,000 attended Thursday's concert, though Arco Arena was sold out to its 17,000 capacity when the inaugural "American Idol" tour came to town last November.
Maybe the "American Idol" tour format needs some tweaking to keep folks coming back. Like its debut outing, the concert was basically two hours of karaoke overload, including a Bee Gees medley, a group sing-along to "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," and Aiken and Studdard duetting on Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney's "The Girl Is Mine."
However, some gems emerged in the show's onslaught of cover songs. Trenyce, the show's fifth-place finisher, sang the heck out of "Proud Mary" and showed a confidence and energy that nearly went unmatched. Kimberly Locke, who finished third on "American Idol," floored the crowd with an impeccably phrased take on "Over the Rainbow."     
Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:16:42 PM
« Reply #53 on: September 01, 2003, 11:37:35 AM »   

Embarrassing but true -- `Idol' concert was good fun
By Marian Liu, Mercury News

American Idol is a guilty pleasure.The concert Saturday night at the HP Pavilion -- showcasing contestants from the Fox American Idol series -- doesn't exactly hit the top of the charts as one of the most popular things to do on Labor Day weekend.  In fact, it's too embarrassing to even bring up.But to these singers' credit, they were idols. Although tickets this year didn't sell as fast as last year's, the concert was much better. The singers sounded and looked better. Gone were the cheesy ballads and skin-baring outfits. Nobody pulled a Justin Guarini, with pants so tight they could have sung higher. And nobody changed his or her image at the last minute, like Ejay Day, to be more like Mike -- Michael Jackson, that is. The arena was nearly full, with fans of all ages and all colors. The popularity of the show -- in which viewers cast votes for their favorites -- is in its timing. ``American Idol'' became a sanctuary where both the American dream and democracy still prevailed. The show even ended with the idols singing "God Bless the USA,"' equating idol fervor with patriotism.  And, this time, the idols America chose were more real. Unlike Hollywood's pop stars, they were not silicone-enhanced, anorexic or platinum blond. These were people who might have been rejected in high school, people that anyone could relate to.  Ruben Studdard won our hearts for his bashfulness, earning the nickname "velvet teddy bear.''  But with a cold, Studdard came in second Saturday night, enabling runner-up Clay Aiken to steal his crown.

With the geeky charm of Doogie Howser, Aiken projects an attainable image, and fans Saturday responded by tossing lingerie at him. Many in the audience, which was mostly female, also wore red and waved red glow sticks in honor of Aiken's fondness for red.  

Judging the concert as if I were the mean-spirited "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell, I would say that Clay sang the best cover of the night: Elton John's ``Candle in the Wind.''  (EDIT- The song is actually "Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John - Cruiser) Next up on covers would be Trenyce, who channeled Whitney Houston and Tina Turner; my only complaint is that she should channel herself more. Julia DeMato harmonized well with Rickey Smith on "If I Never Knew You" but should not have attempted Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful"' with her nasally voice. Charles Grigsby was the best dancer of the group. He has the look and the moves. He just needs to work on the voice. There were too many medleys. Last year, the medleys felt like a talent show gone wrong, but this year, the singers, who performed the medleys together, simply were better solo than together. They needed more soul in their system, especially if they were going to attempt so many Destiny's Child songs.

I predict that Aiken, who is already outselling Studdard, will beat his former rival in the charts and in longevity. But putting snarkiness aside, it was a good show -- one definitely worth sneaking out of a Labor Day barbecue.  

Contact Marian Liu at or (408) 920-2740.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:19:20 PM
« Reply #54 on: September 01, 2003, 04:01:57 PM »   

Call it 'Idol' worship
The phenomenon that is the sometimes-brutal singer audition show brings its Top 10 for a concert at the Pond.
By JUSTIN CHANG - The Orange County Register

A few Ruben Studdard supporters were in evidence. One girl wore a chemise with Kimberley Locke's name on it. But if the outcome of "American Idol" were determined by the number of fans who showed up at Arrowhead Pond for Sunday night's live concert, Clay Aiken, the show's runner-up, would have won by a landslide.

They arrived in droves, 13-year-old girls, parents and grandparents alike. They wore T-shirts as bright red as the Raleigh, N.C., native's hair at the beginning of the competition, and they bore signs with such slogans as "Shakin' 2 Aiken" and "Clay ... I'm Aiken' to Kiss You." They swapped tips on where to download tracks from his still-unreleased first album.

"He's magical, he's adorable," said Charlotte Benkert, an Annapolis, Md., resident who attended three "Idol" concerts with her daughter before Sunday night. "He's just clean-cut, wholesome, from a mother's point of view. He gives me chills."
And you thought the show was over - at least until next season. But since Studdard was crowned the winner by a slim margin in May, the "American Idol" phenomenon has far surpassed the bounds of its TV format, drawing viewers so devoted to their favorite pop stars that they often voted by telephone as many as 20 times a night.  Eighteen thousand showed up Sunday for the end of the show's national tour, which showcased all 10 finalists. At the same time, the audience is completely interactive, engineered and conditioned by the conventions of reality programming.  Orange resident Sunnie Rood, who is an avid message-board poster at and calls KIIS-FM every day with song requests, sees herself as a follower of the star, not the TV show. "It has nothing to do with the TV show," said Rood, who was in attendance with her husband, Ken. "We liked the TV show. We planned our days around watching it. But when we (saw) Clay, it was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is the guy to beat.' ... People love the voice." Sunnie Rood admits that no artist has ever commanded her dedication like Aiken has.
"He is the first person in years and years we are excited about," she said."I've never seen her get this involved with anything," said Ken Rood, who considers himself a milder Aiken fan. "It's kind of over the top."
Some would say the same of the entire culture spawned by "American Idol." The second season's finale drew a chart- topping 38.1 million viewers and a line-clogging 24 million phone calls. Since then, the numbers haven't stopped: In June, Aiken's single took the No. 1 Billboard slot, selling 393,000 copies in its first week. His first album, due Oct. 14, and Studdard's, due Nov. 11, are expected to do even bigger business.
Neither the plus-size, jersey-clad Studdard nor Aiken, with his lanky frame and showtune-ready voice, fits a typical pop-star prototype. But by sending two unknowns into the musical stratosphere, "American Idol" projects the democratic idea that the singers of tomorrow can be hand-selected from the people.

"To me, an American Idol is someone you can look up to," said Pomona resident Madison Temte. "Ruben and Clay, they're both such good people." But do good people, no matter how talented, have staying power? "I don't think (Ruben) will make it that far," said Studdard fan Brandon Rosen. "I don't think he'll be famous in 15 years. He definitely won't be like Elvis or the Rolling Stones." Temte said Aiken, however, would survive in the long run. "I could see him in Disney films," she said. "I could see him on Broadway."

Mission Viejo resident Peter Lancaster, accompanying his wife and daughter, who are fans, was more dismissive.
"I think it's a fun fad. It'll go away after a while," he said. "It's just like any TV show. Eventually we'll flood the market with American Idols. What do you do then?"

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:21:46 PM
« Reply #55 on: September 01, 2003, 07:58:51 PM »   

American Idol 2 Summer Tour Concludes...
Ray Courtright Jr.

With the American Idol concert series concluding in Anaheim California on August 31st, North American pop music lovers and masses of rabid American Idol fans were entertained by the multi-city tour that featured the fourteenth minute in some of the finalists fifteen minutes of fame, and marked only the beginning for several other finalists...who learned the ropes of what a long concert tour was all about. A fondue of cheesiness for the masses, the American Idol tour featured finalists Charles Grigsby, Carmen Rasmussen, Julia DeMato, Rickey Smith, Kim Caldwell, Trenyce, Kim Locke, the thinking woman's hearthrob Clay Aiken, and the American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard.

The show featured the songs the finalists performed on the series, along with group performances, witty banter, and dancing...all accompanied by a top notch band, dancers and great lighting and the usual concert effects. The dichotomy between the truly talented and the mediocre was glaringly obvious, with performers such as Grigsby, Caldwell and Rasmussen fortunate to be there, a memorable summer tour as they plan their next career move. Since anyone appearing on television has a certain amount of recognition, perhaps we'll be seeing these three appearing in summer stock or country fairs down the road. Wish ya luck in the future, say a prayer.

Pleasant surprises were the performances of one Julia Demato and Trenyce, DeMato more relaxed, more assured than her nervousness during the American Idol competition. Her interaction with Aiken during several numbers was very sexy, as sexy as a family show could allow, but was a plus to both DeMato AND Aiken, very entertaining. Trenyce, who still brings to mind a young Tina Turner, was consistently great during her performances, lots of energy and ambition. Rickey Smith still inspires and brings a smile to any and all who witness his happy go lucky demeanor and listen to his versatile voice, he's very comfortable onstage, and is a great crowd pleaser.

Kim Locke, or Klo, as she's affectionately known, demonstrated her amazing vocal ability with her solo songs and her duets awed the masses as well. Ruben Studdard, the American Idol winner sang his American Idol final song and Top 40 hit, Flying Without Wings, Superstar, and sang an upcoming song from his soon to be released debut album. Ruben was Ruben, all dimples, pointing and a bit of dancing and humor mixed in. His mixture of traditional soul, pop standards and rap showed that Studdard is capable of different musical styles, but is stronger with some than with others. He'll find his groove now that the Pop tour is out of the way, his fan base firmly established.

Clay Aiken, runner up to Studdard in the final, was clearly the star of the tour. Aiken did more for audiologists through the land, what with the ear piercing screaming of the collective masses of Aiken supporters, who made this tour seem at times like Clay Aiken and Friends LIVE!, than the American Idol/Pop Tarts tour that is was supposed to be. Aiken's fanatical following of frenzied female loyalists made security issues such that Aiken had a massive security guard name Jerome, who became a mini celebrity amongst the Aiken fans, for his dedication to Clay, and his ability to allow who would be chosen to venture to the promised land..otherwise known as the meet and greet or backstage passes. Fans inundated the stage when Aiken appeared with various items, including the somewhat tired panty toss, made hilarious by the wholesome Aiken, and his slight embarrassment, and Studdard's hilarity at the frivolity.

Aiken was all business when it came to performing, showing he owns the stage, knows what it takes to please the audience, leaving them gasping for more. His 'dancing' may have brought to mind Greg Brady than Greg(ory) Hines(RIP), but his hip shake and thrust coach earned his/her pay, for during the American Idol show, it was a joke, on the tour, the female fans swooned. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn, and an Aiken can be taught to dance..adequately. Somewhere, Paula Abdul cries softly...

Aiken gave the audience a preview of his soon to be released album with the song 'Invisible' uptempo hit to be that showcased Aiken as more than the ballad boy American Idol made him seem. He also sang This Is The Night, his top selling hit from this summer, and sang duets with many of the group. Perhaps the best thing that came out of his fan base frenzy was the establishment of the Bubel/Aiken foundation, one which raised thousands from generous fans along the tour, benefitting Autism programs, one close to Aiken's heart. The concerts also had many great group songs, and comedic banter throughout, ending with God Bless the USA, the group song recorded during the past Iraqi crisis, and was met with mixed reviews.

Aiken, Studdard and Locke are very likely to continue to bask in the glory that American Idol 2 provided them and use that fortuitous boost to their future musical careers. It's been a blast for the past eight months, and new auditions for American Idol 3 have been taking place, getting ready to see if there's another future star on the horizon, or the next Justin (who?) Guarini to be thrust upon us once again.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:23:05 PM
« Reply #56 on: September 02, 2003, 11:19:25 PM »   

Fan-pandering antics rev up 'Idol' showcase
By Greg Braxton, Times Staff Writer

It's "Apocalypse (Almost) Now" time in the world of pop music.
Madonna and Britney Spears smooch in front of a cheering throng at the MTV Video Music Awards. Self-proclaimed King of Pop Michael Jackson celebrates his 45th birthday with Jackson impersonators at a theater on a crumbling block of downtown Los Angeles. And on Sunday, during "American Idols Live!" at the Arrowhead Pond,
nerd-turned-dreamboat Clay Aiken pulled his boxer shorts down.

Well, they weren't exactly his boxers. The patterned briefs had been thrown on stage, along with a constant stream of flying panties and other undergarments. Picking them up warily, Aiken pulled them on over his white pants, the accessory to his white shirt and white coat. This was, after all, a part of the "American Idol" showcase, a G-rated franchise that at times makes the Brady Bunch Singers look like Marilyn Manson.

Still, when Aiken removed the boxers, it was as if he had really stripped,
judging by the deafening crescendo of screams from elementary school girls, their mothers and grandmothers that erupted inside the sold-out arena.  Though he finished second in viewer voting to "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard, Aiken was clearly the star attraction during the concert, another cog in the relentless merchandising and marketing machine of Fox's "American Idol" phenomenon. The two-month national tour of finalists from the second season made its final stop at the Pond.

The nearly three-hour show was a super-sized version of the TV series, complete with all the fast-paced production, video montages, heavy-handed schmaltz and overwrought performances that have transformed "American Idol" into a cross-generational favorite. But on Sunday, non-devotees had to contend with the fact that the performers were allowed to sing entire songs instead of snippets, and there was no one like acerbic judge Simon Cowell around to give some of the singers a reality check.

The doubters were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the thousands of disciples who came to worship their "Idols," including Studdard, Aiken and seven other finalists, as they belted out standards and mainstream pop anthems. (Another finalist, U.S. Marine Joshua Gracin, was not allowed to report for duty on the national tour because of obligations to his military training). And the adoration was nonstop. There was even a loud cheer for last year's "American Idol" runner-up Justin Guarini, whose recently released album sold dozens of copies, when his image was flashed on a screen. The finalists all got ample opportunity to soak in the cheers one more time before many of them slip back into the obscurity from which they came.

The majority of performances registered high on the bland scale. With the
exception of Studdard and Aiken, the other male performers, Rickey Smith and Charlie Grigsby, were unimpressive. Trenyce (yes, she hasn't made it, but she still only has one name) was the best of the female finalists with a version of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" that demonstrated both showmanship and strong lungs.

True to "American Idol" form, there were more than a few jaw-dropping moments.  A "duel" in which the men sang "The Lady Is a Tramp" while the women belted out "Bootylicious" was surreal. Studdard hip-hopped through "No Reuben," a song off his upcoming album, where he paid tribute to "the barbershops — the black man's country club."

But it was Aiken who turned the Pond into the House of Clay. While his colleagues strained to show off their talents, Aiken eased through his numbers with effortless poise and charisma. Though Studdard was crowned as the American Idol, it was clear from the resounding reaction to Aiken's every move who will likely come out as the real winner when his debut album is released in October.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:24:04 PM
« Reply #57 on: September 03, 2003, 02:58:11 PM »   

‘American Idols’ charm in live concert
By MEGAN H. CHAN, Lifestyle Editor

Fans of the popular television show "American Idol" got exactly what the bargained for on Saturday night when the show's concert tour concluded at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim.
Everything cute about old-school talent shows came to life as the idols delivered a three-hour hodgepodge of good ol' American fun. To top it all off, the show concluded with the charmingly cheeky, quintessential farewell song, "(I've Had The) Time of My Life" from the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing."
Clearly, the star of the evening was Clay Aiken, the runner-up on FOX Network's televised talent contest. Aiken garnered impressively long girlish shrieks and projectiles of the undergarment type.
Clad in an oversized Anaheim Mighty Ducks jersey, the charismatic crooner, toothpick legs and all, demonstrated admirable vocal prowess with "Invisible," a song from his upcoming album.But what clearly set him apart was his gracious introduction of the "American Idol" winner, Ruben Studdard. The mutual admiration and endearing playfulness between these two chums was evident throughout the entire show, including Aiken's introduction of "Roo-ben" and culminating in a surprisingly darling duet in "The Girl Is Mine."
While Aiken may have struck a chord with "Idol's" female fans, Studdard's solo performance of his new single, "Can I Get Your Attention," proved irresistible. There's something to be said about the "velvet teddy bear," as he's often called, singing a song about being from "a lil' hill in a lil' hood."
The women of "American Idol" are not strangers to Aiken and Studdard's feeling of camaraderie and performed like old friends in remakes of Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious" and the Bee Gees' "Emotions."
In a world where women of vocal talent are often scantily clad objects, the women on stage, particularly Trenyce with her rendition of the theme from the movie "The Bodyguard," prove that tremendous vocals coupled with classy choreography can easily please.
Surely a standout, 11th-place finalist Charles Grigsby opened and captivated the crowd with his smooth tones in "Do I Do" by Stevie Wonder.
Not to be counted out, the dramatically differently "standout" of the group, Kimberly Caldwell, decked herself out in classic bad girl camouflage and mandatory stiletto boots that let everyone know she meant business.
Her vocal inflections landed perfectly on target, and though the song, originally performed by Stacey Orrico, has been jamming up the air waves, Caldwell's approach was intoxicating and new.
With a finale comparable to that of a political convention, "God Bless the USA," made it hip, chic and perfectly respectable to show a little love for the country.
Without a doubt, pop culture can certainly use more of the infectiously refreshing attitude of these American idols who appeal to 7- and 70-year-olds alike. It's all about good, clean fun.

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:25:04 PM
Assistant Webmaster
« Reply #58 on: September 05, 2003, 03:34:56 PM »   

This writer is snarking big time on the American Idol concert, but this was so *funny* I just had to post a snip of it.  Remember, the whole 'Idol' trip isn't for everyone.  I can appreciate those who are of a different mind. Hey, judge not lest ye be judged, right?
Hit the link if you want to read the whole piece.  I would suggest opening your mind and engaging your sense of humor first though.   :D

The Pond was filled with humanity. American humanity. Sold-out American humanity. Many of the excited American humans were pre-teen or what futurist Faith Popcorn no doubt calls "tweens." Also, there were five gay guys; they were very shiny and wholesome, like all America’s favorite gays. The tweens were screaming. Actually screaming does it about as much justice as calling Ann Coulter mildly disagreeable. In fact, the pre-teen and tween Americans were shrieking and wailing and carrying on like they’d been transported back to a 1984 Wham! show or something. Whatev!

Title: Re: 2003: AI TOUR MEDIA
Post by: Marilyn on April 26, 2010, 09:25:58 PM
Assistant Webmaster
« Reply #59 on: September 15, 2003, 12:38:45 AM »   

'American Idol' star Clay Aiken
by Christina FuocoliveDaily Contributor

July 25, 2003 04:46 PM - "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken seems naturally inclined to be impeccably nice. While speaking to liveDaily by phone, he pulls up to First Union Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and quickly diverts his attention to a fan.     
"Oh here. Let me give you a hug," he says to the admirer. Aiken, 24, of Raleigh, NC, made his way into the hearts of "American Idol" fans by being nice--and having the type of voice that raises the roofs of Broadway theaters. His first single, "This is the Night/Bridge over Troubled Water," debuted at No. 1, besting "Flying Without Wings/Superstar" by "Idol"-winner Ruben Studdard. The Aiken cut sold nearly 393,000 copies in its first week, making it the biggest debut since Elton John's 1997 "Candle in the Wind" remake surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Aiken's sales success isn't good enough for some of his fans, apparently. A group of them recently wrote to the FCC claiming that the "American Idol" results were fixed, something that Aiken laughs at. However, the FCC reportedly is looking into the matter. Aiken talked to liveDaily about his forthcoming album--due out in September--the "American Idols Live" tour and the perils of being popular.

liveDaily: How's the tour going so far?
Clay Aiken: It's going really well. We're having a good time with it. We had some rough dress rehearsals but our shows have been extremely, extremely good. What was rough about the dress rehearsals? Oh, we were just forgetting when we were supposed to come in; not knowing our songs, all that stuff. We just had trouble with that. I didn't know the words to some of my songs until the first show. What are some of the songs that you're singing? I'm doing "This is the Night" and Ruben and I are doing stuff that will be coming off of our new albums. We're having a good time with it. Is your album finished? It's almost done. I'm driving to New York [on July 16] to finish up one [song on July 17], and then I'll be finished. I'm lovin' being finished. Hopefully I can relax.

LiveDaily:  Who are some of the songwriters you worked with?
Clay Aiken: Chris Braide worked on "This is the Night," …; Cathy Dennis, she wrote "A Moment Like This" from last year's show. And just a bunch of big-name producers: Clif Magness, who did some stuff with Avril Lavigne; Rick Knowles, who works with Savage Garden, Santana and Michelle Branch; Steve Morales, who did all the Enrique [Iglesias] and Shakira stuff.

liveDaily:  What can people expect from it?
Clay Aiken:  The nice thing about it is that it's not a huge departure for me. The record company, myself and the management group have been able to really agree on what we'd like to see from it. We're not going to see a lot of hardcore, inappropriate stuff that I'm not all for. A lot of the stuff is like "This is the Night." It's a pop-flavored album. I think there's a lot of people out there who may not be the best influence for kids. I wouldn't want my kids listening to some of the stuff out there. None of the stuff on the album is like that.

LiveDaily:  What do you think about all the complaints that "American Idol" was fixed?
Clay Aiken:  It's kind of flattering because it's coming from fans who like me, and all that stuff. But I was on the show and involved closely in it for a long time, and I know everyone who was involved in it. I totally trust the outcome of the show. It was so close. It wasn't like the outcome was 70 to 30 percent. I completely trust the results. Sometimes I just wish people would put their energies into supporting a charity or something like that instead of calling the FCC. (laughs) It concerns me because Ruben's a good, good friend of mine. I totally am proud of him and support everything that he does. Both of us really got exactly what we wanted out of this show. We both went into it hoping to get a recording contract and get this type of career--and we both got it. He's got the title and that's what different. Other than that, we're both having a great time and I'm totally happy with where I am. So, people who want to write letters can write letters to the Autism Society and help them out. (laughs)

LiveDaily:  How have you handled the sudden stardom?
Clay Aiken:  It's been difficult. It's hard to look at our pictures in newspapers and on magazines and all that type of stuff and think of it as anything more than, "Oh, it's just me. That's my picture. That's not a big deal. Who cares what cover it's on. Who cares what magazine it's in. It's just me." People who scream and cheer for us, it's like, "Wow." It's really hard to take in a lot of times. We're just ourselves when we go up there and sing. It's amazing that--what, nine months after we started the show?--so many people want to be around us and hear us. How do you get used to that? You don't. I don't think you can. Every night something's different and new. Last night I had panties thrown on the stage. Every night it's something different. It's extremely flattering every single night. It's all a new experience. It's something that we all wanted to do for so long. We're just enjoying the ride and trying to take it all in.

LiveDaily:   How do you keep from laughing when women throw their panties on stage when you're trying to sing?
Clay Aiken:  I laughed, right there in front of them. (laughs) How can you try to not laugh? The lady who was sitting in the front, I just asked her, "Please tell me you weren't wearing these before you threw them on stage." It's very funny. I'm not used to it, don't worry.

LiveDaily:  What is the format of the "American Idols Live" show?
Clay Aiken:  We start with Charlie Grigsby, and the first half is all solos. We start with Charlie and work all the way to Ruben through the first half. The second half is all group songs, medleys, Ruben and I do a duet, Ruben and I both sing our songs from our album during the second half. The guys sing together, the girls sing together. We do a tribute to the Bee Gees.

LiveDaily: What song do you and Ruben do together?
Clay Aiken:  That's a surprise! What is it like to tour with the other "Idols"? We know each other so well. I think that's what's so cool about it. We've all known each other for nine months now. We know where everybody came from. We're all just friends. Nobody gets star struck at anybody. Everybody's just hangin'. We've known each other for so long that we're really like a family. We travel together. We live together and all that stuff. We definitely enjoy being together. We really perform well together. We used to rehearse for the show and just have the nastiest rehearsals on Wednesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Then when the show hit the airwaves on Wednesday nights, our medleys would come together flawlessly. That's just the way the whole show has worked because we know each other so well.