American Idol’s season 12 is well underway, but what about the top 10 contestants from season 11?
The first round of performances saw Jim Carrey’s daughter, Jane Carrey cut from the competition, as numerous contestants fell ill and collapsed in the auditorium. Contestant Symone Black actually collapsed while on stage and went on to make the cut.
Initially there were to be 12 males and 12 females, but the judges announced plans to add a 13th male semi-finalist between Jermaine Jones, Richie Law, Johnny Keyser and David Leathers Jr. The following week, after the male performances, Jermaine Jones was revealed to be the thirteenth performer, which set the stage for controversy and fueled speculation of a ratings grab.
On March 14, with only 11 contestants remaining, Jermaine Jones was disqualified for concealing arrests and outstanding warrants. Jones denied that he had concealed his previous arrests and says he disclosed them when signing up for Idol. Footage of executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick confronting Jones was shown in what would have been his performance slot.
A police official in the New Jersey town where he had two arrest warrants said, “The case wasn’t big enough to merit going after him in California,” and a New Jersey legislator commented, for the show “to expose, embarrass and interrogate a young man without an attorney in front of 40 million viewers was an outrage.”
Critics accused the show of staging the disqualification in order to boost the already slumping ratings.
Erika Van Pelt
Erika Van Pelt made it into the No. 10 spot and made the requisite rounds on the various talk shows.Van Pelt currently runs her own DJ business (VP Entertainment) and performs part-time with “The Sultans of Swing”, and is a performing partner of “Fairhaven Entertainment” and “Boston Swing.”
In early 2014 Van Pelt will be hosting and performing on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Haiti. She’s also in the process of recording her debut album, according to her Facebook page.
In January Van Pelt wrote on Facebook, “Day 1 in the studio today tracking for the new album! I feel really blessed to be making an indie record, done my way. No label, and all the freedom in the world. I can’t wait for you all to hear it!”
Ninth place winner and jokester was Heejun Han who wooed the judges, and the audience, with his offbeat humor. He generally won the day with a joke, not a song.
Han made a number of appearances after the show, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live! with Kelly and The Wendy Williams Show. He also performed “God Bless America” to open for the New York Mets.
He appeared as a judge in a K-Pop competition at the New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in September, and currently has no plans for an album. Click for more images
Eighth place winner DeAndre Brackensick hasn’t done much of anything.
The biggest news post-idol was him hooking up with runner-up Jessica Sanchez during the American Idol Live Tour. They could be seen walking hand in hand backstage, just prior to their performances.
Colton Dixon is the contestant who didn’t even try out and ended up in seventh place. If you recall Dixon had tried out for season 10 but failed to make the cut. Season 11 tryouts found his sister trying out with him standing in the wings. The judges insisted that he come out and tryout with his sister standing by. She didn’t make the cut, but he did, and he’s been a busy little Christian ever since.
Following his elimination Dixon appeared on a number of shows including a visit to Access Hollywood where he performed a rendition of “Everything,” by Lifehouse. He was also invited to the White House Correspondents Dinner as a special guest of the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Dixon signed on to Sparrow Records, an imprint of the EMI Christian Music Group, releasing “Never Gone” and “You Are,” both hitting No. 1 on the Christian charts. On January 29 he released his debut album “A Messenger,” sending it to No. 1 on Top Christian Albums and Gospel Albums.
Dixon is currently gearing up to go on tour with Grammy winning Christian rockers Third Day.
Elise Testone landed in sixth place with her gravelly and soulful voice. During her time on Idol she couldn’t get a break, landing in the bottom three most weeks.
She may have had a difficult time winning over audiences, but she didn’t seem to have a problem winning over Idol guitarist Errol Cooney. Rumor has it the two may have hooked up during the American Idol Live Tour, resulting in Cooney’s wife filing for a divorce. Testone has denied doing the deed, but did admit to a close friendship with the guitarist.
Right after Idol, Testone made the rounds on all the talk shows including Good Day L.A.,The Today Show, Anderson, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She also performed with fellow contestant Colton Dixon on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The voice coach still lives in Charleston, South Carolina and continues to actively perform in the area. She has no formal plans to release an album, but she’s been writing plenty of music.
Fifth place Skylar Laine is another contestant that’s been idle since Idol, announced in November that she has signed with 19 Entertainment and has moved to Nashville, Tennessee to start work on her debut album.
She recently debut an original song called “Settle Down,” written by herself, Chris DeStefano and Anne Preven.
Fourth place Hollie Cavanagh has been pretty quiet since Idol, but has plans to begin recording her debut album early this year. Just recently she posted to her Facebook account, “Busy writing some music in the studio excited !!!”
She’s also started a YouTube channel for all her Holliepops, as she calls her fans, promising to “to keep everyone in the loop of whats going on and soon you’ll see some covers and original music!”
Fans can also keep updated on one of her fan pages.
There is a potential business arrangement that may be in the works for Ledet, who earned the nickname Mantasia, because he reminded Idol fans of past contestant Fantasia. It seems there is a strip club in New York City called Mantasia that is hoping to bring Ledet into the fold to help market their wares. Don’t hold your breath.
Ledet has also been seen at sporting events singing the national anthem.
Jessica Sanchez was the runner up to Phillip Phillips and with the new Idol contract she was not guaranteed an album and a $175,000 advance. Instead she was only entitled to a “developmental” deal with 19 Recordings and no advance.
Sanchez has since signed with Interscope Records and has been performing at various events. She recently was featured on the cover of Mega Magazine, and plans on releasing her debut single this month, with an album later this year.
While visiting the Philippines for the American Idol Live Tour, Sanchez shot a music video for the song “Jump In” with The Black Eyed Peas members. She has also signed up to endorse Jollibee Foods Corporation and Bench, two popular brands in the Philippines.
Sanchez will be returning to television as she takes on a recurring role in the fourth season of Glee.
American Idol winner Phillip Phillips’ boyish charm, good looks and singing ability catapulted his American Idol coronation song, “Home,” to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first time in four years a coronation single from an American Idol winner had reached the top 10.
“Home” went on to be used in the 2012 Summer Olympics, a Clint Eastwood trailer, and a number of commercials. The song has been bouncing in and out of the top 10 and most recently (January 2013) hit No. 6.
His album “The World From the Side of the Moon” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts in November 2012 and has already been certified gold.
Phillips’ will be joining Matchbox Twenty on their North American tour in 2012 and plans to do a solo tour later this summer.
Thunder Valley Casino announces 2013 Summer Concert Series
General Manager of Thunder Valley Casino Resort, C.J. Graham, announced at a recent press conference the first acts of its much anticipated Summer Concert Series.
“We are thrilled to announce the first round of acts for our fourth annual summer concert series at Thunder Valley,” said Graham, “Our outdoor amphitheater is second to none in the region and as always, we will have a very well-rounded series of big name entertainers.”
Graham added that the amphitheater will be expanded to include 4,800 seats, taking two months to build. He also confirmed that their wildly popular H20 pool party on Sundays will be back and better than ever.
UPDATED February 21, 2013 – in bold
The first acts announced are:
|Frankie Vallie and The Four Season||Saturday, June 1|
|Pat Benatar w/Neil Geraldo and Cheap Trick||Friday, June 7|
|Super Summer Soul Jam click for full line up||Saturday, June 8|
|Doobie Brothers||Friday, June 14|
|Jeff Dunham||Friday, June 21|
|Chicago||Saturday, August 3|
|Bill Engvall||Saturday, August 10|
Thunder Valley Club Members will have the exclusive chance to purchase tickets on-site at Thunder Valley on Feb. 8. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, Feb. 9.
This year Thunder Valley is introducing a “comprehensive” season pass, with Friday, or Saturday night concert passes, these will be available for purchase on Feb. 8.
You can visit Thunder Valley Casino’s website for a complete list of upcoming shows.
We will continually update this page, so check back for future shows coming to Thunder Valley this summer.
I was first introduced to Hudson’s singing abilities at, of all places, a Doobie Brothers concert at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Film star and singer, Branscombe Richmond brought Hudson up on stage to sing “Listen to the Music,” along with the Doobie Brothers.
The 15 year-old Hudson is country pop singer from the small town of Wheatland, located in rural Northern California. She’s been singing the national anthem at sporting events and from time to time has been making appearances with singer songwriter Rachel Steele and the band Road 88.
Opening at Toby Keith’s was a big move for the country singer as she was joined by Rachel Steele, and Road 88 band members Scott Prentice (guitar) and Billy Haggard (guitar). She also had a special guest singer Courtney Chapman, but more on that in a minute.
Kicking off their set, Hudson and Steele performed Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels” and Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue.” Hudson appeared nervous, but quickly overcame any nerves after “Stuck Like Glue.”
Hudson went on to perform solo, singing Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round” and Hudson’s original song “Tommy.” She hit her stride as she began “Tommy,” and never looked back, as she performed a number of songs, both solo and with Steele, sounding more like a veteran performer than a 15 year-old up and coming star.
Halfway through her performance Hudson brought her special guest, and close friend, Courtney Chapman onstage to provide vocals. The duo brought the house down with a wonderful rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” Chapman did a sterling job on vocals and I was looking forward to hearing more from her, but that was not meant to be, as Chapman exited the stage after performing “Mean.”
Hudson has been hinting on her Facebook page that bigger things were coming this summer as she is scheduling more appearance and bringing Chapman along.
“Well I said 2013 would be crazy!” she wrote, “I will be working on stage with several artists working up to this summer. But I would like to introduce you all to Courtney! Courtney will be joining me starting this summer. We will be a new team and I am so lucky!! You will see us out and about together soon getting ready to rock it country style!!”
Looking forward to it!
Madison Hudson is someone to keep an eye on. You can find more information about her and Rachel Steele at the below links.
Visit Madison Hudson on:
Rachel Steele with Road 88 can be found at:
I am extremely sad to report that Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the colorful and flamboyant lead singer for the Ohio Players, died yesterday at the age of 70.
UPDATE: In an official family statement released by Scott Hanover the family said, “Yesterday, Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner passed away quietly in his hometown of Trotwood-Dayton, OH. While his family, friends, colleagues, and fans mourn his passing they celebrate fondly his memory, music, and legacy.”
The statement continued, “Humble yet charismatic, soft spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics, and music has influenced countless other artists, songs, and trends. He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on. More details and an official historical perspective of his career will soon be forthcoming.
His Facebook page is available to all to post comments, reflections, and testimonials of this wonderful and gifted man: https://www.facebook.com/sugarfootsohioplayers.”
The Ohio Players were originally formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, and were known as the Ohio Untouchables. After a brief breakup the band regrouped in 1963 adding Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner on lead guitar and eventually he went on to front the band.
The band’s first big hit single was “Funky Worm”, reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1973, selling over one million copies.
The band had seven Top 40 hits between 1973 and 1976 including, “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster” and “Who’d She Coo?”
Recently the master of funk brought the Ohio Players to Thunder Valley Casino Resort (read review). Sugarfoot was helped onstage and appeared frail. However, backstage he was jovial and very friendly to the staff and fans as they lined up to meet the ‘70s icon.
Daniel Emanuel Gokey weighed in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces.
Gokey released the following statement:
“Leyicet and I are overjoyed to welcome the new member of our family. I’m ecstatic to be a first time dad and to have a new little buddy to hang out with. Thankfully, because of what I do, it will also allow me the flexibility to spend a lot of quality time with him. I have so many exciting projects ahead this year but a brand new baby is an amazing way to get the new year started. We feel really blessed!”
The 32-year-old Gokey, whose first wife died in 2008 following an operation for congenital heart disease, married Leyicet, a 26-year-old model, in January 2012. Their engagement and marriage were announced on his charity website, Sophia’s Heart.
The site was created in honor of Gokey’s late wife Sophia. As some of you may recall, in Idol season eight, Gokey shared the tragic story of losing his wife to routine heart surgery. Since then he has dedicated himself to raising money for Sophia’s Heart, reaching out to children and helping them through difficult times, at various stages of their lives.
The band started around 10:30 p.m. and the crowd immediately responded by clapping and jumping to their feet, with a number of couples spilling into the aisles to dance.
The San Francisco Bay Area based band got their start in the late 60’s when founding members Emilio Castillo (tenor sax/vocals) and Stephen “Doc” Kupka got together. Joining the two founding members onstage were long standing members Francis “Rocco” Prestia (bass) and Dave Geribaldi (drums), along with Larry Braggs (lead vocals), Roger Smith (keyboards/vocals), Tom E. Politzer (lead tenor sax), Adolfo Acosta, (trumpet/flugelhorn), Jerry Cortez (guitar/vocals), and Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet).
Starting their set with “I Like Your Style” and “Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now,” the horn section is obviously the cornerstone of Tower of Power’s musical style, as Castillo, Doc, and Rocco started flexing their horns causing the audience to cheer even louder.
When TOP, as their fans refer to them, started playing their slower songs like “Just When We Start Making it” and “Me and Mrs. Jones,” droves of fans left their seats and headed to the aisles to slow dance.
As the New Year arrived, the band struck up “Auld Lang Syne,” as everyone donned their hats and noise makers (compliments of Thunder Valley), as hundreds of balloons started tumbling to the floor.
It was quite a sight to see, and hear, as some people popped balloons, while others were hitting them back up into the air.
Once things settled down, Tower of Power continued with “Young Man” and “Soul With a
Capital S,” leaving many of their fans wanting more.
Those with any energy left headed to the casino for their 1:30 a.m. drawing, where someone won a share of $25,000, including the grand prize of $10,000.
Tower of Power still has a lot of energy left after all these years. Couple the two founding members with the younger members of the band and they still have a recipe for success.
I Like Your Style
Ain’t Nothing Stopping Us Now
Oil in the Ground
Can’t You See
Come Back Baby
Just When We Start Making it
Maybe It’ll Rub Off
So I Got to Groove
Me and Mrs. Jones
Jame Brown Medley of songs
Hard to Go
Auld Lang Syne
What is Hip
Soul With a Capital S
Crap it happened again.
Last year Air Supply stormed into Thunder Valley Casino Resort playing all their hits from the ‘70s and 80’s, pretty much nothing but love songs, and I liked it. It was after that show, back in December of last year, that I started questioning my maleness. Was it time to turn in my man-card?
To prove to myself that I wasn’t playing for the other team, I decided to take in a Chippendales show (review) followed by a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight (review). That didn’t go so well. You can read those reviews and decide for yourself, but in my mind, I think I failed – not that that’s a bad thing, at least that’s what my wife keeps telling me.
Well I got a do over as Air Supply came back to Thunder Valley Casino on Sunday night playing to another sold out crowd.
It all started out quietly enough as founding members Russell Hitchcock (lead vocals) and Graham Russell (guitar/vocals) took the stage with fellow band members Jonni Lightfoot (bass/vocals), Aaron McLain (guitar/vocals), Aviv Cohen (drums), and filling in for Amir Efrat on keyboards Davy Nathan.
They kicked of the night with “Even the Nights are Better” and “Just as I Am,” as their fans greeted them with deafening applause, mixed with the occasional scream.
Midway through the show, Russell went unplugged with “Me and The River,” as Nathan accompanied him on keys. All the other band members, including Hitchcock left the stage.
As Russell finished “Me and The River” he was handed another guitar for his next song, only it wasn’t working. As Nathan, the guitar guy, not to be confused with Nathan the keyboard guy, worked on the problem, Hitchcock came back out on stage and told a joke about an elephant and something about a stocking over his head. It was quite funny, but you had to be there.
Once Russell had his guitar functioning again, Hitchcock appeared stage left, walking straight into a sea of fans. He was handing out hugs and kisses to a number of fans, as he sang “The One That You Love,” with Russell wading into the crowd as well.
That’s when everything changed.
As the crowd was worked into a frenzy Hitchcock and Russell made their way back onstage to play “Lost in Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” with the crowd still going wild.
Pandemonium broke out as the band left the stage, with the crowd on their feet clapping and screaming for more. After the requisite wait, the crew jumped back onstage to finish with “Goodbye” and “All Out of Love.”
By the time Air Supply finished their 90 minute set I was passing out hugs and telling everyone I loved them, like there was no tomorrow – Obviously the Mayans were wrong. It was then I realized I’d failed again.
These guys are pure entertainers and make for a great night out.
Even the Nights are Better
Just as I Am
Every Woman in the World
Here I Am
Dance with Me
Power of Love
Me and the River
The One That You Love
Lost in Love
Making Love Out of Nothing at All
All Out of Love
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has been bringing the big band era music to the masses for over 20 years. Their music takes the listener back to the days of old, when gangsters weren’t quite as scary, and a flapper was a young and trending woman, not something found in a toilet. Some say those were the good ‘ole days.
Mixing their roaring twenties attitude and big horns, the band of all things swing, fuses together some of the most prolific sounds of swing, jazz and contemporary classics to create an original and exciting array of sounds that put the likes of Cab Calloway to shame, well almost. Nobody can put Calloway to shame.
Kicking off their set with “Come On With The ‘Come On’” and “Calloway Boogie,” they had the audience dancing in their seats from the start. That was a bit strange, because at most concerts fans would be standing up in the front row dancing. Apparently this was a more subdued and polite crowd.
Thunder Valley missed out on an opportunity to provide a dance floor for the many fans wanting to get up and boogie. While a number of people were dancing off to the side, the carpet just didn’t cut it.
Still in holiday mode, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy went on to play a few of their songs from their Christmas album including “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Mr. Heatmeiser.”
As the band started up with Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” lead singer Scotty Morris led the crowd through the ho-dee ho-dee ho’s and the Hi-dee hi-dee hi’s. During the song the audience jumped in at the appropriate times as well.
This was an extremely fun concert with a high energy band. While some people may never give Big Bad Voodoo Daddy a listen due to their roaring twenties label and swing sound, others are quickly realizing that this is a band that has a sound all its own, with some very catchy tunes.
Band members include Scotty Morris (lead vocals and guitar), Kurt Sodergren (drums and percussion), Dirk Shumaker (double bass and vocals), Andy Rowley (baritone saxophone and vocals), Glen “The Kid” Marhevka (trumpet), Karl Hunter (saxophones and clarinet), Joshua Levy (piano and arranger), Anthony Bonsera Jr. (lead trumpet) and Alex Henderson (trombone).
You can catch these dapper fellows on The Tonight Show on Jan. 9, where they will perform “Why Me?”
Come On With The “Come On”
Merry Christmas Baby
Mr. Pinstripe Suit
The Reefer Man
Minnie the Moocher
Diga Diga Do
We Three Kings
Zig Zaggity Woop Woop
You and Me & The Bottle Makes 3
I Wan’na Be Like You
Go Daddy O
So Long Farewell-Goodbye
This was a stripped down version of his regular show, although this format is becoming his regular show. In 2011, McKnight set out to let America get to know more about him as he embarked on his Just Me Tour, which included his brother’s band, Take 6. During the show McKnight reflects on growing up and provides anecdotal information about his songs and life.
This being the stripped down version, it was completely solo with only McKnight playing a grand piano, guitar, or keyboards.
As the show began, the lights dimmed and the stage was deserted as a signal spotlight lit up the piano. Off stage McKnight started singing “Should’ve Been Loving You,” slowly working his way center stage, making for a very dramatic entrance.
After following up with “Home,” McKnight went on to explain the format of his show saying, “I write these songs, but I produce them too, and sometimes you got to produce them to be on the radio, and I don’t necessarily get to perform them the way I want to, so tonight, I’m going to give you the music the way I want to.”
McKnight continued with a medley of songs of people who most influenced him in his early years, including Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E,” Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin,” and Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love.”
Working just the right amount of humor into his show, McKnight explained why he doesn’t serenade his “ladies.” Because his mother warned him about using his god given talents for his own personal purposes, and God will take those talents away, referencing erectile dysfunction commercials. That’s when he asked audience member Elsa Greco to come up on stage so he could serenade her with “Crazy Love,” as he played guitar.
This was pretty much an unplugged set, at least until his last song “Fall 5.0” when he played to a soundtrack. “Fall 5.0″ is off his new album due to be released in February.
The format just didn’t work for the testosterone laden guys in the audience, but it did work for all the ladies who were captivated by McKnight’s good looks and his smooth vocals as he belted out one love song after another.
For those fans of McKnight in the ‘90s and who have not kept up with his music, they were ultimately disappointed due to the unplugged format. At times it was difficult to determine what song he was singing.
As one of those testosterone laden guys, I’d rather have seen more standup comic routines from McKnight.
Should’ve Been Loving You
The Only One for Me
Medley “L-O-V-E,” “I Keep Forgetting,” “On the Wings of Love,” “Overjoyed,’’ “A House is Not a Home,’’ “Rock With You”
Can You Read My Mind
6, 8, 12
Find Myself in You
Let Me Love You
Still in Love
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
You’re Like a Dream Come True
Back at One
One Last Cry
Prior to Koy coming out onstage, DJ John Magic entertained the crowd with some tunes. He asked several audience members onstage to dance and earn a prize. Audience member Stephanie was first up, as Magic told her that there are certain songs for certain dances, and that she had to dance in the style of the song that he played. As “Gangnam Style” started up, Stephanie did her best Gangnam Style dance, earning her a Jo Koy t-shirt.
Audience member Kara won Jo Koy’s Lights Out DVD and audience member Tom failed a couple of times, but finally won a t-shirt.
Following Magic was comedian James Ponce as he warmed up the crowd joking around about everything from pot smokers to his car’s “oh shit” handle.
As Koy took the stage, the crowd was on their feet welcoming the 41 year old to Thunder Valley as they clapped and cheered him on. Koy wanted to let everyone know that he he’s finally made the big time since he’s playing in a tent at an Indian casino.
The Chelsea Lately regular immediately went after the various nationalities in the audience, especially the Filipino community and his mother, who he’s friends with on Facebook. Every time a fan loads a picture of him with a drink in his hand on Facebook, his mom yells at him that he’s going to get roofied.
He continued on with a number of topics including how Mexicans can cook great Chinese food, as well as how women laugh so hard they cry and “pee” their pants.
Proving to the audience that he was more than just a comedian, Koy ended the show with several songs as he had audience members helping him out through the chorus.
This was a fantastic show with Koy bringing down the house with his off color and racially charged show. DJ John Magic and James Ponce were the perfect openers as Koy put on a fantastic show, bringing the house down with his off color and racially charged show.