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By Katrina Galsim | January 18, 2012
"American Idol"kicked off its 11th season with a retrospective feel as it took us back to 2002 and reminded us of the moment when waitress Kelly Clarkson won the inaugural season. Video clips of Idol hopefuls as kids performing were flashed before our eyes.  But you know what everybody tuned in for: the auditions! Some notables: Sixteen-year-old David Leathers Jr. (who, let's be honest, looked 12) sang "Remember the Rain" and sounded as if he could have been the sixth member of the Jackson 5. And then Jennifer Lopez went on to ask him to sing a Michael Jackson song ... imagine that!
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NEWS
September 22, 2014
Roy Valiant is totally correct about the anthem being disrespected by Orioles fans ( "Stop desecrating the anthem," Sept. 18). But I would like to go a step further. At many sporting events, unfortunately, it seems, most often at NASCAR events but others as well, the performer changes the anthem to "make it their own. " This works well on "American Idol" where the contestants are encouraged to do so. But not with "The Star Spangled Banner. " That should be left alone. "Free" and "brave" are one syllable words.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Yvonne Wenger and The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
Angie Miller and her steely-eyed focus transmitted into the homes of 10-plus million American Idol viewers won her 50,000 followers in the Twitterverse the week of the show's Top 10 reveal -- nearly 18,000 more social media fans than her next highest competitor. More than two months later, the 18-year-old  Beverly, Mass., native tripled her followers, effectively blowing away the other wannabes on the cyberspace portal. Why then didn't the magic of the 140-character phenomenon carry her into Thursday's finale?
FEATURES
By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2014
Let's get the bad news out of the way first: Rich Lafleur, a 20-year-old construction and landscaping worker from Clarksville, choked at the mic in the Hollywood Week episode of American Idol that aired last night. But here's the good news: The brief performance in front of judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban appears to opening doors for the country singer. "My phone has constantly been going off," said Lafleur.  "I've been contacted by songwriters in Nashville.  Fifteen seconds on American Idol can really slingshot you to the next level.
FEATURES
By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2014
Let's get the bad news out of the way first: Rich Lafleur, a 20-year-old construction and landscaping worker from Clarksville, choked at the mic in the Hollywood Week episode of American Idol that aired last night. But here's the good news: The brief performance in front of judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban appears to opening doors for the country singer. "My phone has constantly been going off," said Lafleur.  "I've been contacted by songwriters in Nashville.  Fifteen seconds on American Idol can really slingshot you to the next level.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | February 24, 2012
Hallie Day, a 24-year-old waitress at the the Cheesecake Factory in Towson, made it into the semi-finals on "American Idol" and will compete in a live telecast Wednesday. Day, who lives in Nottingham, says she hasn't sung much professionally, and her appearance Wednesday  will be her first with an audience that size. "I performed with the Jazz Caravan, a jazz band, one time," she said. "And then, I led worship at Second Presbyterian Church in Towson. Other than that, I haven't really performed a lot. So, a lot of this is very new to me. " Day, who says her favorite genre is "soul" music, says she started singing in church at age 5. "I loved the little solos that I would get, and I think that's maybe when the diva started to come out," she said with a laugh.
FEATURES
By Tim Swift | May 15, 2008
So this much is for certain: A David will be the next American Idol. Last night, Florida actress Syesha Mercado was sent packing after striking out on her final two songs. The 21-year-old didn't do herself any favors with her choice of a hammy version of Peggy Lee's "Fever," but it was the Idol producers who supplied the death blow - a bizarre up-tempo number from the dancing penguin movie Happy Feet. Seriously. Her exit leaves sensitive Missouri rocker David Cook and wholesome wunderkind David Archuleta of Utah to battle it out in next week's glitzy season finale.
FEATURES
By Tim Swift and Tim Swift,Sun Staff | April 12, 2007
Fatal Song Choice: "Turn the Beat Around" What Went Wrong: While her look said bold tigress (the animal print, the exposed bra strap, the trashy hair), her voice mewed like a kitten. Idol's pageant queen was simply overwhelmed by the syncopated pace of the song and the power of the band. To her credit, she tried her hardest to sell it -- but alas the American Idol stage has no stripper pole. Shining Moment: British Invasion week's song wasn't "Shake Your Moneymaker," but it sure felt like it. Her exuberant rendition of "Tell Him" had enough charisma to make up for what she lacked in vocal talent and, well, clothes.
NEWS
By GREG BRAXTON and GREG BRAXTON,LOS ANGELES TIMES | May 21, 2006
She was already a big star, adored by millions. But when it was announced that she would make her Broadway debut this spring, the anticipatory buzz went through the roof. Ads with her name splashed in large, bold type popped up all over New York City. A mad scramble for tickets erupted. Fans squealed the moment she stepped on stage. Crowds mobbed her at the stage door, clamoring for autographs and pictures. And producers of the show rejoiced in their financial good fortune. But all this fuss isn't over Julia Roberts and her theatrical debut in Three Days of Rain.
FEATURES
By Stephen Kiehl and Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF | May 11, 2004
When you watch the four finalists on American Idol sing and shimmy their way through tonight's episode, you may notice something missing from the show: testosterone. American Idol has a boy problem. This first became clear two months ago, when the show revealed the 12 finalists culled from a casting call of thousands. Eight were women, and they were fantastic - divas and Southern belles of the highest order, with the talent and looks of true idols. The other four finalists were men, and they were uniformly awful.
NEWS
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | June 3, 2013
She turns 70 later this month, but that's not slowing down R&B veteran Patti LaBelle. She, along with "American Idol" Season 3 winner Fantasia, will headline this year's African American Festival, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and event produced Shelona Stokes announced this morning at City Hall. The free, two-day event takes place at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, July 6 from noon-10 p.m. and Sunday, July 7 from noon-9 p.m. More performers will be announced closer to the festival date, according to assistant producer Nika Watkins.  #sigshell { float: left; width: 320px; height: 52px; margin: 20px 0px; display: block; }
ENTERTAINMENT
By Yvonne Wenger and The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
Angie Miller and her steely-eyed focus transmitted into the homes of 10-plus million American Idol viewers won her 50,000 followers in the Twitterverse the week of the show's Top 10 reveal -- nearly 18,000 more social media fans than her next highest competitor. More than two months later, the 18-year-old  Beverly, Mass., native tripled her followers, effectively blowing away the other wannabes on the cyberspace portal. Why then didn't the magic of the 140-character phenomenon carry her into Thursday's finale?
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ericka Alston | April 4, 2013
Down to the final 7, last night's show had the contenders take on some of the legends of rock and roll and most were clearly outside of their comfort zones. Burnell's version of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" reminded us all that we love him dearly, but he should probably stay away from this genre of music. The judges gave him tips like, "next time try to make the song your own" and Keith said that it was obvious that Burnell was "very uncomfortable. " Although probably safe, Burnell was not very good at all and he happens to be my favorite.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ericka Alston | March 8, 2013
After 39 million votes, America has spoken and last night our top 10 were revealed.  After the sad stories, bad singing, tone-deaf family members and forgotten lyrics, it's been a long, noisy road, but we're finally here. We learned who our top 5 guys would be and the top 5 ladies that would join them over the next weeks on the quest to become the next "American Idol. " My earlier predictions were: Elisah Charlie Lazaro  Curtis Finch jr. Burnell Let's see how I did. First guy to be called is Paul Jolly.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ericka Alston | March 7, 2013
Last night Elijah, Cortez, Charlie, Nick, Burnell, Paul, Lazaro, Curtis, Devin and Vincent battled it out for a spot in this year's top 10. Well, some battled and some just blah.  The show kicked off with Elijah, singing Rhianna's new hit, "Stay" -- I am certain every little teenaged girl watching last night stayed glued to the TV. It was perfection. The judges loved him and so did the audience. I'm thinking Elijah will stay. Cortez wasn't as lucky. For some reason he took on Bruno Mars and perhaps singing "Locked Out of Heaven" got him locked out of the top 10. Nicki told poor Cortez that he needs to borrow Elijah's stylist and Randy said his dance moves were dope, but he didn't dance?
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ericka Alston | March 6, 2013
Last night, 10 ladies performed before a live audience in hopes of yet again keeping one of five spots. This time, it's finally up to us -- we're voting for our favorites. Zoanette kicks off the night with the Tina Turner classic "Private Dancer," which should have been a private performance, never seeing the light of day. The judges agree. Not a good performance and Zoanette may be in some real trouble.  Brianna takes on Beyonce, and though she's got a sweet, pretty voice, doesn't quite have the power needed to deliver the song.
FEATURES
By Tim Swift ... and Tim Swift ...,sun reporter | May 24, 2007
In a rain of confetti and tears, Jordin Sparks, who was turned away from her first audition on American Idol, left the stage last night the winner of the show's sixth season -- a household name and an instant recording artist. With 74 million votes cast, the 17-year-old from Glendale, Ariz., edged out Blake Lewis, the 26-year-old beatboxer from Seattle. Here's how it happened: What she sang --Christina Aguilera's "Fighter," Martina McBride's "Broken Wing" and "This Is My Now," the song that won a competition as the first recording for the new Idol champion.
FEATURES
By Rashod D. Ollison and Rashod D. Ollison,Sun Pop Music Critic | January 16, 2007
The metamorphosis, if you will, is fascinating to watch. During the past five seasons of American Idol, we've seen talented female vocalists -- awkward and unpolished -- blossom into confident, heavily styled contenders to pop divadom. Their voices soar and barrel through familiar fare: Motown, disco, even show tunes. Sure, Clay Aiken's transformation during Season 2, from jug-eared nerd to spiky-haired heartthrob, was amazing -- freakishly so. But the aesthetic evolution of the female Idol contestants is usually stunning and far more glamorous.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ericka Alston | March 1, 2013
We're finally down to our "best" 10 boys. After last night's snore fest, the word for the season is "underwhelmed. " For the guys, we can add a word: "grossly underwhelmed. " The only highlight from the show was the phenomenal job by Victor. Some were almost scary bad. Practical joke bad, even. I'm thinking the toughest job for the judges last night was to actually find four more butts to fill the stools next to Victor. The show started with the return of Matthany, who screamed and screeched thru his song with this weird confidence, totally convinced that he was delivering a good performance, leaving me and the judges  perplexed.
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