‘American Idol’ notes: Clay Aiken’s Trump apology, Scotty McCreery, Jordin Sparks, Taylor Hicks

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 20: (L-R) Arsenio Hall, Donald Trump and Clay Aiken attend the “Celebrity Apprentice” Live Finale at American Museum of Natural History on May 20, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

This was posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Clay Aiken came in second on “Celebrity Apprentice” back in 2012 and at the time liked Donald Trump as a person.

Although Aiken was a strong Hillary Clinton supporter and critiqued Trump’s policies, he defended the now president at times. But after Monday’s’ combative press conference where Trump doubled down on defending the alt-right protesters and equating an “alt left” that was just as responsible for the violence, Aiken backed off in this Tweet. He said he tried to think Trump was not a racist but now? Not so much.

He then responded to some folks who criticized him.

Aiken ran for a House seat as a Democrat in 2014 in North Carolina and lost.

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Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery has picked up a new record label:  Triple Tigers Records, distributed via Sony music.

He left Universal Music Group’s Mercury Nashville label last year. His first independent single “Five More Minutes” became the first song in history to make the Mediabase 24/7 country top 50 without a record label attached. It’s currently at No. 44.

“We are very proud to represent Scotty McCreery,” said Triple Tigers Records General Manager Norbert Nix in a press release. “He is an absolute pro and an artist of great integrity. We were blown away when we heard ‘Five More Minutes’ and are looking forward to representing Scotty’s new music to his millions of fans.”

“Five More Minutes” is a nostalgic look back at memories based on McCreery’s life as well as a plea to be able to spend five more minutes with his late grandfather, whose passing served as the inspiration for the song.

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GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND – JUNE 24: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Katy Perry performs on day 3 of the Glastonbury Festival 2017 at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2017 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

ABC is taking its time to formulate its “Idol” judges panel. Katy Perry was named several weeks ago but since then, only rumored names like Lionel Richie and Charlie Puth have been fed to the press.

“We don’t have to make any decisions immediately so we’re taking a lot of meetings because you want to get it right,” said ABC’s head of alternative programming, Rob Mills, in a recent interview with Variety.

The network has time. Although auditions begin next week (including Atlanta on August 22), the judges won’t need to appear until October.

But it’s a tricky situation for ABC to take a show so well aligned with Fox and make it its own.

“There is an expectation of: How is the show going to be ABC’s ‘American Idol’?” Mills told The Hollywood Reporter. “And staying true to what made it so great and beloved in the first place. It’s a unique opportunity for not just ABC but for the Walt Disney Company, because you see what we’ve done when we’ve had these brands like Marvel with ‘Star Wars’ and finding new and different ways while still keeping the DNA of these properties that people love. That’s the same with ‘Idol.’ When you look at it in the TV landscape, ‘Idol’ is definitely as big of a brand as any of those.”

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HOLLYWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 29: Singer Taylor Hicks performs onstage during the 2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade on November 29, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for The Hollywood Christmas Parade)

Taylor Hicks received some love on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” last Sunday on HBO. Sure, Oliver was being a bit sarcastic but he knew how popular “Idol” was in 2006, that everyone would know who Hicks is, even 11 years later.

The topic was North Korea. Oliver said the country’s economy is about the size of that of Birmingham. Then Oliver noted that Hicks was the city’s biggest export, then defended him by yelping “Soul Patrol Forever! Soul Patrol til I f***kin’ die!”

Hicks himself posted the video on his Facebook page and thanked Oliver, using the cheeky hashtag #SeoulPatrol.”

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 11: Jordin Sparks attends the 17th Annual Harold & Carole Pump Foundation Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 11, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Harold & Carole Pump Foundation)

Jordin Sparks will be one of the celebrity judges of the 2017 Miss America competition airing on ABC September 10 from Atlantic City.

She will be joined by country singer Thomas Rhett, actress Molly Sims (“Las Vegas”) and People magazine editor Jess Cagle.

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Simon Cowell makes things super awkward for his current wife, based on this interview with Access Hollywood:

Scott Evans: “Can you tell me how you get to make it on vacation with the current boo, and the former boo at the same time?”

Simon Cowell: “That’s how I roll. You know that’s what I do. I’m kind of used to it. You know I’m not sure the current girlfriend is that crazy about it. But I like it.”

Scott Evans: “Yeah.”

Simon Cowell: “I quite expect there to be a guy on a boat photographing the whole time. But there you go.”

Scott Evans: “It happens.”

Simon Cowell: “It happens, yeah.”

 

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