‘American Idol’ notes: Kelly Clarkson, Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 08: Kelly Clarkson performs on stage at the Citi Concert Series on TODAY at Rockefeller Plaza on September 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Citi)

Posted Friday, October 20, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Kelly Clarkson gave an extensive interview with the New York Times detailing how she changed labels and what she wants to bring on her new album, out Tuesday called “Meaning of Life.”

As noted, this is more soulful than pop rock like her past albums with Aretha Franklin as her starting point.

“I wanted to make a record that I could really sing the [expletive] out of,” she said told the Times. She wanted to infuse modern sounds with classics. She also chose to find other people’s songs that touched her rather than write her own songs because she said she didn’t think she wrote particularly good songs when she’s happy. (And she said she’s happy.)

The results are sassy up-tempo numbers like “Heat” and “Didn’t I,” and slinky slow-jams like “Move You.”

“Love So Soft” is a test case of whether her new approach can generate hits. So far, results are mixed. It’s still gaining airplay but doesn’t show signs of being a No. 1 hit on either the Hot AC chart (where it’s at No. 12) or Top 40 (where it’s at No. 23).

It’s a great story. Read it here. 

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On last night’s CMT Artists of the Year special, Sam Hunt wasn’t able to perform his massive cross-over hit “Body Like a Back Road” so fellow Georgian Phillip Phillips ably filled in:

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With season 13 still going, ‘The Voice” has already started taping the blind auditions for season 14 featuring Kelly Clarkson and Alicia Keys along with Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Keys won season 12 with Chris Blue.

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Even in this day of Spotify and Pandora, traditional airplay still can create hits. So Fox’s upcoming “American Idol” replacement show “The Four” has hooked up with IHeartMedia (the biggest radio company in America) and the winner of the show will get their music pushed through their stations via their “On the Verge” program. This program helped Lauren Alaina‘s “Road Less Traveled” get to No. 1. Other acts that IHeartMedia’s “On the Verge” program has pushed include Sam Smith, Fifth Harmony and Nick Jonas.

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AMERICAN IDOL: Jessica Sanchez performs during the AMERICAN IDOL Finale airing Thursday, April 7 (8:00-10:06 PM ET Live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

This past Sunday, “Idol” season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez took a knee after singing the National Anthem before the Oakland Raiders/Los Angeles Chargers game.

Naturally, many folks went after her on social media for it. She did it to support police brutality against African Americans. But now it’s been politicized as “disrespectful” to the flag courtesy of Pres. Trump.

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Clay Aiken tweet of the week:

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