By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Wednesday, April 6, 2016
We are now less than 30 hours away from the end of "American Idol." Or at least its first incarnation. So I'm pumping out as many "Idol" items as I can pull out before it's truly over. Apologies to non-"Idol" fans. I figure if I'm going to indulge, this is the time to do it.
I recently caught up with Covington resident and season 4 runner up Bo Bice, who is in Los Angeles prepping for the series finale. (He joined Periscope yesterday to give us a sneak peek.)
He is now lead singer for Blood, Sweat & Tears. The band was inspired by his version of "Spinning Wheel" back in 2005 and he has been helming the group now for the past three years.
"What was supposed to be three shows turned into three years," Bice said last week.
He moved in 2012 to Covington (I erred in an earlier story and said Cumming) after alcohol rehab and some soul searching. Then the Blood, Sweat & Tears gig came along."I was so honored they asked," he said.
He toured with them as lead singer in Australia where hardly anybody knew him as Bo Bice of "Idol" fame. "It was like I found myself again," he said. "It was something I needed in my life and I'm very very glad I answered the call."
This year will be primarily Blood, Sweat & Tears concerts but he plans to do more solo gigs in 2017. (Last year, he did more than 80 dates with the band.)
He said in a weird way, doing a solo show is more stressful to him. "There's a lot more responsibility," he said. With the classic rock band, "I just go where they point me to."
Bice and his wife Caroline have four children and when I called, he was producing a song... for them! Aidan, his oldest, is 10, followed by Caleb (7), Ean (6) and Merrin (4). His kids already have aspirations for stardom!
"They watch this YouTube stuff," Bice said. "Now they've come up with this TV show! They're starring in it. Aidan has written a song."
Bice noted that "this is not my band. I'm not sitting here working on my stuff. I've taken a break from that."
So how much is Aidan paying his dad for production? "Probably more than in the real business!" he said, joking yet kind of not joking.
He was calling from his compound by a lake. "My parents are next door," he said. "My brother's up the street. We have great neighbors. I'm really blessed."
Bice said he can split time as daddy and musician: "I do baseball, ballet, drums, guitar and piano. I paint toenails. I go on the road on weekends and play rock star."
If "Idol" hadn't happened, he imagined he'd be teaching music and perhaps open a School of Rock type place. He'd still like to do that, perhaps back in his hometown of Birmingham. He could see himself splitting time between the Cumming compound and Alabama.
Since rehab, he said he has slipped a few times, drawn especially to bourbon. He also continues to battle long-time stomach issues. "Alcohol is not good for that," he said. "I've had three surgeries. I should know better."
Bice is all gratitude about "Idol." When producers ask him to do something, he'll do it. (I've seen him wrap presents at Lenox to promote "Idol"!)
"I'm a small cog in a very large machine," he said. "I went back when Simon left, when Paula left, when Randy left. I've gone every season. They had me on when I had my second album, which was very nice."
He is a huge fan of season 4 winner Carrie Underwood. "The best woman won," he said. "She proved what Simon said, that she'd sell more albums than anybody else." He loves the fact he's been able to become friends with a vast array of "Idol" alums over the years, from Casey Abrams to Haley Reinhart to Melinda Doolittle to Vonzell Solomon.
"I love to see my friends being successful," he said. "I don't get resentful or jealous. I feel pride. I just enjoy where I'm at. I never forget what this show brought me. When I see that blue and white logo, when I hear that show theme, I get jitters."
He couldn't say what sort of group combo he's going to be in during the series finale but I'm sure it will be epic - and cheesy. Because that's "Idol." Epic - and cheesy!
His pick to win? He didn't want to commit but was impressed with Trent Harmon after seeing him sing "Simple Man." "He stood out to me," he said. He said he doesn't like to jinx singers by selecting a winner. He said the only time he's gotten it right was season 7's David Cook.
Katharine McPhee is competing against Jordin Sparks' former squeeze Jason DeRulo this Thursday night on "Lip Sync Battle," which happens to fall on the same night as the "Idol" series finale.
Spike released a snippet of her lip syncing to Mystikal. She really gets into it!
"Idol" has pre-released the potential winning songs for each of the top 3. MJ Santilli of MJ's Big Blog reviewed the songs and generally liked all three.
You can sample each song or buy it in full.
Trent's "Falling" was written by Dallas Davidson, Brett James & Keith Urban. This is the second time a judge has written a coronation song, though nobody wants to remember Kara DioGuardi's crap-ola song from season 8. In fact, I don't. From the snippet, it sounds very bluesy but not at all radio friendly, as MJ noted.
Dalton's "Strike a Match' is full of cliches but the snippet sounds pleasant enough.
La'Porsha's "Battles" sounds the most promising for radio airplay.