Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

'American Idol' bits: Danny Gokey, Jordin Sparks at Macy's tree lighting, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The local Macy's Lenox Square tree lighting has featured reality show contestants in the past such as Pentatonix ("The Sing Off") in 2014, Judith Hill ("The Voice") in 2013 and Chris Mann ("The Voice)" in 2012.

This year, the organizers are doubling down and hitting our nostalgia buttons with two "American Idol" contestants: season 6 winner Jordin Sparks and season 8 third place finisher Danny Gokey. They join MercyMe, the Christian rock band. They will all sing Christmas carols, not original tunes.

For the first time in its 68 year history, Macy's will not do the lighting on Thankgsiving. Why not? Retail hours - and fireworks. Macy's felt pressured to move back its opening time on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. Last year, they started the show at 5 p.m. since they didn't want the show to interfere with shopping. But it wasn't quite dark when the fireworks started, which reduced the impact.

So Macy's chose to move it back four days to the previous Sunday, when the store closes at 7 p.m. and they could move the one-hour show back to 7 p.m. This may make it easier for some people to come see the event but for others, it means they won't be able to do it with family members from out of town who typically visit on Thanksgiving.

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I talked with Gokey in September, who appeared at the North Georgia Fair. I plan to meet up with Sparks at the event on Sunday.


NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Actress Jennifer Hudson takes a bow during curtain call following her debut performance in Broadway's "The Color Purple" at The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Jennifer Hudson has begun performing on Broadway in "The Color Purple" as Shug Avery.

You can buy tickets here.

Fantasia played Celie back in the day on Broadway and on the national tour that stopped at the Fox Theatre in 2009.


Carrie Underwood's "Smoke Break" is knocking on the door of No. 1 on the Mediabase 24/7 country chart, just a handful of spins behind Chris Young's "I'm Coming Over."

Every single she has ever released as a solo artist has finished in the top 3 in Billboard country airplay charts. (That's 20 singles!)


Demi Lovato covers Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" a capella on a radio show, along with James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" along Lil Wayne's "How To Love." She can sing!


Katharine McPhee of "Scorpion" fame and nearly a decade removed from "Idol" duets with Seth MacFarlane at the Grove in L.A. at the 28-minute point of this concert singing "Marshmallow World."

She then does a lovely version of a Frank Lesser tune "What Are You Doing New Year's Day."

MacFarlane performed standards at the Atlanta Symphony Hall in September and I interviewed him then.




About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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