They're baaack: Wes Brown and Kellie Pickler will reunite for "Wedding at Graceland."

“American Idol” briefs: Kellie Pickler, Taylor Hicks, Candice Glover, Scotty McCreery, Kat McPhee

Originally posted Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Season 5’s Kellie Pickler, after her successful debut as a lead in “Christmas in Graceland” late last year, will shoot a sequel called “Wedding in Graceland.” 

It’s set to be produced in April in Memphis. She somewhat plausibly plays  a banker who comes back to her hometown and reconnects with her former beau with much of the key scenes set at Elvis Presley’s home Graceland. It’s charming and very very Hallmark. 

"Christmas at Graceland" was the top Hallmark movie of 2018 and the fourth highest-rated film in the channel's history.

So Hallmark is doubling down in 2019.

The “Pickler and Ben” talk show host will shoot yet another Christmas movie to air later this year which is set to shoot over the summer. 

According to the Commercial Appeal, the first Christmas movie was shot in the middle of summer with fake snow and actors sweating in heavy coats. 

More details here

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“American Idol” returns on Snday, March 3 for season 2 on ABC, season 17 overall with a second episode airing that Wednesday. For the next five weeks, there will be episodes on Sundays and Mondays. The celebrity duets and solo rounds are set to tape February 14 and 15. It appears live voting won’t happen again until the final 12 are named. 

And “Idol” released this video of the judges in Idaho, the first time the show has ever set foot in that state for auditions:

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HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Singer Taylor Hicks attends the Global Genes Tribute to Champions of Hope 2016 on September 24, 2016 in Huntington Beach, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Global Genes)
Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Global Genes

Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks is going to spend several weeks south of Atlanta shooting a musical “Shenandoah” at Serenbe Playhouse starting next month. Serenbe is about 30 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta. 
Hicks will be joined by X Factor finalist Rachel Potter

Performances will be daily Wednesday through Sunday from March 13 to April 7, 2019 . Rehearsals begin Monday. Tickets start at $40 during previews and $50 during the run, with dynamic pricing based on capacity. 

According to the press release, “Shenandoah” is “the story of one family’s struggle living in the Shenandoah Valley during the American Civil War leaps to life in a hidden field in Serenbe, transporting you to the rolling hills of Virginia. A theatrical journey of heartbreak and ultimately hope in a fight for human rights will erupt out of an actual Civil War reenactment with over 100 soldiers, canons, horses and with an all-star cast of singer/musicians in a fight for freedom and love.”

In an interview, Hicks said he had visited Serenbe a few months ago and loved it. “Little did I know I’d be back leading a play six months later!” he said.

He said he wants to branch into acting.

Hicks played Teen Angel on a nationwide tour of “Grease” about 10 years ago but that was basically an extended cameo and involved him just singing. He is currently hosting the food show “State Plate” on INSP Network

He said he auditioned for a role a few years ago for ABC’s “Nashville” but was considered too raw. He feels a role like widower Charles Anderson in this musical will help him learn the craft in a major way. 

“If you’re going to learn how to swim,” Hicks said, “you have to jump in the water. This is a great stepping stone into really garnering credibility for myself as an actor.”

He added: “Shenandoah” is “a classic story that’s been put into film and was a great musical on Broadway.” The Tony-nominated Broadway musical was created in 1974 and was based on the 1965 film. 

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Antonella Barba, who made it into the semifinals season 6 in 2007, tried to deliver almost two pounds of fentanyl in Norfolk as a drug courier, feds say. 

Originally charged in Norfolk General District Court, Barba now faces a federal indictment charging her with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, according to my first employer back in the early 1990s, The Virginian Pilot. 

Now 32, Barba had been out on bond since her original arrest last October but was taken back into custody earlier this week awaiting federal charges. 

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Candice Glover at SCAD Festival on February 8, 2019.

Season 12 winner Candice Glover is in her second year as a student at SCAD. She came to the Atlanta-based SCAD aTVfest starring in a sitcom “G.R.I.T.S.” 

She stars as the aggrieved older sister running their late mom’s soul food restaurant. 

I spoke to her during a red carpet media gathering last Friday at the Four Seasons.

Glover said she had never finished college back in 2011 because of ‘American Idol.” So when a friend (fellow “Idol” auditioner George Lovett) recommended S.C.A.D. in 2017, she decided to give it a try. At first, she wanted to be an actress but she has since switched her major to dramatic writing.

“I’d love to write plays, television shows, movies,” she said. (Lovett is in the show as well.)

But she is still acting and the sitcom is a way for her to build her chops. “SCAD gives you a lot of opportunities to see what it’s like in the real world,” she said. “We have a real set, real cameras, real lighting and a real production team.” 

Her character Tianna is most grounded in reality while most of her fellow actors follow the manic “Martin”-style approach, based on the pilot, which was taped in front of a live audience. 

“Acting doesn’t come as natural for me as singing,” she said. 

But she relates to Tianna because “she handled her business. Everyone knows me to be a business woman. I travel and do my thing. Tianna is the boss, too and she knows it.”

Glover still does concerts on weekends, splitting her time as artist and student. (She performed at City Winery Atlanta in 2017.)

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The recently betrothed Scotty McCreery has landed his second No. 1 country hit with “This is It,” bumping off Jason Aldean’s “Girl Like You.” 

Carrie Underwood’s “Love Wins,” in the meantime, is stuck at 14 and showing barely any upward momentum, according to Mediabase 24/7. 

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Thia Megia from season 10 is now on "Days of Our Lives."

Thia Megia, who finished 11th season 10, is now cast on “Days of Our Lives.” 

She plays Haley, a nurse and undocumented immigrant who crosses paths with JJ after a suicide attempt. Read more in Soap Opera Digest

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HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Katie Stevens attends the premiere of 'Life Size 2' at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on November 27, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Katie Stevens from season 9 is now the star of her second TV show “The Bold Type” on Freeform but she found time to play a character in the upcoming Netflix anthology “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings,” which are stories based on her many hit songs. She will appear in an episode based on Parton’s song “Two Doors Down.” The description: “A family’s lifetime of secrets come bursting out during a chaotic and comedic New Year’s Eve wedding weekend. Will they make it to witness the ‘I do’s’ without killing one another?” It was shot in Doraville not far from my house but I failed to wrangle a set visit while it was here, which was a serious bummer. 

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Katharine McPhee and David Foster attend the 2018 Princess Grace Awards Gala at Cipriani 25 Broadway on October 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Princess Grace Foundation-USA)
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Princess Grace

Katharine McPhee, 34, can’t wait to marry producer David Foster, 69. 

She left Foster a picture of her while she is starring in “Waitress” in London telling him how much she missed him while showing off the engagement ring. They were engaged in 2017. An actual wedding date has not been officially announced. 

View this post on Instagram

🎼I won the lottery!!!

A post shared by David Foster (@davidfoster) on

And she sent out some shade to folks who think their age difference is too big:

View this post on Instagram

I’m Kat McPhee and I approve this message 🙃

A post shared by Katharine McPhee (@katharinemcphee) on

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About the Author

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