AMERICAN IDOL - "215" - The "American Idol" finalists continue their journey in the competition, paying tribute to one of the world's most iconic bands, Queen. In this episode, each contestant will take on a song from the legendary Queen catalogue, before partnering up for classic movie duet performances. Helping to prepare the Top 8 to rock the stage is "American Idol" alumnus and GRAMMY¨-nominated artist Adam Lambert, who acts as celebrity guest mentor. Since first appearing on "American Idol" in 2009, Lambert has gone on to release four albums, has appeared in numerous hit television series and is currently touring the U.S. with Queen. The journey to find the next superstar continues SUNDAY, APRIL 28 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT/5:00-7:01 p.m. PDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) ALEJANDRO ARANDA

‘American Idol’ notes: Alejandro Aranda (ScaryPoolParty) interview, Kelly Clarkson, Lauren Alaina, Diana DeGarmo

Originally posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

“American Idol” season 17 runner-up Alejandro Aranda, who goes by ScaryPoolParty, is neither scary nor a pool. But he can certainly create a party. He’ll be at Buckhead Theatre for a sold-out show Thursday, November 7 as part of a 30-date tour that wraps November 22. (Resale tickets available here.)

Aranda provides an emotive, electronica sound that connected immediately with a huge swath of the “Idol” audience. He didn’t have the best voice or the best stage presence. But he possessed that X factor, as Simon Cowell might have said. 

Though Aranda didn’t win, he was able to parlay that fame into a headlining tour under his stage name. Previously, he had been working with his mentor Twin Shadow, which performed at Music Midtown in 2018. 

Now Twin Shadow opens for him. ScaryPoolParty has already played at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. 

“It’s going to be an ambient, acoustic jazz show,” Aranda said, of the show in Atlanta. “I have some amazing people playing with me that brings it all to life.”

And Twin Shadow was his savior.  “He started my producing career,” Aranda said. “He’s an amazing dude.”

“Idol” apparently found him online and he decided to try out for the reality show on a bit of a whim. The fact they let him sing his own songs gave him comfort. (It helps that he created memorable tunes.)

Aranda in fact played more original music on the show than anybody in the show’s 17-year history. But he still had to do covers. Fortunately, again, he said the producers allowed him to make his own versions. “It wasn’t a problem,” he said. “It was just different. It was honestly this weird bizarre state of mind. I’d never done this before.”

He also learned about performing on TV, about video blocking and such. “I also learned patience,” he said. “Filming is time consuming.”

Aranda, 25, was a relative latecomer to the music business. He picked up a guitar a mere five years ago. (Laine Hardy, the winner this season, is just 19.)

“I had to learn faster about everything,” Aranda said. “Just understanding what I needed to accomplish and what makes me happy and what doesn’t make me happy. When I was 22, I realized how hard it was. The music industry is not easy at all. It’s not something you can take lightly.”

By going in at age 25, he came onto the show as a fully formed artist, not a work in progress. That helped him stand out immediately. 

Since the end of “Idol,” he signed a deal with Hollywood Records and has an album is coming out November 22 called “Exit Form.” They gave him wide berth to do what he needed without creative interference. He wants his album to take listeners on a journey from “aggressive” and “brutal” at the start to something more beautiful at the end.

Aranda said music comes to him pretty easily but the lyrics are harder to piece together “I need to read more so I can build my vocabulary” he said. Lately, he’s been binging Stephen King novels. 


Kelly Clarkson, busy with her successful daily talk show, has found time to do a limited residency in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood as well. 

It’s not a daily thing, which would never work given her schedule. She is committed only to 16 performances in three stints between April and September of 2020. 

Meanwhile, on “The Voice,” she had a duo called Hello Sunday that beat Atlanta’s Alex Guthrie in the Knockouts. But Guthrie was picked up by John Legend and will make it to the live show as well. 

Oh, and here are some Kellyoke performances from her talk show the past few days. She did a quick medley of her own hits to announce her residency, too, last week. She said she hated doing her own songs during Kellyoke but felt it was the right thing to do to preface the announcement. 


Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo have been married four years. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/
Photo: Rodney Ho/Radio and TV Talk

Married “Idol” couple Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young are joining a new musical opening in Chicago that is positioning itself for Broadway, according to the Chicago Tribune

Called “Hit Her With the Skates,” it’s set to debut March 10, 2020 at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre. 

The premise: rock star Jacqueline Miller (DeGarmo) headlines her first national tour. Trouble arises when she agrees to kick off the re-opening of her childhood roller rink, Windy City Skates, forcing her to take a retrospective journey look back at her life growing up.

Both are Broadway vets and met while doing “Hair.” DeGarmo, 32, who grew up in Snellville, came in second in 2004. Young, 38, finished seventh in 2006 season five. 


Lauren Alaina, season 10 “Idol” runner up, is now in the top six of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Her average score is now a 23.2 among the judges after nine dances, fifth out of sixth but the top five are only separated by modest margins. James Van Der Beek has garnered the highest average score to date. Sean Spicer is well behind the other five dancers in proficiency but America is keeping him in with their votes. (Judges scores represent half of the total score.)

She picked up her best scores week seven with her Halloween week Argentine Tango, getting 9’s across the board. She has not gotten a 10 yet from any judge while Ally Brooke, Hannah Brown, Kel Mitchell and Van Der Beek have all had at least one. 

The only other “Idol” alum who has been on the show, Kellie Pickler, won the mirror-ball trophy season 16 in 2013. 


NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 18: Singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips performs onstage at the 2017 CMT Artists Of The Year on October 18, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)
Photo: Rodney Ho/Radio and TV Talk

Phillip Phillips is coming to City Winery Atlanta on Saturday, Feburary 15, 2020. It might make a nice Valentine’s date. Tickets range from $40 to $55. It appears more than half the seats are already sold as of today. 


Season 5 runner up and former “Scorpion” actress Katharine McPhee will return to star in “Waitress” on Broadway, finishing up the run from November 25 through January 5, 2020. She starred on Broadway as Jenna the Waitress first in 2018 and before that, in the West End in England. Jordin Sparks, season 6 winner, is the current lead. 

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About the Author

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