‘American Idol’ notes: Carrie Underwood at Mercedes Benz Stadium, David Archuleta, Alejandro Aranda, Danny Gokey

Originally posted Friday, June 28, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Carrie Underwood spent a couple of days this week in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium working on her seventh annual 90-second promo video for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

This will be the first time NBC is shooting the video in a football stadium as opposed to a Los Angeles sound sage. 

It will debut September 8 before the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers game and feature some of the biggest NFL stars.

Fred Gaudelli, executive producer for the show since its inception in 2006, said these videos are an important part of the equation. “All major prime-time series has some sort of opening to their show,” he said. “And even when I was on ‘Monday Night Football’ on ABC back in the day, the pioneer was Hank Williams. It helps emphasize the uniqueness of prime-time television vs. the afternoon.”

Gaudelli said after Faith Hill stepped down in 2013 from doing the opening, he felt Underwood was a natural successor. 

“She really represents what you’d want from a corporate spokesperson,” Gaudelli said. “She’s a big star. She’s young. She’s cross over between pop and mainstream and country. She has a huge following. Thankfully Carrie and her people bought the pitch. It’s been a great run.”

And Underwood doesn’t just show up to pick up a paycheck.

“She’s been terrific,” Gaudelli said. “She’s collaborative. She really takes it seriously. She tries to one up every year what she did previously. I’m always impressed by her work ethic.” 

She also rarely messes up a take, he noted. The trick for her is to act like there are 70,000 people in Mercedes-Benz while singing as opposed to the actual 100 crew members. 

Underwood, he noted, is having a crazy year. She had her second child in February and is now on a national tour for her latest album. 

Gaudelli chose  Mercedes Benz, the NFL’s newest stadium, because of its technological and visual wizardry including its roof with eight motorized petals and a halo wrap-around video screen. 

He declined to comment about the controversy regarding a female musician who recently filing a lawsuit accusing Underwood of plagiarizing her most recent “Sunday Night Football” song “Game On.” 

Underwood’s current single “Southbound” is at No. 18 on the country airplay chart and still climbing. 


NEW YORK - MAY 27: (U.S. TABS OUT) American Idol 2008 runner-up David Archuleta appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios May 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

David Archuleta is going on a Christmas tour again later this year, including a stop at City Winery Atlanta. 

He is supporting his hit 2018 holiday album “Winter in the Air,” which includes “Christmas Every Day” and “Winter in the Air.” 

The 2019 tour begins November 23 in his home state of Utah and will hit Atlanta, Nashville & Portland among others before winding down on December 23. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 28https://davidarchuleta.com/home/live/

Archuleta is also writing new material for his next pop album scheduled to be released in late 2019.

2019 Tour Dates

Sat 11/23/2019

Richfield, UT

Fairgrounds Hall

Mon 11/25/2019

Grand Junction, CO

Avalon Theatre

Tue 11/26/2019

Moab, UT

Star Hall

Wed 11/27/2019

Flagstaff, AZ

Orpheum Theater

Fri 11/29/2019

Queen Creek, AZ

Queen Creek Performing Arts Center

Sat 11/30/2019

Salt Lake City, UT

Capitol Theatre

Mon 12/2/2019

Snowflake, AZ

Snowflake High School Auditorium

Wed 12/4/2019

Albuquerque, NM

John Lewis Performing Arts Theater

Fri 12/6/2019

San Antonio, TX

Tobin Center for The Performing Arts

Sat 12/7/2019

Austin, TX

One World Theatre (Early Show)

Sat 12/7/2019

Austin, TX

One World Theatre (Late Show)

Mon 12/9/2019

The Woodlands, TX

Dosey Doe

Tue 12/10/2019

Atlanta, GA

City Winery

Wed 12/11/2019

Franklin, TN

Franklin Theatre

Thu 12/12/2019

Franklin, TN

Franklin Theatre

Sat 12/14/2019

Minneapolis, MN


Tue 12/17/2019

Portland, OR

Alberta Rose

Wed 12/18/2019

Pasco, WA

Faith Assembly

Thu 12/19/2019

Tacoma, WA

Alma Mater

Sat 12/21/2019

Pocatello, ID

Stephens Performing Arts Center

Mon 12/23/2019

Logan, UT

Logan High School Auditorium


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

Alejandro Aranda, arguably the most intriguing character on “Idol” this past season, has officially signed with Hollywood Records. 

No previous “Idol” contestant has ever played so much original music on the show. He ended up coming in second behind Laine Hardy.

Alejandro’s first single “Tonight” was written by himself and his regular collaborator George Lewis Jr. aka Twin Shadow.

The fact he has such a robust summer and fall tour schedule indicates his appeal and ability to leverage “Idol” into a long-term career. He’ll be at Buckhead Theater Nov. 7 in Atlanta. (Tickets here.) Check out the entire schedule here


Gabby Barnett, third place finisher from 2018, also got a record deal with Warner Brothers Nashville. Her first single “I Hope” is already out. 

Here are her tour dates.

Oddly, I have no tour dates for Maddie Poppe, the winner. That isn’t a good sign. 


Tamyra Gray arrives at the "American Idol" farewell season finale at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)
Photo: John Salangsang

Season one third-place finisher Tamyra Gray has joined the cast of “Into The Woods” at the Hollywood Bowl July 26-28. 

Gray, most recently on Broadway in the revival of “Once on This Island,” will play Granny/Cinderella's Mother. 


NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Constantine Maroulis attends the "Bad Santa 2" New York Premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theater on November 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Photo: Rodney Ho/Radio and TV Talk

I recently wrote about Cameo.com, which provides personal video messages from celebrities for a price.

Here are some of the “Idol” performers you could get. 

Randy Jackson $150

Constantine Maroulis: $100

Pia Toscano, Justin Guarini: $50

Margie Mays, Uche, Alyssa Raghu, Elliott Yamin: $30

Paul McDonald, Madison Vandenburg: $20

Dimitrius Graham: $15


Danny Gokey has just garnered his fourth Billboard Christian AC No. 1 hit with “Haven’t Seen It Yet.”

This follows “Rise,” “Hope in Front of Me” and “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.”

He has been the most successful “Idol” artist in the Christian music world to date. 

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

About the Author

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