Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

“Idol” finalist Danny Gokey gets countrified with record deal

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Competing this year on “American Idol,” contestant Danny Gokey often sought to cut an image in viewers’ minds as an R&B singer, but now that a record label tied to the TV program has flashed a contract in front of him, the Wisconsin native has decided he’s a country singer.danny-gokey

Gokey has signed to 19 Recordings/RCA Records Nashville and plans to release a country album next year, the label said on Wednesday. In a statement, Gokey said, “I didn’t realize the ‘Idol’ experience would give me a musical direction, but it did.”

The deal marks the first time 19 Recordings, the company run by “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller, has signed the top four finalists. But it comes a long time after the other three got their record contracts.  Seventeen year-old phenom Allison Iraheta signed with 19 Recordings back in June, despite finishing fourth on the show. “Idol” champion Kris Allen was guaranteed a record contract from 19, and runner-up Adam Lambert quickly landed with the label after his upset defeat.

During his run on “Idol,” Gokey performed well during the Country Week portion of the show, when he sang “Idol” alumna Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel.” But when given free reign to pick a song, he often tended toward R&B or soul, such as his choice of the Mariah Carey song “Hero” and the Diana Ross/Lionel RIchie number “Endless Love.”

Adam Lambert and Kris Allen to face off in “Idol” finale

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allen-1The elimination of Danny Gokey on Wednesday’s broadcast of “American Idol” answered a question “Fan Fare” posed the night before — namely if Gokey’s rival Kris Allen was really a “dark horse” contestant with any chance of winning.

The fans have spoken and Allen will face presumed frontrunner Adam Lambert in the finale next week. And importantly, he and Lambert were separated by just slightly more than 1 million votes, out of about 88 million total votes for the Top 3 contestants. Still, Lambert has by far attracted the most media buzz and praise from the judges, with Simon Cowell all but lobbying the viewers during Tuesday’s broadcast to vote for Lambert.

Is Kris Allen really a dark horse going into “Idol” finale?

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USA/“American Idol” on Tuesday entered the last week of competition before the finale, and we at “Fan Fare” had the good fortune to land second-row seats in the talent show’s live studio audience. (For the record, this twist of fate had nothing to do with our coverage of the show — it was good old-fashioned standing in line combined with almost two years of being on a waiting list.)

Watching “Idol” in its natural habitat revealed dozens of quirks imperceptible to the 25 million or so viewers who tune in at home. First off, the studio was smaller than expected — even more intimate than watching a live show in a theater. One audience member in our row even remarked that it was smaller than her college lecture hall.

It’s a boys’ club on “Idol” as finale looms

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With Allison Iraheta getting the boot on Wednesday night, three white men will duke it out for the “American Idol” crown for the first time in the show’s history.

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Iraheta’s offing couldn’t have come as a huge surprise to the show’s viewers, who saw her land among the show’s lowest vote-getters three previous times this season. In that sense, she was no Chris Daughtry, whose shocking fourth place finish three years ago was replayed on Wednesday night’s show before his band performed its new single, the appropriately titled “No Surprise.” 

“Idol” judges throw stones on Rock Week

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In contrast to last week on “American Idol” when it seemed the contestants could do no wrong, the judges found plenty of stones to throw at the Top 4 on Rock Week. Except for Adam Lambert, who as usual thrilled the panelists.allison-iraheta

Lambert, coming off his shocking first trip to the Bottom Three last week, sang British supergroup Led Zeppelin’s hit “Whole Lotta Love” and struck all the high notes, jerking his head to the side in rhythm with the band and glowering with an expression Elvis Presley might have worn if he was fused with John Travolta. The judges loved it. 

“Idol” goes topsy-turvy as Adam hits a speed bump

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USA/“American Idol” golden boy Adam Lambert hit a big speed bump on Wednesday night after he landed among the show’s Bottom Three vote-getters for the first time this season.

And, just when it seemed lone woman contestant Allison Iraheta was standing on thin ice, she skated handily into the next round.

On “Idol,” it’s a man’s world this season

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irahetaOn “American Idol,” it appears to be a man’s world after all.

It’s no secret that male contestants like Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey have trounced their female counterparts in the singing competition since early this season. And, with just one woman in the show’s Top 5, viewers on Tuesday night were left wondering if the final four contestants would all be men for the first time in “Idol” history.

It’s been a long time since two women — Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo — competed for the “Idol” title in the finale of the show’s third season in 2004. 

Simon Cowell picks Adam Lambert and…who? for Idol final

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cowell1“American Idol” still has five singers left in the competition. But acid-tongued judge Simon Cowell has already decided who he would like to see in the final round next month.

“I’d ike to see Adam (Lambert) and Danny (Gokey) in the final because they are the best two singers,” Cowell told reporters at a TV industry event in Los Angeles on Friday.USA/

Who is bound for the “Idol” finale?

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rounds1Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai sang their swan songs Wednesday night on “American Idol,” meaning the singing competition lost its two most uniquely named contestants in one fell swoop.

Nostalgia for “Little” and “Anoop Dogg” aside, their joint offing was hardly unexpected. Lil, a 23-year-old mother of three from Memphis, struggled to gain the judges’ respect through most of her time in the show’s Top 13. Desai, a 21-year-old from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, meanwhile, was among the show’s Bottom Three vote-getters for four straight weeks.

Adam Lambert keeps “Idol” judges entranced

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lambertBefore he went on stage, the camera swooped down on “American Idol” contestant Adam Lambert as he stood beaming in the crowd. But as usual, Lambert was more than just a face in the crowd on Tuesday night, as he again wowed the judges and solidified his frontrunner status.

It was Disco Week on “Idol,” and true to the theme Lambert sang the Bee Gees hit “If I Can’t Have You,” effortlessly hitting the high notes and inspiring judge Paula Abdul to gush that his performance made her feel his “pain.” Abdul was not alone. All the judges said they loved the performance, with alpha judge Simon Cowell commending Lambert for surprising him by picking a Bee Gees song.

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