Radio & TV Talk

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'American Idol' notes: Casey Abrams interview, Kelly Clarkson, Scotty McCreery

Posted Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk

Remember Casey Abrams? He was the burly, jazzy, bass-playing bearded dude from season 10 who looked a bit like a lumberjack and had an amusing sense of humor. He and Haley Reinhart made an amusing on-stage combo. Here's a reminder in case your memory is fuzzy:

Seven years later, Abrams is going on tour to promote his first album "Put a Spell On You" (out March 16) in several years, a 20-city tour that includes Eddie's Attic April 3. (Get tickets here for $15-$20.) And he admits he looks less like a lumberjack today and more like Jesus or a hippie with his flowing locks and now supersized beard.

"It's longer than ever," he said in an interview Tuesday. "I believe it's the Navajos and a whole bunch of tribes who grow their hair long. They're feelers. It's like having a million tiny antennas on top of your head. And it feels the energy of people around you. It gives you an extra sense."

He said he recorded his jazz-rock album in an abandoned church in Brooklyn which generated a very special reverb. He released a single "Let's Make Out" on Valentine's Day. "It's the core of what we want to do," he said. "We don't want any bull****. We want to make out!"

In a less sexual sense, Abrams is a hugger. "I consider myself an expert hugger," he said. "Anybody who wants to huge me, no matter what religion or restrictions, I'll hug them."

And yes, he is sometimes mistaken for Zach Galifianakis, though the resemblance is probably more about the hair than his face:

Now seven years removed from "Idol," he said he is not regularly recognized in Los Angeles. "I don't consider myself a celebrity they see a lot of on TV," he said. "I'm just that guy on 'Idol.' That guy. I'm sometimes recognized for 'Idol' and Postmodern Jukebox or this band Scary Pockets I've been singing with."

Abrams indeed has spent a lot of time with musical collective Postmodern Jukebox, which rotates lead singers and features a tap dancer. He missed the 2016 "Idol" Fox series finale because he was in Europe touring the group. (Postmodern has also featured Reinhart, Blake Lewis, Joey Cook, Melinda Doolittle and other "Idol" alums.)

He is very much a lover, not a fighter. His biggest pest peeve: folks who chew really loudly. So you're put on notice.

Fans will often offer him a doobie, he said. It's clearly his chill presence. "I don't request it," he said. "They see the beard. They assume." He won't say no.

He shares the same manager as David Archuleta, runner up from season 8, who is performing March 12 at City Winery in Atlanta. I was trying to line up interviews with both at the same time and got confused. I ended up calling Casey thinking it was going to be David (who I will talk to Thursday.)

The two couldn't be more different in terms of religion and look. But given their common manager, they got together three years ago and wrote a song that was never released. "That's a man I like," Casey said. "Really passionate." It was never released but he recalls the lyrics had to do with the earth being on tilt. "We are different but we have the earth in common," he said.


Speaking of Haley Reinhart, she was found guilty of hitting a bouncer in Chicago last year. She was fined $500 and put on probation for two years.

According to the Tribune, Judge James Karahalios called Reinhart's testimony “evasive, argumentative and sometimes implausible” as he found her guilty of violating a local ordinance prohibiting battery.


Kelly Clarkson, as expected, is charming and effervescent on "The Voice" so far this week as season 14 launched. Would we have expected anything less?

"The Voice" assiduously avoids any direct reference to her time on "American Idol" but it's not as if viewers didn't already know where she came from.

Over the first two episodes, she snagged more artists than any of the other judges: five. Five times she faced off only against Blake Shelton and convinced three of the singers to join her team. She rewarded each Team Kelly member with a special shirt with "14" on it to signify the 14th season.

Overnight ratings for the first episode were higher than the debut of season 13 in the fall: 12.3 million vs. 10.6 million. But it's down from 13 million a year ago.

Here is the audition for the first person who selected Kelly as her coach:

On Jimmy Fallon, Clarkson sang a "Google Translate" version of her song "Stronger" and it's hysterical. They also duet "I Got You Babe," translated as "I Have Your Child."

She also spoke with Fallon where she discusses Steve Carell and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," how much fun she's having on "The Voice" and how she had no idea at first she was going to end up on TV auditioning on "American Idol."


Scotty McCreery has landed his first No. 1 song on the country chart with "Five More Minutes," according to Mediabase 24/7.

It took 30 weeks to get to the top spot which isn't all that unusual on the country chart.

His new album "Seasons Change" comes out March 16.

He's had several top 20 hits prior to this but this is by far his biggest single yet.

Season 10 runner up Lauren Alaina's "Doin' Fine" is at No. 34 and has been floating in the lower regions of the charts for 27 weeks now.

Radio Disney - taking advantage of the ABC synergy - has started a weekly "Idol" roundup hosted by various alums. McCreery was the first host Feb. 27. The show will air every Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST.

The network has been influential breaking new artists such as Selena Gomez, Alessia Cara, Kelsea Ballerini and Shawn Mendes. (Radio is not dead yet!) It's clearly had more success on that front than reality TV shows recently.


So far, the revelations of what Ryan Seacrest allegedly did to a former personal stylist has not derailed his TV career. He remains on both "Live With Kelly and Ryan" and "American Idol," as of yesterday. Read the details in Variety. And he is still scheduled to be on the E! Oscar red carpet program on Sunday.


Carrie Underwood has yet to reveal her full face since she had 40 to 50 stitches on her face following a fall in November. This is the closest so far:


Clay Aiken's Tweet of the week:

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About the Author

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