Life after 'American Idol': Colton Dixon interview, 'Idol' revival, Carrie Underwood, Harry Connick Jr.

This was posted Tuesday, March 28, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Colton Dixon stood out season 11 with his punk-ish hair style. Five years later, he still keeps his hair in a colorful mohawk as if he were part of some hardcore metal band.

His hair notwithstanding, Dixon's heart is with Christian pop and God. And that's a world where he has carved out a solid career. His latest album "Identity" came out March 24 and he plans to be back in Atlanta soon. (Dates forthcoming.)

Dixon, in fact, was just here last month for Winter Jam festival concert at the Georgia Dome, the second-to-last event there before it's ready to be torn down. He was part of a huge lineup and only had about 15 to 20 minutes on stage to give people a taste of what he's about. He said it was overwhelming to be in such a large space.

"I'm very thankful for my inner earpiece," Dixon said. "The bounce back was gnarly! I hear people singing the National Anthem in football stadiums. It sounds like 20 of them singing the anthem back at them. That's kind of the way it was. It was crazy!"

But the energy, he said, was "out of this world. It's easy to focus on the people close to the stage but I made a point to look out further. You can't make out faces. It was just a sea of people. It was a really cool experience."

In just the two to three years since his previous album, he said social media has shifted more from Tweets and posts to videos. He's now doing regular Facebook and Instagram Live videos.

"I'm in New York now walking around," he said. "I'll do a Facebook Live. This homeless person might jump in to say hi. It's fun. It's unpredictable. Makes things authentic."

His latest single "All That Matters" has nothing to do with "Black Lives Matter" or that ilk. He avoids politics, tries to focus on the personal. "All that matters is that it matters to you," he said.

He said he had options after "Idol" to go the secular pop-rock route but chose Christian instead. He grew up listening to TobyMac, Switchfoot (a big favorite) and Casting Crowns, to name a few. He began writing songs and he was directed to go that spiritual direction.

Once he had a couple of songs under his belt, he felt secure in Nashville in the Christian world. "Pretty much everybody welcomed me into the industry," Dixon said. "I still get a few people doing double takes with my hair. Overall, it's been a really great thing. I'm happy."

His latest album, he said, is more high concept than anything he's done before. Songs are focused on one of three subjects: mind, body and soul. "I'm a very artsy fartsy type of person," he said. "I like to focus on a main idea. I'd have a title of the record months before I even start writing. I like to have songs that people can visualize. A song has to take you to a certain place while you hear it."

Dixon was invited to join the "Idol" series finale a year ago and while most singers did covers, he was given the opportunity to sing one of his own songs on piano.

The coolest moment, he said, was running into Clay Aiken. "You assume they don't know who you are," he said. "You put them on a shelf, a pedestal. Clay said, 'I love your music. In fact, I sang one of your songs at a breakfast event last month.' I was like, 'What the heck?' I couldn't believe it. That totally made the trip for me!"

And let's get back to his hair. He says one day he will change it up. "I just don't have the patience to grow it out," he said. "The awkward middle stage is brutal. If I do cut it short, I would be unrecognizable!"


Carrie Underwood changes labels from Arista to Universal Music Group's Capital Records Nashville.

With Arista, she released five studio albums — 2005’s Some Hearts, 2007’s Carnival Ride, 2009’s Play On, 2012’s Blown Away and 2015’s Storyteller — as well as a greatest hits album and a live DVD.

There was no explanation why she made the change.


Harry Connick Jr.'s syndicated talk show has been cleared for a second season.

According to Variety:

“Harry’s” viewership since its September premiere has been respectable, if not spectacular, averaging about 1.3 million viewers for the season to date in morning and early afternoon time slots. The show last week grabbed five Daytime Emmy Award nominations, including a bid for entertainment talk show host for Connick.


And in the rumor debunked department: Kanye West has not been asked to be involved in any "American Idol" revival. The show hasn't even technically been revived. Why are names even being thrown around?

Bizarrely, the show hasn't even been gone a year and TMZ claims Fox and NBC are fighting hard to bring it back, calling it a "bidding war."  It says a deal could be signed within a few days.

TMZ said the show could be back as soon as next year and as late as 2019. It will have a new set of judges but Ryan Seacrest is likely to come back, be it NBC or Fox, the story said.



  • Lauren Alaina's first top 5 hit is now at No. 3 in airplay on the Mediabase 24/7 country chart with "Road Less Traveled." It has a shot at No. 1 though she'd have to leapfrog Luke Bryan's "Fast" and avoid No. 4 single by Jason Aldean "Any Ol' Barstool." (Yes, the No. 2, 3 and 4 singles are by Georgia artists!)
  • Trent Harmon, season 15 winner, is at No. 18 on the country airplay chart with "There's a Girl" but upward momentum is slowing.
  • La'Porsha Renae, season 15 runner up, is at No. 9 with "Good Woman" on the urban AC chart after peaking at No. 8.
  • Fantasia's "When I Met You" peaked at No. 20 on the urban AC chart and has fallen to No. 23.

Amazingly, FOUR "American Idol" contestants are in the top 20 on the Christian pop chart this week:

  • Danny Gokey (season 8, third place) second No. 1 single and fifth 10 ten hit with "Rise" now at No. 2.
  • Colton Dixon (season 11, 7th place) "All That Matters" at No. 19
  • Mandisa (season 5, 8th place) "Unfinished" at No. 14
  • Jasmine Murray (season 8, 12th-13th place). Okay. I only vaguely remember her but she is on the Christian pop chart at No. 12 with "Fearless."


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