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Life after 'American Idol': Idols coming to Atlanta, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Phillip Phillips

This was posted by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk on Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A January 28 charity event in Atlanta will include four former "American Idol" singers as judges: season 10 third place singer Haley Reinhart, her buddy and season 10 sixth place finisher Casey Abrams, season 14 runner up Clark Beckham, and season 4 fourth place finisher Anthony Federov.

They will judge six singers who have either overcome cancer or are honoring siblings to didn't make it. People can vote for their favorites by donating money on their behalf. (You can do so now here.)

This is the second "Rally Idol" event. The first one was held in 2014 featuring two of the same judges Reinhart and Fedorov plus Lauren Alaina and Bo Bice.

The benefit is for the organization Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research and is sponsored by Zaxby's.

Tickets for "Rally Idol 2" are $20 for single admission and $80 for a family pass.

The six kids performing are:

Audrey Arrowood: The 14 year old  loves fashion and the stage – that is, when she’s not reading, swimming, riding bikes, or playing volleyball! Audrey’s busy lifestyle changed suddenly when she was diagnosed with a stage lll ovarian germ cell tumor at age eight. Audrey’s surgeon removed a three-pound tumor, her right ovary, and several lymph nodes. Her surgeries were followed with six rounds of chemotherapy. Today Audrey celebrates life at full speed in every direction with a smile.

Gage Worley: The 19-year old is a self-taught guitarist and songwriter who sings from the soul. At age two, Gage was diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer that spread to his lungs. Nine months of chemotherapy cleared up his lungs and shrunk the liver tumors, but they remained inoperable. On the day of his third birthday, Gage required a liver transplant from a family member to finally remove the cancer. During the experimental treatments Gage endured, he lost 70% of his hearing. No matter – nothing could stop him from pursuing his love of music.

Kenzie Trainer: She sings in honor of her sister Hailey. In 2008 at 7 months old, an MRI revealed two masses and a build up of fluid in Hailey’s brain. She was diagnosed with an AT/RT brain tumor, and given no chance to live past the age of two. Hailey went on to complete four rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, and twenty-eight radiation treatments. Kenzie and her family lost Hailey in 2010. Kenzie carries the love of a big sister to the stage, hoping to help other families like hers beat cancer.

Mary Tipton Carter. She was admitted at age 8 to the hospital for abdominal pain, nausea and fever. An emergency surgery followed, where doctors discovered a cancerous germ cell tumor on her ovary. Mary Tipton endured 5 chemotherapy sessions over the next three months, each requiring an intensive 6-day inpatient stay. Now 10 years old and cancer free, Mary Tipton lights up her world, and the stage, with an unmistakable love for life.

Meredith Myers: She loves music and the stage. Two years ago her younger sister Kylie, also an aspiring actress, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age twelve. The story of her diagnosis reached Broadway, where the musical community showered Kylie with support. After eleven months of difficult treatment, Kylie was recovering and felt good enough to make a dream trip to Broadway. Three days before their family trip, Kylie’s cancer suddenly returned. Six days later they lost Kylie before she ever saw a Broadway stage.

Ruby Kaufman: Last year, she was diagnosed with soft tissue cancer in her sinuses at age twelve. Over the next twelve months, Ruby endured twelve rounds of chemotherapy, twenty-eight days of proton radiation, twenty-five hospitalizations, three surgeries, one port, two G-tubes, and countless “pokes.” Ruby loves to dance, and she goes after life head on. This cancer thing was definitely “getting in her way.” Today she has no signs of cancer, and no signs of slowing down in her pursuit for cancer research!


Carrie Underwood will be performing at the Grammy's, dueting with Keith Urban next month. It will air on CBS Feb. 12.

They sang a duet on Urban's latest album called "The Fighter."

Other performers named this week include The Weeknd, John Legend and Metallica.

As Variety noted:

Underwood won best new artist the following year in 2007, and has gone on to win seven total since then. This year she is nominated in the best country solo performance category for “Church Bells.” Urban is up for two awards this year — best country solo performance for “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and best country album for “Ripcord.”

Here she is recently performing "Dirty Laundry" at the Grand Ol' Opry:


Season 9 finalist and actress Katie Stevens plays an alcoholic at her first AA meeting in this video for the country duo Dan + Shay. The song is currently at No. 31 on the Mediabase 24/7 airplay chart. (Lauren Alaina's "The Road Less Traveled." has clawed up to 14 while Underwood's "Dirty Laundry" slips to No. 2.)


Kelly Clarkson will lend her voice in a new animated Christmas movie called "The Star."

She joins "Key & Peele" comic Keegan-Michael Key, "The Walking Dead' star Steven Yeun, Oprah Winfrey and "Saturday Night Live" cast member Aidy Bryant.

Others contributing, according to Hollywood Reporter: Kristin Chenoweth, Anthony Anderson, Gabriel Iglesias, Ving Rhames, Delilah Rene, Kris Kristoferson, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Tyler Perry, Tracy Morgan and Christopher Plummer.

The descriptive: The Star tells of "a small but brave donkey named Bo (who) yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock, and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations."


Phillip Phillips sang "Home" at the wake of an NYPD detective Steven McDonald who loved that song. He was shot in Central Park in 1986 and had been a quadriplegic the past 30 years. He had a massive heart attack earlier this month and passed away January 10. He always loved this song and the family played it repeatedly while he was in life support. So touching. Try not to get a teary eyed as he segues into "Amazing Grace."

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About the Author

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