From Scotty to Naima, all 11 “American Idols” on tour this season stopped by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta near Emory University to meet with ailing children and talk with The Voice, Ryan Seacrest’s multi-media studio Tuesday morning.
All of them squeezed into the studio to talk for 30 minutes with Wendy Threatt, the Voice jock who used to work at Star 94, Ryan’s first employer. Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart were the gabbiest, with Casey Abrams, James Durbin and Jacob Lusk contributing plenty as well. Quietest? Paul McDonald and Pia Toscano. Pia and Haley seemed very tight, sitting together in the studio and during the autograph session afterwards.
I don’t recall any major news developments. Jacob wants to do Broadway and name-dropped Tyler Perry (”Call me!”). James wants to join the WWE (though he’d probably have to bulk up a bit). Lauren wants to be on a soap opera. When Wendy asked what celebrity they’d love to work with on a duet on an album, Haley pointed at Casey. (Awwww…) They also only get a very modest of free tickets for family and friends during the course of the entire 49-stop tour, maybe around 10 to 15. Overall, the vibe was relaxed, the camaraderie definitely there.
Connie and Gary Seacrest, Ryan’s parents, hovered nearby. I heard Connie give advice to Scotty McCreery’s mom Judy, who appreciated that Ryan was able to say Scotty’s last name clearly. She also fretted about his schooling (he’s a rising senior) and how many chefs are in the kitchen prepping his post-”Idol” career.
Later, at the Gwinnett Arena during media hour, I spoke with Paul McDonald, Lauren Alaina and James Durbin. I’ll post those video interviews later this week. Paul, who has performed many times in the past in Atlanta, spent yesterday, a day off, at Little Five Points, lunching at the Vortex. Lauren recorded five new songs at a local studio and hopes to have a record out this fall. I forgot to ask James what he did but his family is not with him (”Idol” won’t pay for an entourage!). He said he should have an album out pretty quickly after the tour ends.
After media hour, I also got to hang with Lauren’s aunt Kim Witherow and her cousin Holly, who were there during her auditions and I had met before at Lauren’s high school a few weeks back. Lauren came outside to the area where fans congregate to get autographs and pictures. She spent 15 minutes there, also bringing along Casey. Before going back into the arena, Casey came up to me (having seen me three times in 24 hours) and thanked me for my previous story. Classy guy!
Anyway, here are photos from the morning event, with plenty of Haley for Haley fans like Negativo: