Season four runner up and Alabama native Bo Bice recently moved to Covington with his family from Nashville.
We’ve been in touch since 2005, more than seven years now. He’s always been a class act.
A few weeks back, Alex Gillespie - a publicist from day one with “American Idol” – asked me if I knew of “Idol” contestants who live local. I came up with three that I figured were local: Vanessa Olivarez (season two), Anoop Desai (season and Bice.
I found out why she asked last week: they were holding a free “Idol” wrapping promotion at the Lenox Square mall from Dec. 18 through Dec. 23 and wanted an alumni appearance. Bice said yes to show up Tuesday and meet fans, promote season 12 of “Idol” and talk about his new Broadway gig in the lead role of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.”
He was joyful and festive to all the customers who came up to get gifts wrapped whether they knew who he was or not. If they were vaguely familiar, he would simply say, “I came in second to Carrie Underwood” and in many cases, there’d be a glint of recognition. And he wasn’t half bad at boxing and wrapping.
A super fan and Clayton resident Jayne Pleasants was there, too, and they hung out like old friends. (He said he had maybe five who were a bit too fan-like and are “on a list,” including one who did stop by his church and wasn’t there to see God. Pleasants was just pleasant.)
I asked him apropos of nothing the strangest lineup he ever worked with and it was a Six Flags lineup that featured Nick Lachey, Lifehouse, Bice and… Mary J. Blige. He went on roller coasters with Lachey but never got close to Blige, who apparently had a massive entourage.
He said he didn’t ask for the Broadway gig. It came to him. He had no thought about theater, having never done it before. But he’s game to try. And he said he got a classy congrats from fellow season four rocker Constantine Maroulis, who was nominated for a Tony for his role in “Rock of Ages.” He will start rehearsals in January and will start in March. He also has a gospel album coming out.
Here’s my video interview with Bice, where he “talks” to Mariah Carey and Keith Urban – or cardboard cut outs thereof.