Uh Oh! This Is Quite The Conundrum, Isn’t It?

American Idol has a lot of ‘splaining to do! 

According to this article from the New York Times, officials from AT&T, one of the biggest and most consistent corporate sponsors of American Idol, “provided phones for free text-messaging services and lessons in casting blocks of votes at parties organized by fans of Kris Allen, the Arkansas singer who was the winner of the show last week.”

That would have been fine and dandy, except that, in the process of educating Kris Allen fans how to vote and giving them the means and opportunity to power vote, they forgot to inform the Adam Lambert fans. Update:  A strong Adam Lambert fan said this was not the case – that they were knowledgeable in the power voting methodology and that, in the end, the Kris Allen camp won the battle of the power voters.

And so, a week after the Season Finale, the post-show drama continues, first with the revelation that Scott MacIntyre’s and Matt Giraud’s unexpected performance cancellation and now the voting brouhaha for the Final 2 competitors, Adam and Kris.

What next? One can only imagine!

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Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

64 Responses to “Uh Oh! This Is Quite The Conundrum, Isn’t It?”

  1. Well, anyone who expects fair treatment when it comes to American Idol is going to be disappointed. AI should open texting from other providers and not allow AT&T to monopolize. They should also limit the number of votes per phone, like DWTS does. But it all boils down to $$$; ethics and fairness aren’t a priority. I think Adam and Kris have moved past this, and after following AI for a number of years, all I can do is shake my head and laugh at this latest AI issue.


  2. Sorry, I can’t just laugh this off. What’s done is done for this season, Adam and Kris are moving on and continuing to show us what classy gentlemen they are. But I can’t condone “laughing it off” so that it just continues season after season. Cheat me once, shame on you. Cheat me twice, shame on me. I won’t be voting on American Idol again unless this mess is acknowledged and the voting system is changed to allow a very limited number of votes per phone and/or IP address.


  3. I agree – Adam and kris have graciously moved on and so should we.

    However, if we don’t make noise, the AI peeps will not pay attantion.

    I don’t want these problems swept under the rug. I want them addressed and, in Scott and Matt’s case, rectified. Give them an opportunity to perform together on tour! Please , AI, you owe them this much.


  4. I remember in Season 5 that the people on the Gray Charles website talked about using Skype to vote for Taylor. And they wrote about methods of voting that were way beyond what my un-technological mind could comprehend!!! So I’m not actually surprised to hear about this. What is surprising is that employees of AT&T actually showed people how to power vote. This is definitely a conflict of interest. I completely agree that the voting rules should be changed, but I’ve believed this ever since Clay lost to Rueben.


  5. MCL,

    This news only reiterates my decission to not watch next season!


  6. oopps! to many S’s in decision!


  7. I’m such an Adam fan, it’s hard for me to believe that he didn’t win.

    Still, I’m not inclined to get too worked up over this story. First, we don’t know that there weren’t similar watch parties in San Diego. (The author of this NYT piece doesn’t exactly prove the negative.)

    Also, Kris’ sales on iTunes are really strong in these days since the competition, suggesting that he had more fan support than I realized, and probably enough to legitimately win.

    I don’t know that the votes generated at those watch parties amounted to that much. (I’ve read there were maybe 80 phones which, if used constantly for texting, at most would have generated about 1 million votes. Out of 100 million, it’s certainly possible Kris’ win was bigger than that.

    Still further, there was a lot of info available online to fans of both Kris and Adam about equipment/techniques to maximize voting.

    There IS an aspect of the AT&T voting that does concern me though, and that is that (I’ve read) that AT&T has considerably better coverage in some areas of the country than others and this can hand an advantage to contestants from well-covered areas. I’d like to hear more about this. (You had to use AT&T to text and texting is advantageous because you can send many texts at once and don’t run into busy phone lines.)


  8. At this point, I’m ready to move on whether or not, AT&T did some ‘foul play’, oh well both will be successful and it seems right now, Adam hasn’t or doesn’t seem to fret over it.

    FYI I went up to NY yesterday to see Adam record the TV CBS appearance. I was approximately 10′ away and I can tell you, he’s absolutely gorgeous in person. As Paula said back in the B&W commentary, “My eyes are transfixed on you” She is so right. HE has this subtle sexual magnetism that draws you to him. He is so very gracious, quiet and accommondating to the fans. His voice was truly wonderful but the wind kept the audience from really ‘hearing’ him but I was able to ‘hear’ the video on YouTube.

    I meet a couple of fans and we ‘gabbed’ in between all these takes and commercials. One young lady was a voice student and the 3 of us discussed the head and chest as well as the falsetto terms. SO much fun to talk detail rather than the Rickey fans who were all about “I love you”. I met Rickey. The young student beleive that Adam still takes monthly lessons to keep his qulaity as well as range. I’m assuming this is true. Well back to work but what a fun experience.

    ps If you don’t think sexually played a part in the vote, think again. I also talked to spectators mentioned.. ADam, is gay, I hate him.

    I was interviewed by a TV perosn but don’t know from what station. Darn. His question WIll Adam be successful? I responded yes but there are a lot of contigencies ie He supposedly has a strong Europeon fan base, AI has brought him to the limelight but a lot will depends on his first single. It could make it or break it for him. We all know he can sing, I mentioned his voice range, he is attractive and above all, he has stage presence. Basically that’s it in a nut shell. But the filming was so much fun. Adam signed very few autographs but I’m very happy to see him in person for who knows, if he catapults to stardom, none of us will have the opportunity to up close and personnal.


  9. The guy that you wanted to win didn’t. So get over it. Voting is hardly rocket science so I doubt this played a role in Adam losing. Excuses excuses…


  10. Cell Coverage across the US with AT&T


    Since we know that a good portion of votes are from text voting and go phones..

    If you look at the map you can see that the WEST has less coverage, therefore few subscribers and in the end NO text voters. Now go and take a look at the GO Phone situation. Same but worse. I’m not sure why the Go Phones actually show less coverage as the cell phones, but I wonder if this doesn’t mean that there are fewer cell phones sold in the areas… and again it is in the WEST, but more wide spread.

    In my area, a northern state, there is very little to no AT&T coverage. A contestant from my state would have very little chance.

    I have read on several sites that 7 out of the 8 winners have been from the south.


  11. This is crazy. I’m disappointed that Kris won, as with most of us…but I really think we need to move on. Although, I don’t want the problems “swept under the rug” (as you put it MCL), I think we need to accept that Kris won, Adam did not. Regardless, both of them will have stellar careers and we can only hope for the best.


  12. I am really encouraged by the positive attitude of everyone concerning this story. I thought there was a small chance that this story could fuel another heated debate about how Adam should’ve won. Now, certainly, I can understand how Adam’s fans could be a bit peeved by this. Were this done to Danny, I probably would be more than a little annoyed as well. Still, it makes me so happy that everyone on here is not giving this controversial story more attention than it merits. I agree that American Idol needs to try and fix the kinks in their voting system though. That said, I do not think this whole AT&T scandal influenced the outcome in a dramatic way. I still think Kris would’ve won either way (no disrespect at all to Adam fans).

    The best thing we can do is just be happy for Kris and Adam (and all the other contestants as well), and watch in awe as their careers skyrocket!


  13. btw MCL, Neil (Adam’s brother and a piano player) has been here on your site. Said your reviews were very “cogent”. He also mentioned sweet in there somewhere too. 😉

    I would like to encourage you to take out the

    “…in the process of educating Kris Allen fans how to vote and giving them the means and opportunity to power vote, they forgot to inform the Adam Lambert fans….”

    in your summation because I think that’s not the case. Anyone who hung out at the Idol forums knew how to power text vote. We talked about it for days and even questioned the moderators on it’s so called “legality”. Yep legal! Believe me Lambert fans were power voting too. The KrisAllenNation I think did a much better job of organizing vote parties and inviting AT&T sales reps to 2 of those parties seems perfectly inline.

    On the AT&T coverage maps, I live in one of those western states and when Adam landed in the bottom 2 I followed instructions and visited Radio Shack to see about their on-sale Go phones (see the whole power vote plan is buy a Go phone and a one month unlimited texting card – cost approx $40 for both) I read where lots of Glambert fans bought multiple phones. I wound up not buying one because while the normal voice coverage is the same as Verizon the Go phone coverage is much more limited.

    I asked why? Go Phones plans are limited to the AT&T network cell towers only while their regular phone plans can roam other carriers towers.

    It’s a tempest in a teapot as far as Adam and Kris are concerned and they certainly aren’t looking back to revisit the issue.


  14. Jablea – thanks for stopping by and expressing your viewpoint. I wish I had never started this blog topic. I did so because the original source was credible and, now, I regret going this route.

    I am so past this Season 8 show it isn’t funny. I want to see all the singers achieve what ever level of success awaits them – they do deserve this.

    I will most certainly correct the ‘“…in the process of educating Kris Allen fans how to vote and giving them the means and opportunity to power vote, they forgot to inform the Adam Lambert fans….”” quote ASAP.

    Glad to know that Neil has dropped by occasionally and that he enjoys the “read”.

    And so we journey forward…….! 🙂


  15. I must take this show too seriously. It bothers me that so many people think this is no big deal. My guy was Anoop; however, the finale result could have been jeopardized.

    A poster on MJ’sBlog wrote:

    However, the fact remains, that when paid employees of one of the American Idol’s flagship corporate sponsors are actively and publicly participating in supplementing ONLY the voting total for one side of what is allegedly a “competition” then, clearly, even if the actual counting of the votes is completely fair this practice still fails the test of being truly fair to both sides.

    In Season 3, Fantasia won by less than 2% of the vote. I won’t even go into what happened in the Ruben/Clay Finale. People need to know this procedure could have made a difference in an extremely close final results voting.

    The AI rules clearly state that no one shall be allowed to create batch votes by using a technological advantage. How do they decide which votes are legit and which are not. This should not be swept under the rug as it will affecr future contestants. The rules need to be clarified and the AT&T employee participation needs to be addressed.

    I believe that Kris won by a good margin and am happy Adam is accepting of this matter. However, I will NOT be voting next year. Vonnie, I don’t think I could just break free and not watch again! 😉

    ETA: Not everyone has access to power voting.


  16. MCL, I was unaware that AT&T employees used this same unfair practice with Adam fans. Has this been documented?

    There will be no further discussion on my part if this is indeed true. Whew!


  17. I’m sorry MCL, I know you (and probably the rest of us) would like this to go away, but it is clear that some of the posters here haven’t heard all the allegations.

    I agree that the AT&T-supplied phones probably did not make a significant difference, and it is true that both sides knew how to power text.

    I am not an advocate for doing anything about this year’s vote, but there are more issues that haven’t been explored in the press that need to be resolved before next year.

    There are college students bragging on forums how they were able to use Gizmo (computer software) to jam up Adam’s phone lines so they couldn’t handle as many votes. They would do this by placing multiple calls to Adam’s numbers and then not hang up … so every call they made to Adam’s lines would put in only 1 vote every 25 or 30 seconds; but on Kris’ lines they could put 7.5 times as many votes for Kris (their numbers) during the same time period. So, they could log 15 million votes for Kris while Adam’s lines were only accepting 2 million votes. They said they did this until midnight. This is could be why many of Adam’s callers couldn’t get through for the first 3 hours. So a recount, or publicizing numbers of votes, wouldn’t reflect the “lost” votes due to this jamming.

    Have you wondered why the vote count was jumping so much each week after the Top 5, but increased very little for the finale?

    Top 5 47 Million votes
    Top 4 64 million votes (an increase of 17 million)
    Top 3 88 million votes (an increase of 24 million)
    Top 2 97.5 million votes (an increase of only 9.5 million votes)

    The finale usually has the greatest number of votes. This year the voting period was doubled from 2 hours to 4 hours. Arkansas had 38 million votes (not actually denied by AT&T; they just said they couldn’t confirm it). Yet the increase was way less than in previous weeks … perhaps there are some votes out there that weren’t counted?

    There is another boast that someone was able to cross some lines so that when people dialed Adam’s numbers the calls were routed to Kris. Many people have reported that their text confirmations, and some voice confirmations, were for Kris when they had actually dialed Adam. These calls also wouldn’t show up in a recount or publishing of results.

    BTW, Galen, they say they started practicing this before the finale, after Kris ended up in the bottom 3, so it may very well have affected Danny in that he perhaps should not have been voted off when Kris made the finals.

    I have no proof that the above things actually occurred, but it is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THEY WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED IF THERE WAS A ONE VOTE PER PHONE RULE. No one knows for sure who would have won under a one-vote rule, but at least they wouldn’t have to carry the black cloud that this year’s controversy has created. And the fans would not feel that all the time and money spent on voting was wasted.

    We need to be sure that TPTB know we never want another Idol to have to deal with this kind of controversy. I plan to vote with my feet next year if Idol doesn’t fix it. Cheat me once, shame on you; cheat me twice, shame on me.

    Let’s tell Idol that 1 person x 10,000 votes is meaningless; 1 vote x 10,000 people speaks volumes. Let’s also tell them we want to spend 2 minutes, not 2 hours, voting for our favorite.


  18. Thank you for your post, Karen. I didn’t invest time voting for Kris or Adam until the Final 3. However, my 200+ votes could never compete with the power voting. What is the sense in voting when in the end it doesn’t matter.

    We need to be sure that TPTB know we never want another Idol to have to deal with this kind of controversy.

    After reading another blog, I realize that only Kris’ fans had the opportunity to vote with free phones, free text votes, and AT&T instructions. This is so unethical and unfair. I feel sorry for Kris and hope TPTB handle this properly.

    I believe Kris did win, but the actual votes need to be revealed. The issues you address also need to be investigated.


  19. This year can never be fixed without hurting someone, and both Kris and Adam deserve better. I would hope the votes are not revealed. Because of the potential for many votes to have not been counted, and for some of the counted votes to be outside the rules, the revealed vote count would surely be wrong (by much more than the AT&T texting issues), and would just cause one side or the other to claim a still hollow victory.

    What I would prefer is for us to following Kris and Adam’s leads, and move on, but use this information to convince TPTB to change things NEXT year.


  20. FYI I went up to NY yesterday to see Adam record the TV CBS appearance. I was approximately 10′ away and I can tell you, he’s absolutely gorgeous in person.

    Oh my goodness joyceanna, I almost missed this post. What an exciting experience this must have been for you! Thank you for the first hand experience. VoteForTheWorse has a very unflattering photo of him on their website. How sad that people would hate Adam because he is gay.

    Did you find out what station interviewed you? Will you be attending the concert?

    Karen, thank you for your follow-up comment. I do take this show too seriously. In real life, the failure of the auto companies affects me personally.


  21. KariAnn – I am just documenting what “Jablea” wrote in this comment thread (scroll up until you find his comment).

    I think that he is an Adam Lambert fan and wants to make it clear that the Lambert fans were power voting as diligently as the Allen fans. However, he did say that the Kris Allen fans were more aggressive and organized in this method of voting.

    I still think the voting issue is a huge problem in the AI structure and they need to find a way to remedy the problem.

    However, Adam is a huge star -the runner-up status is not an issue with him and I am sure his recording company/managers/publicists will keep his career vibrant and healthy.


  22. Karen – very well said and shocking at the same time. That people would go to the trouble to diminish Adam’s voting block speaks volumes about them, doesn’t it? Truly pathetic.

    I agree – i want the system changed. One vote per phone line – perfect. Can’t wait to see what happens when the albums are released.


  23. Roseanne, I know AI will not change the basic plans they have for voting. If we take Kris and Adam out of the equation, there is still a problem with a corporate sponsor (AT&T) having employees show up at a contestant’s voting party with free phones, provide free texting, and demonstrate how to vote. It is wrong.

    ETA: However, I’ll just relax and hope this type of unethical behavior never occurs again. I am anxious to hear how the concert tour is received! 🙂


  24. My main concern with the “furor” is that we don’t keep calling all the Kris fans “cheaters” which is what I’m consistenly seeing on message boards around the country. Both fan bases did the same thing.

    On so called Power Voting here is what an AI forum moderator had to say…. (remember this is from 2 weeks ago so the page numbers shown would no longer be correct)

    ****If you click on “Current Season” then click on “Rules, FAQ, Announcements” then click on “Ask the Moderators – New Community Questions” on page 243 of 250, EcceFama, a mod, responded to a question from a viewer about power voting and texting ten at at time.

    The mod wrote:

    “As for the 10-at-a-time text votes, we have never heard anything that says those are a problem.” ******

    Here is a 43 page thread in the Lambert folder on AI that talks about how to Power or Group text (look halfway down the 1st post)

    Don’t know how to set up your phone to PowerVote? Read here.

    Lambert fans were computer voting too “Don’t forget about voting on the computer with VOIP – over your high speed internet.Icall is free to set up, and magic jack costs something for the device – maybe there are others.You can have your cordless phone in one hand, and your other hand on the mouse voting like mad.

    I was able to dial 2800 times with the phone and the computer in 2hrs This time I am going to try both icall and magic jack on the computer at the same time, AND the cordless phone for regular dialing.

    Glamberts were handing out instructions at Adam’s home town visit. Others were standing in line at the mall talking to people at the AT&T stand.

    Yes I agree that this voting method that Idol has devised is crazy up the waahoo but it’s what we have to live with. I got 2 finalists who are adorable, just check out the US Magazine interview. They both have infectious laughs and giggles.


  25. Sorry, I haven’t figured out how to “quote things here. The 2 paragraphs above about the computer dialing should be in quotes too that I found from another thread on the AI boards.


  26. I thought I had moved on until the whole voting controversy came out. Then I was seeing red all over again. But now that I have had some time, I know that it is what it is. Kris won and Adam is runner-up. They are both okay with it and so am I.

    What I am NOT okay with is this lame excuse of a voting system. It’s just ripe for abuse. I am especially concerned about the computer software that can successfully block phone lines so that fans of one contestant are unable to get through. That is unacceptable! As far as the text voting, I wish they would do away with it altogether. But with AT&T as a sponsor, I doubt that it will happen. This business of power texting is just ridiculous.

    There should be a limited number of votes per phone line. At least that can be controlled. That’s how it is with Dancing With the Stars. I do think that the Idol producers must have some kind of program or system in place to detect fraud or excessive votes from a phone line or a state or whatever. They did say that the votes are verified by a third party that does have systems set up to detect irregularities. I don’t know that I buy it. They should have the voting results verified by an independent accounting firm.

    The bottom line is that the Idol producers need to give the audience sufficient assurance that they have done everything possible to ensure a fair voting process. We as viewers of the show deserve it and most of all, the contestants who work so hard and come out there and sing their hearts out deserve it, too.


  27. Jablea -I edited your comment with blockquotes and links. the links were unning over to the sidebar and I know you wanted the “voting instructions” in blockquotes.

    Thanks for you input – it is much appreciated.

    If you ever wish to quote some commentary, just use blockquote then add your information and then close with /blockquote making certain that both blockquotes are inside the .


  28. I wanted to make one final comment about this whole issue. Karen posted the vote totals in the final weeks and showed the exponential increase. I meant to address this in my earlier post on this thread.

    When Ryan initially announced the vote total, I was shocked. I would have expected it to increase much more than 12 million votes. The controversy about Adam’s fans not being able to get through for the first three hours is the one thing that stands out to me. I can honestly say that I feel sorry for anyone who would use computer technology to try to block the voting lines for one contestant so that their favorite could have the advantage. I do believe that is what happened. Whether it would have changed the outcome, we will never know. I have decided to let it go at this point. But I sincerely hope that the Idol producers will make sure that this type of technology cannot be used in future to possibly influence the outcome of the vote.


  29. I hope so too, Mindy. I believe there will be less actual people voting next year on landline phones and regular cell phones. So many are discouraged; I know I am. So, let’s see what happens for Season 9.


  30. No Jablea, both fan bases did not do the same thing. Yes, both sides knew how to power text, and AI moderators said that power texting was OK and within the rules. And while it wasn’t fair that Kris’ fans got free phones while Adam’s fans paid for theirs, that fact probably did not have a significant impact on the results. The difference is that there have been NO ALLEGATIONS THAT ADAM’S FANS JAMMED PHONE LINES so Kris’ votes couldn’t get through, but Kris’ fans are boasting that they blocked millions of votes on Adam’s lines. So if any data is released, it won’t reflect millions of votes that were never counted.


  31. I would like AI producers to adopt either 1 vote per phone line – or perhaps follow ‘Dancing With The Stars’ model: you get as many votes as there are contestants left (begin with 10 – end with 2). Simple – easy to do. No Gizmo, no Skype – just regular phone lines and the computer. As for Adam and Kris – it’s over and done with. Learn from it (as in fix the problem) and move on. I would dearly like to have seen Adam win (for a multiplicity of reasons) – but I agree with his analysis. AI gave him the platform he needed to launch his career. I for one am thankful to them for providing it. Adam is a very special talent – the kind that only comes along once in a generation (if that). And like those that came before (Elvis and Madonna) – he will change popular culture (for the better, in my opinion). He calls it ‘edginess with a smile’. I say he’s opening people’s minds and hearts. Sometimes all it takes is for people to have an opportunity to see life differently. Adam’s magnetism draws people in. They can’t help but like him. Sometimes that’s all it takes. In Elvis’s day, the kind of music he performed was as segregated as the artists who performed it. Elvis took it mainstream. Result? The culture changed. I think Adam has the power to do that as well. I expect great things from our boy (well it kinda feels like that – don’t you think? Like we all had a hand in it?). We’ve been present at the creation of a supernova, my friends. How exciting is that?


  32. I wanted to talk more about the whole Elvis and Adam thing. It is so true that Adam is like Elvis in many ways. He is a groundbreaker, a true original, a brilliant and charismatic performer and has that intangible certain something about him, that “it” quality. Elvis also had these qualities. Because Elvis became an institution, many don’t realize just how controversial he was when he first came on the scene in the 1950’s. He shocked the whole country. He was too sexy for those conservative times and many spoke out against him.

    When I watched documentaries to learn more about early Elvis, I was struck by his performance on the Ed Sullivan show. They had to shoot him from the waist up, so the audience wouldn’t be exposed to his gyrating pelvis. It was considered too suggestive. But Ed Sullivan was aware of all the controversy swirling around Elvis and he did something remarkable after Elvis performed. He put his arm around him and looked straight into the camera and said to the audience that Elvis was a good and decent young man. Elvis looked grateful for such an endorsement. I think that helped him a great deal.

    What I could never understand is why Elvis sold out and made those absurd movies and sang those boring mainstream songs in the 1960’s. That’s the Elvis I grew up knowing. I only learned about early Elvis much later on. When I first watched the movie “Jailhouse Rock”, I was astounded when I saw Elvis perform the title song. How anyone could walk away from that, I have no idea. It always bothered me. I had kind of a love/hate relationship with Elvis. But talent will always win out and when Elvis had his comeback concert in 1968, he was back on top. He was still young and it’s worth noting that the great Elvis actually even had to do this to regain his credibility.

    I don’t want Adam to make the same mistake. As we got closer to the final of Idol, I remember thinking to myself that I wanted Adam to be true to himself, even if it meant losing. I wanted him to go out the way he came in, no compromises. He did that. I never thought he was the frontrunner at all. I knew he had a tough road in this competition. But he did it his way and, as he has said, he has no regrets. If you stop singing the songs that make you who you are, then you kind of lose what is special about you. That’s what happened to Elvis, but he was able to find himself again.

    Adam has the magic, no question about it. I just hope he can make the kind of music that will show the world his immense, one in a million voice. It won’t be easy, but I think Adam can do it.


  33. Ah, Mindy, your post about Elvis brings back memories. I am old enough to have watched the Ed Sullivan episode when Elvis was shot from the waist up. I was a kid and I didn’t know what to make of that. Magazines and newspapers wrote about “bad boy” Elvis vs. “good boy” Pat Boone. I knew I was supposed to like Pat Boone, but I much preferred Elvis!!! 🙂

    And a couple of years later, I became more interested in other music and had completely lost interest in Elvis–there was folk music, the Beatles, and motown.

    Eventually Elvis was like a charicature of himself before he died. Sad, sad, sad. But seeing clips of the very early Elvis reminds me of why I used to like him so much. In addition to Elvis’ voice, he projected an enormous amount of sex appeal. Since Adam is most likely gay, I’m not sure that he will have the same impact on the audience that Elvis had.


  34. Mindy, there was a psychological dependence between Elvis and the Colonel which has been analyzed by several authors and music critics. Hard to believe Elvis had 300 fan clubs all over the world, but never performed outside of the United States (except in Germany) because his manager could not leave the United States.

    Elvis really wanted to do “A Star is Born” with Barbra Streisand, by the Colonel nixed the one big chance for Elvis to prove her could act. He was an entertainer like no other. I laugh because my parents were in their late 20s and approved of Elvis.

    I partially agree with you, Louise. I look at Elton John and the success he has had with his career. Anything is possible for Adam. It is very important he takes care of his body, watch his weight, resist certain drugs including over-usage of alcohol, etc.

    At this point in time, I don’t know whether Adam will become a super star in the entertainment arena. The potential is there and I do think he might have an impact on today’s music.

    Finally, the people Adam surrounds himself with will impact his success. I wouldn’t trust 19 completely. He needs a good lawyer, good manager, and an excellent PR person. Song choice also will be a major factor. I wish him the very best on his journey!


  35. Kariann1 … your mention of Barbra Streisand reminded me of watching another singer catapult to super stardom. In 1963 I was working in a small hotel in San Francisco that catered to entertainers. We had a reservation for a Barbra Streisand, a name I had never heard. She had apparently been on a couple of late night talk shows, and had done some club work in New York, but was essentially unknown. She had been booked for several weeks at the Hungry I, a popular San Francisco night club. Columbia Records’ publicity team arrived ahead of her in SF and started a buzz campaign. She arrived at the hotel, sort of cooky looking, wearing a big plaid poncho, and I had a hard time visualizing her as the amazing singer the promoters were saying she was.

    A few days after she showed up, a box arrived for her. She opened it at the hotel desk, it was the first printing of her first album. She lifted off the top copy and autographed it for me … “To Karen, thank you for making my stay in San Francisco so pleasant, Barbra” … (it is framed and hanging on my wall, with the original vinyl inside).

    I was still having a hard time reconciling her appearance with all the publicity buzz, and I couldn’t even play her album because I didn’t have a record player, So I rented a player, and my love affair with Barbra’s voice began. When I commented to her manager (Marty Erlichman, who is still her manager) that I was really enjoying the album, he invited me to come to her performance that evening. I ended up at their table, sitting next to Judy Davis, a well-known (at least at that time) vocal coach in the Bay Area that all the stars would check in with when they were in San Francisco. Ms. Davis said Barbra had come to her for lessons, but Ms. Davis felt she couldn’t do anything to improve her voice, it was perfect as it was.

    On Barbra’s next booking in San Francisco, at the Fairmont Hotel, she checked in there long enough to hold a press conference, then checked out and came back to our little hotel. She stopped by once or twice more on passes thru town, but after that she was on her way to Super Stardom, and I never saw her again.

    I have continued to be a fan of Barbra’s voice, and own every album she has put out. I never saw her perform live again after that evening at the Hungry I, but I have seen all her movies several times.

    MCL, (or any of the rest of you) do you have any comments on Barbra’s voice?

    BTW, just before Barbra arrived at the hotel for the first time, another rather odd-looking gentleman showed up at the hotel asking for the “entertainer’s rate” … he didn’t look like an entertainer to me, and I had never heard of him. He said he was appearing at the Hungry I on the same bill with Barbra. I called the Hungry I to verify and, sure enough, he was … his name was Woody Allen.


  36. Karen, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story with us! You were so lucky to have this happen. What a treasure to have. I have some of her albums. Also, I have her 5 DVD collection from her television specials.

    I also admire Barbra’s acting and directing ventures! And you met Woody Allen, too? Terrific…


  37. To Louise –

    Well, you got to see Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show. That must have been something. In the week leading up to the Idol finale, the New York Times had an interesting article contrasting Adam and Kris with Elvis Presley and Pat Boone. Adam would be today’s version of Elvis and Kris was Pat Boone, although the article did say that Kris was more talented. It was a great read. They also touched on how controversial Elvis was in the 1950’s. I agree that Elvis did become a caricature of himself in the years before he died. In fact, I found it unbearable to watch his concerts when he forgot the lyrics to the songs and his weight ballooned do badly. He didn’t even look like himself in the end.

    We will have to see about the whole sex appeal thing. It is true that Elvis had it in spades. Adam seems to have it, too, despite his most likely being gay.

    To Kariann –

    I am aware of the relationship between Elvis and Colonel Parker. Many blame the Colonel for encouraging Elvis to abandon rock music for Hollywood. We will never know exactly what transpired, but the fact remains that Elvis made forgettable movies and music in the 1960’s. It is something that I will never understand. When I listen to his early recordings, I am still blown away. I believe that is his greatest legacy.


  38. Most people see Elvis as a rocker … and while I enjoy that side of him, I find I am most moved by his gospel music and love songs.


  39. Karen –

    Yes, thank you so much for mentioning the wonderful gospel music that Elvis grew up with and loved so much. I saw a special about Elvis and they showed footage of some of his concerts. This was later on in his life, but before the end when he really deteriorated. There was one concert where they showed Elvis and his backup singers get together after the show and have their own private songfest. It was one of the most wonderful moments I have ever seen of Elvis. They were just sitting around trying to relax after a long show and then they started singing acappella. It seemed that Elvis loved to sing gospel after concerts, in private moments with his fellow singers and friends. I must tell you that it was absolutely beautiful to hear. It was obvious to me that Elvis truly loved gospel music. It was almost as though he was trying to soothe his soul. I saw a completely different side of him in that moment. I have never forgotten it.

    I also wanted to say that I did not mean to dismiss all of Elvis’s later music. He did do quite well with love songs and gospel. I do think he found himself once more. By that time rock music had changed a lot since he came on the scene in the 1950’s. He just moved on with the times. I made my peace with him. I do count myself as a fan. I do love his early rock songs, but I also cherish much of his later work. The fact is that the man was incredibly talented and probably one of the greatest performers that ever lived.


  40. Karen – you are now my new best friend. Barbra Streisand is one of my favorite singers – if not my favorite! I love everything about her – her voice, her creativity, her work ethic and her eccentricity.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. What an exciting and serendipitous time in your life – to be in the company of greatness! You must be a very sepcial person in that Barbra returned to the hotel. She must have felt extremely comfortable in your presence and that says as much about you as it does about her.

    She is a real person with real feelings and, along the way to superstardom, people did tend to forget about this very fact.

    Great story! What a treasure!


  41. And you met Woody Allen as well? Oh my! What a life you have experienced! Also, I have practically every CD, DVD and songbook pertaining to La Streisand. Love her!


  42. The first time I ever heard Barbra Streisand’s voice was also the first time she performed on the Ed Sullivan show and I’ll never forget it. My parents were watching the show, but I was sitting in the same room reading a book. When I heard that voice, I immediately looked up at the TV and have been a fan ever since. I couldn’t wait to buy her album!! Stars like Barbra don’t come along very often. I know that Celine Dion has been compared to Barbra, but I don’t think there is any comparison.


  43. Louise – the Ed Sullivan show was the first time I heard Barbra as well. It sort of dates us, doesn’t it? 🙂

    However, what a thrill to see a living legend emerge for the first time!


  44. Yes, it certainly does date me, anyway … I’ve been around for three … I saw the Elvis Ed Sullivan performance as well, then Barbra (see my post above) and now Adam. How lucky I am! *smile*

    I feel sorry for people who are missing out because their ears just don’t hear things the way ours do … 8-(


  45. So MCL and Karen, did you also see the Beatles the first time they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show? That was also quite a moment!!! Elvis, Barbra, and the Beatles are the only performances I remember from his show–and we watched it every week.


  46. Louise – I sure did! I watched the Ed Sullivan show religiously – it was a Sunday night tradition. What a great platform for emerging and established artists. I wish the concept of live entertainment would return to television – outside of the reality shows which are strictly competitive.


  47. No Louise, I missed out on the Beatles … I got married and jumped on the Mommy track … with working full time, babies, and going to school, music took a back seat in my life during the mid-to-late 60’s and early 70’s … and when I emerged I fell back on my old favorites … I really didn’t pay much attention to contemporary artists … until Adam!


  48. Karen, I can completely relate to what you said. I had my first child in 1971 and two in 1972 so I completely missed out on popular music and movies in the 1970’s. To this day, my kids like to tease me about the music that I listened to in the 1970s–John Denver, Barry Manilow, Roberta Flack, Anne Murray, etc.!!! As you can see, I wasn’t a fan of heavy metal.


  49. Kariann – One other instance of Colonel Parker spiking Elvis’s career: the critically acclaimed film ‘the Defiant Ones’. Elvis was originally offered the role Tony Curtis played. Evidently Colonel Parker felt that appearing in a film with a black man (Sidney Poitier) would affect Elvis’s record sales in the south. So Elvis turned it down – and Curtis went on to make cinema history.

    I hope Adam gives serious consideration to making films. I rather think his talents reach beyond music. That’s why I mentioned Elvis in the first place. Had Elvis continued in the direction his early films promised – his impact on popular culture would have been even more encompassing. Such a pity he allowed another person to run his life and career. Adam seems a stronger personality. I rather doubt he’d allow anyone other than himself to be in charge. I heard him address this subject recently. He said that no one is ‘discovered’ any more – that each artist has to be their own manager and promoter. So he took charge of his destiny – and look where it landed him!


  50. I did see the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. By that time I was in my early teens and was able to see them on their first triumphant visit to the U.S. Not only that, but I actually got to see them in person! My parents took my sister and myself to Atlantic City in New Jersey for a vacation in the summer of 1964. My sister and I realized that the Beatles would be performind in Atlantic City that week. We somehow got my parents to get tickets. I know that my father hated it. We were way up in the rafters and you had to use binoculars to see the Beatles. You couldn’t really hear anything because of all the screaming. But we saw them! What a great moment. My sister and I saved our tickets to show everyone when we got back to school.

    I also must agree that Adam is smart enough to avoid the pitfalls of Elvis. I think it’s a shame that Elvis was never able to have a chance to really prove himself as an actor. Adam would be a natural for movies at some point in his career. I know he is set on making an album, but hopefully he will explore other possibilities in the future.

    Adam mentioned that no one gets discovered anymore in his interview with Slezak. He also knew that he was running out of time. At the age of 27, he realized that there was precious little time to make a big career move. I am glad that he took the risk and decided to go on Idol. It paid off big time and now the sky’s the limit.


  51. The fact is that the man was incredibly talented and probably one of the greatest performers that ever lived.

    Elvis is my favorite singer going back to the Ed Sullivan days. I also believe he is one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th Century. I was a member of an Elvis Presley fan club for 30 years, and still receive their newsletter. Oh, there’s more:

    Although I have never seen him perform live, I did attend the 2002 ELVIS TRIBUTE Concert. On stage were members of his band, his back-up singers, instrumentalists, and other vocalists. Today, several have passed on. I may sound a bit silly, but you could almost feel he was in the concert arena, and not a 90′ screen image. This was an incredible experience!

    I have been to Graceland twice and we stayed in the Heartbreak Hotel. Also, attended fan activities in Hawaii, Memphis, Las Vegas, and Tupelo, We attended the Elvis O’Rama Museum four times. Also, went to the Country Museum Hall of Fame (new) when he was inducted.

    I have seen 22 Elvis tribute artists and impersonators in various cities.

    I have seen almost all his films and have more than 30 albums/CDs, eight books, the 1968 Special and 1973 Honolulu concert films, collector cards, Christmas bulbs, photographs etc.

    My oldest Granddaughter (6 yrs.) already has claims on the 1968 Special edition Elvis doll. My Grandchildren know who Elvis was, and his voice by the age of two. The baby will pick him out in photos. LOL.

    There’s more, but I think you know how special he is, and yes, I did cry the day he died.


  52. Yes, I saw the Beatles the first time they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Actually, I saw every performance of Elvis and the Beatles – everywhere!

    I have seen three Beatles tribute artists groups. Since I am making this confession, I had my first really passionate kiss while we were listening to the Beatles. 🙂


  53. Mindy, you are one lucky woman–Joe Cocker in person, the 1964 Beatles in person, and I think there was someone else you mentioned on these posts but I’ve forgotten who it was. WOW! I don’t have any comparable stories, but I did get to see The Kingsmen of “Louie, Louie” fame when the record first became popular. They were performing at the college my older sister was attending, and, unbelievably, she invited me to see them. I was able to stand close to the stage the entire night. But otherwise, the closest I came to seeing any big acts when I was young was seeing Peter, Paul and Mary walking around my small town just as they were becoming popular because they came to perform at our local college.

    Kariann, I never would have pegged you for being such a huge Elvis fan!!! I’d say anyone who has seen 22 Elvis impersonators ranks right up there as one of his biggest fans ever!!!


  54. Louise, I truly love music and wished I had the talent of so many that post hear – either to sing, write, or play an instrument. I am a pretty good dancer and seem to interpret music through dance movement.

    I did meet the band members of Blood, Sweat & Tears which was cool. Concert wise, I have seen Neil Diamond, Phil Collins, Little Richard, Beach Boys, etc. I saw Peter, Paul & Mary right after their children’s album came out. They still had great voices. One of the most exciting concerts I attended was Journey! The crowd went wild.

    After listening to several CDs of Elvis, I recall that a music writer wrote that, “It’s Now Or Never” was the closest Elvis came to opera. If I were to compare Elvis’ voice to Adam’s, this is the song I would choose (in my dreams). 🙂


  55. Louise –

    Yes, I do consider myself one very lucky woman. I think as I have gotten older it’s made me realize just how special those experiences really were. The other person I mentioned seeing in person was James Taylor. It was fairly early on, just before he really hit it big. I feel so privileged to have seen such great artists. They were all unforgettable. The Beatles concert was especially poignant in light of John Lennon’s assassination in 1980. I always hoped the Beatles would reunite, but that effectively was the end of that. George Harrison was my favorite Beatle and I was terribly sad when he died about seven or eight years ago of cancer. The fact that I got to see them on their very first trip to this country, at the height of Beatlemania has always made me feel blessed.

    To Kariann –

    I think Elvis’s 1968 TV special and his 1973 Honolulu concert special should be put in a time capsule so that future generations will know that such a legendary singer ever lived. I also must add that “Now or Never” is absolutely one of my favorite Elvis songs. Sheer perfection!


  56. Mindy, you are so right about your time capsule comment. The wonder of it all is these concerts did not have the advanced technology as seen today. Elvis voice was perfection without it. This is not to put down any current artists, but it is a factor in the type of music I buy.

    When I saw James Taylor in concert, he spent most of his time sitting on a stool. Very stripped down, something I can see Kris or Jason do in concert. What do you think?

    A few years ago, I saw Carole King (in her Living Room) concert and she was at her piano during many segments. She had her favorite guitar player and some other instruments. Some artists are indeed timeless.

    I envy you for being able to see the Beatles, even if you couldn’t exactly hear them! Here’s is the latest news regarding, Beatles: Rock Band. I never thought I’d see this happen!



  57. Mindy, just a couple of days ago, I saw on line that George Harrison’s son is a performer too. Have you heard him?
    And I haven’t been fortunate enough to see James Taylor, who I also really like, however a few months ago his brother Livingston Taylor performed at the theater in my town. I was amazed at how entertaining he was. He was also extremely friendly. I took my sister who had a broken ankle to the concert so we got there a little early. When she was getting situated in her seat, the usher was helping us. Another man came up to us and started asking her how she was doing, etc. It took me a few seconds to realize it actually was Livingston. He was very down-to-earth and a really nice guy. If anyone has a chance to see one of his concerts, I’d definitely recommend it. He was very talented and very funny as well.


  58. Kariann –

    Elvis had his gorgeous voice right to the end. I have been listening to some of his songs tonight. They have stood the test of time. You can listen to him forever and still want more.

    Did you happen to see the Slezak interview with Adam? He asked Adam if he had heard the comparisons of him to Elvis. He said that he did hear about it and thought it was the highest compliment to be compared to a legend. But he didn’t understand why people were comparing him to Elvis. He said that he thought it was when he combed his hair back. If only I could talk to him and tell him that it’s his star quality, his brilliance as a performer, that reminds us so much of Elvis. It’s that “it” quality, that intangible certain something that only the great singers have. He also mentioned that their voices
    are very different. That’s true, but it’s the stage presence. That was the thing that struck me when I saw Adam on Idol for the first time. But he was quite flattered. That’s another reason why I love him. He understands the history of music. Without Elvis, there wouldn’t be today’s music.

    As for James Taylor, I remember that he did just sit on a stool and sing his songs. I was lucky, because it was a small venue and there was a wonderful intimacy. I was sitting pretty close to him and it was quite an experience. I think his first album had just come out and he was on the verge of real stardom. He was very unassuming, modest, a little shy. But what a voice! The timbre and sound was almost indescribable.

    I can most certainly see Kris or Jason performing exactly the same way. That’s their strength. It’s the emotional connection they have with their singing. I did like Jason last season. But he didn’t seem to be able to perform well at the end. I know this show can make these kids crazy, but when he forgot the lyrics to Mr. Tambourine Man, it was so unfortunate. I loved his version of Over the Rainbow and Hallelujah was probably my favorite performance. I am glad that he will have his chance for success. I think both of them are great when they perform with a simple setting.

    Louise –

    I haven’t had a chance to hear Livingston Taylor. I saw him some years ago on a TV interview with his mother, Carly Simon. He looked a lot like his father. I think he did sing one of his songs with his mother. I will have to check him out.

    I must say that it has been a real pleasure to share these memories with you ladies. We kind of created our own little sub topic on this thread, but it’s been a joy to reminisce with you.


  59. Thank you for your response, Mindy. I have my Grandbabes here and will be off for the rest of the day. I love your comments about Adam’s response to the Elvis comparisons. I did hear Livinston sing and he was good, but not quite like his parents. He has toured with his mom, Carly Simon.

    MCL has posted some live performances from Jason Castro and they were quite nice.

    Thank you for your response, Mindy. I have my Grandbabes here and will be off for the rest of the day. I love your comments about Adam’s response to the Elvis comparisons. I did hear Livinston sing and he was good, but not quite like his parents. He has toured with his mom, Carly Simon.

    MCL has posted some live performances from Jason Castro and they were quite nice.

    Also, Dhani Harrison appeared on the TV special dedicated to his father. It featured Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton. He is an excellent guitarist and has a nice singing voice. He reminds me so much of George and the music was amazing. I felt such sadness knowing there will never be a reunion.

    Because of the title of this thread, some may think we are still complaining. I have enjoyed the conversation here as well!



  60. Oops, I have a double post there. I am so sorry repeating myself!


  61. Kariann,

    The Livingston Taylor I was referring to is James Taylor’s brother. I didn’t know that James Taylor and Carly Simon also have a son named Livingston or I would have clarified that when I mentioned him.


  62. Hey All,

    I love all of the Elvis talk! I was born in the 60’s and was bottle fed Elvis. My Mom was so in love with that man! She would dress me and my younger sister in our pajamas and pack us is the car and go to “The all night Elvis” movies at the Drive-In theatre. I usually didn’t make it through the first movie and my sister less than that, we would wake up in the morning back in our beds. We watched anything that had Elvis in it. Me and my sister could sing all of the Elvis favorites, WOW! what a walk down memory lane, Thank You!


  63. Oh, Louise I am so sorry I am not good at multi-tasking with the Grandbabes around! They had my 100% attention as I sneaked in a post. Oops, again.

    Benjamin Simon “Ben” Taylor, born January 22, 1977 IS their son and has toured with both of his parents. I have not heard Livingston perform.

    What a great story, Vonnie! Brings back good memories!


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