Interview with AleXa

TV Interview!

"American Song Contest" winner AleXa on finals night 5/9/22

Interview with AleXa of “American Song Contest” on NBC by Suzanne 5/9/22

After a few months of this music competition show, a winner was finally chosen! K-Pop singer AleXa of Oklahoma took the award for best American Song.  We interviewed her after the show. She was very happy… as you will see in the video. I’ll admit she wasn’t my top favorite, but I’m glad she won because she has a lot of talent and a good song.

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AleXa with Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson on "American Song Contest" on NBCAmerica’s biggest live entertainment event has arrived! Based on the worldwide phenomenon “Eurovision Song Contest,” organized for 65 years by the European Broadcasting Union and watched by 200 million viewers annually, this amazing musical spectacular combines the competitive spirit of rooting for your favorite sports team with the joy of watching a beloved singing performance.

In the U.S. version of the international megahit, “American Song Contest” will feature live original musical performances, representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital, competing to win the country’s vote for the best hit song. The 56 artists span a wide range of performers – from undiscovered talent, up-and-coming new artists, and rising stars to established and legendary icons. An incredible solo artist, duo, group or band will represent each location and perform a new original song, celebrating the depth and variety of different styles and genres across America.

Hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, the eight-week live competition consists of three rounds as the artists compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi-Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious.

“American Song Contest” is executive produced by Propagate’s Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, alongside Audrey Morrissey, Amanda Zucker, Kyra Thompson and Gregory Lipstone as well as American Song Contest, Inc.’s Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Peter Settman and Ola Melzig. Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson also serve as executive producers.

The series is produced by Propagate in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, a division of Universal Studio Group, and American Song Contest, Inc.

Hashtag: #AmericanSongContest

AMERICAN SONG CONTEST -- “The Live Grand Final” Episode 108 -- Pictured: AleXa (OK) -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)Oklahoma: AleXa

State: Oklahoma
Singer’s name: AleXa
Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Resident: Seoul, South Korea

Proud to represent the state where she was born and raised until the age of 21, Alex Christine, known professionally as AleXa (알렉사), is a K-pop singer, dancer and songwriter who grew up in Tulsa. A lifelong dancer, AleXa was first drawn to K-pop because of its strong performance identity. After nearly a million fan votes determined her the winner of online talent competition Rising Legends, she was one of the 96 chosen to participate in “Produce 48,” the most competitive audition show in Korea. In 2019, AleXa made her multilingual K-pop debut with “Bomb,” which has received nearly 22 million views to date and hit #7 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart. A year later AleXa released extended plays “Do Or Die” and “Decoherence,” garnering wins for two of Korea’s most prestigious awards. In 2021, AleXa released Y2K-inspired “ReviveR” with dance track “Xtra,” performed the national anthem for the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the first K-pop artist to host a fan meeting in the metaverse within the action shooter game Scavengers.

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AMERICAN SONG CONTEST -- “The Live Grand Final” Episode 108 -- Pictured: AleXa (OK) -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Interview with “American Song Contest” performers

TV Interview!

AMERICAN SONG CONTEST -- “The Live Semi Finals Part 2” Episode 107— Pictured: (l-r) Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Interview with performers of “American Song Contest” on NBC by Suzanne 5/2/22

This was the virtual red carpet interview for this show’s second semi-finals night. Those of us in the press watch the live show, and then they bring out each of the performers for us to chat with. We typically get one question per performer, although sometimes we can slip in a second one if we’re quick. Sadly, Michael Bolton was not available tonight. We did get everyone else, though. Anyway, while I watch the shows, I always write down their name, where they’re from, and then any possible questions to ask. If I can’t think of any, then I go online and do research. It can be tough sometimes to come up with a question on the spot, even though I’ve been doing this for 14 years. I prefer to think of an unusual or specific question rather than just a generic one. I hope you enjoy these videos! I had a blast. Don’t forget to vote for your favorites Sunday night!

Broderick Jones

He’s definitely one of my favorites because of his great voice. He seemed really nice here, too. To be honest, they all do! They all are so excited and have great energy.

 

Grant Knoche

He’s a great performer and has been performing for a very long time, even at his young age. I think he will go far, regardless of what happens here.

 

Tenelle of American Samoa

She is very enthusiastic and proud of her heritage. I loved hearing her talk about what she was wearing and what it means to her family.

 

John Morgan of North Carolina

This guy is a good singer and songwriter, and he’s already working with big name stars. I don’t think he quite has the star power or song to win this competition, though.

 

Chloe Fredericks of North Dakota

She is very likable, and she seems to have a great life where she balances out work and home life. She’s a good rocker chick!

 

Christian Pagán of Puerto Rico

He is my favorite, and I hope he wins! I really love his song, his energy, his performing, and his story.

 

ENISA of New York

She has a ton of energy and obviously loves what she does, even down to picking out the right costume. She has a great New York attitude, too.

 

Stela Cole of Georgia

This girl is beautiful, but she has a goofiness that makes her more approachable than most beautiful women.  Perhaps that’s because she has a sports background. I’m surprised she isn’t a model, too.

 

Tyler Braden of Tennessee

This guy is a very down-to-earth kind of cowboy dude. I hope he didn’t mind my asking him about wearing his baseball caps.

 

Sweet Taboo of California

It’s funny that these girls are from California because it seems like many of the performers are from more than one state. For instance, Tenelle is really from California, not American Samoa. Tyler Braden is really from Alabama, not Tennesee. I guess they fit the people in where they need them. It was fun to chat with these women and get to know them a little bit. I’m not really into rap music, but they seem like solid performers.

 

MORE INFO:

American Song Contest

Mondays on NBC (8-10 p.m. ET)

America’s biggest live entertainment event has arrived! Based on the worldwide phenomenon “Eurovision Song Contest,” organized for 65 years by the European Broadcasting Union and watched by 200 million viewers annually, this amazing musical spectacular combines the competitive spirit of rooting for your favorite sports team with the joy of watching a beloved singing performance.In the U.S. version of the international megahit, “American Song Contest” will feature live original musical performances, representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital, competing to win the country’s vote for the best hit song. The 56 artists span a wide range of performers – from undiscovered talent, up-and-coming new artists, and rising stars to established and legendary icons. An incredible solo artist, duo, group or band will represent each location and perform a new original song, celebrating the depth and variety of different styles and genres across America.Hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, the eight-week live competition consists of three rounds as the artists compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi-Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious.

“American Song Contest” is executive produced by Propagate’s Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, alongside Audrey Morrissey, Amanda Zucker, Kyra Thompson and Gregory Lipstone as well as American Song Contest, Inc.’s Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Peter Settman and Ola Melzig. Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson also serve as executive producers.

The series is produced by Propagate in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, a division of Universal Studio Group, and American Song Contest, Inc.

Hashtag: #AmericanSongContest

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AMERICAN SONG CONTEST -- “Semi-finals” Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Interviews with “American Song Contest” contestants 3/28/22

TV Interview!

American Song Contest - Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, Round 2

Interview with contestants from “American Song Contest” Round 2 on NBC by Krista 3/28/22

This was a lot of fun. I enjoy music competition series, such as my favorite, “American Idol,” so it was great to interview the contestants on the virtual red carpet right after the second qualifying round! Unfortunately, Cruz Rock of the U.S. Virgin Islands was not available.

If you missed their performances, watch them here.  Don’t forget to watch the next round, Monday, April 4th. Contestants include Jewel of Alaska – possibly the most famous of all of the legendary singers participating this season.

Michael Bolton moved on to the next round during this broadcast. You can see our interview with him here!

JONAH PRILL OF MONTANA

 

Jonah Prill was a very personable, friendly guy. I enjoyed listening to him answer the questions and talk about his song. His song Fire It Up was a great song and the feel of the song accomplished everything he wanted it to accomplish. His country music influences are Marty Robbins meets George Strait. He grew up on the old country and he is proud to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Dean Evans.

MACY GRAY AND MAINO

 

Macy Gray is no stranger to the music scene. She has been an iconic singer/songwriter since 1999 with the release of her triple platinum album “On How Life Is.” She has been able to stay fresh and current with her abilities to write songs that relate to people today. She seems like she really enjoys the music scene and getting out there everyday and learning something from what she does and putting it to use in the next performance.

ENISA OF NEW YORK

 

Enisa from New York is full of energy and just a ball of fire. She wrote the song Greenlight and when it was presented to her to be on this show, she said she had the perfect song for this contest. She had the full performance with the dancing,music, and even the outline of her body with her mic up representing the statue of Liberty. She is a very friendly, outgoing person to talk to.

KING KYOTE OF MAINE

 

King Kyote is a recording artist from Maine who has toured extensively around the Northeast as well as around the country. He is inspired by all types of music especially the Rolling Stones and Muddy Water. He enjoys getting to share his talent with the fans around the world.

JOCELYN OF NEBRASKA

 

Jocelyn from Nebraska is a breath of fresh air. She enjoys writing songs that have positive messages and motivate and inspire. She is inspired by many artists such as Martina McBride, Ed Sheeran, and Shawn Mendez. She partners with Boys Town and Hope Squad which are suicide prevention organizations. She believes in these organizations and wants to spread the message of positivity in her music.

COURTSHIP. OF OREGON

 

Courtship. is from Oregon. Courtship is made up of a friendship between Micah Gordon and Eli Hersch who met at a gig. Their song “Million Dollar Smoothie” is fun and has lots of energy. They were happy to go first because then they could have their performance over and then relax and listen to the other competitors. Their album is due out in 2022.

BRODERICK JONES OF KANSAS

 

Broderick James is a singer/songwriter from Kansas. He wants to become the biggest artist ever to come from Kansas. He was very nice and well mannered showing an interest in the person asking the question. He put together a whole performance, with music, dancers, and the whole works. He seems very humble and a nice guy all the way around.

JORDAN SMITH OF KENTUCKY

 

Jordan Smith is a singer/songwriter from Kentucky and he is also no stranger to the music scene. He won the 9th season of The Voice. Since his win on The Voice he has released 4 albums and toured around the world. He is a very talented guy and seems to be a very friendly, humble guy as well. His song Sparrow is inspired by what we have went through these last two years. He wrote it to inspire others and it was also inspired by scripture where it talks about God feeding the sparrows and taking care of them and how much more he will take care of us. His faith inspires his songwriting and he hopes it can help inspire others.

CHLOE FREDERICKS OF NORTH DAKOTA

 

Chloe Fredericks is from North Dakota and is a singer/songwriter who was inspired by country artists such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. She was raised singing with her dad and enjoyed singing songs such as gospel hymns and a lot of Johnny Cash. She has been working on this song since 2020 and she seems like a sweet young lady.

ALMIRA ZAKY OF VIRGINIA

 

Almira Zaky is from Virginia. Her career as a vocalist began when she was a young age and performed at numerous venues and festivals. She is inspired by artists such as Jojo, and Ariana Grande. She is also very proud of her Indonesian heritage. She hopes to empower young women all around the world with her music and her message.

We were able to interview Cruz Rock, but the recording didn’t come out.  He is from the Virgin Islands and is a Latin Caribbean singer, songwriter and producer. He infuses his ethnic heritage into his musical style and his music infuses several different styles including Caribbean, American and Latin.

MORE INFO:

American Song Contest

Mondays on NBC (8-10 p.m. ET); Series Premiere: March 21

WEBSITE

America’s biggest live entertainment event has arrived! Based on the worldwide phenomenon “Eurovision Song Contest,” organized for 65 years by the European Broadcasting Union and watched by 200 million viewers annually, this amazing musical spectacular combines the competitive spirit of rooting for your favorite sports team with the joy of watching a beloved singing performance.

In the U.S. version of the international megahit, “American Song Contest” will feature live original musical performances, representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital, competing to win the country’s vote for the best hit song. The 56 artists span a wide range of performers – from undiscovered talent, up-and-coming new artists, and rising stars to established and legendary icons. An incredible solo artist, duo, group or band will represent each location and perform a new original song, celebrating the depth and variety of different styles and genres across America.

Hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, the eight-week live competition consists of three rounds as the artists compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi-Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious.

“American Song Contest” is executive produced by Propagate’s Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, alongside Audrey Morrissey, Amanda Zucker, Kyra Thompson and Gregory Lipstone as well as American Song Contest, Inc.’s Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Peter Settman and Ola Melzig. Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson also serve as executive producers.

The series is produced by Propagate in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, a division of Universal Studio Group, and American Song Contest, Inc.

Hashtag: #AmericanSongContest

Jonah PrillMontana: Jonah Prill

State: Montana
Singer’s name: Jonah Prill
Hometown: Billings, MT
Resident: Billings, MT

Over a million people across the country and around the world were initially roped in by Jonah Prill’s cowboy charm and simple way of life with his horses, cowboy charm and Montana lifestyle on TikTok. With his account, Jonah gained a loyal following of over a million people by 2020 to see his journey to country music stardom. From rocking school assemblies in 3rd grade, singing in choirs through europe by highschool, and joining every band in college. It wasn’t long before Prill knew he wanted to release his own music and become a household name in country music. This Casanova’s ability to infuse his country music heritage and down-home upbringing into the lyrics and melodies of his music is what might make him one of the genre’s most intriguing new artists. The grandson of country artist Dean Evans, Prill seems poised to lead a new generation into a new chapter, a chapter filled with pages of an authentic life lived by a simple man from Billings, Montana.

Macy Gray and MainoOhio: Macy Gray

State: Ohio
Singer’s name: Macy Gray
Hometown: Canton, Ohio
Resident: Los Angeles, CA

Macy Gray, the renowned artist, actor and activist from Canton, Ohio, is no stranger to saying what needs to be said and acting on her words. The musical bodies of work she has produced throughout her career are a testament to her exquisite vision and unyielding devotion to her craft. Her sleek, sultry and mature take on R&B draws from decades worth of history. Yet, her ability to still sound forward-thinking and fresh is what reaffirms and reasserts her as a signature rarity in music. Since Macy broke into the music scene in 1999 with the release of her debut triple-platinum album, “On How Life Is,” she has become a powerhouse of R&B and soul, amassed a devoted global fan base and sold more than 25 million total albums globally. A five-time Grammy Award nominee, Gray won for Best Pop Vocal Performance in 2000 for her iconic song “I Try” and has received two BRIT Awards. Macy’s latest album, “The Reset,” will be released later year. The album is primed to create further discussion about what is happening in today’s world and will help redefine what pop music should be while still providing music lovers with good times and a great message. The daughter of a math teacher and a steel factory worker, Gray grew up in a house next to the local farm – a place still near and dear to her heart where she received the encouragement to become the star she is today.

ENISANew York: ENISA

State: New York
Singer’s name: ENISA
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Resident: Brooklyn, NY

New York local ENISA has spent her whole life preparing for this journey as a first-generation American born to Albanian parents. Following her graduation from Brooklyn’s esteemed Edward R. Murrow High School, she attended Brooklyn College and continued to develop her unique musical vision. A series of distinctive cover versions exploded across social media, earning her millions of views and critical acclaim from the likes of Complex, XXL, ThisSongIsSick and more. ENISA continued to hone her diverse musical approach, infusing contemporary soul pop with Middle Eastern flourishes inspired by her own Muslim heritage. Track releases like Scridge and Genda’s viral smash “Karma (Remix)” and such solo singles as “Burn This Bridge” and “Wait for Love” showcased a spectacular knack for raw soul and endless attitude, earning her close to 16 million views and more than 3 million global streams.

King KyoteMaine: King Kyote

State: Maine
Singer’s name: King Kyote
Hometown: York, ME
Resident:  Portland, ME

King Kyote is a recording artist who has toured extensively in the Northeast as well as around the country. Harken to a night of whiskey drinking in a cabin among the Maine pines, King echoes the yells of rock ‘n’ roll’s forefathers while having a deeply rooted harmony with roots rock, singer-songwriter and folk genres. He has played at iconic venues throughout Maine and local festivals, as well as shows with many local popular acts such as Ghosts of Paul Revere, Rustic Overtones and The Mallet Brothers Band.

JocelynNebraska: Jocelyn

State: Nebraska
Singer’s name: Jocelyn
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Resident: Omaha, NE

Nebraska native Jocelyn combines her observant outlook on life, love and music to write positive songs that both motivate and inspire. She has toured with Darius Rucker, Hootie and the Blowfish and Barenaked Ladies. Jocelyn also had the great privilege to partner with Boys Town National Hotline, a Nebraska nonprofit that is dedicated to providing a safe home for children of all races and religions, and Hope Squad on the Kindness Tour, bringing her positive music and message along with suicide prevention resources to schools across the country. She was featured on “Celebrity Undercover Boss” with Rucker and “Showtime at the Apollo” with Steve Harvey. Jocelyn wants to represent Nebraska to spread the message of Boys Town as well as her love for the state.

courtship.Oregon: courtship.

State: Oregon
Band Name: courtship.
Hometown: Portland, OR
Resident: Los Angeles, CA

The best things in life usually happen by accident and the genesis of courtship. is no exception. Micah Gordon and Eli Hirsch were both session musicians in Los Angeles who met at a gig. During their downtime on the first day, they instantly realized they had something special. Micah is a classically trained jazz pianist and was influenced by Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Miles Davis. Eli grew up with the likes of Blink-182, Passion Pit and Weezer and together they’re the Larry David of indie pop. The boys spent the last few years on the road touring with artists such as Dayglow, Passion Pit, the Hunna, Weezer, the Wombats, Magic City Hippies and Night Riots all while garnering millions of streams. The duo’s sophomore album is set to release in 2022 and is a testament to everything that courtship. is – authentic, witty and feel-good. To courtship., Oregon is a magical place where they first started playing in bands and exploring music.

Broderick JonesKansas: Broderick Jones

State: Kansas
Singer’s name: Broderick Jones
Hometown: Little Rock, AR
Resident: Olathe, KS

Broderick Jones is a singer/songwriter known for his smooth vocals and gravitating stage performances. Broderick raked up over 35 million streams alone with no backing, helping him put a spotlight on the city and move closer towards his dream of becoming the biggest artist ever from Kansas. Broderick is thrilled to represent his state and show America that if he can make it from here, than anyone can.

Jordan SmithKentucky: Jordan Smith

State: Kentucky
Singer’s name: Jordan Smith
Hometown: Harlan, KY
Resident: Corbin, KY

Jordan Smith is a singer/songwriter best known for winning season nine of NBC’s hit reality television series “The Voice.” The Kentucky native holds the record as the highest-selling artist in “The Voice” history, dethroning Adele’s “Hello” at #1 on the iTunes charts three times during his run on the show and becoming the first artist ever to replace himself at #1 on the Christian Billboard chart. Jordan has since released four albums and toured extensively around the world, sharing the stage with artists such as Patti LaBelle, Jordin Sparks and Lionel Richie. He also wrote the song “Ashes,” performed by Celine Dion for the movie “Deadpool 2.” Being a Kentuckian is something Jordan has always been proud of and representing the state is an honor.

Chloe FredericksNorth Dakota: Chloe Fredericks

State: North Dakota
Singer’s name: Chloe Fredericks
Hometown: Halliday, ND
Resident: Halliday, ND

Chloe Fredericks grew up listening to some of country music’s great artists, including Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris, and often receives comparisons to powerhouse singer-songwriters Adele and Amy Winehouse. Her mom would always call Chloe her “little singing birdy” and some of Chloe’s fondest memories are singing alongside her dad. She was raised on a ranch in North Dakota and learned the cowboy way of living – if you get bucked off of a horse, you get right back on. It’s helped carry Chloe through the more trying times in the ever-changing music business.

Almira ZakyVirginia: Almira Zaky

State: Virginia
Singer’s name: Almira Zaky
Hometown: Herndon, VA
Resident: Herndon, VA

Almira Zaky’s journey as a vocalist began at a young age when she would perform for thousands all around the Washington, D.C., area at several venues including World Bank, the Embassy of Indonesia, University of District of Columbia, University of Maryland, and events such as the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival. Almira is inspired by artists such as Kehlani, Jhene Aiko, Jojo and Ariana Grande and attributes her rhythmic R&B/pop influence to ’90s-’00s music. Her vibrant presence, outspoken lyrical skill, soulful tone and ability to relate to audiences all over the world has inspired others to become the boss of their own life. Almira, who is Muslim and proud of her Indonesian heritage, is very honored to represent her home state of Virginia, as it is the home to so many hip-hop/R&B musical legends, including Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Chad Hugo and Missy Elliot.

Interview with last week’s contestants and with Kelly Clarkson

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Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson of "American Song Contest" on NBC

Interview with Michael Bolton

TV Interview!

Michael Bolton at "American Song Contest" on NBC

Interview with Michael Bolton at “American Song Contest” on NBC by Suzanne 3/28/22

It was great to speak with this legend a second time. Last week, Michael Bolton competed in the first episode of “American Song Contest” on NBC. This is a show similar to “Eurovision.”  NBC had this great after-show virtual red carpet for those of us in the press. Unfortunately, between technical problems, background noise, and Michael Bolton being a very quiet speaker, we weren’t able to hear or understand him, nor could we get a good video! Fortunately, it was announced during this week’s show that Michael had been voted to continue in the next round, so NBC was able to get us this short Zoom interview with him to make up for last week. I’m so grateful and happy!

Enjoy this nice CLEAR video! We’ll have the transcript up later.

MORE INFO:

Michael Bolton at "American Song Contest" on NBCConnecticut: Michael Bolton

State: Connecticut
Singer’s name: Michael Bolton
Hometown: New Haven, CT
Resident: Westport, CT

Michael Bolton is a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter who has sold more than 65 million records globally and continues to tour the world. Bolton is strongly committed to humanitarian causes, especially through the Michael Bolton Charities. In recognition of his artistic achievements, Michael won two Grammys for Best Pop Male Vocal Performance (nominated four times), six American Music Awards, three Emmy Award nominations and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As a songwriter, he has earned more than 24 BMI & ASCAP Awards, including Songwriter of the Year and the Hitmakers Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His coming-of-age story starts in Connecticut, where he was born and raised and most importantly where he discovered his love of singing and songwriting. He’s proud to represent the state as an artist and as someone who still loves going home to Connecticut.

About ‘American Song Contest’:

From the producers of “Eurovision Song Contest” and “The Voice,” the all-live music competition series, hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, premieres Monday, March 21 (8:00 – 10:00 pm ET/PT) and will run for eight weeks with the Grand Final on May 9.

“American Song Contest” will feature live new music performances – representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital – competing to win the country’s vote for the best hit song. An incredible solo artist, duo or a band will represent each location and perform a new original song, celebrating the depth and variety of different styles and genres across America. The live competition consists of three rounds as the artists compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi-Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious.

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Michael Bolton at "American Song Contest" on NBC

Interviews with “American Song Contest” contestants 3/21/22

TV Interview!

Interview with contestants the first qualifier round of “American Song Contest” on NBC by Suzanne 3/21/22

Michael Bolton on Zoom on the red carpet

Monday night was the premiere of “American Song Contest” on NBC. This is the new American version of Eurovision that we talked about last week.  A small group of us journalists watched the live show and then interviewed all 11 contestants for this first round of live qualifiers.  Honestly, I don’t watch most competition or music shows on TV. I just don’t have the time, and I’d rather watch scripted shows. I thought they did a pretty good job with it, though, and I enjoyed watching the contestants and learning about their backstories. I thought that the best song was “Loko” by Christian Pagán of Puerto Rico. The song was very catchy and his performance was great. Clearly, Heuston from Rhode Island also did very well. His song started out slowly and gravel-y-voiced… but got better, and he was aces at singing a ballad that melted everyone’s hearts. He was voted by the judges to go to the next round.

Although my main career is TV journalist and expert, I’m also a singer. I started singing in grade school and was taking voice lessons in high school and all through college.  I’ve still been singing and taking lessons for years, and I was in a band for awhile. So, I’m coming at this music contest from that perspective as well as from the TV show. I found it interesting as TV more than as music. This show is not “The Voice.” The singers here are being judged more for their songwriting and their performing than their singing…not that any of them are terrible singers. These are professional working musicians that do well in their local venues (and some nationally).

Michael Bolton singing in "American Song Contest" March 21, 2022

Mostly, I came here to see and talk to Michael Bolton. His song was not that great, to be honest. I did get to ask him a question, but unfortunately, the sound quality during that part of the interviews on the virtual red carpet was not good, and my recording below is almost unintelligible. I asked him if he wrote the song for this competition, what inspired it, and why he chose it.  He gave a nice, long answer, that I can’t make heads or tails of, which is a darn shame. I hope he makes it to the next round, and then I’ll be able to chat with him again.  His songs were big hits back in the 80’s when I was in college. I loved his biggest hit, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?,” which was also recorded by Laura Branigan. In fact, I have also sung that song many times in karaoke, and I always get a good reaction. His other huge hit was his version of “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Most of the other recordings came out OK. I hope you enjoy them!

Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg in "American Song Contest" 3/21/22

The show itself was fun. Snoop Dogg had a nice kind of laidback attitude to counter Kelly Clarkson’s infectious energy. Stay tuned for more contestants on the next show, Monday 3/28/22 on NBC! If you missed last week’s episode, find it on NBC.

Here are the videos, except for one that I’m missing from Christian Pagán and hope to have tomorrow.

Jake’O from Wisconsin was our first interviewee… I was having great difficulty hearing him… as you can tell by the faces I’m making. He sang a song called “Feel Your Love.” I took myself off video when I wasn’t asking a question because I didn’t want to have to worry about how I looked the whole time! This video clip is from Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

Here’s Christian Pagán of Puerto Rico! He sang a really fun song, “Loko.” He would be my top pick. My recording didn’t come out, so this is from Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

Here’s Michael Bolton!  He seemed pretty tired, and his speaking voice was not loud enough, on top of the other technical difficulties and background noise. He sang “Beautiful World.” My recording didn’t come out, so this is from Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

Here’s the best transcription I could get for this, from TranscriptionPuppy.

Moderator: Hi, guys. We have Michael Bolton.

Michael: Hello.

Moderator: Chris, you’re up first; Beth, you’re on deck, and then Jamie.

Chris: Hi, Michael. How are you? Great performance tonight.

Michaeln: Thank you very much. For a timely song [inaudible] it’s getting harder. Things got harder in the real world.

Chris: It really is. I was just curious, what made you decide to be a part of this experience?

Michael: Oh. Well, songwriting is on the very top of my list of the things I love about music through the years and something that is enduring during [inaudible] function as an artist and a songwriter where I plan on continuing to be surrounded by people who love music and love to write. Things that are very wide, very [inaudible] so much really good, and then, of course, there’s Kelly, who’s spectacular, [inaudible] you got to talk to her on the line and it seems that [inaudible] so I ask my agent to find it well to physically [inaudible] whole made sense to happened then, I wrote [inaduble] of just [inaudible] someone who will work tied up [inaudible] and we wrote a song about knowing how intense [inaudible] great [inaudible] it means the world [inaudible] just make perfect sense to me, I love music [inaudible]

Chris: Thank you so much!

Jamie: Hi, Jamie Ruby here, from SciFiVision. Thank you so much for talking to us tonight. I really enjoyed your song So, obviously, you’ve been doing this for a really long time. Are there still new things to learn after doing something like this about yourself?

Michael: That kind of person who [inaudible] in every area of your life. [inaudible] like more [inaudible] for computers.

Jamie: Thank you.

Moderator: Beth, go ahead.

Beth: Thank you. It was so great seeing you, Michael. This is Beth with Hollywood Junket. I really enjoyed your performance tonight. I was wondering, are there any other contestants seeking your advice on their performances or rehearsals this week?

Michael: Everybody seems to be very [inaudible] and [inaudible] of their career. But I didn’t have [inaudible] always frequently, [inaudible] specifically when they’re inspiring [inaudible] somewhere where I can help them, kind of, avoid the dead ends and waste their time in [inaudible] themselves to [inaudible] something that [inaudible] look forward about this really great, really help [inaudible]

Beth: Thank you so much.

Moderator: Suzanne you’re up next, Justin you’re on deck.

Michael: Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne: Hi Michael. What made you…what inspired you to write the song that you sang tonight, and what made you choose it for this contest?

Michael Bolton: Ironically, we are actually looking at completely different suggestions and this writing a song [inaudible] online [inaudible] start writing a song and [inaudible] create music [inaudible] I don’t think [inaudible] I don’t wanna [inaudible] imagine kind of threat [inaudible] somehow [inaudible] my mind [inaudible].

Suzanne: Alright, thank you.

Ryan Charles of Wyoming was next. He sang a really fun song, “”New Boot Goofin'” He was dressed like a cowboy, but he raps!

Kelsey Lamb of Arkansas was after him. I was pulling for her because I live in that state, but I don’t think her song, “Never Like This” was exciting enough to win the competition.

Next up was Keyone Starr of Mississippi, who sang “Fire.” Great song!

The next artists was UG Skywalkin of Indiana. His first name is pronounced like the letters U.G. (yoo jee) not like UGH!  He has an interesting backstory, which I asked him about.  His song was “Love in My City.”

AleXa of Oklahoma… she’s part Korean, so she does K-Pop. She put on quite a production, but her song, “Wonderland,” was not very notable.

This girl, Alisabeth Von Presley, of Iowa, sang really well, but I don’t think the song, “Wonder” was very catchy.

Heuston of Rhode Island really wowed everyone with his song, “Held on Too Long.” It was great to chat with him. My husband’s family is from Rhode Island!

Yam Haus is a really enthusiastic group of friends from Minnesota who sang “Ready to Go.” They had a lot of energy. This was our last group to interview.

I hope you enjoyed these interviews!

MORE INFO:

**MEDIA ALERT** ‘American Song Contest’ Series Premiere Virtual Zoom Room Monday, March 21, 2022

What:                  American Song Contest’ Live Series Premiere and Virtual Zoom Room

Watch the live show and have the opportunity to speak with the first 11 artists to perform.  Virtual Zoom Room to follow directly after the premiere.

NBC’s upcoming music competition series “American Song Contest” features live new music performances representing the 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital, who will compete to win the country’s vote for the best hit song.  The artists span a wide range of performers, from undiscovered talent, up-and-coming new artists, and rising stars to established and legendary icons.

Who:                   The initial 11 artists performing on the premiere.

To learn more about these artists, visit here.

  • Kelsey Lamb (Arkansas)
  • Michael Bolton (Connecticut)
  • Alisabeth Von Presley (Iowa)
  • UG skywalkin (Indiana)
  • Yam Haus (Minneota)
  • Keyone Starr (Mississippi)
  • AleXa (Oklahoma)
  • Christian Pagán (Puerto Rico)
  • Hueston (Rhode Island)
  • Jake’O (Wisconsin)
  • Ryan Charles (Wyoming)

*All talent subject to availability*

When:                 Monday, March 21, 2022

5:00pm PT           Live Show Taping Begins

7:00pm PT           Live Show Ends/Virtual Zoom Room begins

9:00pm PT           Virtual Zoom Room Closes

About ‘American Song Contest’:

From the producers of “Eurovision Song Contest” and “The Voice,” the all-live music competition series, hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, premieres Monday, March 21 (8:00 – 10:00 pm ET/PT) and will run for eight weeks with the Grand Final on May 9.

“American Song Contest” will feature live new music performances – representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital – competing to win the country’s vote for the best hit song. An incredible solo artist, duo or a band will represent each location and perform a new original song, celebrating the depth and variety of different styles and genres across America. The live competition consists of three rounds as the artists compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi-Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious.

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Michael Bolton of Connecticut

Interview with Kelly Clarkson

TV Interview!

Kelly Clarkson of "American Song Contest" on NBC. Photo from video on etonline.com

Interview with EP and host Kelly Clarkson, EP/showrunner Audrey Morrissey, EP Ben Silverman, EP Anders Lenhoff and EP Christer Björkman of “American Song Contest” on NBC by Suzanne 3/14/22

This was a press conference for the upcoming show, “American Song Contest”. I was just one of many journalists in attendance This sounds like a fun show. It begins Monday, 3/21 on NBC! There are 54 contestants total – one from each state or territory. They compete each week until they narrow it down. You can vote online between the airing of the episode on Monday, and Wednesday. Each of the contestants are professional working musicians, not newbies or amateurs. Based on “Eurovision,” each group performs their original song. So, unlike, say, “The Voice,” they’re being judged more for their performing and songwriting talent than they are for their singing and playing.

Kelly Clarkson was very enthusiastic on Zoom. I’m told that she’s often this way. I don’t watch her show, and I haven’t seen her on anything else, so I’ll have to take their word for it. She certainly loves to talk! I can see why she has a talk show.

Along with Kelly, who’s both co-host and executive producer, were the executive producers and showrunner Audrey Morrissey.  Two of the EPs, Lenhoff and Björkman, were involved with Eurovision, the European music contest that “American Song Contest” is based on.

It was very interesting to learn about this new show, which is different from all of the other singing contests on TV, such as “American Idol,” “The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent,” etc.

The show is the brainchild of EP Ben Silverman, who’s been working for “over 25 years” to try to get the Eurovision rights to make an American version. Eurovision was “not only the first, it’s the most ambitious and unique.” He’s understandably “thrilled” to be finally putting it all together for NBC. He hopes the audience will tune it because it’s live, they have great hosts in Snoop and Kelly and “It’s filled with regional passion and state by state brilliance. And I think you are going to be amazed to see some professionals, some amateurs, all different kinds of genres of music.”

Kelly is looking forward to the world seeing the diversity they have on the show because she knows there are different types of music all over the U.S., including in her home state of Texas. She really hopes that the show helps heal the country because it’s so “divided” right now “because people have their preconceived notions of who is from where. And that’s just not true anymore, especially in such a digital age and the Internet age. We are all very similar more than not. But, also, we do represent different cultures, which is going to be cool.”

You may wonder if larger states like Texas will get more votes than the smaller ones, but Silverman explained that, just like in Eurovision, every state has equal voting power. Kelly believes that people will vote for the artists that like the best – not just the ones in their home state. Kelly had worked with Snoop Dog before on “The Voice” and proclaimed that they worked really well together. “the thing I loved most about him is that he really took his time listening and kind of taking it in, like, each performance.” So she’s very excited to be hosting with him. She pointed out that they both represent vastly different types of music as well as areas of the country.

Producer Morrissey explained that they put out the word to all of professional people they knew, in “a really vast network of A&R scouts, managers, booking agents” from other music shows like “The Voice” and “Songland.” She had to make it show that this show is not like “American Idol” or the other shows. It’s for professional musicians. “This is for the artists, the person who is committed to ‘This is what I’m doing in my life, and I’ve been grinding it and working it on the road for years. I’m kind of a known entity. A&R scouts know about me. Maybe I am about to be signed, or I already have been signed, or I’ve turned down deals because I want to go it alone.'” In the future, they hope to have a mechanism similar to Eurovision, where each state has its own contest and the winner of each contest goes to their show.

Kelly and the other producers are really excited to show us that their show will have the “really over the top costumes and production stage values that” Eurovision has. Silverman noted, “It’s unbelievable, our sets, the spectacle, the costume design, the lighting design, all of the production value.” He cited the finale as being very similar to the type they do on the original Eurovision.

They don’t think that the more famous artists like Jewel will necessarily have an edge over the lesser-known artists in the competition. Each one has to prove themselves in the competition, famous or not. It’s also a great venue for any of the artists to showcase a new song.

Monday, 3/20 I’ll be watching the show and interviewing some of the contestants afterwards, live, so stay tuned!

MORE INFO:

American Song Contest

Mondays on NBC (8-10 p.m. ET); Series Premiere: March 21

America’s biggest live entertainment event has arrived! Based on the worldwide phenomenon “Eurovision Song Contest,” organized for 65 years by the European Broadcasting Union and watched by 200 million viewers annually, this amazing musical spectacular combines the competitive spirit of rooting for your favorite sports team with the joy of watching a beloved singing performance.

In the U.S. version of the international megahit, “American Song Contest” will feature live original musical performances, representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and our nation’s capital, competing to win the country’s vote for the best hit song. The 56 artists span a wide range of performers – from undiscovered talent, up-and-coming new artists, and rising stars to established and legendary icons. An incredible solo artist, duo, group or band will represent each location and perform a new original song, celebrating the depth and variety of different styles and genres across America.

Hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson, the eight-week live competition consists of three rounds as the artists compete in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi-Finals and the ultimate Grand Final where one state or territory will emerge victorious.

“American Song Contest” is executive produced by Propagate’s Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, alongside Audrey Morrissey, Amanda Zucker, Kyra Thompson and Gregory Lipstone as well as American Song Contest, Inc.’s Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Peter Settman and Ola Melzig. Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson also serve as executive producers.

The series is produced by Propagate in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, a division of Universal Studio Group, and American Song Contest, Inc.

Hashtag: #AmericanSongContest

AMERICAN SONG CONTEST— Season: 1 -- Pictured: Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/Dave Bjerke/NBC)Kelly Clarkson

Coach, “The Voice”; Executive Producer/Host, “American Song Contest”; Executive Producer/Host, “The Kelly Clarkson Show”

Kelly Clarkson serves as a coach on NBC’s four-time Emmy Award-winning musical competition series “The Voice.” She won the competition in seasons 14, 15 and 17.

Clarkson will serve as host (with Snoop Dogg) on the new NBC musical competition series “American Song Contest” and she’s currently filming season three of “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” which has already been picked up for a fourth season.

An Emmy-winning talk show host, Grammy Award-winning artist and America’s original idol, Clarkson is one of the most popular artists of this era with total worldwide sales of more than 25 million albums and 40 million singles.

Clarkson recently released her critically acclaimed Grammy-nominated eighth studio album, “Meaning of Life,” and in 2020 released her powerful single “I Dare You,” which she recorded with five other artists in six languages

The Texas-born singer-songwriter first came to fame in 2002 as the winner of the inaugural season of “American Idol.” Clarkson’s debut single, “A Moment Like This,” followed and quickly went to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, ultimately ranking as the year’s best-selling single in the U.S. Further, Clarkson is one of pop’s top singles artists, with 17 singles boasting multi-platinum, platinum and gold certifications around the world, including such global favorites as “Miss Independent” and “Because of You.”

Clarkson has released eight studio albums (“Thankful,” “Breakaway,” “My December,” “All I Ever Wanted,” “Stronger,” “Wrapped in Red,” “Piece By Piece,” “Meaning of Life”), one greatest hits album and two children’s books (New York Times Top 10 bestseller “River Rose and the Magical Lullaby” and the follow-up, “River Rose and the Magical Christmas”).

She is the recipient of an array of awards, including two Daytime Emmy Award in 2020 and 2021 for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host, three Grammys, four American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, two American Country Awards and one Country Music Assn. Award. She is also the first artist to top each of Billboard’s pop, adult contemporary, country and dance charts.

Additionally, Clarkson has hosted the “Billboard Music Awards” for the past three years and she also voices the character of Moxy in “Ugly Dolls” and the character of Delta Dawn in “Trolls World Tour.”

Snoop Dogg

Executive Producer/Host, “American Song Contest”

A multi-platinum artist, actor, philanthropist and entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg has reigned for nearly three decades as an unparalleled force, raising the bar as an award-winning entertainer and globally recognized entrepreneur. Snoop defines entertainment history. He has released 21 studio albums, sold over 40 million albums worldwide, reached No. 1 countless times on Billboard charts internationally and received 20 Grammy nominations.

A California native, Snoop has also appeared in numerous films, such as “Dolemite Is My Name,” “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run,” “The Addams Family,” “Beach Bum,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Soul Plane” and the Oscar-winning drama “Training Day,” among others. He has also produced several TV shows and films, including Vice’s “Reincarnated,” “Mac & Dean Go to High School” and “Hood of Horror” through his production company, Snoopadelic Films. He made his mark in television when he garnered an Emmy Award nomination as executive producer for the hit VH1 show “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner.” Snoop was also the executive producer of the Netflix show “Coach Snoop,” “GGN: Double G News,” MTV’s “Mary + Jane” and the TNT game show “Joker’s Wild,” which he also hosted.

Most recently, Snoop has hosted and produced several projects through his Snoopadelic films, including two Peacock originals – “2021 and Done” alongside Kevin Hart, a hilarious retrospective on the year that began with so much promise; and “Olympic Highlights with Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg,” recapping the Olympics’ most impressive delays of athleticism and the moments that didn’t go as planned.

Audrey Morissey, Executive Producer and Showrunner of "American Song Contest" on NBCAudrey Morrissey

Executive Producer, “The Voice”; Executive Producer, “American Song Contest”

Audrey Morrissey is an executive producer and the creative force behind NBC’s all-live music competition series “American Song Contest” as well as four-time Emmy Award-winning music competition series “The Voice.”

A veteran of MTV, she spent nine years at the network in their music and specials division working on high-profile music series and annual event specials, such as “Unplugged,” VMAs and MTV Movie Awards.

After several years in New York, she was sent to Los Angeles to build the West Coast production department for both MTV and VH1.

Morrissey then joined Jimmy Iovine and Doug Morris as the Head of Television for their online music venture, Farmclub.com, and met her future partner, Ivan Dudynsky, with whom she started Live Animals Productions.

Since the formation of Live Animals, Morrissey has executive produced award shows, music specials, reality series, music videos and promos. She has executive produced the Emmy Awards, People’s Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards, CMT Music Awards and, most recently, Teen Choice Awards. She also created and executive produced the NBC series “Songland.”

In addition to her four Emmy wins as executive producer of “The Voice,” Morrissey has five PGA Awards for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television for her work on the show.

Ben Silverman, Executive Producer of "American Song Contest" on NBCBen Silverman

Executive Producer, “American Song Contest”

Ben Silverman, the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning media entrepreneur, visionary producer and New York Times best-selling author behind “The Office,” is the Chairman and Co-CEO of Propagate Content, creating and producing all forms of content for distribution across a variety of platforms around the world.

Silverman founded two of the media industry’s most renowned super indies, Electus and Reveille. Silverman founded Reveille in 2002 to exploit international formats by selling them in the United States. Prior to launching Electus, Silverman served as Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios from 2007-09 where he transformed the business model by connecting advertisers and consumers through content in a more profound way. Through his Electus banner, Silverman took a leadership role in digital content, building the #1 comedy site on the Internet, CollegeHumor.com, and extending projects to multiple platforms, including numerous digital projects and partnerships with Yahoo!, Facebook and YouTube.

Pioneering content at the forefront of the entertainment industry, Silverman has created and executive produced major network, cable and digital platform hits, including Golden Globe and Peabody award-winning shows “The Office,” “Ugly Betty,” “The Biggest Loser” and “The Tudors,” as well as hits such as “Jane the Virgin,” “Marco Polo” and “Flaked” with Will Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz for Netflix, NBC’s transformative TV commerce show “Fashion Star” and “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” on Nat Geo. Silverman has also produced feature films, including “My Boyfriend’s Meds,” “Mansome” and “Hands of Stone,” the biopic of Roberto Duran starring Robert De Niro, Usher and Edgar Ramirez that premiered at Cannes Film Festival.

Silverman’s Propagate has offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. Its recent credits include the critically acclaimed sports doc series “Untold” on Netflix, the US Women’s soccer doc “LFG” that premiered at Tribeca and now streams on HBO Max, the Emmy-nominated “Hillary” that premiered at Sundance and now streams on Hulu, “Notre Dame: Our Lady of Paris” on ABC, the “Go-Big Show” on TBS and the upcoming “American Song Contest” for NBC, as well as the unscripted “Nov. 13: Attack on Paris,” “Haunted” and “Prank Encounters” for Netflix, and “In Search Of” and “Kings of Pain” for History.

On the scripted side, Propagate’s scripted credits include “Shaka Zulu” for Showtime, “Remote” for Comedy Central and “Pinches Momias” for Univision, as well as “Rebelde” streaming on Netflix, “Let’s Be Real” on Fox, “Blood and Treasure” and “Broke” for CBS, and “Charmed” for the CW. Propagate also created and produced the podcast “An Oral History of the Office” for Spotify and the New York Times bestselling book “Welcome to Dunder Mifflin,” based on the podcast. Propagate’s expanding portfolio of companies includes Electus (“You vs. Wild,” “Running Wild With Bear Grylls,” “Jane the Virgin,” “Fashion Star”), Big Breakfast (“Adam Ruins Everything”, “Hot Date”), Notional (“Chopped” franchise), and talent management firms Artists First, Authentic Talent & Literary Management and Select Management.

Anders Lenhoff

Executive Producer, “American Song Contest”

Anders Lenhoff is one of the elite TV creatives in Europe with a career-spanning almost three decades having created, produced and/or directed 15 different TV shows that rated above 10% of the population.

In addition to serving as show producer for the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as Melodifestivalen, his other credits include the first ever season of “Expedition: Robinson, Survivor” and international versions of the hit UK panel comedies “QI” and “Have I Got News for You.”

Lenhoff also created and ran “The Commission,” a 12-episode political drama that was nominated for Prix d’Europe. In addition, he produced a highly comedy talk show in Sweden, three annual award shows, directed a long-running Swedish drama series and sketch-comedy series “Reuter & Skoog” and “Hipp Hipp,” the latter of which won a Silver Rose as the best light entertainment in Europe.

Christer Björkman

Anders Lenhoff and Christer BjörkmanExecutive Producer, “American Song Contest”

Christer Björkman is a living legend among Eurovision fans.

An avid fan of the competition since early childhood, he dreamed of competing as an artist in the Swedish selection show. In 1992, his dream came through. He entered and won and got to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest.

However, his true legacy began in 2002 when he was appointed Contest Producer and Creative Director for “Melodifestivalen,” the Swedish selection show for the ESC. At the time, “Melodifestivalen” was a crumbling format in steep decline, but with Björkman at the helm, it quickly turned into one of the biggest TV success stories in the world of television. “Melodifestivalen” has been the biggest entertainment show in Scandinavia for almost two decades.

During Björkman’s reign, Sweden has won the ESC twice, making it the second most successful competing country in history. Björkman is also the most experienced ESC producer ever and consults for broadcasters all over Europe.

Björkman was awarded a Rose d’Or for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016.

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AMERICAN SONG CONTEST— Season: 1 -- Pictured: Kelly Clarkson -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Zoom Christmas Event with Eric Martsolf

TV Actor Event!

Christmas Concert Zoom poster

Christmas Concert Zoom Event by Suzanne 12/12/21

I’ve only been to one Zoom event with celebrities and fans before. It was a free event in December, 2020, with actors from “All My Children,” a show I watched for over 25 years before it was canceled. Anyway, this was hosted by Alan Locher, who has a whole channel on YouTube where he interviews soap stars and others. I enjoyed watching it, but unfortunately, I don’t have time to watch all of these events. Between this, the virtual Comic-Cons and so many others…it’s just too difficult. I avoid most of them.

A friend of mine regularly attends “Days of Our Lives” online charity events. I’d never been to one before. The idea of paying to see celebrities is a little weird for me, since I interview them all the time for this site. However, this one was a little different because it was a Christmas musical event, so I decided to go – even though it was a bit expensive at $75 per ticket. I love Christmas, and Christmas songs, and I love “Days,” too.

Eric Martsolf and fans on ZoomEric Martsolf (Brady) hosts regular charity events with his fans, so he hosted this special Zoom Christmas concert. Other Days actors joined him. Eric is very funny and really plays the clown for his fans. First Eric sang “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.” He has quite a good singing voice. Most of the people singing here do, but this was just for fun with a few fans, singing Christmas carols. However, most of them did have the songs memorized, at least. Eric was drinking some “holiday cheer,” but I don’t know if it was real or not. We all had fun. I sure did. I wish I could have talked to him, but there were about 30 fans there, and he knew many of them from past events, so he said hi to the ones he knew.

He thanked Penny MacGregor, the Canadian lady who runs StarImage Entertainment (the ones that put on these events). He talked about Christmas a little bit and then greeted us. He looked at us on his screen and welcomed the new visitors like me. He noticed that there were two Suzanne’s! He read the names and said, “We got like 16 Suzanne’s…wow!” That certainly made me laugh.

He played some fun Christmas games with us. I really didn’t play because I didn’t know the answers to the questions he would throw out about Christmas songs or lines from holiday specials. I really enjoyed listening to it, though.

Carson BoatmanHis first musical guest was Carson Boatman, who plays Sami and E.J.’s son, Johnny. They joked around for a few minutes and then Carson sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Hallelujah” (which really isn’t a Christmas song, but okay!). He has a nice voice and plays guitar well.

After Carson was Matthew Ashford (Jack), who was with his wife, Lana, and two kids. They were all wearing matching plaid Matthew Ashford and wifeChristmas outfits, which was adorable. His kids were shy, so we didn’t see them much on the video (especially the little girl). They sang a song that sounded vaguely familiar to me, with the lyrics “Burn little candles.” I think it’s actually a hanukkah song, but I’m not sure. Eric chatted with them for a bit. Throughout the show, Eric joked about how much time his character spent in the hospital this year. After their song, Matt and his wife read the old “Yes, Virginia” letter. It was written in the New York Sun, but Matt said it was written in “The Spectator” (the Days of Our Lives’ newspaper that his character works on). That was cute.

Lindsey Arnold and Carson BoatmanNext was Lindsay Arnold, who plays Sami’s daughter, Allie (Johnny’s twin). Carson was back with her, playing the guitar while she sang. She sang “Santa Baby” and then an Adele song, “Make You Feel My Love” (definitely not a Christmas song). She has a beautiful voice (probably the best of all of them). Carson sang some harmony with her on the second song. It was really sweet. They seem like good friends. Lindsay and Carson chatted with Eric about Christmas, about singing and about the show. Eric said they should start a band, like the actors on GH did with Port Chuck (Good idea!).Wally Kurth

Next we got to hear Wally Kurth, who plays Justin. Eric introduced him as being not only a veteran but a really nice guy. He does double soap duty because he also plays Ned on “General Hospital.” He’s had a band and sung for years. He did three songs. I love him, so I was happy to see that. He played guitar as well. First he sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” His voice wasn’t quite warmed up enough, so it cracked a few times. He and Eric joked about it. When someone sings regularly, they get used to things like that. These are professionals, so they just laugh it off and Wally Kurth singinggo on. The show must go on! His other two songs went very well. He sang “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which is a beautiful and rather obscure Christmas song. I’m pretty sure I sang it in choir years ago. They asked him to learn it for an episode of GH, but then they decided not to use it, so he sings it at Christmastime now whenever he has a show. It’s a sad but beautiful song. Then he did “White Christmas,” including the Jacob Young and one of his daughtersintroduction part that you don’t always hear. I saw him sing with his band about 20 years ago at a GH fan event, so it was great to hear him again. When Wally mentioned GH, Eric said, “General Hospital? What’s that?” as if he’d never heard of it. It was cute.

Next there was Jacob Young, who’s never been on Days, but he’s been on “General Hospital”, “Bold and Beautiful” and “All My Children.” He’s a soap vet. He was playing guitar and singing along with his two daughters. They were all wearing Santa hats and looked very festive. One of them was playing bongos. They definitely won the cuteness award for this event. Jacob sang “Blue Christmas” very well. Then his older daughter and he did a duet with “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I know that might sound creepy, but it was very cute. Then their last song was “Feliz Navidad,” which featured the younger daughter on the bongos. Clearly they had practiced these songs. It was great to see Jacob again. I don’t know why one of the soaps doesn’t hire him back. He’s still Bill Hayes, Susan Seaforth-Hayes and Amy Shaughnessygorgeous. In case you didn’t know, he has been singing a long time and had a CD out years ago. You can hear his more recent music on his YouTube channel.

Then came the highlight of the event, which was the arrival of Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Doug and Julie). Bill is 96, so he was sitting down, but he did sing and was very alert (My mom was born 2 months after him!). Susan is 78 and stood behind his chair with her arms around him. It’s clear that they’re just as lovey-dovey in real life as they are on the show. Helping them out was a much younger woman named Amy. Eric exclaimed that she’s Shane Donovan’s niece, but he didn’t explain that. I looked her up, and she is indeed Amy Shaughnessy, niece of Charles Shaughnessy (Shane). I have no idea why she was there singing with Bill and Susan, though. She does have a vocal performance in music degree, so perhaps they hired her for the event? I have no idea. It’s quite intriguing. At any Eric Martsolf singingrate, they sang this beautiful song. It was very touching to see them. Eric made sure to tell them what a thrill it was for him and for fans to see them. They all dressed in red, as Susan Banksyou can see, and looked ready for the holidays. Plus, their two Lifetime Achievement Daytime Emmys were right there next to them!

After that, Eric sang “O Holy Night” in a very heartfelt way. That’s a tough one to do, so kudos to him for even trying that.

Then they had “Susan Banks” drop by. This is a silly character on “Days” played by Stacy Haiduk. Stacy showed up in the full Susan wig, teeth and outfit. She was very funny! She didn’t sing. Instead, she read “The Night Before Christmas.” She Eric singing and thanking us!was amazing. She played the whole thing sideways as if Susan couldn’t figure out how to hold her phone the right way. Eric played along, too, having fun with her.

After she left, Eric sang “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and he ordered us all to sing along. Then in some places he unmuted some of the fans, so we could hear them sing, too. It was very cute and everyone enjoyed it. He thanked us all and talked about how it was a highlight for his year and that he hoped it was for us, too. We all said Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays at the end. It was so much fun. The two hours and fifteen minutes flew by, and we definitely got our money’s worth. If they have this event next year, you should make sure to attend!

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Interview with Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman

TV Interview!

Interview with Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of "Christmas Dance Reunion" 12/3 on Lifetime

Interview with Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of “Christmas Dance Reunion” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8/21

This was part of a Lifetime Christmas press panel. I really enjoyed seeing the movies and speaking everyone. What made this movie so special is all of the great dancing. It was nice to chat with these two. Corbin used to be on “One Life to Live,” so I was thrilled to speak with him.

MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone, and welcome to our third panel for today.  I would like to introduce Monique Coleman and Corbin Bleu of this year’s “A Christmas Dance Reunion”.  We’re gonna go ahead and get the questions started.  Noah has the first question.  Noah?

QUESTION:  Hello.  It is so great to be here with you guys.  By the way, you look fabulous and happy holidays to both of you.  My first question is to you, Corbin.  We see two high school dance partners get back together for the holidays.  So many fans from “High School Musical”, including myself, will watch this and think this is the perfect holiday storyline for the two of you, as you both have worked together on the Disney Network in “High School Musical”.  But how does this holiday story throw us back to some of the “High School Musical” memories?  Because I did see a photo when I screened of you and Monique, and it was back during — I think in the gym of “High School Musical”.  I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is fantastic.”

CORBIN BLEU:  Honestly, getting to work on this project settled so many dreams coming true.  At this time, I mean, it was October of 2020 when we went out to go shoot, so coming on the tail end of a quarantine and not working for a period of time.  It was also election time.  There was a lot of — just a lot of chaos at the time and in our minds.  And all of a sudden, we go on this journey to go to Canada, get out of the U.S. for a minute.  And we get to reunite in this film that we haven’t been on screen together in 13 years.  And when I tell you every single moment on set was just comfort.  And there are a lot of moments in the film that when I watched it looking at just how easy the romance comes and how easy the connection came, and that was real.  I mean, it just — it’s…it truly is such a beautiful, wonderful thing to be able to work with a person that you love from the bottom of your heart.  I mean, Mo, I love you.  You’re, like, you’re —

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I know.

CORBIN BLEU:  You’re my sis.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I’m like, oh my God.

CORBIN BLEU:  There was just so — honestly, I could go on and on so much because then on top of it, my wife, Sasha Clements, is also another lead part in the film.  So there was all of this just love, just this lovefest on camera and on set.

QUESTION:  Now, Monique, just speaking of “High School Musical”, there was a lot of dance that would go on in the show.  Because it was a musical, there was a lot of dance routines that would happen.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  I really think dance brings us together and I think that definitely shows in this holiday movie.  So lastly, how was the process of nailing down a dance routine with Corbin Bleu when you guys got to reprise and really just do this again, just be able to dance together?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.  I think Corbin really said it well.  The thing is that we were safe, you know?  We felt like we were safe, we were comfortable.  And that is such an important part of telling any story is making sure that you have that connection.  But another thing that I think is really interesting is Corbin started dancing when he was two or three years old.  I started dancing when I was in fourth grade.  And something that’s really interesting is that our lives didn’t begin with “High School Musical”.  Obviously, that is an amazing part of our journey, and it’s a peak, and we’re so — we will always be so proud of it and excited to talk about it and share.  But what I thought was really interesting was that this story to me brought the two of us back further than where we were when “High School Musical” started.  It brought us back to the roots of who we are and it reminded me that I danced as a kid.  And this moment didn’t make it in the movie, but there are photos in the hallway of my fictional house that are pictures of me when I was 10, 12, 15, 17 years old with these big dreams in my mind.  And to see that and then to actually see photos of us from when we were on tour — one of the photos is actually from the Macy’s Day Parade.  And I remember that so distinctly.  And I remember how I felt in that moment.  And then to fast forward to today and to be able to bring all of who we are together and for that to be on screen, I think it absolutely captures the magic that you all felt when you saw “High School Musical”.  But I also think that this movie is going to do something really special and allow you to get to know Corbin and I in a way that you probably honestly haven’t seen prior to now which is really, like, who we’ve always been.

QUESTION:  Thank you guys for your time.  I appreciate it.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  Thank you.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Noah.  Alright, up next I have Mike from TV America.  Mike?  I’m gonna give him a moment.  Oh, there he is.

QUESTION:  Okay, can you hear me now?

MODERATOR:  We can.

QUESTION:  Can you hear me okay now?

CORBIN BLEU:  Hi, Mike.

QUESTION:  Okay, good deal.  Hey, Corbin, I wanted to ask you to kind of continue on what Mo was saying a minute ago.  Because we have a lot of movies that are about singing, not as many movies that are based on dance.  And dance has been so much a part of your life forever.  I mean, talk about starting to take dance when you were two or three years old.  Talk about what it was like as a kid and how important it is to be able to get back to a dance-based show like this sometimes.

CORBIN BLEU:  Well, again, this movie is a lot of art mimics life and vice versa.  There’s a lot of meta moments.  I started dancing when I was about two years old.  And I started with tap and ballet, and that was always my first love.  And I started acting early, as well, and I started singing early, as well.  But dance was just always my form of expression.  And to this day, it’s just the one thing that just comes naturally, just comes easy.  If there’s ever — you know, there are times when people just — they just want to sing and it just needs to come out of them.  And my body just expresses it through dance.  And when I tell you the character, both of them, both of the characters are just so rooted in realism.  They both found this joy and this love of dance at an early age.  My character, Barrett, actually continued on with it and went on to become a Broadway stage performer, very much like real life.  And Monique’s character goes on to actually become a lawyer and dance is still this joy, this love that’s just hanging right behind her that she’s just wanting to turn back and find again.  And I know — I’m gonna just speak for Mo a little bit, yeah, I know that she has gone on to do just such incredible serious, wonderful things in this world.  I mean, she’s a U.N. ambassador.  So again, I know for me getting to dance with her and her getting a chance to also re-find a joy of dance and that love in this, it was incredible.  And I’ve got to also do one more shoutout to our director and our choreographer —

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  …Brian Herzlinger and Christian Vincent because the turnaround on this was not “High School Musical”.  You know, “High School Musical” we had…

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Time?

CORBIN BLEU:  …like, at least — at least — two days per number, at least.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  This we shot — I think majority of the final dance routines were shot in one day.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  In a day, yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  One day.  And the other dance routines, everything else that you see was shot in one other day.  So just an insane amount of hard work.  And to top it all off, there were things that were implemented that weren’t originally in the script, one being my tap number.  One number in the movie that really is such a pivotal story moment that you actually get to really see Barrett’s love for dance and where his spirit really flies is this tap number that was never in the script, was never a part of rehearsals, until we were like three — I think we were three or four days from getting ready to start shooting.  And I knew that they were gonna do this other tap number and I said to Brian, I was like, “Brian, you know that I tap, right?”  And he goes, “Wait, what?”  I was like, “Yeah, I love tapping.”  And he said, “We should implement that.”  And Christian, freaking incredible man that he is, threw together this tap number.  And we worked on this over the next couple weeks before we had to shoot it and implemented this number.  And it turns out to be such a beautiful moment in the movie.  Just really, really wonderful that they allowed such input and organicn-ess to free flow.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Okay, cool.  Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Thank you, Mike.  And our next question is from Suzanne.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Hey, Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Hi.  I really enjoyed the movie.  I loved watching it.  It really made me wanna go to the Winterleigh.

CORBIN BLEU:  Awesome.

QUESTION:  Where was it actually filmed?

CORBIN BLEU:  We shot up in Vancouver.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.  Toronto.

CORBIN BLEU:  I’m sorry — Vancouver — Toronto.  We filmed up in Toronto, I’m sorry.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Up — yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  The other side of the country.  We shot up in Toronto at the…

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Where were we?  I’m like…

CORBIN BLEU:  Horseshoe.  Horseshoe.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  That’s right.

CORBIN BLEU:  Mm-hm.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  Yeah, the hotel.

QUESTION:  Oh, okay.  Great.  And Monique, what was the thing about it that was the most challenging for you?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I think letting it be easy.  That was the most challenging thing was just allowing it.  You know, we’re in an industry that can just be so difficult in so many different ways.  And this was an experience that Corbin was speaking of earlier that was in the midst of a very active world pandemic.  We were in the midst of a very intense election in the U.S.  And we’re storytellers.  And we kept reminding ourselves that we got to be the magic makers of the moment.  We get to be the lightworkers.  We get to be the ones that are going to be a part of helping people to have the joy that we all deserve when this all is over.  And so for me, to be honest, yes, learning the dances was challenging.  Spending two weeks in quarantine and then going from basically zero to hero and having not worked pretty much all year long, having definitely not danced or been in a studio at all.  And I actually turned 40, so I was like my knees are not — they’re not capable of doing this which is actually really hilarious because that is something that Lucy talks about as her character.  But it’s very real for me ’cause I’m like no, but really.  I can’t just jump in like that.  But at the end of the day, I guess I always knew that this was supposed to be fun and it was supposed to bring joy.  And if there was anything that I felt like I couldn’t do, I knew that I had the support to change that.  So I knew that with Corbin that I was safe with my partner.  I knew that with Christian, he wanted to make sure that we looked good.  And Brian is just like all-around so incredible that there wasn’t really any pressure.  There wasn’t any extra tension.  So you know, I think, yeah, obviously the most challenging part was going from not dancing or doing anything and being in a pandemic to going full throttle.  But even that is a blessing and it’s a gift.  And so I don’t even like to look at that as really any more than just the challenge that comes with being privileged to be able to do something that you love for a living.

QUESTION:  Awesome.  Thank you guys so much.

CORBIN BLEU:  Thank you.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah, thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thanks, Suzanne.  We’re going now to our final two questions.  Cynthia?

QUESTION:  Hello, can you hear me?

CORBIN BLEU:  Yes, we can.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Hi.  I’m Cynthia Horner from “Right On! Magazine” and “Word Up! Magazine”.  And Corbin, you and Monique used to appear in our magazines all the time.

CORBIN BLEU:  Yes!  Absolutely!

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I know!  I was like “Word Up!”!

QUESTION:  Yeah.  What is it like now being grown people that really got your start as teenagers and you continued on with your craft?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  One of us was a teenager.  The other one wasn’t.

CORBIN BLEU:  (Laughs.)

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  I’ll let you guess which one.

CORBIN BLEU:  Homegirl, you still look fly as hell.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Thank you!

CORBIN BLEU:  Honestly, just like life, there are aspects that just get better and better and then there are other parts that you go, oof, that hurts a lot more.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  You know, I think that there truly was an appreciation on this film.  When we were working back then, at least I can speak for myself to say that I was just a teenager.  And as much as I really was a hard worker and I was always focused on what I was doing and I appreciated everything that was going on, it still was just about enjoying that ride.  And it all happened so quickly that there are times where you have to — you forget to remind yourself, let me really take in this moment.  And I feel like I was able to do that a lot more working on this project.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  Just as an adult, in general, those times where it really is special.  One thing that I would love to talk about that I was able — a moment that I was able to look around and go, wow, this is really beautiful, was the representation in this film.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  And its diversity.  I mean, what’s so beautiful is to see these lead actors, Black actors, and that has nothing to do with the driving force of the storyline.  The storyline is a romance story.  It has nothing to do with the fact that we’re Black.  And yet, you get to see all of this diversity and all of this representation in there.  And I feel like that to me is something that as a kid, I don’t necessarily — I wouldn’t necessarily pinpoint as much.  Now, I see it and I go this is something that I wish I was able to see a lot more of on screen when I was a kid and watching all these holiday movies.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah, that’s literally exactly what I was feeling, Corbin, was that that is the biggest shift that has happened since that time.  We were just in a different era and now to be these characters that are not just supporting someone else’s story but to be the story and yeah, that is definitely different and exciting.

QUESTION:  Well, thank you so much.  And merry Christmas in advance.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Thank you.  You, too.

CORBIN BLEU:  Merry Christmas in advance to you, too.  And happy Thanksgiving.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Thank you, Cynthia.  We’re gonna wrap with Samantha.  Samantha?

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thank you both so much for touching on the diversity piece because that’s really what I wanted to ask about.  I was reading about Monique you know just a part of how Taylor’s — the headband became — like, a piece was not really having people that could do Black hair.  And I’m just curious what your experiences have been through the start of your career to now being in the industry where it’s really embracing and prioritizing diversity?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.  It’s definitely shifted so much.  The fact that we can even have this conversation and be open about it is I think definitely progress.  And I think one thing that Corbin and I both do is we are very collaborative in the process.  So we don’t take a backseat to what we’re doing.  We really want to be involved every step of the way.  And so it’s been really wonderful to watch the industry catch up and also personally to be able to make stronger and different choices about how I want to be presented and so forth.  So I feel like there’s a lot more room.  And not just diversity amongst — like racial diversity, but also diversity within a race.  I think oftentimes, I have been cast in roles that someone could perceive as a token role.  Like, oh, here we’re fulfilling the diversity quota because we’re both very safe people.  And that’s not to…it just is what it is.

CORBIN BLEU:  Yeah.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  And so oftentimes, we’re put in this position and it’s like there’s so much diversity within being Black.  It’s not just, okay, we’ve got someone that’s it.  And that is something that is so special and beautiful about “A Christmas Dance Reunion” is that you just have this family.  You’ve got these people and they just are different shades of Black and it’s not just one note or one tone.  And that is really very exciting to see what the possibilities are now that these other universes are opening up where we can see ourselves from here.

CORBIN BLEU:  One hundred percent with everything Mo just said.  And it’s such an important, important thing for what she’s talking about, as far as diversity within the diversity.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  And this movie by the way, there’s representation with LGBTQIA community.  There’s–

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.  Age.

CORBIN BLEU:  In age, in differently abled.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  And our writer, one of our co-writing team, you know, Brian Herzlinger but majority of the heavy lifting on the writing was Megan Henry Herzlinger.  We have a female writer.  Yeah, right?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  It’s so good.

CORBIN BLEU:  So really, I mean, all that is there but again, what’s so amazing and so important to me about this film is that all of that goes unsaid.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Mm-hm.

CORBIN BLEU:  To me, for what I grew up watching, the stuff that I — you know, I grew up watching all of the MGM classic musicals and never really getting a chance to see representation of myself in that character.  And most of the time growing up, if I was watching someone of color, then it was the token.  And usually the phrases that were coming out of that person’s mouth or the kind of demeanor of a certain — it always was a very specific category.  Or they were there because the driving force of their storyline was because they’re Black.  It has to do with their struggle.  It has to do with the fact that they’re not represented.  And we have romance stories, too.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yeah.

CORBIN BLEU:  We have positivity without the struggle, as well.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes.

CORBIN BLEU:  That’s always there.  That struggle is always there because we aren’t represented in that way, but we will only see that struggle and only see that representation if those are the only stories that we continue to tell.  So that’s why this really to me was such a beautiful, beautiful experience and really important.  And I want to see more of it and Mo and I need to do more of that together.

MONIQUE COLEMAN:  Yes!

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Well, thank you both so much for participating today.  We all love that you’re here together and reunited.  So be sure everyone to tune in to “A Christmas Dance Reunion” on Friday, December 3rd, at 8/7 Central only on Lifetime.

MORE INFO:

Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of "Christmas Dance Reunion" 12/3 on LifetimeA Christmas Dance Reunion
Friday, December 3 at 8pm / 7c

Successful attorney Lucy Mortimer (Monique Coleman), along with her mother Virginia (Kim Roberts) returns to the Winterleigh Resort to help celebrate the hotel’s final Christmas season. Once there, Lucy is reunited with the owner’s nephew and her childhood Christmas Dance partner, Barrett Brewster (Corbin Bleu). Though the resort has fallen on hard times and has stopped most holiday events, Lucy leads the charge in recreating the beloved Christmas traditions, including the popular Christmas Dance, to bring together new families and new hope to the resort. Now, Lucy must decide if she’s willing to take a risk on love and partner up once more with Barrett for what could be the last Christmas Dance.

A Christmas Dance Reunion is produced by Off Camera Entertainment and Brain Power Studio with Stephanie Slack, Margret H. Huddleston and Beth Stevenson as Executive Producers. Megan Henry Herzlinger and Brian Herzlinger serve as writers. Brian Herzlinger also directs.

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Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman of "Christmas Dance Reunion" 12/3 on Lifetime

Interview with the “Alter Ego” Judges and Host

TV Interview!

Judges and host of "Alter Ego" on FOX

Interview with judges Nick Lachey, Grimes, and will.i.am, host Rocsi Diaz, executive producer Matilda Zoltowski, and FOX’s President of Alternative Entertainment & Specials, Rob Wade of “Alter Ego” on FOX Suzanne 9/8/21

Alter Ego is the new FOX music competition show. It’s very unusual in that the singers create an avatar of themselves to perform through. The judges and audience see them not as themselves, but as their avatar.

2 NIGHT SEASON PREMIERE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 22 & THURSDAY, SEPT. 23

I attended the FOX TCA panel for the show. Normally, they give us “screeners” – an episode or two of the show to watch ahead of time. Instead, we got one compilation episode. I’m not sure why. It was interesting, though. I don’t really watch non-fiction shows, but I might have to tune in to some of this to see what it’s really like.

On the panel, they told us “lost dreams and second chances are reignited when singers become the stars they’ve always wanted to be. However, these contestants won’t perform as themselves, rather, they’ll help create their dream avatar alter ego, reinventing and transforming themselves like never before. Talent and technology come together, creating a singing competition unlike anything the world has ever seen.” Then we saw a clip.

The panel consisted of judges Nick Lachey, Grimes, and will.i.am, host Rocsi Diaz, executive producer Matilda Zoltowski, and FOX’s President of Alternative Entertainment & Specials, Rob Wade. I’d only heard of Lachey and will.i.am, but that’s fine because I only was able to ask one question.

My question was admittedly a little lame. I should have asked about the technology behind the avatars because no one really asked that, and I’m curious. On the TV screen, we see the judges and audience looking at the avatar, which lookes like a real person on the stage. Is that how it looks in real life, or is it all special effects? I would love to know. Instead, I asked Nick Lachey a question about being a judge. I made an error because I thought he had been a judge on another reality show. My mistake because he was a contestant, not a judge. Whoops! I should have done more research. My bad. But he gave a great answer, anyway.

The first journalist asked the producers about the idea behind the show and what they hoped people would take out of having avatars perform. The answer was basically that they have this amazing technology that they can use now, and that they could get performers with amazing voices that we wouldn’t necessarily see on other competition shows. I guess he means, people who are not very attractive. What else would she mean? I mean, we’ve seen plenty of plus-sized people, and people of all different colors, races, genders, ages and orientations competing. The only thing left is unattractive people. From what the clips are showing, all of the contestants are choosing avatars much thinner than themselves, and some much more light-skinned than themselves. I wonder what criticisms people will have of the show. It’s, of course, also a way for those who are gender-fluid to have avatars to reflect who they feel like inside. I don’t know if that will be enough to counteract the other problems, though. We shall see!

The next press person asked about the design of the avatars and whether body diversity came into play. The producer answered that they have a real mix of different types of people and “huge diversity on every level.” She revealed that they have 20 different alter egos, which is something I didn’t know from watching the clips. It appears that the contestants are able to change what their avatars are wearing and other features. The producer maintained that they wanted to have alter egos that would appearl to a wide audience – people of all different types. She concluded, “I think there’s something there for everybody.”

Another writer asked why the alter egos look “fantastical” rather than just looking like regular humans. Hmm, here’s someone who probably hasn’t played a lot of video games or done online role-playing. That’s kind of the point – to look different than we are, dude. Producer Wade admitted that trying to make the avatars look like regular humans didn’t really look good. The avatars looked “creepy.” They thought that having them more colorful and fun would be better and people could connect to them. He also added, “why do a show called ALTER EGO with avatars if you’re just going to replicate human beings? They should be something a little bit more fantastical, a little bit superhero like, in a way.”

Judge Grimes interjected that she thought that since so many people are into video games, that they’re used to connecting with the “crazier type” of characters. will.i.am also added his input by comparing people dressing up in different colors, expressing themselves, or wearing costumes for Comic-Con, or various artists who look “fantastical” like these alter egos. He said, “This is beyond makeup. This is beyond, you know, a hat and glasses. It’s beyond freaking tailored suits that fit you perfectly. This is your spirit tailored, whooo. This is, like, your passion tailored. This is putting makeup on your spirit.” He got very excited, and everyone laughed. Nick Lachey advised us to tune in to the series because this is just a small taste of what will.i.am commentary is like.

The next interviewer ask about how genders will be changed, which was a variation on the body diversity question already asked. will.i.am put it well when he declared that “the imagination is genderless and it’s beautiful.” He went on to explained that when he writes songs, sometimes it’s from a female point of view (especially if he’s writing it for a female singer, such as Fergie. He’s “dialing into my inner femininity.” He once again indulged in hyperbole about the show and its performers in this regard. Lachey chimed in to talk about it from the POV of an entertaining – how it can be “truly liberating” to step into an alter ego. He says the way it came together in the show blew his mind. Grimes noted that the show makes “gender fluidity more casual”. Diaz pointed out that what will make viewers really invested in the stories of the performers is that they get to live out these experiences in such a liberating way and really be themselves for the first time. It was touching for them, and she believes it will be for the audience at home as well.

Then it was my turn to ask a question. Bear in mind that I was already a middle-aged adult by the time “98 Degrees” became a big hit, so that wasn’t my music. I had completely forgotten that Lachey was in that group. I had mostly seen him in “Charmed,” where he played Leslie St. Claire in 2004. He modestly replied, “To call me an actor is a liberal use of the word “acting.” After graciously correcting me that he’d never been a judge, he said that he had been a host before on music competition shows, so he was excited to step into the role of judge. He admitted that he was a bit of a skeptic at first (about the alter egos) because he doesn’t play video Alter Ego fairy avatargames and isn’t really into technology tha tmuch. He thought it was really cool to be asked to be part of it, though. In the end, “what I took away from it was, there’s such a humanity, despite all the mind blowing technology, and it’s incredible, and you’ll see it when it premieres on the 22nd. I mean, it’s incredible technology, but there’s still a humanity that comes through in these performances. These are real emotions. These are real people behind the alter egos, and that life experience, all the things that you channel as an artist, all those things you channel into your performance, those things come through in a very real way through the technology, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing to see. And again, I always use this word, but, you know, confluence of technology and artistry, and the way those things came together on this show is something unlike we’ve seen on TV ever. And so, I’m so excited. I mean, I got to watch it firsthand. I’m so excited for (my dog, Brandy, barked here) come together. And, apparently, that dog agrees with me. They’re excited.” Everyone laughed because it was very funny.

They joked around about how Lachey told a lot of “dad jokes.”

The next journalist asked Nick if there were logistical complications, since he lives in Hawaii and the show is in Los Angeles. Lachey confirmed that he does have a lot of frequent flyer miles. However, he was able to be back in L.A., bringing his son Charlie with him while he filmed the show and spent time there. He admitted, “I’ve done a lot of great things in my career, and I’m truly appreciative of each and every one of them, but this was one of the unique and special things I was able to be a part of. So, I’m glad it was able to be worked out, and I’m glad I was able do it.”

The same person asked him being a contestant on “The Masked Singer” and how that informed him for this show. He compared being in the “Piglet” costume to having an alter ego because it frees you to create a character and be whomever you want to be. He told us that the singers in “Alter Ego” are all incredible, but they all have struggled in some ways, but the show allowed them “truly feel liberated, and let their true talent shine through. And we all were lucky enough to be witnesses to that, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. That’s the real … humanity of this show. These are all humans with real emotions, and real struggles, and real experiences, and they bring all that to their performances, and they bring all that to their alter egos. And to watch all those things come together on this is a beautiful thing.”

Another journalist asked will.i.am about the current technology available (and being used on the show), and how he would have used that back when he was in the Black-Eyed Peas. Will gave a very long answer where he basically said that it would have freed them all to be different characters – and play different instruments- within their band.

That same man asked Graimes, who’s a producer as well as a performer, how she judges the show’s performers. Grimes didn’t really answer his questions. She did admit that she has “huge stage fright” and was already looking into this sort of technology to use in her own performances.

There many more questions, but these were the most interesting. Check out this unusual show!

Here is the audio version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

ALTER EGO is the world’s first avatar singing competition series and the next iteration of the musical competition show. On ALTER EGO, lost dreams and second chances are reignited when singers from all walks of life become the stars they’ve always wanted to be. However, these contestants won’t perform as themselves. Rather, they’ll be given the chance to show how they’ve always wanted to be seen, creating their dream avatar ALTER EGO to reinvent themselves, while showcasing their unique performance style via motion capture technology. The judges table features some of the biggest names in music, including iconic singer/songwriter and seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette; actor, singer and television personality Nick Lachey; acclaimed Canadian producer, songwriter, singer and visual artist Grimes; and multi-Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, producer, entrepreneur and actor will.i.am. Emmy Award-winning personality Rocsi Diaz will host the musical spectacle. In ALTER EGO, talent and technology come together to create a singing competition unlike anything the world has ever seen.

fpn slider image in three sizesGRIMES

as Judge

Bio

Claire Boucher is the producer of the alter ego Grimes and an award-winning music video director, as well as a music writer, artist, producer, engineer and singer-songwriter. The world got its first glimpse of this vision on her 2010 full-length debut, “Geidi Primes,” which drew its inspiration from the David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” Her sophomore outing, “Halfaxa,” followed the same year. Over the course of three weeks, 2012’s “Visions” came to life in her apartment and would be recorded solely on Garage Band. 2015 marked a commercial breakthrough on “Art Angels.” It appeared in the Top 5 of year-end lists by Pitchfork, Billboard, Consequence of Sound, The New York Times and Rolling Stone, in addition to being named Album of the Year by Stereogum, NME and Exclaim! In 2018, she made another conscious evolution, turning back to formative influences, such as Tool and Nine Inch Nails for inspiration — a style first hinted at on 2016’s “Suicide Squad” soundtrack contribution, “Medieval Warfare.” In 2020, she released “Miss Anthropocene,” a concept album about an anthropomorphic goddess of climate change, which received rave reviews. The album title stems from the words Misanthrope, “a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society,” and Anthropocene, “the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” In 2021, she set the NFT world on fire with the release of WarNymph Collection Vol 1 By Grimes x Mac. The collection contains 10 artworks, including a unique video work set to original music composed specifically for the project. Through the character of WarNymph, Grimes explores the fluidity of identity in the virtual age: the ability to create, augment and splinter ourselves into unlimited avatars.

NICK LACHEYfpn slider image in three sizes

as Judge

Bio

Singer, actor and television personality Nick Lachey rose to fame as the lead singer of the multi-Platinum boy band 98 Degrees, selling more than 10 million records. He also has released four solo studio albums. Currently, Nick can be seen co-hosting “Love is Blind” with his wife Vanessa Lachey. In 2021, Lachey won the fifth season of THE MASKED SINGER as The Piglet. Lachey has had a long hosting career, serving as host on “The Sing Off” and “Big Morning Buzz Live.”

In addition to his work in music and television, Lachey remains a constant advocate for children’s and humanitarian causes through his work with organizations including Autism Speaks, Feeding America, Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), VH-1 Save The Music, The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and The Cincinnati School for Performing Arts. He is also founder and President of The Nick Lachey Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities in need throughout the United States.

Lachey was raised in Cincinnati, OH, and attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), Miami University and University of Southern California. Lachey currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Vanessa and three children.

fpn slider image in three sizeswill.i.am

as Judge

Bio

Seven-time Grammy Award winner will.i.am has been at the forefront of the contemporary American hip hop movement for more than 20 years. He is best known as a songwriter, producer, actor and entrepreneur, and globally recognized as a founding member of Black Eyed Peas, one of the best-selling groups of all time. He has released four solo albums and eight studio albums with Black Eyed Peas. The act was one of the first to recognize the mainstream potential of electronic dance music and held the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 for a record 26 consecutive weeks after “I Gotta Feeling” replaced “Boom Boom Pow” atop the chart — more than any other act in the history of the Hot 100. The Emmy and CLIO Award-winning music video, “Yes We Can,” mobilized a generation during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. He has worked with countless Grammy Award-winning artists as a producer and currently serves as a Coach on “The Voice UK” and “The Voice Kids.”

He has starred in several animated feature films, including “Rio,” “Rio 2” and “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa,” as well as the live-action “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Founded in 2009, will.i.am’s i.am Angel Foundation supports in-class and after-school STEAM education programs for disadvantaged youth in grades K – 12. The Foundation also funds the Boyle Heights STEM Magnet High School in Los Angeles, and the i.am Scholarship program that provides gap funding to college-bound program students.

ALANIS MORISSETTE

fpn slider image in three sizes

as Judge

Bio

Since 1995, Alanis Morissette has been one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians in contemporary music. Her deeply expressive music and performances have earned vast critical praise and seven Grammy Awards. Morissette’s 1995 debut, “Jagged Little Pill,” was followed by nine more eclectic and acclaimed albums.

She has contributed musically to theatrical releases and has acted on the big and small screens. Outside of entertainment, she is an avid supporter of female empowerment, as well as spiritual, psychological and physical wellness. In 2016, Morissette launched “Conversation with Alanis Morissette,” a monthly podcast that features conversations with a variety of revered authors, doctors, educators and therapists, covering a wide range of psycho-social topics, extending from spirituality to developmentalism to art. On December 5, 2019, the Broadway musical “Jagged Little Pill” debuted at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City, and was nominated for 15 Tony Awards. Most recently, Morissette released her ninth studio album, “Such Pretty Forks In The Road,” to rave reviews. For more information see www.alanis.com.

fpn slider image in three sizesROCSI DIAZ

as Host

Bio

Emmy Award-winning television host Rocsi Diaz is best known as the former co-host of ultra-popular mega music show “106 & Park.” She has interviewed everyone from Lady Gaga to Barack Obama. As a co-host and daily correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight,” Diaz was known for setting the tone for what’s hot in music, movies and entertainment. She reached 85 million homes worldwide during her time with “106 & Park,” and has since gone to host “The Daily Share,” “Dating Naked,” “Behind The Movie,” “Chatter” and “Cannonball.” With a massive social media presence, Diaz reaches millions of followers across all platforms.

MATILDA ZOLTOWSKI

Executive Producer/Showrunner

Bio

Matilda Zoltowski is a talented producer who has worked on some of the biggest and most successful properties in unscripted television. She began her career in the U.K., where she worked on “Big Brother” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” the inspiration for “Dancing With The Stars.” Her work on “Strictly Come Dancing” gave her the opportunity to develop and produce “Dancing With The Stars” in the U.S., on which she was a co-executive producer for eight seasons.

Zoltowski has developed and produced many different types of unscripted series that have attracted major talent, including cooking series “The Taste,” starring Anthony Bourdain; “Off Their Rockers,” with Betty White; “Bring The Funny,” with Kenan Thompson and Chrissy Teigen; and “I Can Do That,” with Marlon Wayans. Most recently, she served as executive producer for all four seasons of “World of Dance,” starring Jennifer Lopez.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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