“American Idol” Season 7 Finalist Michael Johns Dies at Age 35

Michael Johns, far right; Ray Mickshaw/FoxAmerican Idol Season 7 finalist Michael Johns died Friday at the age of 35, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which cites multiple sources. The cause of death is believed to be a blood clot in his ankle.

Fox, Fremantlemedia North America and 19 Entertainment posted a statement on American Idol‘s official Facebook page Saturday that reads, “Michael Johns was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of his passing. He was a part of our AMERICAN IDOL family and he will be truly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

The Perth, Australia, native was born Michael John Lee, but changed his name in 2006 as a tribute to his grandfather, whose first name was John. Thus, the name Johns.

Johns originally dreamed of being a professional tennis player, until the music bug hit him when he was 15 years old. A tennis scholarship ended up being his ticket to the United States.

The singer auditioned for American Idol in 2008 with Otis Redding‘s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and ultimately finished in eighth place. David Cook won that season  Johns followed his time on American Idol with a full-length album a year later titled, Hold Back My Heart. It included the single “Heart on My Sleeve.

Johns performed on the PBS television special, Hit Man: David Foster and Friends, and also appeared on a 2012 episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Here are some of the tributes and remembrances from people connected to American Idol:

Nigel Lythgoe, American Idol producer: “His acoustic version of the Bee Gees‘ ‘To Love Somebody’ was very special but I will always remember him singing the Beatles‘ ‘You Never Give Me Your Money/Golden Slumbers.’ One of his favorite songs. … He was a great talent and dear friend. My boys and I were devastated to hear the news.” Lythgoe tweeted “God Bless you Michael.”

Reigning Idol champion, Caleb Johnson via Twitter Saturday: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Michael Johns. Tonight’s show is dedicated in your honor.”

Paula Abdul via Twitter: I’m heartbroken over the loss of @michael_johns. His enormous talent, gigantic heart & infectious personality will live in my heart forever.”

Simon Cowell via Twitter: “I just heard the very sad news that Michael Johns has passed away. A truly great guy. Rest in peace Michael.”

Randy Jackson via Twitter: “So Sad. Too soon. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. RIP Michael Johns.”

Kris Allen via Twitter: “Incredibly sad need about Michael Johns. Always so inviting to me and my family. Prayers go out to his family.”

Johns leaves behind his wife, Stacey. The couple met in 2003 and tied the knot in 2007.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift to Appear at “Teen Choice 2014″

ABC/Kelsey McNealAriana Grande and Taylor Swift have been added to the roster of celebrities who will make an appearance at Teen Choice 2014, the annual award show that allows teens to vote for their favorites in the entertainment world.

Both women have also received new nominations as part of the third and final wave of nods announced Friday. Taylor is a contender for Choice Social Media Queen and Choice Instagrammer, and Ariana is up for Choice Web Collaboration. Taylor and Ariana are each represented in the Choice Fanatic Fans category, too.

Voting is now open for teens at TeenChoiceAwards.com.

Teen Choice 2014, which will be hosted by Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland and Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey, will air on Fox on August 10.

Here’s a look at the nominees in some of the categories announced Friday:

Choice Social Media King
Justin Bieber
Ashton Kutcher
One Direction
Ian Somerhalder
Justin Timberlake

Choice Social Media Queen
Lady Gaga
Katy Perry
Rihanna
Britney Spears
Taylor Swift

Choice Twit
Justin Bieber
Demi Lovato
One Direction
Katy Perry
Ian Somerhalder

Choice Instagrammer
Justin Bieber
Miley Cyrus
Selena Gomez
Rihanna
Taylor Swift

Choice Fanatic Fans
#Arianators
#Directioners
#Harmonizers
#Lovatics
#Swifties

Choice Web Collaboration
Danisnotonfire & AmazingPhil  – The Photo Booth Challenge
Alfie Deyes (“Pointless Blog”) and Ariana Grande – Ariana Does My Makeup
PrankvsPrank and Jack & Finn Harries (“Jacksgap”) – Twin Teleport Prank
Anthony Quintal (“Lohanthony”), Jack Baran (“Thatsojack”), Andrew Lowe, Jenn McAllister
(“Jennxpenn”) and Rebecca Black – Fab Five in Real Life
Troye Sivan & Tyler Oakley – The “Boyfriend” Tag



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Caleb Johnson Reveals Track Listing for Debut Album

Michael Becker/FoxThe reigning American Idol champion, Caleb Johnson, will release his debut album in less than two weeks. To whet his fans’ appetite, he’s released the track listing for the set.

The album, titled Testify, will be comprised of 10 tracks, including his American Idol winner’s single, “As Long as You Love Me,” which he’s openly admitted he’s not a huge fan of.

The 23-year-old North Carolina rocker co-wrote more than half of the tunes. Aloe Blacc penned one of the other songs, “Another Life.”

Testify will debut on August 12. Here’s the track listing:

“Sailing Away”
“Save Me”
“Let Me In”
“Only One”
“Fighting Gravity”
“Devil’s Daughter”
“Another Life”
“Change”
“Testify”
“As Long As You Love Me”



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Natalie Imbruglia Planning Covers Album for 2015

Andreas Rentz/Getty ImagesNatalie Imbruglia, best known for her 1997 hit “Torn,” has a new album planned for 2015.

The Hollywood Reporter says the Australian singer will release a covers album next March. It will include her take on songs by artists such as Daft Punk and classic rock legend Neil Young.

Incidentally, Natalie’s biggest hit, “Torn,” was a cover. It was originally recorded by the rock band Ednaswap.

The covers project will mark Natalie’s fifth studio album and her first since 2009’s Come to Life.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hilary Duff on Estranged Husband Mike Comrie: “Maybe We Are” Meant to Be Together

RCA RecordsHilary Duff recently released “Chasing the Sun,” her first single in many years. The actress and singer, 26, told Billboard for its Pop Shop Podcast that she was “nervous” to get back into the studio.

“It’s been seven years for me, so I hope — that what I’m writing and what I’m singing and how I’m singing and my taste and the content — I hope it’s what people that have been my fans or that are my fans are going to respond to…and I think they will,” she told the magazine.

Duff is a mother to son Luca, 2, and she and her estranged husband Mike Comrie have been dealing with a separation the couple announced in January.

“I’m separated from my husband right now, which has been a very difficult thing to go through, but we have a lot of love for each other and we have this beautiful baby,” she said.

Duff and Comrie have still been seen together since the split, and the singer has said they are still trying to figure out their future.

There’s a song on the album “about my separation and my love for this person, that maybe we’re not meant to be together, maybe we are. It’s very, very personal,” she added.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dexter Roberts Explains Why He Left “American Idol” Tour

FOXAbout a month ago, American Idol finalist Dexter Roberts dropped out of the show’s live tour.  A couple of his fellow contestants, including Jessica Meuse, said he was ill, but Dexter hadn’t addressed his condition publicly until Thursday.

In a post on his , Dexter explained to his fans that after months of hospital and doctor visits, he has been diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. His symptoms include fever, rash, headache, abdominal issues, shortness of breath and muscle pain.

The country musician from Alabama said that after the American Idol finale, he went turkey hunting in Kentucky, during which time he found several ticks on him. He continues, “Shortly after the American Idol tour started, I started having…headaches, chest pains and muscle weakness on my left side, along with tremendous abdominal issues and shortness of breath. The medical facilities, while on tour, were unable to make a diagnosis.”

This week, Dexter writes, results of a blood test showed that he has Rocky Mountain spotted fever. He’s now taking medication for the illness.

Dexter’s post concludes in part, “Please continue to pray for my full recovery. I know God is in control of my life, and [H]is path will be made clear for my music career.”

Dexter finished in the top seven in the most recent season of American Idol.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dianna Agron, Chris Messina Star in Video for Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One”

ABC/Lou RoccoGlee actress Dianna Agron is a woman suffering from heartbreak in Sam Smith’s new video for “I’m Not the Only One,”  which debuted on Sam’s YouTube channel on Friday.

Agron’s character discovers that her husband, played by The Mindy Project actor Chris Messina, is having an affair. We see her bawl her eyes out and burn his clothes. However, the clip ends with her receptively receiving a kiss from her spouse when he arrives home.

“I’m Not the Only One” is the latest single from Sam’s debut album, In the Lonely Hour.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Auctions of Lady Gaga “Harper’s Bazaar” Clothing Fetches Nearly $20K

ABC/Matt BrownClothing worn by Lady Gaga for the March 2014 issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine fetched nearly 20 thousand dollars at auction on Thursday.

Two lots were sold at 9,375 dollars each by Nate D. Sanders Auctions. One lot included an Emilio Pucci costume, featuring a silver coat, a black nylon and elastane bodysuit, and a black python leather and calfskin bag that buckles around the hip. The other lot offered an ivory-colored Gamme Rouge double twill coat.

The minimum bid for each lot was 7,500 dollars.

In March, Nate D. Sanders sold a one-piece designer outfit worn by Gaga for the same Harper’s Bazaar issue for 15,625 dollars.

Gaga graces one of the covers of the Harper’s Bazaar fall fashion issue, which hits newsstands August 19.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Madonna Calls for Cease-Fire in Israel-Hamas Conflict

Cliff Lipson/CBSMadonna has renewed her calls for a cease-fire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Last week, she uploaded to Instagram a photo of flowers, and wrote, “These flowers are like the innocent children of GAZA! Who has a right to destroy them? No One!!!! CEASE FIRE! #peaceinthemiddleeast.” She subsequently posted a picture of herself and declared, “I do not support Hamas! I support human dignity and respect! I support sharing! I support Peace! #ceasefire.”

Madonna again urged a cease-fire in a post on Wednesday, sharing a link to ANERA, an organization that helps Palestinian refugees and poor families in Gaza. She added in a separate post on Thursday, “No Separation! We all bleed the same color! #ceasefire #peaceinthemiddleeast #livingforlove.”

Madonna, of course, has been calling for peace in the Middle East for years. She launched her 2012 MDNA tour in Israel, telling the Tel Aviv crowd, “You can’t be a fan of mine and not want peace in the world, OK?”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Aloe Blacc Goes from “Wake Me Up” to “Get On Up”

Frederick Brown/MSNBCAfter conquering the charts with his hit “Wake Me Up,” and trying his hand at reality TV by appearing as a mentor on The Voice, Aloe Blacc is now making his movie debut.  He’s got a small role in Get On Up, the new biopic of the late James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, which is in theaters Friday.  Aloe says this part may not be his last, either.

“Acting is something I want to pursue,” Aloe tells ABC News Radio.  In Get On Up, he plays a real person, Nafloyd Scott, whom Aloe describes as “one of the first guitar players that James Brown ever worked with.”  Asked if Scott played on any of Brown’s classic hits, he laughs, “I wish.  Unfortunately, my character quits the band too early, ’cause he can’t stand James Brown’s attitude!”

Despite the small size of the role, Aloe is eager to do more acting, but he admits it makes him realize what a beginner he is, and how much work he’d have to put in to get better.

“It was a great learning experience, and really fun to be on such a historic moment, you know, the first well-produced biopic of James Brown,” he tells ABC News Radio. “It just showed me, though, that there’s a lot to learn when it comes to this form of artistic expression.  And as much time as I put into music, I would have to put into acting, in order to really stand up with the best and the other cast members, who are brilliant actors.” 

The cast of Get On Up, which stars Chadwick Boseman as Brown, also includes such first-rate actors as Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Dan Aykroyd.  It was directed by Tate Taylor, who also directed the hit movie The Help.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio