Scotty McCreery Returns to “American Idol” Stage to Perform “Cab in a Solo”

It’s a special homecoming for Scotty McCreery

The 30-year-old part-Puerto Rican country singer and former American Idol champion returned to the AI stage on Sunday to perform his single “Cab in a Solo.”

Scotty McCreeryThe North Carolina native, who dominated Season 10 all the way to the finale and then bested Lauren Alaina for the crown. has released five albums and gained entry into the Grand Ole Opry.

He returned to the American Idol stage to show off the vocal chops that won him the title in the first place.

McCreery released the breakup ballad “Cab in a Solo” in August 2023 as the lead single off his upcoming sixth studio album, Rise and Fall, which comes out on May 10.

The “Damn Strait” singer made lost love sound downright charming on the American Idol stage: So now I’m finding out how a heartbreak taste / With a Silver Oak, 1998 / Drinking cab in a solo / Solo in the cab of my truck.

McCreery, who was a wise-beyond-his-years teenager in 2011, is all grown up. He’s now a husband, a father, a hitmaker, and a Grand Ole Opry member.

But for some longtime fans of American Idol, his victory still “feels like yesterday.” “You’re my favorite AI grand winner..,” one X/Twitter user wrote.

“Cab in a Solo” climbed to No. 2 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. Performing it on the stage where his career began was a surreal moment for McCreery.

More than that, though, the “I Love You This Big” singer couldn’t wait to offer some support to season 22’s top 10 contestants.

“I’m always happy to chat and help them any way I can. I mean, it’s a ringer they put you through on Idol,” McCreery told Country Now. “Any of those TV shows, not just Idol. It’s a lot at once and you’ve got to just do your best to get through it and sound good and pick great songs and look confident. If I can help, I love doing that stuff.”

Vanna White Co-Hosting Next Episode of “American Idol” with Ryan Seacrest This Monday

Vanna White is bracing for an Idol appearance…

The 67-year-old half-Puerto Rican television personality and game show letter-turner will guest host American Idol alongside future Wheel of Fortune host Ryan Seacrest.

Vanna WhiteThe talent competition host said White would join him on Monday’s episode airing on ABC.

“A legend, a household name, a superstar named Vanna White is making a cameo on American Idol, Seacrest said on Good Morning America. “She’s watched for years, and she’s going to cohost a little bit with me on the next Idol Monday.”

Seacrest is taking over Wheel of Fortune following Pat Sajak’s retirement and will co-host the classic game show with White starting with Season 42.

Sajak has taped his final episode, which will air on Friday, June 7.

Sajak announced in June 2023 that he’d retire from the syndicated show, and Season 41 would be his last. The television presenter has hosted Wheel of Fortune since 1981 and has won three Emmys for his work.

After Sajak announced he was leaving his hosting duties at Wheel of Fortune, White said she thought about making an exit from the show as well.

“Of course it’s a thought,” White said in an interview with People magazine. “It’s like, ‘Well, wait, if you’re leaving, what am I going to do? How can I stay without you?’ It was a very hard decision for me to make, because it definitely crossed my mind. It’s like, ‘I just don’t know if I can do this without you,’ but I thought about it and I’m not ready to retire, so I am staying on.”

Seacrest has hosted American Idol since its premiere in 2002 on Fox.

The host remained in his position when the talent competition moved to ABC in 2018.

White will join Seacrest on the episode airing Monday, April 8 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Netflix Releases Trailer for Jennifer Lopez’s Sci-Fi Thriller “Atlas”

Jennifer Lopez is fighting to save the world…

Netflix has released the official trailer for the 54-year-old Puerto Rican star’s new sci-fi thriller Atlas.

Jennifer Lopez

“The future of humanity is in her hands,” reads the opening subtitle to the trailer.

The film, which opens May 24, follows Atlas Shepherd (Lopez), a brilliant but misanthropic data analyst with a deep distrust of artificial intelligence, who joins a mission to capture a renegade robot with whom she shares a mysterious past. But when plans go awry, her only hope of saving the future of humanity from AI is to trust it.

Starring alongside Lopez are Simu Liu, Sterling K. Brown, Gregory James Cohan, Abraham Popoola, Lana Parrilla and Mark Strong.

The film was written by Leo Sardarian and Aron Eli Coleite, with Brad Peyton serving as the director.

Lopez last led Netflix’s The Mother, which debuted on the streamer on May 12, 2023. The action thriller was watched by 2.8M U.S. households over its debut weekend, according to L+2D data from Samba TV. According to data, the film outperformed two of Netflix’s other recent popular films, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Murder Mystery 2. The film went on to enter Netflix’s most popular film list.

Pitbull to Perform During Season 21 Finale of “American Idol”

It’s Idol time for Pitbull

The 42-year-old Cuban-American rap superstar will appear on the season 21 finale of American Idol.

PitbullIn addition to this year’s top 12 returning to the stage one last time, producers announced the typical cornucopia of guest performers on tap for the finale, including season two winner/runner-up Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, as well as Ellie Goulding, Jelly Roll, Pitbull, TLC, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson and Lauren Daigle.

The announcement comes following Sunday night’s semifinal, which saw the roster AI hopefuls to just three — Colin Stough, Megan Danielle and Iam Tongi.

Next Sunday’s (May 21) three-hour finale will air live coast-to-coast on ABC beginning at 8:00 pm ET and feature the return of former panelist Keith Urban, who will be back on Idol to mentor the top three (and perform), as well as performances from judges Katy PerryLionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

No word yet on what single Pitbull will perform. But he did release the single “Jumpin,” featuring Lil Jon earlier this month.

David Archuleta Returning to “American Idol” to Mentor This Season’s Contestants

It’s a special Idol homecoming for David Archuleta.

The 32-year-old half-Honduran and part-Spanish American singer and former American Idol finalist will be serving as a mentor to the contestants on season 21 of ABC’s long-running singing competition.

David ArchuletaIt’s part of American Idol’s long history of inviting seven past finalists to mentor contestants during Hollywood Week, which begins airing on ABC on Sunday, April 2.

In addition to Archuleta, the season 7 runner-up who released his eighth studio album Therapy Sessions in May 2020, the returning Idols are Justin Guarini (season 1), Clay Aiken (season 2), Jordin Sparks (season 6), Phillip Phillips (season 11), Catie Turner (season 16) and Noah Thompson (season 20).

“Having a mentor in Hollywood Week is something we’ve always wanted to explore,” executive producer and showrunner Megan Michaels Wolflick told Billboard. “We usually have over 150 people come to Hollywood Week, so it’s hard to have one mentor talk to everyone individually. I thought, ‘Who better to mentor on the Hollywood experience than people who have actually been through it.’ Jordin Sparks always speaks so well about this. She feels that Hollywood Week really was a perfect training ground for the music industry, all baked into that week. There’s no one better to mentor this week than people who have been there, and now that we can pull from 20 years of Idols, it was incredible. The people who came back this year were so excited to do it.”

Explaining how this year’s Hollywood Week will be revamped, Michaels Wolflick says, “In the past two years in the ABC era, we’ve done this genre challenge. We would say, ‘Okay, you’re rock. You’re pop. You’re soul/R&B,’ and it was becoming less relevant, because a lot of the finalists were telling us, ‘I’m pop-soul.’ ‘I’m country-rock.’ There was a blurred genre thing going on. So I thought we should explore something else.

“This year we gave all the contestants one of three areas that they wanted to work on: confidence, songwriting or stage presence. It was my challenge to pick two people who would be applicable for confidence. Clay Aiken and David Archuleta were total confidence. Both of them came in second place, and it was funny because when we were first talking to them about it, they said, ‘I still don’t have all the confidence.’ I told them, ‘Yes, but you have more than you came with.’ For the songwriting category, we had Catie Turner and Phillip Phillips, who are both songwriters in their own right. Both of them in their respective seasons brought an artistry to the show that maybe we hadn’t seen. And for stage presence, we have Jordin Sparks and Justin Guarini, two people who commanded the stage in their own way and still do.”

The seventh mentor is last season’s winner, Noah Thompson. “He gave some motivational speeches and was able to talk about his experience from last year. I can’t tell you how many people auditioned this year inspired by him. His friend Arthur signed Noah up [to audition], so we had a lot of people secretly signing people up, which was really cool.”

Addressing the legacy of 21 seasons of Idol, Michaels Wolflick says, “I think American Idol is now like the NFL, where people train their [whole] lives to come on the show. It’s now bigger than a TV show. It’s something you can aspire to be a part of — young singers are born every day.” As proof, the 15-year-old contestants on the current season were born during Idol’s seventh season, when Archuleta was competing on the show.

Michaels Wolflick, who joined the Idol production staff in season 2, says, “If you come on the show, you’re part of the American Idol alumni. You are part of our history. This show has changed lives in so many different ways. When David Archuleta makes news, it’s picked up everywhere. Even though he was on the show in 2008, people still have a passion for him. The investment is real. Carrie Underwood knows to this day when she’s playing to full arenas, there might be a good portion of these people who voted for her. There’s a special connection that all of the alum have to the show. They like to give back to these people who are coming in and the people who are coming in love to talk to them.”

Michaels Wolflick revealed to Billboard that more Idol alums will be returning during this 21st season, including the winner of season 2, Ruben Studdard.

Lana Parrilla to Star Opposite J.Lo in Netflix’s AI Drama “Atlas”

Lana Parrilla is heading out of this world…

The 45-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress will star opposite Jennifer Lopez in Netflix’s AI drama Atlas, directed by Brad Peyton.

Lana ParrillaParrilla joins Simu Liu, Sterling K. Brown and Abraham Popoola in the film penned by Aron Eli Coleite and Leo Sardarian.

In Atlas, an intelligence analyst gets stranded on a distant planet and must learn to fight inside a military-grade mech suit in order to survive.

Parrilla played Regina Mills, aka The Evil Queen, for 156 episodes on ABC’s hit series Once Upon a TimeHer work on the show earned her the NHMC Impact Award; an ALMA Award for Outstanding TV Actress; a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress: Fantasy / Sci-Fi; and, as voted by fans, TV Guide’s Best Villain twice.

She recently starred on Marc Cherry’s Paramount+ series Why Women Kill, a role for which she received a Gracie Award for Best Supporting Actress in Comedy. She also starred alongside Bobby Soto, Shia LaBeouf and George Lopez in David Ayer’s indie thriller The Tax Collector.

Prior to that, Parrilla was a series regular on ABC’s sitcom Spin CityGraham Yost’s Boomtown24, Swingtown, and on Jerry Bruckheimer’s medical drama Miami Medical

In addition to her on-screen work, Parrilla stepped behind the camera and went on to direct one of the final episodes of Once Upon a Time. She also executive produced the documentary Split at the Root, which premiered this year at SXSW.

Toni Calderon Developing New Docuseries Focused on IMSA Amateur Sportscar Drivers

Toni Calderon is revving up for a new project…

The Latino producer has teamed up with Brad Peyton on a new docuseries focused on the high-energy, high-intensity world of amateur sportscar drivers.

Toni Calderon, The still-untitled project will shine a spotlight on the arena of IMSA pro-am racing, following the lives of the everyday men and women who look to compete against the best professional race car drivers in the world, including Katherine Legge and Filipe Albuquerque.

The project will have unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the amateur drivers, and to how racing against professionals can risk their relationships, their businesses, and more importantly, their lives.

In addition to executive producers Peyton and Calderon, the producing team includes former Netflix executive Justin Price; Mike Zhu, who formerly served as Head of Strategy and Planning for wiip; Hardpoint Motorsports’ President & CEO, Rob FerriolThe Gentleman Driver producer Beaux Jackson; and the Atlanta-based film producer and entrepreneur Mark Sunderland, who specializes in development and early stage companies.

Production on the series, examining the 2023 racing season, will launch at the end of this year. CAA Media Finance represents the project’s worldwide distribution rights.

“I’m fascinated by the raw nature of pro-am racing and more importantly the stories and stakes of the men and women drivers who compete in it,” said Peyton. “This league and these drivers have captivating stories that mainstream America hasn’t seen yet. I’m excited to dive into the unscripted world with this project and can’t wait to be at Daytona when we kick-off the production!”

“This series aims to shine a light on the unsung heroes of motorsports – the amateur drivers – and bring fans a rare look at their lives,” added Calderon. “We want to share the incredible stories of drivers who risk their lives and put themselves in impossible situations because of their passion for and love of the sport. These are men and women from all walks of life going out there and risking it all to prove that they are as good as the pros and to earn a coveted seat at Le Mans.”

Calderon serves as Chief Growth Officer for the Austin-based AI company Valkyrie, and is also a partner at the motorsports company Speed Group.

His 20 years of experience across management, advertising, sales and marketing in the motorsports arena has had him working on high-profile commercial projects tied to Formula 1, the World Endurance Championship and the International Motor Sports Association.

He previously executive-produced Netflix’s feature documentary The Gentleman Driver, examining the lives of businessmen moonlighting as race car drivers, which was released in the U.S. in 2019.

Scotty McCreery Earns Fifth No. 1 on Billboard Country Airplay Chart with “Damn Strait”

Scotty McCreery is celebrating a Strait flush…

The 28-year-old part-Puerto Rican country singer’s latest track “Damn Strait” has risen to the No. 1 spot on the July 23-dated Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Scotty McCreery

That gives the former American Idol champion his fifth total and consecutive No. 1 on the chart.

In the tracking week ending July 17, the song drew 27.2 million audience impressions, according to Luminate.

McCreery has notably topped Country Airplay with each single that he has released since he signed with Triple Tigers Records in 2017.

“My first country music concert was George Strait, and along with my love for Elvis [Presley], he inspired me to become a country music singer myself,” says McCreery. “When I did American Idol, George called me and requested I sing his [1995] hit ‘Check Yes or No,’ and I still sing it from time to time in concert. Now, having my fifth straight No. 1 on a song that pays tribute to George, while at the same time being a classic country heartbreaker such as he might have sung, is such a full-circle moment that means the world to me. Trent Tomlinson and Jim Collins wrote a clever song that reaches beyond name-dropping Strait hits to tell a meaningful story.”

“Damn Strait” is the sophomore single from McCreery’s album Same Truck, which arrived at its No. 10 high on Top Country Albums last October, marking the seventh top 10 for the Garner, N.C., native. He earned his third and most recent No. 1 set with Seasons Change in March 2018.

Same Truck lead single “You Time” became McCreery’s fourth Country Airplay No. 1 for a week last October. He first ruled Country Airplay with “Five More Minutes” (one week, March 2018) and led again with “This Is It” (two, February 2019) and “In Between” (one, June 2020).

McCreery first appeared on Country Airplay with the No. 15-peaking “I Love You This Big” in August 2011 and has posted two top 10s in addition to his No. 1s: “See You Tonight” (No. 8, March 2014) and “Feelin’ It” (No. 10, December 2014).

On the multi-metric Hot Country Songs chart, “Damn Strait” ranks at No. 8, after hitting No. 6 in June. It drew 4.6 million U.S. streams and sold 2,000 downloads in the week ending July 14.

Meanwhile, as the song crowns Country Airplay, it’s just the fourth No. 1 to namecheck another artist in its title. Eric Church’s “Springsteen,” his ode to Bruce Springsteen, was boss of the chart for two weeks in 2012; Brad Paisley’s “Old Alabama,” featuring Alabama, reigned for two frames in 2011; and Joe Diffie’s “Bigger Than the Beatles” topped the chart for two weeks in 1996. (Strait and Alabama boast 26 and seven No. 1s, respectively, since the survey began in 1990.)

Scotty McCreery to Appear on “American Idol” Finale for Special “We Are The World” Performance

Scotty McCreery is returning to his Idol roots…

The 26-year-old part-Puerto Rican American singer and former American Idol champion will appear in this year’s AI finale.

Scotty McCreery

Even though it won’t be the typical AI finale to announce the winner of season 18 due to the COVID-19 lockdown, next Sunday’s (8:00 – 10:00 pm ET, May 17) shelter-at-home-based season-ender will still feature A-listers, including McCreery, who claimed the crown in Season 10.

During Sunday’s semifinal, host Ryan Seacrest revealed some of the special guests who’ll dial in for the finale, which include two performances from the top five (who’ll be announced at the beginning of the episode after two eliminations) preceding the live vote to determine this year’s winner. 

The top five will then perform a song celebrating their induction into the semifinal round, followed by a previously performed song and, then, their official AIsingle. (The winner will be determined live in a real-time vote on the East Coast broadcast.)

In addition to the return of the top 11 and a fan favorite from this season, there’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime special performance of “We Are The World” by the inspiring anthem’s co-writer, Idoljudge Lionel Richie. In the first television take on the song in 35 years, Richie will team up with fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan to pay tribute to all the families at home around the world now. 

Joining the judges on the all-star anthem will be a giant cast of former Idolcontestants including last year’s runner-up, Alejandro “ScaryPoolParty” ArandaGabby BarrettJordin SparksKatharine McPheeKellie PicklerLaine Hardy, Lauren AlainaPhillip PhillipsRuben Studdard and McCreery.

Additionally, Cynthia Erivo singing a medley of Aretha Franklin songs, two-time Idol contestant Lauren Daigle singing her hit “You Say,” as well as Rascal Flatts and Doug Kiker doing “Bless the Broken Road,” Bryan performing his single “One Margarita” and Perry offering up the television debut of her new single, “Daisies.”

After Sunday night’s Mother’s Day special, the top seven semi-finalists are: Just Sam (Samantha Diaz), Louis KnightFrancisco MartinJulia GarganoArthur GunnDillon James and Jonny West.

Lopez to Perform New Single “Ain’t Your Mama” on American Idol Finale

Jennifer Lopez is bringing her Mama to American Idol

The 46-year-old Puerto Rican singer, actress and AI judge will debut her new single “Ain’t Your Mama” during her performance on the Fox reality singing competition’s two-hour series finale on Thursday.

Jennifer Lopez

In a Facebook live chat, the Idol judge not only announced the news, but also offered a little preview of what her track sounds like.

“Ain’t Your Mama” will be available on iTunes right after the finale, which will crown this season’s winner. The three-part finale starts Tuesday night (April 5) with the 90-minute special American Idol: American Dream hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

American Idol airs live at 8:00 pm on April 6 and 7 on Fox.

Former Idols including Jennifer HudsonCarrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson are scheduled to appear on the season finale.