|Wed, April 13, 2011 at 12:13 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES – A 19-year-old "American Idol" studio audience member claims that she was barred from a front-row seat and told it was because of her weight, an allegation denied by the show's production company.
Ashley Kauffman, of Riverside, Calif., had complained to an audience coordinator at last Thursday's show that she was separated from friends who did get front-row seats, according to Manfred Westphal, a spokesman for producer FremantleMedia North America.
The allegations are "simply untrue," Westphal said Tuesday.
According to a FremantleMedia statement, Kauffman and five other friends were among the first to arrive for the show and were told that there were "six great seats" available, three in one row and three in another.
Kauffman was a guest of a Riverside high school dance troupe that has attended previous telecasts of the Fox show and received choice seats because of its enthusiasm for "Idol," Westphal said.
The group agreed to split up and Kauffman "did not sit alone or in the back of the house" as she alleged, FremantleMedia said. "In fact, she and her remaining party were seated just four rows behind their friends, directly in camera shot, in some of the best seats in the house."
Kauffman was in a row that included a VIP guest of judge Steven Tyler, Westphal said. They were a few rows behind the judge's table in a spot that has been featured on camera before, he said.
Hannah Solarzano, 19, said Tuesday that she was part of Kauffman's group, which traveled from suburban Riverside to Los Angeles for the show but hadn't met her before that night. Solarzano said she was seated next to Kauffman and didn't hear any insults being directed at her.
"Nobody started talking about the comment that was supposedly made to Ashley until she brought it up," Solarzano said. "I never heard those words except from her."
While she couldn't support her account, Solarzano said, it obviously stings to be labeled as overweight.
"You don't call a girl `fat,' ever. It's code," Solarzano said. "I understand how upsetting that can be. But, c'mon, honey, it's `American Idol.' You've got to move on from there. Big deal."
Solarzano recounted that she was singled out by a studio employee and told she couldn't sit in the front row because she was wearing shorts. Others in the group were taken aback, with one saying, "Oh my God, did you hear how she said that to you?" Solarzano said.
It worked out fine, she said. "I was three people away from Steven Tyler, so I wasn't complaining."
But Kauffman did, repeating several times that a male studio employee had told her she was moved back because she was fat and couldn't sit up front with the "skinny girls," Solarzano said.
When Kauffman subsequently complained online about her experience at the show, the audience coordinator that initially booked her group contacted Kauffman to discuss what had happened, Westphal said.
The coordinator told her there was no bias, that people of all "ages, shapes and sizes" sit in the front row all the time, and that Kauffman simply was being seated according to her ticket for the fifth row of the floor section, he said.
Attempts to reach Kauffman, including a message left at a phone number listed in her father's name, were unsuccessful Tuesday.
It's not unusual for cute young things to be seen gathered in a sort of "mosh pit" near the stage, gazing adoringly up at their favored contestant. That happened last week with deep-voiced country singer Scotty McCreery, 17, of Garner, N.C., who was swarme
|Fri, January 21, 2011 at 7:34 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Jennifer Hudson will release her sophomore album, "I Remember Me," Mar. 22 through Arista Records, the singer and actress announced Jan. 20th. The album's first single "Where You At," written and produced by R. Kelly, will be released to radio on Jan. 24th.
"I'm excited about this album because it's almost like a renewal for me, reflected through the chapters of my life," Hudson said in a statement. "My fans have been so loyal, I feel like they have been on this journey with me and I can't wait for them to hear the new album."
According to a press release, the album's title was inspired by a poem written by Hudson and turned into a song with the help of OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and will now appear on the album. "I've called it 'I Remember Me' because of the journey I've been on," Hudson said.
"I Remember Me" is the follow up to Hudson's 2008 self-titled debut, which has sold 826,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Soundscan, and spawned the hits "Spotlight" and "If This Isn't Love."
The album is available on pre-order on Hudson's official website.
|Wed, December 22, 2010 at 8:50 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
She won't say how much weight she lost, but singer/actress Jennifer Hudson will say that in the nine months she's been a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, she has never felt better.
Hudson is even singing about it in a new tune, "Feeling Good,"; which is part of an ad campaign the dieting firm is launching on December 26 to coincide with its new nutritional PointsPlus program.
Weight Watchers said roughly 11 percent of its annual attendance at meetings takes place in January, as Americans look to atone for their holiday-related binges.
"Basically (the song) is the perfect way to describe this journey and how it's left me feeling," Hudson told Reuters. "If I could bottle everything inside me and tell others to help motivate them, then this is it."
Hudson and her gospel-grounded voice found their place on Hollywood's starmaking menu in 2004 when she was a finalist on "American Idol," and further when she won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 2006 musical "Dreamgirls." But in an industry obsessed with skinny women, Hudson has been challenged by her big size.
In April, Hudson announced she would become the new spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. It was about seven months after the birth of her son, David Jr., and at that time she had already lost some weight. By August, she told InStyle Makeover magazine she'd dropped to a size 6 from a size 16.
The company's marketing chief, Cheryl Callan, called Hudson a great spokeswoman because people identify with her as a real woman who struggles with weight and eating issues, yet has found success in Hollywood.
Hudson blogs about her diet on Weight Watchers' website, and she said that building a network of friends and a community of followers among the diet community gives her as much pleasure as losing weight has.
"That goes back to why I did the song," Hudson said. "I know so many people out there who are on the same path. Anything I can do to help them along, that motivates me, and inspires me."
Yet, Hudson said she is still grappling with knowing herself in her thinner frame. She said she still feels like the same woman, but is aware that people now view her differently.
"It's almost like there is a new person, but there is still the question of how do I want to represent myself, how do I want to be perceived," she said.
She knows one thing, however, she is sticking to Weight Watchers in the new year. She has embraced its new PointsPlus program, which does away with calorie counting and assigns points to foods based on their overall nutritional value.
The new program favors foods that more easily convert to energy that is used, create a sense of satisfaction and encourage the consumption of natural foods versus those with added sugar and fat.
"It's one thing to lose weight," said Hudson, "but it's another thing to eat healthy."
(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Dean Goodman)
|Tue, July 20, 2010 at 8:34 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
When celebrity trainer Kenya Crooks, The World's Greatest Weight Loss Expert, isn't pledging to help multiplatinum producer Jazze Pha lose 100 lbs in 4 months (he's lost 73 lbs in 3 months), you can find him working out the beautiful and talented Braxton women, of the popular '90's R and B female group, The Braxtons. Towanda, Trina, and matriarch Evelyn Braxton are preparing for their debut on Toni Braxton's reality show,"Braxton Family Values" coming this fall to Bravo. Crooks says "I don't mind telling you that these women will be the finest and the sexiest women on television. I don't know if the television screen can hold all that beauty. Be ready to replace your bulbs (in your television screens) when they all blow out. It's that serious." The ladies are looking and feeling great, and ready for primetime. Towanda says, "No words can completely describe how awesome Kenya is. He literally made my fat run away. He's the greatest trainer in the world." Trina adds, "I'm looking the best I've looked in years. I feel so strong. I'm looking forward to showing these "Youngins" I still got it." With their new bodies and lots of drama, there's no doubt the "Braxton Family Values" will be the new "must see" this fall.
For more info email: EC@EntertainCorp.com
|Sun, May 30, 2010 at 2:20 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
"Yeah, they're absolutely real."
50 Cent shocked the world last week after pictures of him nearly sixty pounds lighter landed online.
Fif, who lost the weight for a role as a cancer stricken football player, is now defending their authenticity and dishing details on how he made the shocking transformation.
In an interview with Rap-Up, 50 assures the publication that the pictures are not Photoshopped and are the result of hard work in the gym.
"Yeah, they're absolutely real. I shot the first half of the film for eight days and then I left for my international tour, and I spent that time training to lose weight. I had a week and a half after coming back to really intensely train to get down to 160 for the last half of the film project, Things Fall Apart..."
Fif also says he got his inspiration from actor Christian Bale who lost 63 pounds for his role in The Machinist.
"They say it takes 30 days to make a habit, but manÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I was on the Internet and I was looking at Christian Bale, while The Machinist was out, he almost killed himself. I was feeling like maybe I'm overdoing it and I'm dropping 54 pounds, but I was in such a good physical state prior to me deciding to go down on the weight."
Unbeknownst to many, one of 50's close friends died from cancer and he tells Rap-Up, that he used the role as an opportunity to pay homage to his memory.
"It felt like I had a lot of muscle on me still and I was trying to lose as much as possible to be authentic to what I saw in my experience, because my motivation for the project was my best friend, Charles Pringle. He lived across the street from me; he actually died of cancer. It's a serious topic. One out of eight people in the world die of cancer. It tops HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria together."
|Thurs, April 01, 2010 at 8:00 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Weight Watchers announced the launch of a new brand marketing campaign, which features Jennifer Hudson telling her weight loss story. It captures her personal experience with Weight Watchers, which she has been following for several months, and demonstrates to women that they, too, can reach their personal weight loss goals with Weight Watchers.
"As the leader in weight management, Weight Watchers is on a mission to inspire people to believe they can make lifestyle changes that will help them lose weight and, more importantly, live healthier lives," said David Kirchhoff, President and CEO Weight Watchers International, Inc. "Because Jennifer is relatable to so many people and has experienced visible results with Weight Watchers, we feel she will help motivate others to take control of their health and try our program."
After the birth of her son, Hudson was inspired to adopt a healthier lifestyle to be a better role model. She tried several different diets that left her feeling deprived and then discovered Weight Watchers.
"Weight Watchers is the healthy, natural choice for me because it teaches me how to live a healthier lifestyle and it makes sense for my life. I can follow the plan no matter where I am, still enjoy my favorite foods and even use the iPhone app to track my points," explained Hudson. "With Weight Watchers I am enjoying the weight loss because I'm doing it the right way -- I feel empowered with what I've learned, everything from portion control to what foods will help keep me satisfied. It's a lifestyle change, not a diet."
The television advertising campaign celebrates Hudson's success on Weight Watchers in a way that demonstrates her unique style and showcases her talents and beauty. Today, Hudson will participate in a live interview on Weight Watchers' Facebook fan page where she will show the ads and answer questions from fans across the United States about the changes she's made to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The new campaign will launch on April 4th during primetime programming. Hudson will also appear on the cover of the May/June issue of Weight Watchers Magazine.