Thursday, October 6, 2011

#95 Bo Bice

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 95 American Idol finalist Bo Bice. He is the runner-up of American Idol season 4. He lost the finale to Carrie Underwood. He recorded three studio albums, including one on RCA Records. In 2005, he was placed at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with a rendition of "Inside Your Heaven", which was normally performed by Carrie Underwood. On May 31, 2010, The Los Angeles Times ranked him at number 17 on the American Idol power rankings list, which has 120 entries. I do not like him as much as the rest of his season's top 12. I believe that Vonzell Solomon should have made the finale in his place.

Harold Elwin "Bo" Bice, Jr. was born to Nancy and Harold Elwin Bice, Sr., in Huntsville, Alabama, on November 1, 1975. He came from a musical family. His mother was a Christian singer, as were his grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunts. His father and his third cousin, Tanner Gell, are guitarists. His third cousin Tristen Gell is a singer.

As a newborn, he was nicknamed "Bogart" by his grandmother "Granny Madge", because she thought he had "Humphery Bogart" eyes. His parents continued to call him Bogart, but he abbreviated it to "Bo" during his time in kindergarten, because he thought "Bogart" was rather unpleasant.

Bice's parents divorced during his childhood, and his mother married another man years later. He was raised by his mother Nancy and his stepfather Earle Downes (a Coca-Cola manager), stepsisters Jenny and Sharan Downes, and halfbrother John Cohran. Bice has two other half-siblings, Candace and Matthew, on his biological father's side. The Downes family relocated around the South on a regular basis. They resided in the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, including the metropolitan area of Atlanta. When Bice was 14, they relocated to Great Britain as part of his stepfather's assignment with Coca-Cola in London, England. Bice spent his teenage years residing in Gerrards Cross.

Bice attended London Central High School, a Department of Defense school that educates mainly children whose parents served in the U.S. military or worked at the U.S. Embassy. During his time in high school, he was found holding his guitar everywhere across the campus, played football, attended promenades, and had several significant others. It was around this time when he worked with some British alternative rock artists. He formed his first band, Spinning Jenny, during his time in London, England.

Bice would have been a member of the London Central High School class of 1994, but he dropped out during his senior year to relocate to the United States, where he earned his GED and attended Calhoun Community College for one year.  When he withdrew from Calhoun Community College and spent a semester at the University of Alabama in Florence, Alabama, he went professional and performed in shows across the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, and Europe.  He is a nightclub circuit veteran and an experience songwriter, releasing his first CD in 1995 as a member of the band called Purge. His other bands before his stint on American Idol include Blue Sued Nickel and SugerMoney. He was the opening act for Blackfoot and Warrant as well as performing live and recording with Johnny Neal, formerly of The Allman Brothers Band. Bice had recorded other albums prior to his stint on American Idol, which included "Ex Gratia" (1999) with his band Purge, and "Recipe for Flavor" (2000) with SugarMoney.

Bice has a pre-Idol rap sheet. Four years before his stint on American Idol, he had his first encounter with the law, where he was arrested for buying cocaine at a strip club. Two years later, he was arrested for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and public intoxication. He avoided incarceration by entering a drug rehabilitation program.

For the fourth season of American Idol, the producers raised their upper age limit from 24 to 28. In August 2004, Bice’s mother and several other family members encouraged him to go try out, since he was within the eligible age limit (he would turn 29 in November 2004). He asked his mother to come along, and she took him up on that dare. He auditioned with the songs "In a Dream" by Badlands, and "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers Band. He is one of the oldest American Idol finalists ever, alongside season 4 finalist Constantine Maroulis and season 5 winner Taylor Hicks. Bice and Maroulis were among the first contestants to compete using the rock-and-roll genre.

Bice is a Southern rocker in musical approach and appearance, but he did not fit the traditional American Idol mold. His early performance of "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers Band drew positive feedback from the judges and established him as one of the favorites in the competition.

During top 3 performance show, Bice took the risk of performing a cappella with the obscure song "In a Dream" by Badlands. That risk paid off, with guest judge Clive Davis speaking of looking forward to making a CD with Bice.

In June 2005, according to the Rolling Stones magazine, Bice's last thought during the American Idol finale was, "Please, God, don't let me win this thing." In comments during a subsequent appearance on The Today Show he backed off this stance somewhat stating that he thanked all those who had voted for him. He then played solo acoustic guitar and harmonica to one of his own compositions, in addition to singing his American Idol songs with a band.

In Alabama, May 24 was declared "Bo Bice Day" by Governor Bob Riley, the 52nd Governor of Alabama, who was in office from January 20, 2003, to January 17, 2001, and who was gubernatorially preceded by Don Siegelman and recently succeeded by Robert Bentley. In fact, Bice's pride in being an Alabama native resulted in the adoption of "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd as his "theme" during his tenure on American Idol. Two members of the group Lynyrd Skynyrd surprised Bice during his trip home from Idol and performed "Sweet Home Alabama" with him in his home town of Helena, Alabama.

Bice started last year with an acoustic tour to introduce some newly-written songs that he was recording for his third album. Bice's Sugar Money record label cooperated with Time-Life for the album which was called 3, which was officially released on Saguaro Road Records on May 18, 2010. The album features a duet with American Idol season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle.

On October 12, 2010, Bice guest starred on the syndicated version of the game show Don't Forget the Lyrics!, hosted by Mark McGrath, and won the $50,000 grand prize on behalf of his charity, MusiCares. He was the first celebrity contestant to win the grand prize by correctly singing the lyrics to all the songs in his round.

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown, which ends on the day of the premiere of American Idol season 11, is my number 94 American Idol finalist. He grew up in a predominately female family. Because of his prior commitment to the Marine Corps, he was unable to participate in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2003. Instead, he was sent on a year tour as a recruiting tool, making appearances at special events around the United States to promote the United States Marine Corps. After completing his fourth year of service, he was honorably discharged in September 2004.

No comments: