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The Real Thing

Bo Bice

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Album Review

Early on in the fourth season of American Idol the powers that be dubbed the season the battle of the rockers, because for the first time ever, AmIdol had not one but two rock vocalists as prime contenders. First, there was Constantine Maroulis, a music-theater veteran singing overheated, outdated grunge who dominated the audition rounds, becoming an early favorite. His rival didn't appear until the tail end of the auditions. His name was Bo Bice, a bearded longhair who seemed as if he stepped out of central casting for a Southern rocker. Bo catapulted to front-runner status as soon as he belted out a gritty, soulful version of "Whipping Post" in one of the first shows of the season. It was easily the hardest-rocking thing ever heard on American Idol and as the weeks went by, Bo proved that he was versatile, singing ballads as effectively as the rockers — a feat that proved to be a bit of a stumbling block for Constantine, who truly shined only when he acknowledged his bent for theatricality, as on a startlingly good version of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Soon, that lack of versatility becameMaroulis' Achilles' heel and the battle of the rockers petered out into a competition between Bo and Carrie Underwood, a sweet girl-next-door country singer who eventually won the tightest AmIdol contest since Ruben Studdard squeaked out a victory over Clay Aiken on the second season. On Bo's album debut, The Real Thing, 19 Entertainment, exec producer Clive Davis, and the whole American Idol album crew place the singer into an alt-rock setting somewhere between Nickelback and Bon Jovi. Bo sounds like other mainstream male rock singers in 2005 — his songs have verses that surge into anthemic choruses where heavy guitars kick in, inching the volume up to a point where it becomes a glossy wall of digital sound. The music is tightly wound and meticulously clean. While this doesn't necessarily play to Bo's strengths, there are some good, professional tunes co-written by either Jon Bon Jovi or his longtime partner Richie Sambora. Elsewhere, 19 paired him with Ben Moody from Evanescence, Ashlee Simpson's collaborator Kara DioGuardi, and Chad Kroeger from Nickelback, for a set of mildly active rock.

Biography

Born: 01 November 1975 in Huntsville, AL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Husky-voiced American Idol singing sensation Harold "Bo" Bice hailed from Helena, AL, and brought his Southern sensibility with him to the fourth season of Fox's long-running talent contest. Bice competed weekly against fellow rocker Constantine Maroulis, his long hair, bell bottoms, and drug rug tunics against Maroulis' biker jacket and stockpile of New York City swagger. Eventually Bice won out (to the shock of some Idol fans), and went all the way to the winner's circle where he was AI runner-up...
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The Real Thing, Bo Bice
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