Saturday, July 22, 2006

Elliott Yamin, Riding High

"My life has changed drastically," Elliott Yamin told us yesterday from the latest "American Idol" tour stop in Rochester, N.Y. And how: His hometown paper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has featured dozens of stories on the 28-year-old contestant, who finished third in the Fox competition, the most recent being, "Claudette cooks; Elliott Yamin's mom dishes on favorite family recipes." And the paparazzi! The People magazine sightings!

Yamin gave us a little insight into his new life:

· His music career: Right after "Idol," Yamin got a business manager and started writing and recording. "It's a fresh start at a career. I never had a career before. I just had jobs."

· Upcoming album: Slated for release around January or February. Yamin says fans can expect "a funky, raw, soulful R&B sound. It's going to have that old-school feel with a modern sound. Good old R&B sound."

· His new, high-profile lifestyle: "I feel comfortable with it. It's a small price to pay to trade in your anonymity. . . . Tay ["Idol" winner Taylor Hicks ] and I went out to eat the other night and Mandy Moore came. There was paparazzi there taking pictures. It's part of the gig. It's fine by me."

· Mingling with the celebs: " Part of the perks of being in the business. . . . It's fun to me."

· Proud mama, Claudette Yamin : "Mom loves it. She loves it. She's been to a few shows so far. She's like a kid in a candy store."

· Richmonder no longer: "I would love to live in Richmond, but I don't know how possible that is going to be. . . . At this point, I'm going to go wherever work takes me. I have a strong feeling that most of my work will be in L.A. or New York City."

· Katharine McPhee -- rumored diva, who hasn't yet joined the tour because of a bout with bronchitis and laryngitis: (Long pause.) "Umm, that's not for me to judge or agree with. Things are said, people talk, rumors are spread. It's an aspect of the business. I'm cool with Kat. I got no bones with her. She's a sweet girl. Her mom called my mom a couple of weeks ago and said Kat was really looking forward to rejoining the tour."

· His girlfriend, Amanda, who stuck with him through the initial "Idol" craziness: "What girlfriend? (Pause.) Oh, I'm not with her anymore."

Couldn't Stand the Heat

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is safely back in his New York apartment after a not-so-relaxing 10-day stay in Beirut.

Bourdain, 50, was in the Lebanese capital filming an episode of his Travel Channel hit, "No Reservations" with four members of his crew when the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict began. He was evacuated by the U.S. military Thursday and landed in New Jersey yesterday.

Bourdain was feeling too wiped out to do interviews yesterday, but the Travel Channel's Patrick Younge said the star was in good spirits when he got off the plane and was very happy to see that Younge had brought along a pack of Bourdain's favorite Lark cigarettes. A Travel Channel publicist said the network is uncertain whether it will do an episode based on what little footage was captured, but is looking into the possibility of a special.

End Note

· So what if poll numbers are down? President Bush has one of the most popular video and audio clips on the Web! As of yesterday afternoon, more than 26,000 people had watched a video clip of the 60-year-old president giving a quick backrub to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at last weekend's G-8 Summit. Not to be outdone, a New York Times audio clip of Bush's four-letter word usage has also been a popular download -- beating out Justin Timberlake's new single "SexyBack" -- according to the Hype Machine, a Web site that tracks the most linked audio clips by blogs.

-- Korin Miller

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