Helena’s Bo Bice singing for ‘Idol’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005

It wasn’t that long ago Bo Bice was playing Alabama clubs in small town cities.

Now the long-hair rocker with Shelby County ties is one of 16 finalists still in the hunt to be the next American Idol. Bice, who resides in Helena, was one of eight males and eight females still alive in the competition as of Wednesday afternoon.

Bice (whose actual first name is Harold), auditioned in Orlando and was selected to go to Hollywood, where he joined dozens of other performers. From there, he reached the round of 24 (12 men and 12 women.)

Two weeks ago, he earned praise from all three American Idol judges for his performance of &uot;Drift Away&uot; which was popularized by Dobie Gray. Last week, he wowed judges with his version of &uot;Whipping Post&uot; from the Allman Brothers.

Even Simon Cowell had high praise for Bice.

&uot;Every year at this stage in the competition … someone comes on the stage and does something so fantastic, it just blows you away … And tonight was the first time it’s happened in this stage of the competition.&uot;

And on Monday of this week, Bice once again received praise from Cowell following his rendition of an Edwin McCain hit.

&uot;It’s your’s to lose,&uot; Cowell said.

Bice will learn Wednesday night if he makes the round of 12. The show airs at 8 p.m. on WBRC Fox-6.

Fans of the show have also posted their opinions of Bice on an online forum.

&uot;Throw your bras for Bo Bice,&uot; one person wrote recently.

&uot;Bo has natural talent,&uot; another person said.

There is even an unofficial &uot;fan club&uot; online called &uot;Bice Squad.&uot;

According to the website, Bice, 29, started performing when he was 9 years old. He received formal training in his high school choir.

He plays the piano, guitar, bass, sax and harmonica and also writes songs. He currently has a recording studio at his home, and lists, as one of his personal goals, to &uot;own a guitar store.&uot; He has opened for Warrant, and performed and recorded with Allman Brothers Band keyboardist Johnny Neal.

Other questions, and answers about Bice, include:

* Do you have any rituals or things you do each time before you perform? &uot;Pray.&uot;

* Most embarrassing moment: &uot;Fell off stage during a show.&uot;

* What is your definition of an American Idol? &uot;Talented, good spirit who is dedicated to their craft.&uot;

* Do you have any lucky charms? &uot;Cross I wear from my mom, and a shield I keep in my pocket from England (where Bice grew up).&uot;

* What’s been your toughest obstacle in life? &uot;Life is good. No obstacle is too large to overcome.&uot;

Bice is one of the oldest competitors on the show, and actually would have been too old to compete during the 2004 season. However, American Idol increased its maximum age of contestants by two years this past year.

– Patrick Johnsto