Even though Kimberley Locke is busy with the launch of her new “Strobe Light” single – the first fruit of her collaboration with Randy Jackson – she’s also pushing forward with meetings this week about the reality show project closest to her heart, “Making the Curve.” The show revolves around those belters, crooners and screamers who make amazing music, but have a way of turning up as backup singers because of the way they look.
“I know what it feels like to have more talent than the front girl, if you know what I mean,” says the singer who rose to fame on “American Idol” and has since gone on landing several Top 20 hits and No. 1 singles across Billboard charts – as well as proving an attention-getter among the celebs trying to lose weight on “Celebrity Fit Club.”
“We’re giving those girls the opportunity to have a shot. This is a show for plus-size women. It’s not open to everybody.” There will be auditions in different cities, and “these girls are going to write together, they’re going to live in a house together and collaborate with those powerhouse voices. We’re going to give them a makeover,” says Locke – who’ll serve as host as well as producer.
Weight loss “is not a part of it. Healthy lifestyle is part of it. If you want to lose weight after you’ve had some success, knock yourself out. Most of us do that anyway,” she comments. “It’s about the music, and it’s about their stories – moving beyond their weight issues and being successful.”
MEANWHILE: Locke’s latest bid for musical success is the dance record for which Randy Jackson and Danish music master (Santana, Christina Aguilera) served as producers. It’s being released via Jackson’s Dream Merchant 21 and INgrooves. What’s it like working with the man who once judged her on “American Idol”?
“I’ve known Randy now for seven years, and I know, he really knows his stuff. He’s all about ‘let’s do it now, and let’s get it done right.’ He was in A&R for 10 years in addition to being an artist himself. I love being around him, hearing his stories. When I m with him I’m like a sponge.”
FUNNY BUSINESS: Winner of last season’s “Last Comic Standing,” Iliza Shlesinger, is reaching a new milestone this year with her very first half hour Comedy Central special, airing tomorrow (4/16), but don’t expect the comic to be cheering on the newest contestants of the reality show that helped make her a star. “I didn’t watch it before I was on it and I’m not watching it now that I’m not on it,” says Shlesinger about “Last Comic,” which returns for a new season June 7. “I didn’t watch it in the first place because it makes me anxious. Plus, I’m so competitive that I get annoyed that I can’t be on the show. I know if I’m watching it, I’ll want to be on it and I don’t need the headache.”
However, she is appreciative of what it’s done for career. “I did not have a career before and now I have one. ‘Last Comic’ opened up a lot of doors, but I truly believe it’s my talent that will keep those doors open.”
Fans will get to see a lot of that talent when the comedian presents a whole slew of new material for Comedy Central. “I got my half hour special within a year or so of doing ‘Last Comic’ so a lot of my A material was used for that. This was all newer stuff that I’ve been working on for a while,” she tells us. “What’s funny is I can walk into a club and do an hour of comedy. I’ve literally awakened out of a flu-induced coma and gone to perform and it’s not a problem, but doing this was a little nerve-wracking. You think, ‘Oh, am I going to mess up? Will get it edited ok? What if I look fat?’”
Luckily she was funny and looked good too! “It was an audience who was excited to be there and wanted to laugh so it was a lot of fun.”
HATE TO SEE THAT EVENING SUN GO DOWN: Our sympathy goes out to Hal Holbrook on the loss of his wife, Dixie Carter. We enjoyed it when the vibrant, feisty actress told us, just a matter of months ago, that we’d never see her on a reality show. “I’m an actress,” she declared, “not someone who wants self promotion for self promotion’s sake, so my face, with half a pound of makeup on it, is constantly on view. I can’t see the value of that — but it’s a virus that runs through our business. You hear people say, ‘I’ve got to stay out there.’ Why? If I let those winds of frenetic need to be in the public eye push me, I’ll lose every grain of dignity and self-respect, and, really, enjoyment of life that I have.”
Dignity and self-respect she certainly did have, and warmth and abundant talent. The one-time “Designing Women” star, who won an Emmy nod for her work in “Desperate Housewives,” continued performing on stage, TV and film – her last big-screen appearance being in “That Evening Sun.” The adaptation of William Gay’s story “I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down,” it’s about a strong-willed old farmer who walks out of the nursing home into which his son has placed him, and heads back to his farm. Holbrook’s memorable performance and the movie itself won a number of indie film awards last year. And — it’s poignant now — it features an unspeaking Dixie as Holbrook’s lonely character’s long-dead wife, who returns to him in daydreams.
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: There’ll be no rest for Patrick Dempsey this “Grey’s Anatomy” hiatus. With his big-screen “Flypaper” speeding toward an early May production start, casting is being completed for minor roles. The movie, on which Dempsey’s serving as producer as well as star, has him as a man who walks into a bank one day and finds himself in the middle of two simultaneous robberies – which his enquiring mind compels him to investigate. All is not as it seems. A variety of bank customers and employees are being cast. The picture shoots in Baton Rouge.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster