'American Idol' week in news: Kelly Clarkson takes requests, Scotty McCreery goes platinum, and more

Fall behind keeping up with headlines on Twitter? Never fear, EW.com has your round-up of this week’s biggest American Idol news.

Season 7 Idol alum, and Smash star, Katharine McPhee, recently headed to Africa with the charity Malaria No More. She traveled to Ghana and then to Burkina Faso to distribute bed nets. During her stay, she visited a school in Ouagadougou that her own outreach project, McPhee Outreach, helped build.

Can’t wait for more music from season 10 alum Haley Reinhart? The third-place finisher performed a new song, “Now That You’re Here,” at a recent radio event in Worcester, Mass. The new tune is from her upcoming album, Listen Up, due in stores on May 22.

Six years after his fourth-place finish on American Idol, Chris Daughtry tells Pittsburgh Live that he’s just a musician: “I’m not what the public thinks a celebrity is. I never wanted to be that guy, always in the tabloids and magazines. I didn’t get into it for that. I wanted to do music for a living, and that’s what I want to be known for. I think it’s amazing that there are fans who found out about us through records and this old-fashioned thing called the radio. It’s a pretty amazing thing.” Daughtry is currently in the midst of a North American tour. Check out the tour dates at the band’s official website.

Season 10 Idol alum James Durbin hits the road with his band this spring. The fourth-place finisher and heavy metal rocker will begin his tour in support of his Wind-Up Records debut album, Memories of A Beautiful Disaster, at the Viper Room in Los Angeles on April 12. James will also open for Evanescence, as well as play various dates with Buckcherry through May, and also perform at Rock On The Range music festival May 20. See the schedule on his official website.

“It’s a huge deal,” current American Idol champ, Scotty McCreery tells The Tennessean about his nomination for New Artist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music: “It’s been a crazy year for us. There’s been a lot of work put into it. It’s one of those things where you’re recognized for all the hard work you’ve put up, but you’re just going there to have fun. If you get it, cool. If you don’t, you’re still having a good time.” McCreery, who was awarded his platinum record for 1 million sales of his debut album Clear as Day on American Idol Thursday night, will perform his new single, “Water Tower Town,” on the awards show, broadcast live on CBS from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Sunday night.

Much to her fans’ delight, Kelly Clarkson has been taking cover requests via Twitter, performing a different tune each night on her current North American tour. In Boise, Idaho, last weekend, the original Idol covered Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” After Clarkson’s gorgeous rendition, she poked a little fun at Voice contestant Erin Martin, whose battle with the Shields brothers singing Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” a couple of weeks ago had people talking, but NOT in a good way. “I sing my ass off, and this girl goes, ‘Wha ahh ow,’” joked Kelly in a dead-on impression of Erin’s “interesting” singing style.

Have you ever wanted to peek inside the lives of your favorite American Idol winners? Check out the Los Angeles crib of season 7 champ David Cook. The rocker recently put the house up for sale for a cool $1.5 million. The 3,000-plus-square-foot home has three bedrooms and two and a half baths, a professional recording studio, a “custom-designed dog yard” and an awesome view of the Hollywood sign. Sweet.

Clay Aiken has resurfaced in the media in a big way. He’s currently competing on the NBC reality show, The Celebrity Apprentice, hoping to raise money for his charity, the National Inclusion Project. (He’s already raised $50,000 after winning Sunday’s challenge as project manager.) Taking advantage of the latest TV exposure, Decca Records is releasing Steadfast, a collection of pop classics from the ’50s and ’60s. “Most of those songs were what my mom played in the car when I was a child and so they became ingrained in me,” Clay tells Theatermania. “Some of them I had even sung on Idol.” Will Aiken eventually be fired by the Donald on Celebrity Apprentice? Tune in Sunday nights to find out.

Season 8 alum Danny Gokey, who finished third behind Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, was not only known for his soulful ballads but also his eyewear collection. Now he’ll no longer have to go out in search of the perfect pair, because he’s created his own. Last weekend, the singer unveiled his new fashion eyewear line at Vision Expo East in Long Island. Danny is also getting ready to release an EP. He tells JSOnline that the yet-to-be-titled six- or seven-song CD will feature several styles of music. “It’s an experimental project to see what the fans like. There’ll be country on it, but there’ll be different styles on it. There’ll be contemporary, and maybe a pop song.”

Season 9 Idol Siobhan Magnus recently released a new video of “Moonbaby,” the title track of her latest CD, using studio footage from her 2011 Nashville recording sessions. Check out the moody video by filmmaker Jason Millhouse.

Read more:
Heejun Han says goodbye: ‘Idol’ exit interview
‘American Idol’ recap: Take a Sad Song and Make It Better
‘American Idol': Step into our mansion — exclusive photos ‘at home’ with the Top 9
‘American Idol’ alum Haley Reinhart releases video for ‘Free,’ talks about her upcoming album

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