Editor's note: We split this week's Ecollywood column in two. Read the other half, about five TV actors going green.
For the newly anointed "American Idol", green living means “not being as wasteful. It’s the little things, just being conscious about what you are doing,” said Lee DeWyze, who was relieved that the grueling competition was finally over. Hearing his name announced “felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Now it’s on to the next step which is to make an album and go on tour and do all the things I have wanted to do for a long time. I don’t want to be the next big thing and be gone,” he said. “I want to do this for a long time, and stay true to myself and make good music.” The "Idol" process taught him “that it’s okay to put yourself out there and take risks. Before this I wasn’t very open to big risks like this. Now I am going to run with it for once.”
The finale’s guest performers and former "Idol" contestants had words for the wise for DeWyze. “Get good people around you and you'll have a long career. And don’t ever become jaded — if you do, you lose your soul,” said "Celebrity Apprentice" winner Bret Michaels, who performed “Every Rose has its Thorn” with Casey James. “Learn the business and the social media and don’t do your own management,” advised Season 6 runner-up Blake Lewis, who has topped the dance charts with his latest single “Heartbreak on Vinyl. While he admits to driving a Mustang and a Caddy “so I’m not all that green, but I’m a reduce, reuse, recycle kind of person. I've done that since I was a kid,” he told us.
“Don’t listen to the naysayers” was the advice from Season 8’s Michael Sarver, who just released the single and video “Ferris Wheel” from his forthcoming self-titled country CD. At home, he’s “pretty hardcore about not throwing anything away and recycling as much as possible,” he said. “You've got to work harder than you've ever worked in your life and don't ever take a day for granted,” added Season 4 runner-up Bo Bice (pictured right), who just released his aptly titled third album "3", and also recently welcomed his third son. “I’ve got the drummer, the bass player and the guitar player,” joked Bice, who also recycles and tries to keep his travel down.
Will Young, the winner of the original U.K. "Pop Idol" who sang “Leave Right Now” on the final performance show, recycles, rides his bike around London instead of driving, and is exploring alternative energy sources at his country home in Cornwall. “I want to do solar panels, wind or hydro-energy because I’ve got a stream,” he said. Targeting the U.S. market eight years after his win, “I made my decisions based on longevity. It took me a while to work out what I wanted,” he explained. “I got with the right producers and got a team around me that I still have today — people who’ll tell you the truth and not massage your ego.”
After dueting with Michael Lynche on “Taking it to the Streets,” Michael McDonald noted the absurdity of being limoed to rehearsal from his steps-away hotel. “They literally did a U-turn and dropped us off. My carbon footprint has never been larger. We’ve been walking ever since,” said the singer, who’s much greener on the road. “We have little or no production anymore. We pretty much get up and play.” Like most in attendance, McDonald thinks departing judge Simon Cowell will be greatly missed. “I can’t imagine who’ll take his seat,” he said, but it won’t be him. “Constructive criticism is a necessity, but I don’t think I could be that brutally honest.”