"American Idol" judge Randy Jackson and former "Idol" contestant Brooke White have reteamed for a Fox made-for-TV movie called "Change of Plans," premiering Jan. 8. They've also both started out the new year living a little greener.
"I'm throwing a baby shower for my friend, and decided to send e-vites instead of paper invitations," says White, who makes her acting debut in the movie as a free-spirited singer-songwriter who discovers she's been named the legal guardian of her late friend's four children. Jackson, who makes a cameo appearance in addition to producing the three songs White sings in (and co-wrote for) the movie, has come up with a clever green incentive for his children. "I'm trying to get my kids to recycle even more," he says. "They have a weekly allowance, so more recycling, more allowance!"
Other than a 4 a.m. pickup, White found her inaugural acting gig "more fun than hard. Music was an integral part of the character, so it made so much sense. The role was very close to who I am," she says, but next time, "I would be willing to try something out of the Brooke box." She's thankful for the doors "Idol" opened for her. "The trick is to keep them opening and to keep walking through them."
Jackson is impressed with the post-"Idol" White. "She's definitely grown as a writer, as a singer and as a performer. She's leaps and bounds from where she was on 'Idol.' That's the true mark of a real artist, how they grow over time," he says. On Jan. 19, he'll be back at the judges' table to choose a new "Idol"in the tenth season of the Fox contest, the veteran on the panel now, with the departures of Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres (voluntary) and Kara DioGuardi (not). New judges Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith icon Steven Tyler have joined him for what he calls "Season 10:The Remix," in which he'll take a "more assertive," but not Cowell-like, role. "You'll see other sides of the Dawg," he says.
This season, which will feature format changes including online voting, less reliance on instruments, a "sing for your life" last chance, and more behind the scenes elements including mentoring sessions with producer/record exec Jimmy Iovine and footage of the top 12 sharing a house. "I think we have some amazing talent this year, and I think we're going to have a really interesting, successful winner," says Jackson, who has a hunch that winner will bee female. "There are some standouts on both sides, we'll have to see, but I'm thinking it's a girl's year to lose."
White has some advice for the hopefuls, male and female. "I'll keep it short and sweet: Be you. Don't Google your name. And work hard."