‘Idol’ knows what kids want: Pop-Tarts and Ace Young


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Chad is only 14, but that didn’t keep him from hitting up a hip Hollywood club last night for the ‘American Idol’ Top 24 party. Chad scored a ticket to the bash because he’s a star camper at Idol Camp, a performing arts summer camp for 10- to 15-year-old crooners with a passion for all things ‘Idol.”

I caught up with Chad at the party and asked if he planned to audition for ‘Idol’ when he turned 16. “If my musical career hasn’t taken off yet,” he replied.


This year, for the second summer in a row, Chad will return to Idol Camp to hone his craft. Idol Camp, which opened on the East Coast last summer, is moving west this summer, to California’s San Bernardino Mountains. Each two-week session costs $2,995 and offers a wide variety of classes, including singing and ‘personal style.’

In a phone interview last week, Keith Hindle, executive vice president of FremantleMedia Licensing, recalled his visit to Idol Camp last summer, saying, “It was such a holistic experience. These kids were really emotionally changed.’

Chad agreed with Keith there and confessed that, when camp ended, “even all the boys were crying.”

According to Chad, last summer’s perks included Pop-Tarts at breakfast, appearances by former ‘Idol’ contestants and even a visit from Macy Gray. So, was Chad impressed by Ms. Gray’s performance?

Sure. But “Ace Young was better,” he confided.

Ace Young, who appeared at Idol Camp last summer, will be back for more this year. When I caught up with Ace at the Top 24 party, he was already getting pumped for his visit. ‘Idol Camp rocks,’ he exclaimed, ‘and I’m gonna rock Idol Camp!’

-- Stephanie Lysaght