TV Talk: Western Pa. Teen Advances on “American Idol”; Joe Serafini will be back on “High School Musical”


Morgan Gruber of Franklin Township, Beaver County, passed her first audition for the “American Idol” judges on Monday’s episode, earning three “yes” votes to continue the singing competition series.

The 17-year-old high school student from Riverside High School in Fombell already had Judge Luke Bryan in her corner before singing when she said she hunted and fished on her family’s 12 acres. But after singing Elle King’s “Can’t Be Loved,” the show’s other judges were also ready to promote her.

“It was amazing,” judge Katy Perry said. “I don’t really have a lot of criticism for you. … That’s why we’re doing ‘American Idol.’ Because we find diamonds in the rough, just like you.

“You came here and not only gave us a fabulous delivery, but that’s your style,” judge Lionel Richie said.

Gruber said she auditioned for “Idol” because she was too shy to sing, but her grandmother, who died two years ago after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer, encouraged her to sing often and everywhere, but especially in the presence of her grandmother. .

“I looked at Katy’s sheet, it says Top 20. My sheet says Top 20,” Bryan said. “Your grandmother, like so many grandmothers, was right about the money.”

Gruber’s next appearance on “Idol” will be in the Hollywood Weekly premiere at 8 p.m. on March 28 on ABC.

High School Musical Update

In an interview Saturday, Tim Federle, executive producer of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” a 1998 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, confirmed that Bethel Park’s Joe Serafini will be back for at least part of the show’s third season.

Serafini, who returned to the show its first season and was a series regular in season two, was not included when Disney+ announced the season three regular cast in January.

“Joe will be back in season three,” Federle said, indicating there may be less screen time than Serafini in season two due to the nature of season three as “a shake-up season.” “We went to a summer camp. We have new characters that for all sorts of reasons – including just trying to keep a 15-year-old franchise fresh – that there was a real desire on the part of the company to shake it up and bring it out of the high school walls. But I consider Joe to be an extremely important part of the success of “High School Musical” and he will make a memorable appearance this season.

The zapping

Just before what would have been Fred Rogers’ 94th birthday Sunday, music producer Dennis Scott and TV host Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars”) renewed their call for Rogers to be added to the Songwriters Hall of Fame via a petition it was started two years ago. … Governor Wolf has announced that May 23, the 143rd day of 2022, will be Day 1-4-3, a call on citizens to show kindness to one another in honor of Mr. Rogers. …Davis Wayne, 26, a Heidelberg native who graduated from New York-based Chartiers Valley High School in 2013 and performed with Pittsburgh CLO, was featured as a quadrille dancer in the final two episodes of the first season of “The Gilded Age” from HBO. streaming on HBO Max. … WQED-TV regained the ability to schedule its programming locally on March 17 after replacing its failed master control system in late January.

You can reach TV Editor Rob Owen at [email protected] or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter or Facebook. Ask questions about TV via email or phone. Please include your first name and location.

You can reach TV Editor Rob Owen at [email protected] or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter Where Facebook. Ask questions about TV via email or phone. Please include your first name and location.


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