Stacy Jenel Smith Answers Your Questions July 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm


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Stacy Jenel Smith has answered your questions with the candor and industry perspective I’m so proud we have here, and she took the time to mention, “This was fun, and I have to say I’m impressed by the obvious intelligence and savvy of your readers.”

The Beck/Smith Hollywood website is always fascinating ( because of the archives and exclusive stories (they recently posted a 1976 interview with Farrah that’s really interesting. You’ll see Marilyn and Stacy’s columns throughout the world through Creators Syndicate in newspapers and at

Hope you’ll join me in a warm round of thanks to Stacy for her insight and taking the time to provide thoughtful answers. The original question thread is now “Talk about Stacy Jenel Smith’s Answers to your Questions” for your thoughts and comments.

Best, Michael

Re: Ask Stacy Jenel Smith Your Questions through July 10!
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:10 pm
by stellagirl

Thanks again Michael for giving us this opportunity!

Hello Stacy,

I have a few questions about Adam Lambert for you, so here goes:

It’s been suggested that Adam should be more careful about granting too many interviews, that there should be an “aura of mystery” about him to keep the public and the media intrigued and desperate for any bit of news we can get. What do you think of this?

In the same vein, there are those in the industry who are thrilled that Adam is open about being gay, and others that say he should not have talked about his sexuality, that it may hurt his career. What’s your take on this?

Many of Adam’s fans are females over 40 (myself included), and I’ve read a number of articles that wonder why this is so. (I think it’s because us older gals have incredibly good taste, and that due to our life experience we know a good thing when we see it!) What do you think is the reason for Adam’s popularity with older women?

And finally, given the kind of music that Adam performed on American Idol, and that he’s going for a multi-genre style with his first album, do you think he’s going to be a huge success no matter what he chooses to sing? Or should he be very careful to not be too over the top with his first CD, keep it somewhat toned down and give his style of music a chance to grow on us all?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions, it’s really wonderful of you to do this just for us!

Sincerely, Stella

Hi, Stella – Thanks for the thoughtful questions. Certainly, he’s in a position now where he can and should be picky about who he grants interviews. It bespeaks his status. That said, one of the refreshing things about this young man is his openness and honesty. I like his cock of the walk attitude – a great trait for a rock/pop star. He gives off such a sense of knowing who he is – and that appears not to be one to try to create mystery for mystery’s sake. As far as talking about his sexuality, as I wrote in our column the other day, I was disappointed in Gene Simmons for saying Adam was wrecking his career by coming out as gay, that now everyone would forget about his music and focus on his sexuality. Sure, like that happened to Melissa Etheridge, Freddie Mercury and Elton John, right? I think that was Gene trying to get attention more than anything else. I don’t think it will hurt his career – especially considering how many advancements have been made by gay performers and the gay community in general in the last couple of decades.

Curious, this thing about older women being Adam fans. That is interesting. We appreciate someone who’s immensely talented and chock full of charisma, I guess. My mother, who is 79, and my daughter, who is 17, were actually on the Lambert bandwagon before I ever started paying attention. Mom said “Now there’s a force to be reckoned with” — and that he reminds her of Tyrone Power.

As far as the album, he says it’s going to be pop-rock with an electronic edge, and also says he wants it to be “something new.” I hope there is some room for that something new, although it would be surprising if he went very far out on a limb with this first one.

Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:29 am
by 80sMom

Hi. Thanks so much for agreeing to participate in Michael’s outstanding forum.

I am interested in your opinion of where the line should be drawn in terms of what should be appropriate coverage by ‘paparazzi’. I think much of what I see out there is appropriate as regards Adam, but there were two incidents where I felt a line was crossed where it should not have been.

One of these was a ‘chase’ of his limo, where the driver was clearly distressed and was forced to drive erratically while attempting to dodge photographers. The other was a ‘hidden camera’ episode that caught Adam at dinner with someone important to him. He was unaware of being on camera. I felt bad after watching that one. It was so intrusive to the ‘person’ of Adam Lambert. For me, it seems reasonable for the press to pursue a celeb during his ‘public’ hours, as long as he is aware of being photographed. The line is drawn when it becomes an intrusion into the ‘non-public’ hours of the celeb’s life, particularly when they are caught unawares (i.e. the old ‘peeking through the hedges at the swimming pool’ routine).

Things seem to have gotten out of control as it seems many in the media now believe we have a RIGHT to know every aspect of a star’s personal life, as opposed to being satisfied with covering the public life that the celeb wishes to project.

As a big fan, I feel somewhat responsible. Without us, there would be no reason for paparazzi to push the envelope all the time. Without us, there would be no market for this kind of intrusion of privacy. I try to be a responsible fan by not giving viewership to those media outlets that ‘go over the line’ (there are a few that come to mind that I personally will not patronize with viewership or clicks). But where do you think THEIR responsibility should begin? Where is the line drawn? I know this is a question that relates to all public personas, but it seems particularly apropos to the Adam situation right now.


I completely agree and very well said, 80s Mom. We’ve written extensively about this scourge, and I’m discouraged that so many efforts to curb such dangerous practices have done nothing to help – this, 12 years after Princess Diana died in a paparazzi pursuit automobile crash…and four years after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (himself a victim of overly-aggressive celebrity photographers) signed a “get tough” bill that tripled the amount of damages celebrities could seek from paparazzi if assaulted during a shoot. It also blocked photos from making profits from shots taken during altercations with the famed. But it continues…I applaud your integrity. It’s true that if there weren’t such demand for these pictures, they wouldn’t fetch the outlandish sums that perpetuate this insanity.

by pippy18

Hello Stacy - and thank you very much for appearing here!

I’ve been thinking lately about our celebrity obsessed culture and how that’s going to affect Adam’s ability to have a private life. Is it not the job of a publicist to sort of act as a screen between the client and the rest of the world? I actually don’t know what a publicist does and if you could shed some light on that I would appreciate it.

I read an offhand remark from Adam about his inability to “filter” himself. Being a very private person I cannot imagine giving up some of the info that Adam has (for instance the Kris/crush), but on the other hand, he’s probably just alot more open and well-adjusted than I am! However, I do feel that he could do himself a favor a learn to filter a little bit more. Any thoughts?

Personally, I love those unfiltered stars! They’re great interviews. Marilyn and I love to get them before they clam up – which they usually do after something they say gets someone angry or hurts a deal or scandalizes the public. Even better is when they continue to be unfiltered even after going through some backlashes and should know better. For some reason, Rod Stewart pops into my mind with his various zingers, like his comments about Sting (“…The sun shines out his arse…Mr. Serious who helps the Indians”). Bless them, I say. I live for that stuff. As far as celebrity publicists, they play a variety of roles, including gatekeeper — or screen as you put it — spin control point person, guide and image keeper. (One demonstration of their power: You may recall Tom Cruise famously went through his year of media meltdown after letting go his long-time publicist, Pat Kingsley.) I remember the late Christopher Reeve saying that it takes a year to adjust to fame. Adam is in the throes of that enormous adjustment. Having/creating/protecting his private life is something that’s going to be part of the learning process as he gets his feet under him in this new life as a star.

Re: Ask Stacy Jenel Smith Your Questions through July 10!
Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:34 am
by Julie821

Pippy, what you just asked leads me to a question. (Thank you Ms. Smith for answering our questions!) But Adam never, at any time, ever said he had a crush on Kris. Ever. In fact when he was asked why the media blew it up from saying he thought Kris was attractive when he first met him, to suddenly saying he has a crush, Adam shook his head at it and said, that’s just what they do sometimes for viewer-/reader-ship. Why does that happen so much? (Not just with that, of course, but virtually anything with anyone). Why aren’t the articles factually written rather than with a slant added to it by choice by the writer and/or the editor? Why the, I don’t know, sensationalism, I guess? I know this has been going on for…well forever, but why is that?

Sometimes things are just twisted, like what Adam really said was twisted. Than other times, down right lies are written. Not just like in the Enquirer about being married to an alien and silliness like that, but what is considered a more “legit” mag or paper will say things that are completely false and they know it. I don’t understand why that happens, can you shed light on that?

Thank you!

It’s a meaner and more desperate and less conscientious world in the media than it was even ten years ago, Julie821. Recent times have seen colossal changes, as you know. Traditional print outlets are either out of business completely or cut back drastically. There’ve also been audience drops and cutbacks in network news. So you have a shrinking pool of entities governed by journalistic rules against misrepresentation of facts, distortion of quotes and so forth. With fewer reporters and resources, they’re unable to provide the kind of coverage they used to. At the same time, the number of new entities vying to get web traffic has increased exponentially — and there are a lot of them who don’t seem to know or care about the rules. And hey, there’s a big market for gotcha journalism, as evidenced by the success stories of Bonnie Fuller with Star and then Us Weekly, Harvey Levin with TMZ, and Perez Hilton with his hater website.

Re: Ask Stacy Jenel Smith Your Questions through July 10!
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:31 pm
by AdamBestEver

Thanks for coming on here to answer our questions, and thanks to NYMichael for setting this up.

I’m hearing from many non-Adam fans that Adam will fail as a recording artist because he is not current. Frankly, I disagree because even tho Adam likes 60s, 70s and even 80s music, he knows how to make it current. Also, the non-fans say that only Adam’s AI fans will buy his music, which encompasses a small percentage of the totality of the music buying public. With that said, what would happen if Adam’s debut CD has a mediocre response? What would his next game plan be?

Does anyone know yet if Adam may collaborate with either Lady Gaga or Madonna? I’m wondering if it is a clue that Adam brings up Madonna’s name in many of his interviews. There have been no leaks or rumors, so I’m thinking it’s more likely Adam wants it out there to get Madonna to think about it.

Thanks again for answering our questions.

ETA: Oops, was supposed ask question(s) from press/journalism perspective. Sorry.

There’s certainly a lot of talk about Adam teaming up with one or both of these ladies, but so far nothing concrete – beyond his working with Lady GaGa’s producer, RedOne. I don’t think he’ll need a fallback plan. He’s already logged hit singles, is The Star Everyone Wants on the tour, and has generated big time excitement in the music industry. They know.

Re: Ask Stacy Jenel Smith Your Questions through July 10!
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:25 am
by Kyuu
Hi Stacy,

Some of Adam’s detractors claim that Adam’s buzz is media-based only and does not actually exist among “the people” or consumers. Since he’s started working on his album and a number of impressive producers and writers have stepped up to work with him, we’ve seen that Adam’s industry-based interest is real. Can you give us an idea of idea of the grassroots-based interest in Adam? (And I don’t mean grassroots as in middle America , but as in everyday people who would just buy and enjoy his music.)

Similarly, these detractors claim that while Adam interest may be exist, it will not translate into CD sales and people are more fascinated with his personal life than his music. Do you agree with this opinion, or do you think Adam’s buzz is the demand for the Adam Lambert product as a whole, personal life included?

And on a topic that’s only tangentially related to Adam, he has gotten a lot of media-coverage since he’s been on Idol. In what way does a member of the media decide what is worthy of being covered? In other words, a chicken and the egg type of question - is coverage given to someone who “the people” are interested in or does the media deem someone newsworthy, report about them and thereby generate interest… or is it a gradient of something between the two? I know at least that MTV had a lot of Adam coverage because he generated a massive amount of hits to their website. I hope this isn’t veering too much into philosophical territory for you to answer.

Thanks for your time and expertise.

That’s an astute deduction – that there is a gradient between public and media interest driving coverage of any personality. It really does vary from personality to personality. But in the case of Adam Lambert, it’s the public clamor for coverage in the wake of his captivating performances on “AI” that’s accountable for all the media interest. He’s already delivered hits. The nay-sayers’ predictions really won’t matter if he comes through with an undeniable album, which I think he will.

Re: Ask Stacy Jenel Smith Your Questions through July 10!
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:48 am
by sdmama

I wonder about the value of not giving out too much information to maintain the mystique about the celebrity. When do you think things become over exposure and over sharing? What do you think is the most effective amount of access that somebody like Adam should give to journalist and media?

What do you think about the latest trend of Tweeting? It may be necessary to create an account so that poser won’t send out false information, but I do not think it is reasonable to expect a celebrity to be constantly broadcasting what they are up to.

To Tweet or not to Tweet? To me, it’s just fun. People don’t have to give up the details of their intimate lives, or even Tweet at all, obviously. Should we be surprised that Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag are Tweeting all the time – they who love to live in the spotlight 24/7? Many celebs are using as yet another promotional tool. Others just like to share people-places-things they enjoy. It’s probably a good thing for Adam that he’s in the controlled environment of the tour right now. His exposure is being handled by a crack team. There’s a tour press conference at L.A.’ s Staples Center tomorrow that he’ll be part of – that’s a great, effective setting for him at this time. But a lot of the media attention he’s getting is out of anyone’s control at the moment, since he is so hugely hot.

Re: Ask Stacy Jenel Smith Your Questions through July 10!
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:29 pm
by abbey260

Hello Stacy and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

I am sure you have read some reviews of the AI concerts so far. Apparently Adam is a big hit and getting the loudest and most positive reception to his set from the crowd.

He has also been receiving a lot of news and magazine coverage. There seems to be so much more interest in him all over the world than the other contestants (including the winner).

The question I am hoping you can answer involves the perception that the AI voting system needs to change. Do you think the media has the ability to help facilitate this change? Many of Adam’s fans believe Adam lost due to a flawed voting system. The press reported about this, but dropped the story after AI and AT&T issued their responses. Kris is a talented singer and a really nice person, but Adam definitely outshines him. Even though Adam will have a successful career and he is comfortable without the title I wish the media would stay on top of this story and help lobby American Idol to perhaps change the voting to 1 (or 5) calls per phone line, and limit the text messaging.

I have another question regarding his popularity with the media. My assumption is, he is being written about because there is a lot of interest in “all things Adam.” Is the media following or leading this interest, and is this attention helping him?

Thank you for your time (and thank you Michael for this opportunity).

Hi, there. I think I covered some of this already as far as what is driving media coverage of Adam. As far as the voting – of course you’re aware of the school of thought that Danny Gokey’s mainstream-loving followers went over to Kris – the fact that there are still so many complaints shows that they need to streamline the system. Again.

Re: Ask Stacy Jenel Smith Your Questions through July 10!
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:18 pm
by wink7619

Michael, thank you once again for this incredible opportunity.

Hi Stacy,

Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with us on Michael’s forum.
I have two questions.

1. If you could sit down for a long thorough interview with any five singers in today’s “hot” music industry… who would they be? (And if you have time… why?)

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some of the current crop of hot names – the Jonas Bros., Kelly Clarkson, Pete Wentz (such a thoughtful and interesting person), Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff and Joel Madden come to mind – and obviously, I’m looking forward to talking to Adam Lambert! Because I admire their music and am confounded by their troubled personal lives, I would really like to get the chance to interview Rihanna and Amy Winehouse.

2. If you were to interview Adam what would you explore that would differentiate your interview from others that have been done to date? What are some of the questions you would ask?

First, I’d ask the questions I think readers/fans would want answered. You know, the obvious newsy things such as whether he is actually going to work with Madonna. Have to. Then I might ask whether there was a particular person in his life, outside of his family, who helped him or impacted his life in a significant way, and to talk about that. I’d look for turning points and first times in his past that led to his being the person he is. I’d ask about what ticks him off and what turns him on. Has he experienced loss and disappointment and how that’s affected him and made him grow. I’d ask what he learned from his grandparents. Things like that might bring out a telling anecdote or point of view.

OK, one more question. (OK…”set” of questions. )

3. It seems the media/public interest in Adam is really intense, but I have to admit… I don’t have the best objectivity when it comes to anything Adam. From your perspective would you compare the media/public interest in Adam to any other previous Idol, or other rising star? And if so, whom?

I would not compare him to any other previous Idol or other current rising star. We just might have an original on our hands here, and that’s what makes him so exciting.

The original message from Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:29 am:

Hi everybody!

I’m happy to let you know legendary award winning columnist Stacy Jenel Smith has kindly agreed to take your questions about the industry and answer them here at!

Stacy and Marilyn Beck’s website is at and you’ll find her biography below. You’ve all had many great questions about press, interviews and how celebrities are covered, and I thought Stacy would be a great guest because not only has she been covering entertainment for decades, but also she is an important part of the “pulse” of the media.

Another unique and impressive part of Stacy and Marilyn’s background is that they are respected journalists. With the rise of paparazzi and shock journalism, Beck/Smith is a platinum organization that does not sensationalize or gossip; their reports are fair, sourced and highly respected throughout the industry.

So please say hello to Stacy and if you have questions about the industry from the press/journalism perspective please post them (and please let your friends know). While Stacy may not be able to reply to every question I’m sure she’ll do her best and it’s a unique opportunity to have a behind the scenes look at the industry. Importantly, Stacy is visiting to discuss entertainment media and coverage so please don’t post specific interview questions for Adam, this Q&A is about entertainment reporting and journalism in the broader sense.

Best, Michael

Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith are among America ’s leading columnists. They’ve covered the Hollywood beat for decades — Elvis and “Easy Rider” through the Jonas Bros. and “The Dark Knight” and all the stars and their triumphs and scandals in-between. Their Creators Syndicate column, Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive, is a source of top celebrity interviews and entertainment news in newspapers across the country as well as online - with special reports and features exclusively for CompuServe/Netscape and AOL. Additionally, they write This Just In, their television column seen weekly in the New York Daily News’ VUE.

Stacy Jenel (pronounced “Janelle”) Smith has also authored the weekly, syndicated Ask Stacy column for more than two decades, in addition to writing for publications including the Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, TV Guide, People, and US magazines. She has appeared on numerous television and radio shows and as a guest lecturer for professionals’ groups and university classes. Stacy served as a regular correspondent on E! Entertainment Television’s “The Gossip Show” for five years, and for two years appeared daily on the Internet’s Alternative Entertainment Network ( Twice nominated for the prestigious ICG Publicists Guild Press Award, Stacy is a native Angelino, a graduate of the University of Redlands . She has partnered with Beck since 1990. Stacy resides in the San Fernando Valley with her daughter, Darcy, who was born in 1991. She’s a runner and recently completed the Pasadena Marathon.

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