By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Feb 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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Milwaukee's "American Idol" finalist, Danny Gokey, confirms that he's been scheduled for an appearance on this season of Fox's top-rated show.

The 29-year-old Gokey is set to sing a song from his first album, "My Best Days, which is due out March 2. But he can't say just when he'll be on the show that launched his music career.

"I'm not allowed to mention it," he said

In a phone conversation last week, he opened up about his "Idol" experience last year. While the soulful Gokey looked confident on camera and appeared to be strategizing his run through last season's "Idol," he says reality couldn't be farther from the truth.

He goes so far as to mimic one of the show's judges, Kara DioGuardi saying, "You know who you are as an artist."

"I'm sorry, man," said Gokey. "Some of us just don't have it together like that. Some of us, you know, we need the experience, we need the help.

"I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do. But I gotta be honest, I was so new to the industry, or music, period ... that I did my best with what I knew. I tried to just compose myself as very confident on the show, even though a lot of times, I was behind the scenes falling apart.

"The pressure was pretty intense. All I knew was when I came out that stage was that I need to smile and that I needed to do the best that I can.

"One of the big things on the show, you know, is rearranging music. I get rearranging music. But, man, a lot of the times I didn't even know what I was singing. I had to first learn the songs. By the time I learned it, the arrangement would have to be done already, I couldn't change it."

When he was ultimately cut, leaving Adam Lambert and Kris Allen to compete for last year's "Idol" crown, Gokey said he was actually relieved.

"I felt like a pressure was coming up upon me because I think people misinterpreted me; a lot of people misinterpreted me. I just felt like I could talk about what I want to talk about again."

Gokey's backstory was the then-recent death of his wife, Sophia, and how he went into the competition to tell a story of hope -- as well as look for some of his own. The "Idol" producers glommed onto the emotional saga, which helped make him an early leader in the competition.

"I opened myself up to America and shared my story with them, he said. "Lots of people misinterpreted me and thought I was trying to leverage something. In all reality, man, I was trying to find hope in a hopeless situation.  I looked at the story as possibly somebody could find some hope in it."

During last year's "Idol" competition, Gokey faced Internet criticism for milking the tragedy his wife's death to get votes.

"There was one point on 'American Idol' in the beginning where I got kind of caught up on the Internet. You're in a bubble, you really don't get out much, so your only connection to what people think about you is through that Internet.

"I had some people, like you said, they crapped on my story. I started having nightmares, man, when I was on the show," he said. "I finally woke up and I almost dashed the computer against the wall, dude, because it was really affecting me."

That anger is long gone.

"I'm very glad I went on 'American Idol,'" he said. "I really learned how to not care what people think anymore. I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do. And my story was meant to help people. I'm going to keep helping people."

Check back for more with Danny: I'll have a "Milwaukee Talks" interview with Gokey Tuesday morning at, in which he talks about turning to country music, and about the work of his Sophia's Heart Foundation.

On TV: Milwaukee continues to win Nielsen medals for our Olympic TV ratings. Friday night, it was a silver for being the country's second highest-rated TV market; and Saturday night's ratings give Milwaukee the gold. Saturday's 22.2 rating, translates to nearly 201,000 southeast Wisconsin TV homes, a 38% share of those watching television at the time. Salt Lake City was second, followed by Minneapolis, Columbus and Seattle.

  • Whitefish Bay's Anna Lynett was eliminated from Lifetime's "Project Runway" last week. She says she hopes her experience on the show will jump-start her career. "It really truly is, for me, the beginning of me thinking of myself as being a fashion designer," she said.
  • Sunday's "The Simpsons" featured a cargo pants-wearing Principal Skinner with "astonishing news out of Eau Claire, Wis. The Olympic committee has announced that mixed curling will be a demonstration event at the Winter Olympics." Homer's response: "There's a Winter Olympics?"
  • Madonna has joined the list of celebrity judges on Jerry Seinfeld-produced "Marriage Ref," a "reality" show that's being heavily hyped on NBC's Olympics coverage. It premieres March 4.

A very icky Valentine: No, Octomom Nadya Suleman hasn't gone away quietly (are you surprised?). She popped up on Jimmy Kimmel's ABC show Friday night to take part in a Valentines Day-themed resurrection of the old "Dating Game."

Here's the first part:

  And, if you must, here's part two:

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.