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He’s one sexy Greek crooner August 1, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Media Radio TV.

Before you can even ask a question, Constantine Maroulis is talking. About how he’s so excited to have Richmond as his first audience on tour. About how this city will be the first to hear his new material. About how this benefit for VSA Arts of Virginia popped up, so it just made sense to kick off his two-week run here.

His slick professionalism shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who watched “American Idol” last season, you know, back when that Yamin guy was still working at Westbury Pharmacy. Though he finished sixth on the show, Maroulis remains one of the show’s most memorable characters, a sexy Greek crooner who injected his theatrical background into every smoldering performance, especially his unforgettable version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Now, he’s pursing the inevitable solo career after quitting his band, Pray For the Soul of Betty, this year. And there’s the MTV show starting in the fall, he’s a “singing judge” on “The Little Talent Show.” And the possible return to acting, he was invited to check out a play last weekend for possible future involvement. And it’s all grounded by Maroulis’ dedicated work ethic.

“When I toured with ‘Rent’ playing Roger in 2003, I did over 300 performances and never missed a show. I never missed an ‘Idol’ performance. That’s just how I am. Sometimes you spread yourself a little too thin, but I can’t help it. I like to do a little of this and a little of that. I’m just blessed to have a job. It wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t have a gig. I was waiting tables,” he said last week from his New York apartment.

Maroulis, 30, recently released his first single, “Girl Like You,” a catchy, Ricky Martin-esque thumper, which is being promoted on the “American Idol” homepage. He’s working on an album expected to be released this fall, but smoothly deflected any questions as to who is releasing it.

“I’m not answering questions about that today,” he said before segueing with, “but the fans have been very responsive to the song.” Though he’s been out of the “Idol” glare for more than a year, Maroulis admitted to feeling a tinge of nostalgia at the start of this year’s competition.

“At first, it’s a little, ‘oooooh.’ But I’m so happy for all of them. I think they’re all really talented. There’s room for everybody. I clearly made my mark. I’m part of ‘Idol’ history, which is the biggest show on TV.”

Maroulis also retuned to the ‘Idol’ fray a few months ago when pictures of him and this year’s cutesy blonde candidate, Kellie Pickler, hit the tabloids. Though never quite confirming that they dated, “I’m pretty sure she’s not single,” he said, Maroulis pulled out the “we’re definitely friends” line when describing their current state.

“She’s a sweet kid. I enjoy her, she’s very likeable. But look, she’s busy, I’m busy. I wish her all the best,” he said.

His next whirlwind starts tonight at Have a Nice Day Café, where he and his six-member band will play new songs and “Idol” favorites to benefit VSA Arts of Virginia, which promotes the arts and education for children and adults with disabilities.

No doubt Maroulis’ natural charm will ooze within seconds of taking the stage, and it’s a role he’s perfected from nearly half his life. “I feel like the last 12 years I’ve been training,” he said, “and this is what I’m supposed to do.”

IF YOU GO > WHAT: Constantine Maroulis WHEN: 8 tonight, doors open at 7 WHERE: Have a Nice Day Café, 11 S. 18th St. TICKETS: $35. All ages permitted. Under 18 must be accompanied by an adult INFO: (804) 771-1700

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