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Bice cousins keep up with L.A.

By Ronnie Thomas
DAILY Staff Writer

rthomas@decaturdaily.com 340-2438

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — How do you make the scenes in the sprawling Los Angeles area on limited time?

In my case, you follow the lead of Bo Bice's cousins, who know how to divide and conquer.

For example, on Tuesday, our first day, five of our 10-member group — Bice relatives Tim and Melissa Patrick and Karen Mayer, Matty Johnson of WZYP radio, and I — cheered Bice on the hour-long "American Idol" show in Hollywood.

Meanwhile, the other five — Anthony and Evie Hawkins, Rhea Tilley, Linda Case and Patty Malone — had tickets given by "Access Hollywood" to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at NBC studios in Burbank.

On Wednesday, the roles switched. My group went to "The Tonight Show" and the others attended the "Idol" results show.

After "American Idol" on Tuesday night, nine members of our troupe attended a Bo Watch at Saddle Ranch Restaurant in Universal City, sponsored by "Access Hollywood." They mingled with Warren Tabotol, a Bice Squad leader in the Los Angeles area, who manages the fan club's Web site (www.bicesquad.net), and other Bice Squad members. The Hollywood Fox affiliate and "Entertainment Tonight" also interviewed some of Bice's family.

I stayed behind to file a story, letting DAILY readers know Bice shone once more in Tuesday's competition.

The five attending Wednesday's results show were in for a treat, too. They participated in a send-off party for Scott Savol, hosted by "Idol" producers.

"In person, Scott comes across as witty and intelligent, a sweetheart," said Tilley. "He said he wasn't bitter and was happy to have made it as far as he did. We told him we expected to buy his CDs for many years to come."

The party also doubled as a birthday celebration for 20-year-old Anthony Fedorov.

"Bo brought in his birthday cake," Evie Hawkins said. "We found all five of the contestants and their families to be friendly and supportive of each other. The singers are obviously close knit and have established a strong, caring bond."

On Wednesday morning, I managed a hasty trip to Hollywood Boulevard for a stroll on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. The two stars embedded in the sidewalk that gave me pause honored gossip columnist Walter Winchell and country music legend Hank Williams.

Although concerned about getting rental cars, checked in at the airport and making the flight out of Los Angeles International Airport early Thursday afternoon, we were still scrambling to sightsee that morning. Several of us stood at Venice Beach watching surfers and the playful antics of sea gulls.

This week, when Bice fans gather Tuesday at Mamas Country Diner for another Bo Watch, among those the singer will welcome to Hollywood are his mother, Nancy Downes of Covington, Ga., his grandmother, "Granny Madge" Schofield of Somerville, his girlfriend, Caroline Fisher, and her mother, Wanda Fisher, both of Birmingham.

The trip will mark Schofield's first to the "American Idol" stage. She talked about it with Tilley.

"I've been to a lot of big cities, and I know how to conduct myself," Schofield said. "But I'm not quite sure how I should act out there in L.A. I think I'm just going to be myself."

Tilley said she told her, "You do that, and you'll steal the city."

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