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'Idol' isn't idle

Former 'American Idol' contestant works as a trainer when not rocking the stage.

February 17, 2014|By Craig Rosen
  • Burbank resident and former American Idol contestant, Mary Powers, practices with her band Death on the Radio and bass player Lee "Evol" Powers at a rehearsal hall in North Hollywood, Sunday, January 26, 2014
Burbank resident and former American Idol contestant,… (Photo by Mike Mullen )

For every Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, there are dozens of "American Idol" contestants who have yet to find stardom, but haven't given up on their rock 'n' roll dreams. Burbank resident Mary Powers is one of them.

Until recently the 28-year-old single mother fronted not one, but two different rock bands. But being in two bands can also mean twice the drama.

On a recent Sunday night, as the Recording Academy was lauding their favorites at the Grammy Awards at Staples Center, Powers and her band Death on the Radio were sweating it out at AMP Rehearsal studios in North Hollywood. It was their first rehearsal since October, gearing up for a show set for Feb. 28 at Release the Bats in Long Beach. By all accounts, the rehearsal went well, but a few weeks later, it all went south.

Death on the Radio featured Power's estranged husband, Lee "Evol" Powers on bass, as well as guitarist Danny Dorman, who's played bass in Wasted Youth and Aggression, and drummer Roger DeLong. After two years, Powers found it too difficult remain in a band with her soon-to-be-ex.

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She has no such problems with her other band, Black Sabbitch, an all-female tribute band to Ozzy Osbourne-era Black Sabbath. That band — which also includes drummer Angie Scarpa, former Betty Blowtorch guitarist Blare N. Bitch, and ex-Penny Dreadfuls bassist Melanie Makaiwi — plays Paladino's in Tarzana on Feb. 21, sharing the bill with Holy Diver, a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio.

Prior to her 2009 "Idol" shot, Powers often performed at Science of Mind Spiritual Center in Burbank and other churches, but entering the TV singing competition forever changed her course. "Preparing for 'American Idol' was a big deal, because it got me out of the church-y circuit and back into the pop real world," she says.

It was on "Idol" where Powers got some major exposure in a three-minute plus segment. She sang Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" in front of the judges and millions on TV. Then-"Idol" judge Simon Cowell offered some harsh criticism along with the praise: "I think you've got a good voice, but I think everything about you is very clichéd. You know, trying to dress like a rock star, but I do like your voice," he added. "That's a very difficult song to sing without a track."

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