Hey Gasmii, I got on my weekly conference call with eliminated Idol contestants: Alex Lambert, Katelyn Epperly, Todrick Hall, and Lilly Scott. It was a quick call, but I got a few questions in!
First Contestant: Lilly Scott
Q: I was so upset that you got eliminated. Do you think it was your song choice that determined your fate this past week?
A: You know, yes and no. I picked that song because I love Patsy Cline and it really describes who I want to be as an artist. But then, again, the American Idol voting demographic is probably mostly Tweens, you know, like 11 and 12-year-old girls and I’m sure they don’t know who Patsy Cline is.
So, that definitely kind of probably affected me. But I’m staying true to my song choices and I’m definitely having no regrets. I just feel like maybe my fan base and the audience I was playing to, which is the underground market, probably literally wasn’t watching the show and just supporting me in their hearts and not actually voting. And then there’s the whole deal with maybe people just assumed I was safe and chose not to vote. So, honestly I really have no idea what happened, though.
Q: Is there anyone you’d love to work with or collaborate with?
A: You know, I would love to meet Tom York from Radiohead and people like Bjork, just really kind of like the King and Queen of the Indie world. They’re really kind of who I strive to be like as an artist and their fan base is so huge and they are so respected as an artist, every album they put out.
Q: Where would you like to go from here?
A: I definitely feel like I would fit in the big summer festival circuit, doing things like Coachella and Bonnaroo and really doing some mass touring. I know that I can have a whole entire different kind of audience coming out to shows if I did tour. And recording is definitely on my list of things to do. I know there’s a fan base out there for me that is loving what I’m doing. I just don’t necessarily think that would be American Idol voting demographic. So, that’s kind of what I worried about day one of being on the show and I thought I could break the mold, but I guess it’s another season of the same old stuff.
Q: Do they tell you anything about the voting stats? I mean, do you know if you were close?
A: No, they don’t let us know any of that kind of stuff. It’s actually really unfortunate because I’m one to think, you know, screw the establishment and blah, blah, blah, but I would love to know the statistics. I don’t want to think that anything is rigged, but I would also like to know how many votes I really did have.
Q: What were your expectations going into the elimination show?
A: The people that I thought were going to go home were completely different than the people that left last night, including myself. It’s really strange. It seems like people that are roommates have gone home on the same night. And it’s really strange. Katelyn and I were roommates and Todrick and Alex were roommates and Janelle and Ashley were roommates. So, it’s this repetitive thing that’s becoming very strange, but then, again, that just might be a twist of fate and how it works out. I don’t know.
Click to read the others after the jump…
Second Contestant: Katelyn Epperly
Q: Do you think the judges were too hard on you?
A: They were definitely more critical towards me. I’m not sure if it’s possibly because I’ve been performing for so long they maybe expected more out of me than what I was giving them. But, you know, I started out on a pretty strong note, so maybe I didn’t live up to their expectations week-by-week.
Q: I know you were all close, but who were you closest to on the show?
A: Lilly and I were best friends throughout. We were roommates throughout the show and we hung out all the time. So, I mean, it was kind of ironic that we both got eliminated on the same day, but maybe it happened for a reason.
Q: What’s next for you, and your career? Are you going home, staying here?
A: Yes, I am planning on going back, well, for now since I’m flat broke, I’ve got to go back to Des Moines and start working and continue to pursue recording and writing music with all sorts of different artists. A band called Lovedrug, it’s been a band that I’ve been listening to since I was real young, I’m going to get together with them and, hopefully, start writing some music with them as well as other artists. Just getting back in the studio and getting back to what I truly love to do.
Q: Moving forward, is there anyone you’re really rooting for in the top 12? Do you have a favorite contestant?
A: Well, I really do. I mean, honestly, just to be cheesy, but I really do wish them all well because I’ve gotten to know all of them so well and everyone has worked so hard, but honestly, I mean from the start Crystal Bowersox has been a very true, true friend to me and she is a genuinely good, true person and when she sings it comes from the heart. You’ve watched her; it’s just natural for her. She totally deserves it and I’m going to be pulling for it all the way.
Q: Are you glad that Idol has embraced singers and their instruments?
A: Yes, I think that’s very important. That’s actually what made me so much more okay with being on the show, because I did have some pride issues with it at first because talent competitions, you know, that’s not necessarily my thing. I’m a person who likes to sing in bands and just have a good time with music rather than make it something competitive. But seeing so many singer/songwriters this year, I mean people that really are credible musicians and have been working at it their whole lives and truly deserve it, they didn’t just roll out of bed one day and wanted to be on TV show and have an okay voice and a pretty face, so that was really fun and we all got to kind of like sit around backstage while we were waiting for rehearsals and such, we got to like jam out together. We’d pass around the guitar and sing and it was awesome.
Third Contestant: Todrick Hall
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m making it my personal job now to be my own campaign manager to get myself a role on Glee. I think I would be perfect for that show and so every time somebody asks me what I’m doing now I’m just telling everyone that I would love, love, love to be the next cast member on Glee.
And I didn’t even think about campaigning for that until they said the other night, Simon said, “Well, you look like you are doing American Idol the musical.” And then Randy chimed in and said, “Glee.” And I was like, actually, I think I would love to be on Glee. It’s the perfect show for me and that’s the reason I came on American Idol to hopefully take this platform and do something else with it.
Q: You had your best week yet, and then you got kicked off…what do you think went wrong?
A: Well, you know, I feel like I should have done that a couple of weeks earlier. The problem is, I’m an African American male, as you all could tell from watching me on TV and a lot of people expected me to sing, you know, I got so many messages saying sing Usher, sing Chris Brown, sing Ne-Yo, Brian McKnight, Stevie Wonder; any Black artist basically that you can sing because that’s your demographic.
But that’s not the kind of music that I want to sing. So, I’m happy that I stayed true to myself, but I kind of sadly feel that if I had just sung the cookie cutter songs that people would have expected me to do and not gone so far out there with the clothes and the performing and just been a normal guy that got up there and sang semi-decent, you know, I feel like I would have maybe done better, but I’m happy that I stayed true to myself because I think that’s the most important and I would have not been happy doing that.
Q: What was the first thing you did after you were eliminated?
A: I just took a deep breath and just thought, what do I do next? You know, pick yourself up and I have had a lot of experience in this. I’ve grown up in theater and there’s always noes. You always audition for shows and have noes. So I was more concerned about Alex and some of the people who maybe have not necessarily gone through this.
But I just thought of the Glee thing and I said something to Ellen about it and now Ellen is like helping promote the fact that I should be on Glee on her TV show and I think that’s amazing. I wouldn’t be pushing myself for the role if I didn’t think that I would do a good job at it. I think that it would be perfect for me and I just think that anything is possible at this point.
And last: Alex Lambert
Q: I was sooo bummed to see you go. You said there was a lot you still wanted to show the judges, what did you have in mind for weeks to come?
A: Well, when I said I want to break out of my shell and show America what I can do, like, man, honestly every time I got up there I couldn’t even sing my best because I was so nervous. I have a whole other series of songs that I can sing that sound so much better than what I sing on the show. I don’t regret anything because this is like the beginning of my career. I have never really been on stage before so I think I did great for like how good I did for not having any experience.
Q: What were you planning on doing for Rolling Stones week?
A: I was planning on doing “19th Nervous Breakdown.”
Q: Did the judges talk to you after your elimination?
A: Well, they talked to me and they pretty much told me that I need more experience and it’s true and stuff, but I don’t know, I felt like vocally it was my time, but I didn’t have enough experience on the stage and that’s pretty much what they were telling me. They all know I have a good voice and they tell me I have a lot of future ahead of me.
Q: Do you think it was the judges’ encouragement that helped you grow more or the stage time because Ellen really encouraged you…or was it the support of your peers?
A: I would say it was all me, like the only person that was going to help me overcome my stage fright and my nervousness was me and it was all in my head. I mean, I could have gone up there and had a great performance, but in my head I was thinking to nail the song vocally and I wasn’t really worried about performing.
I guess I never thought that the show was so much of like a performing show as a singing competition and I had it in my head so much like I want my vocals to be so much better than everyone else’s and I guess I lost track of the fact that it was like a television show.
Q: What was going through your head during the commercial break, it seemed really emotional…
A: A lot of people were talking to me. And, yes, it was emotional pretty much because a lot of people weren’t expecting the people that went home to go home. There’s people on the Top 12 everyone thought was going home and then when they found out it was me, like, that whole day I was nervous and people were like, dude, why are you nervous? You have no reason to be nervous. You’re going to be here. Then, when I got cut they were just like, what? And a lot of people that were upset were like I made it and he didn’t?
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m going to be on Ellen on Wednesday so that’s the first thing I want to do. And I really want to focus on my music and go take vocal lessons and stuff like that and try to go somewhere because this is the first thing I’ve ever done with my music and I got pretty far doing this and I have no experience at all.
Q: Before Idol, how often would your perform?
A: Before American Idol I had performed at a few coffee shops. The most people that ever showed up was probably like 40 people and most of the people there were my friends and my family. So, I don’t have any experience singing in front of people that I don’t know, so that was like the main problem for me. But I feel like if I had more experience like the sky’s the limit for me.
Q: And your mullet? Did the stylist try to get you to cut it off?
A: The stylists had already asked me if I wanted to cut it and even if they did tell me; yes, they probably would want me to cut it, but I wouldn’t let them ever cut my mullet.
I want to thank all the eliminated contestants for taking the time to talk to me. Rolling Stones week, here we come!