Hey Gasmii, I had the chance to talk to American Idol Top 13 Contestants: Anoop Desai, Jasmine Murray, Megan Corkrey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, and Jorge Nunez. There was so much that I tried to throw together a “best of each contestant”…enjoy!
Here’s the interview:
Q: OMG, how shocked were you when thought you were eliminated, and then they announced you were in the top 13?
A: I mean, it was the pits. I’ve been telling people it was the difference between having all your dreams dashed and then, ten seconds later, they’re alive again, so it was definitely, I mean, it was a shock. It was a genuine shock for me, and I’m just glad that I’m still here.
Q: Are you excited about Kanye coming on the show?
A: Actually I found out from Ryan this morning (Friday) when I was on his show, so I’m really happy. Hopefully I’ll get to meet him, and we can talk about some collaborations in the future.
Anoop Desai cont.
Q: What’s been your biggest surprise during your Idol experience?
A: I guess the whole process of it. I know that’s really vague, but when you watch it on TV, and when I used to watch it on TV, it’s like, oh, there’s a commercial break. I’m just going to go get a soda or whatever. But there’s such a frantic effort during those commercial breaks just to get everything in place. And just, you know, the number of people, you know, the resources that go into producing just one of these hour-long results shows is incredible. And, you know, I think that was, in my mind, furthered by our press experience last night and just, you know, looking into all these flashing cameras. You know, I knew that it was a juggernaut, but it’s really something else to experience it.
Q: What prompted you to sing Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative again?
A: That song in particular has, I think, become, you know an anthem for me throughout, you know, since Hollywood Week. And I thought it was especially appropriate for the wild card round just, you know, to go out there and say, listen; this is who I am. I’m going to do what I do, and I’m going to have fun. It’s my prerogative. So that’s the reason I chose it.
And, you know, I knew that I had done it in the past, obviously, but like the judges said, I think I did a better job of it this time. I was really happy to be able to do that song with an audience too because it’s such an audience reaction song, so the small audience on the stage that night was key and, you know, that performance, the wild card performance is all about showing the judges your – I mean, it’s a last ditch effort, pretty much, and so I was, you know, obviously I wanted to show them the side that they liked before.
Q: Are there any guest mentors that you would like to work with?
A: If Stevie Wonder came back, I would faint because I think he’s the greatest musical mind that I’ve ever heard, and that would be the ultimate for me.
Q: How are you balancing school with Idol?
A: Well, I basically do like my schoolwork that is from my school, but we, like my teachers will send homework and assignments to me, and I do about probably three hours a day, sometimes maybe longer. But, you know, it’s different because here it’s a little shorter because, at my school, I go from 7:45 to 5:15 every day going to class, because I go to the Mississippi School of the Arts, so it’s kind of like college, and I love it, but it’s a little different here. And I really like school here too as well because it’s shorter and, you know, it’s cool.
Q: Do you think being a former pageant girl helps you on Idol?
A: Yes, definitely. Getting used to being on stage and singing and stuff, it definitely has, and I’m glad that I have that experience in the past, or else I might be, you know, a little more nervous or, you know, just not as comfortable, so yes. Definitely being on the stage before in pageants or just performing in talent shows or anything like that, you know, definitely has helped a lot.
Q: Who are your musical influences?
A: My number one influence is Bjork. I fell in love with it when I was 16. It just changed my life. Her music is so beautiful and original and different, and it’s so emotional, and I just love it.
Q: How many tatoos do you have?
A: I have seven, if you count my sleeve as one. My sleeve isn’t complete, but it’s taken two years up to this point, and it’s a castle and my fairytale, and then I have my son’s name on my wrist. And I have two stars on my back for me and my mom. I have my middle name, Joy, on my hip, and I have just like a jumble of things I love on both of my feet.
Q: How did you like Simon’s fashion advice last night (Thurs)?
A: I don’t know why he’s always hating on me. No…. You know what? I trusted the wardrobe people with that one. They said, hey; just go for it, and who takes fashion advice from Simon anyway? Come on. Really.
Q: Can you talk about your style a little? Kara thought it was a bit over the top…
A: Yes. You know what? It’s American Idol, man. What the heck, you know? And it’s just like … I love the blues style, and I love … gospel and soul and all that stuff. Sometimes it’s a little bit over the top, but last night I was singing for my life, so I definitely was … bring it, man. If I go over the top a little bit, that’s all right. They’ll understand.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to work with in the future?
A: I think I’d love to work with Billy Joel, maybe Elton John, some of these like heavy, heavy iconic piano singers, you know, maybe even Alicia Keys. Definitely that’d be cool. I heard somebody call me like the white boy Alicia Keys. I thought that was pretty funny. No, I’d love to work with some of the iconic piano performers.
Q: What does Lil stand for?
A: Lil is actually short for my grandmother’s name. That’s my name. You know it’s not really short for anything or nothing like that.
Q: Did you feel pressure being the last singer (last week)?
A: It was more nerves than pressure. But it was just knowing that all these great singers had to go before me you know and I just had to really calm myself because when it was my turn to sing I was so jittery and nervous, I just had to take a couple of breaths and I just had to go ahead and let it out you know and just hope for the best. I put my best foot forward and you know songs to the best of my ability and I think it paid off. So you know I’m happy in the end.
Q: Can you take me through the process of picking songs each week?
A: Me, personally, I have to go with songs that I can relate to you know. I really don’t go with things that I feel you know this beat sounds cute or things like that. I have to go with the meaning of the song because you know I like to go out there and give my all.
And if I’m able to relate to it and I’m having you know – I feel like I’m singing this one by heart, then you all would feel it. And what comes from the heart, reaches the heart. So “Be Without You” – I chose that song because it really does remind me of my husband and you know I think about my children and my family.
Q: Do you feel like you’re disadvantaged every week learning a new song because of your tunnel vision? And how does that affect you on Idol?
A: You know I’ve never thought of it as a disadvantage specifically in this competition. I mean it definitely makes it more challenging for me, but I’m so up for rising to the occasion you know as I have in every other challenge I’ve had to face in my life. And you know I don’t want people to look at it in that way you know.
I’m just here having a great time singing. You know I’m just blessed that I have people here that are willing to teach me the choreography. And on that note, you know any time you see me following the steady cam you know or whatever it is, there’s several – lots of camera changes in the group song, “I Believe.” And it’s all – you know they’ve told me you know look here and they point my arm and follow it around to the left. So it’s hit and
miss sometimes, but it’s going well. And you know I’m so blessed to be here.
Q: Did you have a strong musical background before Idol?
A: Well before American Idol I usually did choirs and small groups, but nothing big. I mean this is like the biggest thing that I’ve ever done and like the only big thing that I’ve ever done with music because I’ve never gotten the opportunity to be you know a record label or anything like that. So this is like the biggest thing I’ve ever done.
Q: What made you try out for Idol?
A: I tried out for American Idol because I’ve always wanted to try out. And since they came to Puerto Rico this time I was like why not. And also my great-grandfather he passed away a year ago now and he wanted me to audition. So like six months after he passed away, they announced that they were going to Puerto Rico. So I figured I should go.
Q: Will you be singing any songs in Spanish?
A: Actually I was hoping to get to a part of the show because I mean there’s a lot of songs that are really known here in the United States that have been translated to Spanish. For example, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” has a version in Spanish and “Killing Me Softly” also has a version in Spanish. So I mean songs like that that are really popular I would like to integrate a few verses in Spanish so I could show how my voice sounds in Spanish more because I mean I think that my voice sounds best when I’m singing Spanish.
Q: What are some cultural differences you are seeing in Hollywood VS. where you grew up in Puerto Rico?
A: People from Puerto Rico – we’re just I would say innocent people because I know we are too hospitable. I mean we’re very warm and it doesn’t matter whoever the person is, we’re like so happy to have them with us. Here it’s such a big city, which I’m not used to and I mean the atmosphere is different. It’s interesting you know. People are not as warm as you would think, but still they’re cool.
I want to thank all the Idol contestants for taking the time to talk to me! Can’t wait for this week!