Every week during the season, Fox PR sends out a notice asking for us to RSVP for phone press conferences. I did so on Feb. 13 for yesterday’s press conference with the first three in the top 12. Unfortunately, I never got a reminder notice because the PR person never got it. And since I was working frantically on a non-”Idol” story yesterday, it slipped my mind. This won’t happen again. Fortunately, they sent me the transcript for the press conference.
Fox also has not defined how the wildcard show will work in 13 days beyond saying the judges will pick the three. I’m guessing they will pick 12 but they might pick only 9 or 10 of the remaining 27.
Here are highlights:
First up is Alexis Grace:
Us magazine asked about being a mom and if she’s nervous juggling it with singing:
I am nervous. I mean any mom would be nervous because it’s their kid and they are so attached to their child. I mean that’s their responsibility. But, it’s only for a little time and this little time apart. As long as I work hard and dedicate myself to it, I know I can get it done because I have the best family in the world and they’re going to help me out with whatever I need and they’ll be traveling back and forth. So, I’ll be able to get to see her, but not as much as I would like to. This is all to better our lives.
She refused to answer who she thinks should go to the wild card. (Politically correct!)
Being compared to Amy Winehouse/Duffy: “I mean I like their style in clothing. I wouldn’t say I’d be in their style of singing though I think because I sing more almost like blues kind of stuff. So, kind of sort of the look in there mixed in with some blues, like some Joss Stone and then there I come out.”
One reporter had the temerity to ask her height — and weight! Go figure-she answered it: “Most girls wouldn’t like this question. I think I might weigh like 99 pounds, maybe 98 and I would I’m 5’, maybe 4’11” .”
The influence of growing up in Memphis on her sound: “From my hometown, Memphis. I mean you hear blues all the time and my dad is a big influence and my mom too. I mean they listen to soul and my dad plays it. So, when you grow up listening to it all the time that’s what you end up singing like.”
Why she chose the Aretha song: “Well, I knew that I can sing in that range for that one thing. That’s my range. I’m pretty comfortable with that, but I don’t know. I feel connected to her music somehow. I feel like that’s just my style. So, I went with it.”
On being compared to Kelly Clarkson: It’s more than flattering. I mean it really just shook my world when they said that, in a good way. What it does, though, is it just pushes me to do better each time now. Now, I’m really going to step up my game and prove to them that they’re right.
On Tatiana Del Toro: Well, honestly, Tatiana and I never really talked a whole bunch just because I kind of kept to myself a little bit. But what I can tell you about Tatiana, that girl, she is determined and she is going to be something someday – I’m telling you. She is hilarious.
On changing her looks between audition and show: Well, as soon as I left my live audition, I really started working on my look because that was what they told me – “You need to work on your look.” So, I think over time it’s gotten easier and I’ve kind of really come to know what kind of style I like and comfortable with wearing certain things and knowing what looks good with my look – just playing around and having fun.
Here’s Michael Sarver’s highlights:
On his family: I have an incredible wife who never drops the ball on our family. She makes sure that our kids are taken of. So while I’m in L.A., my wife is the number one person who takes care of business, but we have an incredible family that surrounds us that will always take care of the kids. There will be times in and out. We don’t know now. We’ll take it one step at a time as far as when they’ll be able to come out, but you know I’ll love it when they do.
On Simon telling viewers to vote for him helping him get the votes: I can’t deny that I think that that could have had something to do with it. Simon making a plea for me on my behalf; I don’t take that lightly that at all. I really take a lot from that as a compliment because I appreciate compliments on my voice and my singing and things, but to be complimented on the person I am really means a lot to me. I have no doubt it had an impact and I appreciate it.
On his blue-collar appeal: I can acknowledge that the hard working American is part of the appeal. I believe that real life people can relate to me, especially in the economy and the day that we live. It’s very difficult for a lot of people and I see it as a chance to see someone rise from the ashes. It’s not that my life is bad, but things are tough and to see some excel and succeed, I think people relate to that and it’s special to their hearts.
On Danny Gokey’s story: As a viewer, another story on the show that really hits me is Danny Gokey because my wife is my absolute best friend and I tell you; if she did pass away, I don’t understand how I could wake up the next day. To not only view him on the show, but to be around him and see the incredible person that he is; I have mad, mad respect for Danny Gokey
On being a worship leader: I will tell you; being a worship leader has been a huge part of my life over the last several years. I take it very seriously and I love God and He’s a big part of my life. It has everything to do with my step forward. It is party of my inspiration and part of the reason that I believe that I can do this. It has everything to do with my tomorrow and believing that there’s even better things to come.
On the prayer group on the “Idol” set: I didn’t have to start it. Those of us who believe in God and are Christians, we definitely just kind of attach to each other and we’re already there. Danny and I, we pray together and we have times where we talk about God and the things of God and we keep it center in our lives.
He also refused to ID who should make it to the wildcard.
My bud Daniel Feinberg asked why he chose this year to do Idol: That is a very excellent question. I’ve been watching Idol over the years and never felt the option to go for Idol. I believe it had to do a lot with knowing somewhere inside of me that I still had a lot of growing up to do. This year, my sister-in-law voiced her desire to try out and she said something to me and it really just hit me all of a sudden – let’s do that. We did and I made it and for some reason, it was just a moment and a right time and a right moment in my life that just fit and it never fit before. I moved on it knowing it was the right time for me and obviously, it’s working out. So, great.
What will he do til the top 12 show: Well, a lot of what we’ll be doing is what we’re doing right now and then there are rehearsal and things. They keep us busy. We’ll obviously be out here, working the whole time. There’s plenty for us to do even though we’re not a part of the immediate show each week. You guys will probably be treated to times with us, I’m sure. But, they keep us busy and they have plans for us way ahead of time.
On skeptics at his oil rigging workplace: Believe it or not, there was a lot of positive. A lot of people said, “Go for it” and then there were those that were like, “Yeah, right.” I guess you don’t expect to see something like that that close to you. But believe it or not, I actually had one person, I won’t say his name, but he told me, he looked me in the eye and he said, “I heard you wanted to be a singer.” I said, “Yes, sir. I do.” He said, “Let me tell you something, son. It’ll never happen.” He couldn’t have meant that more than he did. I don’t mean to get back at anybody, but I’ll tell you; no matter what people tell you, no matter what people think, you keep trying and you keep trucking and it works out.
Now onto Danny Gokey:
On his friend Jamar Rogers getting cut: As you can see from the show that aired it, I was mad. I had a pretty upset look on my face because I expected him to go through. I don’t know– If you pay attention carefully to the tapes, I even said, “I’ll see you in the top 36” after I made it through and we were talking. I mean I was just so confident that he showed his ability and what it takes to get there. And so, disappointment was completely in my mind and heart, but the thing is he received such recognition. I know it’s not the end of the world for him. He has a bright future ahead of him and it doesn’t stop here. It only gets better from here.
On his wife’s death garnering sympathy for him: It weighs on my mind a lot though because honestly, this is a sob story I don’t want. I don’t want this story, but it is shaping my life and it’s causing hope for a lot of people knowing that it’s causing hope for my life. I didn’t want to live any more after she passed. So now, I have my mission set in stone of what I want to portray myself as and just who I am. I don’t have to portray myself as anybody, but as far as being me, but there’s a fun side to me that’s going to come out. And so, people have to stay tuned in. I apologize to everybody if they feel like it’s shoved down their face, but it’s so fresh in my mind.
On his background: Well, I come from a musical family. I have four sisters and a brother. And so, including my parents, there’s eight of us. We would all sing together as kids and we started going to this one church and we’d go up, all eight of us, as a family. My dad would play guitar and we would sing songs in front of the church. So, that’s really where I got started. I didn’t really take it too serious though. It got really serious when I started going to the church I attend now and I was 20-years-old. So, 20-years-old was pivotal in my music career.
Danny also wouldn’t bite on the question of who should go to wildcard. He said everybody. Yah… right.
On Tatiana Del Toro: With Tatiana, you expect the unexpected. She really is a great person. I mean she wants it so bad and you see the desire and the passion in her and I think at times, that’s maybe her image on TV. But yes, I maybe looked calm and cool, but I wasn’t on the inside. I have family members say that I looked that way, but I have to be honest, man. On the inside, I feel kind of like a wreck.
On whether he has any mementos of his wife with him all the time: No, I really don’t. But the thing is, she’s in my heart. You can never take that away. I really don’t hang on to charms or anything like that or any mementos. I have, obviously, pictures at home, but she’s so deeply engrained in my heart and mind that she’s a part of who I am.
On his pastor: Yes, I talked to my pastor yesterday and he cried. He cried on the phone. That never happens, but he was so emotional. You have to understand; he was there the whole entire process of my wife and he saw how much it devastated me. To see a person’s life right before your eyes transform from such a low point to now a high point, it’s emotional. He apologized. He said, “I’m so sorry for crying.” He was so happy for me, and he’s a big part of who I am. He’s a huge mentor in my life. He’s never taken anything from me; he’s only given to me and I just love it. It’s been awesome.
On Idol giving him more attention than others: Honestly, I do feel like that I was highlighted. There’s no getting around that. I didn’t do anything to get that. I can say this; I’m grateful that they would do that. I have no control over it. I know everyone’s not going to like me. That’s goes without saying, but it’s a bummer when people are just real mad about it. I had nothing to do with it and I hope people can see past that and just see that I genuinely just love to sing and that’s what I want to do.
On what route he’d take as a pop artist: Honestly, I don’t know yet, but the answer I’m leaning towards right now is it would be out in the mainstream market. That’s where I want to be. I think I can have a lot of affect on it. I mean there are a lot of good Christian singers, but I think I would like to go out and do something with my box. I can just be a Christian who sings mainstream music instead of having to be a Christian who has to somehow just sing Christian music. I believe that I can just be a singer who is a Christian.
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