Idol had a press conference at 4 p.m. EST today for each of the contestants who made it through last night. (Ratings last night on a Thursday vs. “Survivor” suffered accordingly, at about 20.7 million. “Survivor” and “Ugly Betty” also took ratings hits.)
Allison Iraheta was up first. She’s only 16 years old and it showed. I didn’t learn much beyond the fact she’s Latino and grew up singing Spanish and English. She said she was not intimidated by the fact Carrie Underwood and others had sung “Alone” by Heart before. I asked her if she was a natural redhead. Of course, she’s not. She did say she just wanted to be a redhead but admitted that she might change her mind in two months and go purple. Ah… to be 16!
Adam Lambert was far more engaging and articulate, but he’s much older, too. I asked him if they were singing to backing tracks or a live band. He said a live band hidden behind a wall. He had no clue why “Idol” chose to hide them this year. I also asked him how he felt about being the last person up on Wednesday. “I was honored. I knew closing the show meant I’d be fresh in people’s minds when they voted. I was really really happy.”
On his musical philosophy: “I’m a risk taker. I’m not easy listening. I’m not going to be the most digestible thing for everybody across the board. I like to blow it out of the box. Either you like it or you don’t. It’s important to balance your integrity, what the audience wants and what the judge wants. I’m not planning on wailing at the top of my lungs every week. I’ll vary the mood and style of the songs I’m going to sing week to week.”
On his goth musical style: “I was dressed like that during Wicked. That stuff you’ve been seeing on “Idol” is my daily streetwear.”
On getting a lot of airtime: “It helps. It’s exposed me to people more and more. They get a feeling they know me… I’m really thankful for the producers to feature me this way.”
About being “Broadway”: Luckily, [Simon] didn’t say Broadway. It’s theatrical. I take that theatrical comment as a compliment as opposed to a derogatory statement. When you think about the pop music scene and a lot of artists are going that very theatrical route with a lot of camp and costumes.”
Who does he admire: “David Bowie has been a really realy cool artist. He took a lot of risks visually, lyrically and musically. Vocally we’re very different but I think along those lines. He’s a great model for me.”
His sound: “I’m not going for a Broadway sound. This is finally allowing me to be myself. I don’t listen to showtunes in my spare time. Musical theater was the way I was paying the bills. We have to have a job, right? I get to sing the music now I like to listen to.”
Kris Allen, though, was a bore, not terribly insightful. I asked him about how he felt about doing Michael Jackson just a week after Paula Abdul saying singing a Michael Jackson song is a “kiss of death.”
“It was a little scary,” he said, “but I was really confident about what I was doing. And I was just really really happy I didn’t get compared to Michael Jackson. Glad I accomplished that.”
That was his best quote. He mostly gave us short, dull answers. He said he and his brother both tried out, kind of like David Cook and his bro. He said it took some time to get comfortable singing without a guitar. He plans to use the guitar once he’s in the top 12. His reax to Simon saying chicks will dig him: “It probably helped. I’m not going to lie.” What theme would he love? The Beatles. He acknowledged being shocked he made it through. “I felt really really lucky,” he said.
I will update this blog entry with what info we glean from.
Here’s Kris Allen’s “Man in the Mirror” that got him through. So much for Michael Jackson being the “kiss of death,” as Paula Abdul said last week when Stephen Fowler fouled up an MJ song.
Here are my theories on why each person got through:
Allison: She has monstrous potential, a great voice. Although “Alone” has been overdone on “Idol,” as Linny noted to me yesterday, it’s a perfect song to showcase your talent if you have it because it starts slow, then hits it big. Although Allison was shaky at points, she clearly has stage presence, an intriguing look (sure, she’s 16 going on 30 but who cares?) and a voice that can be honed. Downside: She’s only 16 and she acted rather strangely during her interview with Ryan. So how she goes forward is a major question mark.
Adam: He has been pimped big time by the producers. He was given the pimp spot. He has a great voice, a very particular glam rock look. He seems like a nice enough guy. Downside: His theatrics are way over the top. Is this all a big act? Will he grow on people enough that he can gather big vote counts down the road? Or is his appeal too narrow?
Kris: He didn’t get much airtime but made the most of it Wednesday night. Although Kara dissed him, I thought he sang “Man in the Mirror” pitch perfect. He’s a good looking dude, attracted the tween/teen vote for sure. He clearly has talent. Downside: He’s a wee bit bland, along the lines of Chris Richardson or Phil Stacey.