Part-time Fayetteville resident and season five contestant Paris Bennett called in late last week to promote the upcoming season of “American Idol Rewind,” which starts this weekend on TV Guide Channel.
Her class of 2006 is considered the favorite among many of us “Idol” acolytes. Among the top 10, Daughtry is huge. Kellie has been a surprisingly sturdy presence in country music. Bucky, Ace, Mandisa, Elliott, Kat and Taylor have kept themselves in the spotlight to various degrees. Even Lisa Tucker is working with Ne Yo.
Paris did come out with an album a couple of years back but got little traction. She had a baby nearly a year ago named Egypt. Whatever diva-like issues she had in 2007 are largely gone. But she really hasn’t forged a solid career image that I can ascertain.
And unfortunately, during my interview with her last week, I wasn’t able to get much deeper with her own assessment of her career or anything of real substance. I just don’t see a concrete plan. She says she’s working regularly and making enough money to survive doing corporate and foundation appearances, but she certainly hasn’t done much to stay in the public eye even to the degree of, say, Ace Young. Or even Kevin Covais.
Here’s what I was able to scrape up: her daughter is speaking a few words and is crawling. She said becoming a mom has given her a chance to get herself together and better herself career wise, though she wasn’t terribly specific on the career front. At least personally, she can focus on another human being and not as much on herself.
One thing I knew before is she has a big famly support system. That still seems to be the case. Her dad and mom still counsel her on her career. Her grandma and music legend Ann Nesby, who lives locally, is also around. She splits her time between Minneapolis and Fayetteville.
She said she has no regrets over her choices thus far. She also said she’d probably do the same thing if she were to try out this year, at age 19, instead of age 16. She still expresses broad influences and musical interests, from Prince (who she has met) to Peggy Lee to Annie Lennox.
She is about to start an album that she says will be “urban pop’ but I didn’t get much more in the way of details. She is no longer working on her family label, fishing for anoher one.
Paris is also going ot watch “Idol Rewind,” of course. Her most memorable moment: meeting Brian May of Queen. “And crying all the time,” she said. She was always sad to see people elmiinated.
She’s still close to Ace, Kevin and Lisa, plus Elliott and Taylor. I never got the impression she became buds with Kat, Kellie or Mandisa.