Please start following me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ajcidol! I just created the account.
TV Guide Channel’s “American Idol Rewind” offered up a bunch of season five “Idols” for me to talk to. I already caught up with Paris Bennett and posted that interview earlier this month. I really wanted to gab with Katharine McPhee but her publicist never bothered to reach out to me. (If you happen to read this, Kat McPhee’s publicist, my email is email@example.com!)
I only chose Lisa Tucker, who finished tenth, because she is working with Atlanta’s own Ne-Yo. Bottom line: she’s sweet and young and still trying to finish an album more than three years after her spotlight had dimmed. Unfortunately, Lisa’s the only person in the top 10 of her season to not release an album.
She has been traveling from her home base in Orange County to New York and Atlanta to work on said album. “Ne Yo’s been writing for the album. It’s been going great,” she said. “He’s amazing. It’s such an honor to be working with one of the best writers out there.”
Lisa is now 20 years old. She felt like as a 16 year old on the show, she had a hard time picking songs that were age appropriate yet would show off her voice. “It was a Catch 22,” she said. “Now it’s easier to find songs that you can relate to.”
Seeing her old clips, though, “was somewhat painful. It was like reliving the nerves. I got nervous when I was watching.” But overall, “I’m really proud of the way I handled myself. On the show, it’s pretty funny to watch.” She is still in touch with Kevin Covais (who did a movie and went to college) and just spoke with Paris. “We always try to hook up when we can but everybody is so busy! I still talk to Mandisa and Elliott. Everyone’s doing good.”
Lisa at the time lacked an identity or a definable personality and was simply overshadowed by Paris, who finished fifth. She had a “Disney” feel to her and had some acting chops. She got bit parts in “The Game” on the CW, “Zoey 101″ on Disney and did a movie called “The Hustle” with David Alan Grier. I recall meeting her three years ago at a Macy’s and she had gotten a part on a TV show pilot that never got picked up.
After graduating high school, Lisa considered college but said she signed with Compound, Ne-Yo’s label. “I have to strike while the iron’s hot,” she said, with no apparent sense of irony. I asked if three years was too much time. “I think it’s a perfect amount of time,” she said. “I didn’t want to be that girl from ‘Idol.’ I’m older. Yes, I did ‘Idol.’ It was great exposure but I’m not taking it to a different level. I don’t think the association is as strong. That’s a positive thing.”
Why is it taking so long? “I wanted to make sure the music is right,” she said. “I think my patience will pay off.”
She said if she had rushed an album out, it would have been pop R&B ballads. “I’m glad I didn’t do that because a lot of time it’s hard to relate to a 16 year old girl. What’s necessary in music is believing that the person is feeling that way.”
How about Taylor Swift? “I love Taylor Swift. I bump her music in the car. It’s a perfect blend. She’s 17. She’s found the formula.”
The trick now for Lisa is to carve out a fresh identity amid the Rihannas and Lady GaGas of the world. I asked for her influences and she said she loves rock music without anything specific.
Her favorite season 5 moment was her audition. “I had been watching the show forever so to actually be there, it was so surreal for me. It was before you get into the swing of the show and get stressed out every day.” The worst was getting voted off. She said she sang “Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson because none of her songs would clear. “I was stressed out so much that night. I was the last one in the studio that night trying to pick a song. I didn’t want to sing that song in the first place.”
“American Idol Rewind”
Denver auditions featuring the debut performances of Chris Daughtry, Ace Young, Melissa McGhee, Lisa Tucker
5 p.m. October 23
midnight October 24
1 p.m. October 24
9 p.m. October 25
The show is also syndicated but I have not been able to find any stations in Atlanta that air it.