Conference Call Interview With Diana DeGarmo
Transcription By TVFrenzy.com
Author's Notes: Logan "Lobeck" Martin had prior engagements and could not attend today's interview with Diana. However, John and I figured many of you would still be interested in the transcript. Remember to check out FORT for one-on-one interviews with Diana (and Fantasia) later this week.
*ALSO* - The interviewer questions are not verbatim (due to the fact that most questions involve a lot of gushing and rightfully so) but Diana's comments are about 90-95% verbatim (she's a teenager who acts like one on the phone, so there are a lot of "conversational transitions" that would not appear in the transcript).
Personality Notes: Diana is simply the sweetest thing! She's a jovile, bubbly sixteen year-old girl who's very enthusiastic and overwhelmingly nice.
<B>Did you anticipate you would make it to the finale and what steps did you take to make it this far (what about your performances do you think helped you get to this stage)?</b>
You always come with the hope that you'll make it this far, but you never know how people will take to you or how people will vote. I'm so excited to be here, but I really think what changed my position was that I noticed halfway through that I was not doing my best. I said, 'You know what? What would I do if I was performing at home for my friends or family,' and I did that, and things seemed to turn around. I really just started showing "me" and having a good time. I hope people like me, but if they don't it's okay - I'm just having a blast.
<B>Were you trying to project more of your personality in recent weeks?</b>
Oh yeah, definitely. I think people really want to connect with who they see on TV, so you have to say "hey, this is who I am." I think people like to pick up on that and it definitely changed votes [for the better].
<B>Fantasia's the favorite to win this competition, so what would you say to America to convince them to vote for you?</b>
I would just say that I might be only sixteen, but age is only a number. I think I could definitely come up here and represent America well; I would love to be your next American Idol.
<B>Do you have any future plans?</b>
No matter what, I'm definitely going to be recording a CD. I'm going to continue my career and go after my dream of becoming a singer, it's what I've always wanted to do, so why stop now?
<B>What are your thoughts on some of the voting controversies; what are your thoughts on the expanded voting this week?</b>
We don't really get to know much about the voting, except that FOX and American Idol assure us that the voting is as fair as possible. I just think that it's good no matter what. I'm excited about the extra hours [now that you've brought it up] - I did not even know they were doing that. That's cool and I think it will help out a lot of people. I know that the phone lines get busy and some people can't vote, so I think it will be good.
<B>Who do you think was the most helpful guest judge?</b>
I think all the judges are great because they really did help. It's great to have someone on there who tells you what the real deal is. I think the best guest judge was Barry Manilow because he not only changed all of his songs for us, but he also let us make them "our songs." He was really great to work with and he was really great about teaching us new things; how to sing a song and how to [show] emotion.
<B>If you do not win this week, what's going to happen in the next few weeks?</b>
My immediate plans are to just get the ball rolling, don't stop while people know who I am. Definitely start recording the CD and getting plans and working on the tour; hopefully getting my CD out by the time the tour rolls around.
<B>What was your high-point performance-wise?</b>
I think one of my high points was definitely, well, it kind of started turning around at Barry Manilow week. But, the best for me was Disco Week - I just had so much fun. I love Disco music, it's so much fun to sing. I picked some songs that really worked well for me and it ended up that people really enjoyed them.
<B>Which song specifically stood out?</b>
I loved doing Donna Summer's song, especially since I was the only one doing [her] song and she was our guest judge. I felt honored that she really liked the song and was proud of me for making it my own.
<B>Do you feel American Idol's credibility has been hurt this year due to all the controversies and "scandals" going around?</b>
You know, I don't even know. I haven't gotten into the whole voting thing, to be honest. I think the show is still great - 30 million people have watched each week, it's still amazing. I'm really proud that I'm on it.
<B>Simon's already predicted you to win the title of American Idol, but do you feel he's just trying to influence votes?</b>
I have no idea, I didn't know he said that. It's his opinion and I don't know whether or not he would try to do that, but it's cool no matter what.
<B>Do you feel being young in a competition like this has advantages?</b>
It's kind of hard to say - the age range is very wide. I think the advantages of being a teenager are that you may be able to connect with a teenage audience, since you appeal to people that are younger. It's also good because school helps you deal with the stress level. You get to step away from all of the runaround to go work on Algebra 2 for a while, so it kind of helps.
<B>In your opinion, do you feel you can be as successful as Clay (without winning)?</b>
Take Clay Aiken, he did so great and came in second place - he has such a wonderful following. I think I've done as well as I can, no matter what, if people like me, I hope they still do after the show. Coming in second place is just saying you were second place, but we're all winners no matter what.
<B>Do you feel any pressure since La Toya was expected to have your place in the finale, and she was considered to be one of the strongest vocalists this season?</b>
You know, what, I'm just excited to be here, I can't say either way. I'm just happy to make it this far and am just blessed and saying thank you to everyone who helped me get here.
<B>Do you feel you're going to misout on your childhood due to being so successful at only sixteen?</b>
Luckily, I have had a very fulfilled childhood. Not only am I a singer, but I'm a normal kid. I've gone to birthday parties, I'm in public school just like any other kid. I've had a great childhood, and now I'm doing something that I love. I eat, sleep, and breathe music and singing. I know a lot of people were upset about the prom, but I went to prom last year, so it's okay. I'm still going to get my diploma and have experienced everything I wanted to experience.
<B>Does this competition ever feel surreal?</b>
That's exactly how it feels. It's so crazy. Ten weeks ago, there were twelve of us. Two months before that, there were a hundred seventeen of us. It's crazy to think that out of 70,000 people, little me from Snellville, the youngest girl in the competition, has made it this far. It's CRAZY. I couldn't have asked for anything more. This has been an incredible year for me, and I'm just so happy to be on this GREAT show. It's helped me with my career no matter what, and has taken me from just a singer in the south to somebody that 30 million people know. I'm just so excited to be here. I'm so blessed - God has touched my life. I'm so happy my life has turned out this way.
<B>What have you been doing to prepare for the finale?</b>
We have been definitely keeping busy recording songs and being prepared for whoever might win. We've been practicing with the other finalists who will perform on Wednesday, as well as the three songs we're doing on Tuesday. I think we've picked really great songs and we're both going to give you a REALLY, REALLY good show.
<B>Are you and Fantasia still living in the Idol mansion?</b>
Actually, we have moved out. It's a really, really big house and there's only two of us - it's kind of a lot of wasted space. We've moved into a hotel. It's funny, because when we were in group one, we were in adjacent hotel rooms and we'd always knock on each others' wall and now, we're again right next to each other. It's kind of like a funny, we were meant to be here, kind of thing.
<B>Did you and Fantasia have any sense during the semifinals that you were on the road to the finale?</b>
Well, I remember when Fantasia and I were both told we made it into the top twelve, we made a pact that no matter what we were going to stick together to the end and it kind of worked, it's kind of neat. That the two of us, the first two in the top twelve, have made it to the final two is just cool. I'm glad to be in a group with a really great singer and I'm proud to be singing with her.
<B>Can you comment further on Fantasia?</b>
Fantasia has a BEAUTIFUL voice, she has a very unique voice which really makes her Fantasia. There's no other person like her. She has more of an R&B voice, I have more of a pop voice. But, you know what, we both are completely different, but we're both the same, so it makes for a cool difference.
<B>In what ways are you and Fantasia similar?</b>
We're both from the south and both raised on gospel roots, so we have that in us. We're both really fun, cool, corky people; we're like sisters almost. It's cool, I'm glad to have her in the competition with me.
<B>Why did you tryout in Hawaii, instead of nearby Atlanta?</b>
The reason I didn't go to the Atlanta audition was that I had an obligation I had made months in advance to perform somewhere. I'm not the kind of person to back out after making a commitment. The company was like "oh, you can go if you want to," I was just like no, I've written my name down, a lot of people know I'm coming, so I definitely had to keep the obligation. My cousin lives in Hawaii, so that was the next audition on the list, so we bought tickets. Right after we bought tickets, we found out about the San Francisco audition, which was a tad bit closer, but Hawaii was fun, I got to go somewhere I'd never been before and made some friends.
<B>Why do you think it's so important to involve the audience in your performances?</b>
I think it really is good to bring in the audience because they energize us. They're the beat to when we go out on stage; that's why we're out there performing - to make them happy and give them a good show. I think going out there and really getting them involved is important - I'm having a good time so I want them to have a good time. I think it also helps to go out to the cameras, it says that I don't only stand up on stage but I like to go out to those who are voting for me.
<B>Do you have any closing words for your supporters?</b>
I just want to say thank you so much! Without you all, I would NEVER have gotten this far. You all have blessed me in a way you would never know, I'm so thankful to have you all on my side.