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His fans will tell you that crooner David Radford was sent home much too early, unfortunately, there werenít enough of them to keep him around for another week. The FORT recently attended a media interview with David where he shared his future plans, his take on the comments from the judges and the comparisons to a former Idol.
Q: You were regularly reminded of your audience of millions. How did you handle that pressure?
A: You canít really think about it like that. Youíve got to think about it as an audience of cameras. You canít think about the number because 42 million, I donít know anybody who can really comprehend that number. You know, how many eyes are watching you, itís just incomprehensible. So you just have to look at it as youíre performing for the camera and America but not as a number, as collective, you know?
Q: Were you expecting to change up your style if you made the final 12 or earlier?
A: Not change up who I am as a singer, but switch around the song selection definitely. And by that time, I think youíre forced to with the whole genre weeks and all the guest starts that are going to be coming on the shows. I donít think I can really say who they are but just different types of genres that theyíre going to be doing. I would have to change somewhat.
Q: What are your immediate plans?
A: Go back to high school, finish out until I graduate, you know, get a prom date and hopefully they see some opportunities for a record or acting, anything.
Q: Iím just wondering, you seem very, kind of generally kind of relieved that the end of the line came. Was that how you really felt?
A: Yes and no. Of course, itís bad to leave everybody and leave the show and leave all my friends especially. But at the same time, you are refocused on something when you get back to your home, which is your friends, you family and your career opportunities. Obviously this is by no means an end of the road, you know. Itís more of a beginning than anything. Just because this is the most-watched television show ever, and you canít look at that as failure at all. You have to look at it as a positive thing because thatís what it really is, no matter how you spent it. You cannot pay Ė I donít think anybody could pay for this kind of publicity. Itís just exposure that will hopefully turn into positive opportunities for my future.
Q: And Iím sure youíll have no trouble getting a prom date.
A: Oh, thank you very much.
Q: Girls will be lining up for you.
A: Itís the asking thatís going to be the trouble.
Q: You disagreed with the judges that said that you looked insecure when you performed. Why do you think that you might have come off that way?
A: Itís really a nerve-racking time and I didnít really disagree with the judges once I fell back. I thought they were right and I came off as a little bit nervous and, you know, something I can work on next time.
Q: You definitely brought to mind a past contestant John Stevens. If you had a sing-off with John, who do you think would win?
A: I honestly have never heard the guy sing.
Q: As itís been said, youíve been described as a crooner and compared to John Stevens. And he sort of tripped up with the scene weeks that happened later in the series and I did kind of wonder how you were going to handle that, of you got that far. And if you think that American Idol really was the right avenue for your type of singing?
A: I donít know if it was Ė I canít really answer that question just because I donít know the answer. But I can just tell you that I donít regret anything and I hopefully will gain some opportunities from this and it was a great experience. You canít read about this stuff in books and you canít learn how to be apt for the music business just by studying it. I mean, you have to live it and these last six months have been just like hands-on experience that is priceless.
Q: I just wanted to ask about Simon and Paula making some jokes last night while you Ė I know it didnít happen when you specifically got eliminated. But when they had these tense moments and then Simon and Paula are joking about fortune cookies and pizza and stuff. What was going through you guysí heads when theyíre saying this?
A: I have no idea what that was about at all. I was just trying to keep my focus and make it Ė Honestly, that really was surprising but itís a TV show.
And you donít really know whatís going on behind the scenes and I have no idea what that was about so I canít really say. Itís not like I know the answer to why that was, but thatís what happened.
Q: Were you maybe insulted that they were kind of making fun at this kind of tense time when everyone is really anxious?
A: I wasnít insulted. Like I said, I know nothing about it.
Q: The Simon and Paula stuff, was it a big topic of discussion amongst all of you guys afterwards? Like were you guys all trying to figure out what was being said?
A: I didnít really hear the Sway comment. I was backstage conferring with the others. But it was just weird, but I really donít know what it was about or what happened.
Q: We were just talking to Brenna and I know that there were some strong personalities on the show. Is there anyone that you butted heads with or was there anyone besides Simon?
A: I donít think I butted heads with anybody, including Simon. If anything, I think Simon was the most help out of the three judges. It was just a great experience and nobody really didnít get along with anybody that bad. Of course, there were some tiffs and a little bit of drama here and there, but luckily I kept my nose out of it and had to stay focused.
Q: And of the contestants that are left, who do you think is going to be the next American Idol?
A: I know youíre going to hate this answer but I have no idea.
Q: No one that youíre rooting for, even for personal reasons?
A: I am but Iím going to chose to disclose that and not really say the name.
Q: I was sorry to see what happened last night but you seemed to take it really well. My question for you is when we talked before, you said something about you had an audition at U of I music school. Do you know if you got in or not?
A: No, I will not know until March. I mean the middle of March, sorry. So hopefully thatís a yes. Of course I hope for that, but who knows where Iím going to really end up. I also accepted into Bethel University, thatís for sure.
Q: Bethel University?
A: In St. Paul, Minnesota. Thatís a smaller Christian school and thatís kind of where I would like to go.
Q: So if you get into U of I, youíre not sure where you would go?
A: I donít have a one-spot, a two-spot, three-spot. Itís just like once I get accepted into the schools that Iíve applied to, the accepted schools Iíll weigh pros and cons and Iíll have a long talk with my parents and weíll decide then whatís going to happen.
Q: Wherever you go, will you study music?
A: Of course.
Q: Will that be your major or your focus?
A: Yes, it will.
Q: Talking of Patrick Hall, he was saying that he kind of could sense on elimination day that he might be the one by some of the looks that the judges and producers were giving him, or just sort of the feeling. Did you have any sense at all?
A: There are like two people that really know like five minutes before until they give it to Seacrest or something. And so nobody knows. They make it a point that nobody knows behind the scenes except for the top dog. So I donít think you can interpret anything as anything because in reality, the only person that knows, youíre not in contact with for most of the day. So you really canít get a read off of anybody. All you can do is play through in your mind what you think you did well and what you think you didnít do well. And you can choose to weigh your chances, but I think itís just better not to step on the scale.
Q: So you didnít really go into the night thinking it could be me?
A: No, I definitely did. I definitely went in Ė Of course thereís always the possibility of that. I donít think people realize that there is not a safe spot on the show every week. Nobody is safe. There have been shockers every year and itís just a part of the show and thatís what makes the show so successful is that itís unpredictable and that it requires Americaís participation in order for it to work favorably for the most talented person.
Q: When you were going through the whole process, did you ever learn anything? Like I know they have a lot of people backstage that help you on singing and things like that or did you learn things from the judges that youíre going to take back on a singing level?
A: I have learned things here that you canít learn anywhere else. There are things that my vocal coaches and the judges have said to me that I will take with me for the rest of my life. And the people that I have worked with, Iím so thankful for just because itís just like Show Business 101. You know, youíre just crammed and you basically Ė You live in a hotel and what you do and what youíre thinking about 24 hours a day is American Idol and the music business. And you really learn how the business really works and what to do and what not to do. I think thatís very important and Iím one step ahead of other prospective musicians.
Q: After watching the show, I always feel like thereís kind of this awkward Ė Sometimes itís tension, sometimes itís like Ė I donít know how to explain it. But after you guys sing and you stand up there with Ryan Seacrest, did you ever feel like an awkwardness with him at all in any sense?
A: Oh, you mean when I was in front of the camera?
Q: Yes, because it always seems like there are these strange interactions going on between Ryan Seacrest and the contestants.
A: Oh, no. I mean itís more awkward just standing there and not knowing what to do with yourself. You kind of feel foolish because youíre really not looking at anybody. Youíre looking at a lens, you know. So youíre trying to make a reaction on your face from getting no reaction from a lens. Youíre smiling at a piece of equipment and that in itself is awkward, but the best thing you can is really smile. Ryan doesnít make it awkward at all. He, I think, makes it less awkward, just because of how quit-witted he is and the words he chooses to use.
Q: Going into this, did you think with your style of singing, which is obviously not really pop music, did you think you would make it this far?
A: Thatís a hard question to answer just because there are so many people that try out for this show. I think it was 100,000 or so this year and Iím grateful for just getting this far. And if I was in the line like I was and 20,000 people in Chicago in the cold, wet rain and somebody would have said, ďYouíre going to only make it to the top 20, do you still want to do this?Ē I would have said, ďHeck, yes,Ē and kept going just because of the amazing opportunities that I have been able to have and will have from this.
Q: How was it to have a little less time to prepare this past week compared to your first week, especially with the production number rehearsal?
A: That was a small factor in me being dismissed from the show. I felt really confident with this song just because of where it was from. But it all comes down to the time onstage that you have and 90 seconds is usually about the amount of time that it takes for you to get comfortable onstage and thatís all that you have to perform. Itís just really hard for somebody Ė Iíve never performed with a band before in my life, before this. And itís really hard going out there for the first time with no experience under your belt whatsoever and anything similar to this at all and do very well for the first time. Iím not saying it canít be done because it has been done. Itís just hard that way.
Q: Iím assuming now that youíre off the show, are you free to make an appearance in your schoolís production of Annie Get Your Gun?
A: Yes, I will be performing in next weekís musical. But not as the lead; as a chorus role because when I left, the understudy took over and heís been working really hard these last two months and I think he deserves spotlight, and Iím going to duck out of there after the show so as not to take anything away from the people that have worked harder than me in this particular production. So yes, I will be in it but I wonít be in the spotlight.
Q: I know a lot of your fans, at least in the Chicago area, are probably going to make the drive.
A: Hopefully so, and they should because itís going to be a great show and I canít wait to see what theyíve been doing while I was gone.
Q: Is there any song that you wish you could have performed had you stayed in the competition? Anything you didnít get to perform?
A: Oh, thatís a big list. Songs like ďMack the Knife.Ē Letís see, what else? ďSummer Winds,Ē ďChicago.Ē Just Frank Sinatra standards and great music. You know, the whole Big Band era. I would have loved to showcase that as many times as I have and I will continue to do so hopefully throughout the rest of my career as a musician. But the list goes on and on. And the one that would really emphasize the journey, I would probably sing ďThe Best is Yet to Come.Ē
Q: Any advice for any would-be Idols?
A: Yes. Donít chase 20 opinions other than your own. You have to be true to yourself and you have to stick with what you do best. And you have to be who are you and present yourself as who you are, otherwise, America is going to catch on sooner or later that youíre trying too hard. Just be yourself.
Thanks To FOX for the opportunity to speak with David