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Unseated by a difficult theme week, 28-year-old Bucky Covington found himself headed home to North Carolina after this weekís results show. His exposure on American Idol earned him some fans in the right places - rumor has it that Travis Tritt demanded to meet him - but ultimately, his country-styled interpretation of Queenís ďFat Bottomed GirlsĒ wasnít enough to pull in Americaís votes. In this media interview, Bucky answers many questions about the American Idol experience, and if you pay attention, you might just learn how to tell him apart from his identical twin, Rocky.
Q: Does it feel better or worse that you were eliminated in a week where your performance was really solid?
A: Itís better. Iíd rather leave on a high note than a low note. If Iím not going to win it, eighth is just as good as fourth to me. Do you know what I mean? So yes, I feel pretty good about leaving on a good note. It seems like a lot of people are like, ďOh, I didnít think you should win it,Ē but Iíd rather have that than, ďHow did you make it this far?Ē So far, so good.
Q: Were you considering any other Queen songs?
A: Actually I was. I was actually [considering] Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the one that actually Taylor switched to. Yes, I was going to consider that one, but I donít know, Kid Rock had a version of it and everything, and I just Ė it was a fun song. I had a fun time doing it.
Q: Speaking of Kid Rock, on the Idol site you say that heís your idol. How come you never sang any of his tunes?
A: I donít think any of them were clearing. I actually entered some in, but they didnít exactly clear. Thatís cool though.
Q: Well maybe some day you guys can collaborate.
A: Yes, most definitely.
Q: What went through your mind as you sat and waited for the results, especially after learning the bottom three contestants would all have to perform?
A: Well, we didnít find that out until the last minute. You probably noticed Elliott was the very first to find out, when they handed him the mike. What went through my head? I just kind of had a blank mind, just whatever happens happens. Like I said, I feel good about the note I left out on. Iíd rather leave up on a high note. A lot people thought it was a pretty solid performance that I did. So Iíd rather leave out on a note like that rather than a bad song selection and performance.
Q: What or who did you focus on while performing? Did you try not to look at the judges?
A: I donít know, really. When I get up there and start, my mind just kind of blanks out. I donít know. I donít know if a thousand things are running in and out or nothing. Things are moving so fast or so slow, I never remember it afterwards.
Q: Hello, Bucky.
A: Hello, Birmingham. How are you?
Q: Itís good to hear a southern accent on the other end of the line.
A: Iíll tell you what.
Q: Bucky, both you and Taylor have had experience playing bars and nightclubs. Does that give you an edge on the show, and if so, how? Does it help?
A: Does it give you an edge? Iíll put it this way; it definitely gives you an edge as far as voices being strong. When youíre used to playing Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights in a smoky little bar room, a minute and a half every week is nothing. Do you know what I mean? Even all the rehearsal times and everything. So it definitely strengthens your voice, but where I maybe had an edge on this end, somebody else maybe had an edge from working with vocal coaches more often or doing it Ė you know Ė different folks have different edges here and yonder.
Q: What about when you had to choose songs? Did you have a big bunch of songs in your head that you knew from playing in the bars that you were comfy with, where if they fit youíd pick them and put them in?
A: Exactly. If I came across a familiar song then I of course did it, but ever since that top 12 I didnít really get many of those. I had to learn them, which was nice though, you learn some new songs. So thatís always nice also.
Q: Bucky, did any one week, as far as the theme goes, really throw you when you heard. ďOh no, thatís the theme. What am I going to pick?Ē
A: Yes, the main one that threw me actually was Stevie Wonder. But I came across Superstition and I was like, ďHey kid, we can knock this out.Ē So I ended up doing it and thatís going to be on the compilation album.
Q: Hello, Bucky. You have quite a lot of fans in Singapore, and theyíre all so upset to see you go, because youíre so cute.
A: Thank you so very much.
Q: How did you feel when your twin-swapping story came out? I think that was pretty funny.
A: The twin swapping story. Iíll tell you that was something else. The first thing I thought about when they told me that, I was like, ďTheyíre trying to pull up dirt on me and the only thing they got was the car wreck in í98. Theyíre not looking hard enough.Ē
Q: Okay. Do you think the story hurt your chances, or do you think more people started liking you after that?
A: Itís hard to say. Thatís something that just popped up on me. It was a car accident that some people knew us and they wanted to go to court with it, and they took it to court and it got thrown out. Actually, I was real surprised to see it come up. I never thought one thing about it.
Q: Rocky I understand sings as well. So why didnít both of you join Idol together as twins?
A: Actually, Rocky did try out for Idol, but he got cut in the first round. He kind of wanted to try out together, but I didnít want to try out as twins, because I didnít want to come into this thing with a gimmick. It was either me doing what I do or Ė I didnít want a story. Do you know what I mean?
Q: It seems like Paula, out of all the judges she seemed to be your biggest supporter. I wanted to ask you how you Ė she tends to get very enthusiastic sometimes during performances. How do you feel? Do you notice her up dancing? Do you think, ďWhat is in those cups?Ē
A: Anytime you make somebody dance itís going to make you feel good. If you can make Paula Abdul dance, all the better. Itís just a very comforting feeling knowing, because you know Simon is not going to actually get up and cut a rug. But if you get a judge bobbing their head, theyíre digging what youíre doing, thatís a great confidence booster and I love her very much for it. I thank her so much for doing that. It helps out a lot.
Q: So clearly you think itís appropriate. There are some people who think that maybe she should be a little more reined in and objective during performances. How do you feel about that?
A: Just like everybody keeps saying, you have to be yourself, be yourself. I think that is Paula, and for her to be anything else then sheís not being herself. I like her the way she is.
Q: I want to ask you one more thing, if I can, about Paula. I know that whenever the folks make the top 12, she tends to give you little gifts or little tokens each week that you go on. Can you talk about some of the things that sheís given you all?
A: Yes. She gave us two necklaces, actually, like chains, one of them with a little star on it that says, ďReach for the stars,Ē and then on the back side it says, ďYou just might become one.Ē She gave us another little chain with like a little horn on it. It was very nice of her, very pretty stuff.
Q: Thatís awesome. So weíll see you again in May, right?
A: Yes, maíam.
Q: I have one biographical question to start with. Tell us a little bit about what kind of work you did at the body shop up in Hamlet.
A: I painted cars, for the most part.
Q: You painted them?
Q: And these are used cars, theyíre not like race cars or anything like that, right?
A: Actually, I have painted some race cars, street bikes. Anything from a refrigerator to a Mercedes Iíve done it, wicker furniture. You name it, Iíve painted it.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the Carolina triangle there with you, Kellie, and Chris? Did you guys talk much about your connection and why there were three of you down to the final eight?
A: Itís a nice, comforting feeling to know there are three of you out of North Carolina. But there again, where other people might have like a whole state voting for them, we have to split it up into threes. So Iím sure it probably hurts a little bit, but all is well. Itís a nice thing to say that North Carolina has a lot of talent coming out of it.
Hopefully between the three of us and everybody else thatís come out of there is helping North Carolina out. Everybody loves to see it grow. Charlotte is well on its way. Iíd actually like to see a couple of music labels come into Charlotte. That would be nice.
Q: Do you guys get a chance to look at the comments that people make on the Internet? Do you get a chance to look at those chat boards?
A: Yes. I look at them here every so often.
Q: Were you surprised at the things people said about you, either pro or con?
A: Yes. Itís amazing how some people can love you so much and then somebody else can just hate your guts. But thank God people are different, because if we were all the same weíd all live in Rockingham listening to country. That would just be too crowed for me.
Q: So you donít take these chat boards too seriously?
A: No. If you hate my guts and love somebody else, thank you for making their dreams come true then.
Q: Hey man, what everybody here wants to know is when are you coming home?
A: When am I coming home? It looks like Iíll probably be coming in about Tuesday.
Q: Alright, and whatís next?
A: It sounds like theyíre going to keep me pretty busy, leaving out here and yonder. I plan on taking it easy for a little bit and then hitting this tour up. Then I hate to say it, but Iím probably going to be looking Ė the tour is national you know, trying to find some work.
Q: I understand that. I had a call this morning from Sawyer Brownís management team, said they want to hire you right now.
A: Thatís what I heard. What happened to their singer?
Q: I donít know, man. Iím just passing that message along to you, my friend.
A: Did you get all the information?
Q: Yes I did. I gave it to Rocky. But, Bucky, are you looking forward to seeing all the signs of support and seeing all your fans back home?
A: Tell everybody donít change a thing. I have to come and see it, and weíre going to do the damn thing.
Q: Hello, Bucky. Howís it going?
A: How are you doing, buddy?
Q: Iím doing pretty good Ė bummer.
A: Yes, Iíll tell you what, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Q: I was just wondering who are you going to miss the most?
A: Who am I going to miss the most? Buddy-wise, Iím definitely going to go with Elliott Yamin. He was just my buddy. That was my best buddy through this thing, so Iím definitely going to miss him. The good thing is Ė actually, when I was leaving he was like, ďMan, Iím going to miss you.Ē I said, ďMan, donít worry about it. Iíll see you next week.Ē I was kidding with him.
Q: I have one quick sort of a technical question. I just wondering, at those montages they show of all you guys performing throughout the show, are some of those from dress rehearsals or are they all from the actual performances?
A: I think some of them might Ė are you talking about like at the end of the show?
Q: Yes, at the very end, because I noticed one that was one where you were singing, but the camera angles were totally different. I was like, ďIs that Ė?Ē
A: Yes. I think a lot of times they will grab those out from dress rehearsals, so they can have them ready, because like the last contestant ... they would have time to pull, cut, edit, and stick it in there. Yes, they grab out of dress rehearsal for those.
Q: Whatís your impression of Paris, having spent a few weeks with her?
A: Paris is a sweetheart. I like her a lot. Sheís a cut-up. Her and her mom, they are just really nice people, and actually make you want to go to Georgia and hopefully meet more people like them.
Q: Have you ever been down here?
A: Yes I have.
Q: For what?
A: Actually, we were talking about moving there a while back, when I was just coming out of high school.
A: Yes. My dad was looking at a job down there.
Q: I guess he didnít take it.
A: No. He ended up not taking it. It was a last-minute thing. I was ready to go.
Q: Have you visited here before or just hung out?
A: Iíve been to Atlanta. Actually, my dad, a long time ago, raced in a supercross race out there.
Q: Really, a supercross race.
Q: Is that the bikes?
A: Yes, the dirt bikes. Me, my brother and my dad used to race them.
Q: Thatís so cool. How did you guys do?
A: We got a bunch of trophies. I started winning a bunch of trophies, but then I figured Iíd kick a bomb, so now Iím doing all kinds of things.
Q: So five out of the seven left are from the south. Every previous American Idol winner is from the south. Why does the south do so well in American Idol?
A: Thatís hard to say. I donít know if maybe the accents and the attitudes, or just maybe something that a lot of your big cities just arenít used to. Maybe itís something different. Itís really hard to put a finger on that. Thatís a very tough question. Iím not going to say that people in the south are any better than anybody else. I donít know. It seems like it falls that way though. Yes, youíre exactly right. Iím proud all of them that are doing well and giving us a good name.
Q: America seems to be sort of eating up the cuteness of Kellie and of Paris and some of those people. How important do you think that cuteness factor is on a show like this?
A: Itís all very important, from all of it. Itís the whole package little thing. Iím sure to some people cuteness means 100%, and then to some people cuteness means nothing and vocals, their talent is everything. Everybody is different. Thank God they are, because if they werenít they would all live in the same place and listen to the same music, and that would just get too crowded.
Q: How much did Bo and Constantine inspire you to go on this show?
A: Iíd have to say mainly Bo. Constantine is good, but mainly Bo opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people. I think he did the show a lot of good by coming on. He did a heck of a job, and so far with his career heís doing a fine job, and Carrie Underwood herself too. Both of them opened up a lot of doors for people like me and Chris, and Taylor even. Hats off to them and I thank them very much for it.
Q: Finally, how much influence do you think what the judges say have on the voting each week?
A: I think it has some influence, but I think a lot of people are starting to go from where what Simon says, Simonís right. I think a lot of people are just starting to say, ďSimon just likes to make money, and he just says whatever he says to make a good show,Ē which he does and I think he does a good job at. He knows what sells a show and theyíve all hit the nail on the head.
Q: Simon made a comment about you having hair like Jessica Simpson, and she has new extensions coming out. Any thoughts about an endorsement deal?
A: I donít know if that was actually my hairstyle. It looks good on Jessica, but I think for me itís a little too pimped up.
Q: You said you were going to probably move to Nashville and try to pursue a country career. Will you be infusing your country music with rock?
A: Of course. I donít believe thereís any way out of that. Of course, a lot of todayís country has a little rock drive to it. It doesnít have to be Ė the guitars are a little heavier, the drums a little more beat on. I donít know. Itís a good sound. I like the route country is going and Iím excited to hopefully maybe get into it.
Q: Chris Daughtry, heís always talking about his wife and kids, but we never saw much footage about you and your wife. You hardly mentioned her, even though sheís almost always in the studio audience. Maybe you could tell us a little bit more about her.
A: She is wonderful. They say behind every good man is a good woman. Crystal, she stands in front of me. Sheís been more than supportive. The whole time sheís out here, you know how couples can have a little spat here and yonder. Thereís been none of that and Iím sure Iíve gotten on her nerves a little bit. She just eats it and grins, and just knows I donít need the headache, and just has been super-supportive, just great. I did a good job picking that one.
Q: Thatís great. Back to the Jessica Simpson hair, because I think you have really great hair yourself. The thing is, when the American Idol hair stylist decided to pimp it up, like you said, did you protest at any point of time?
A: At first I went in there, and I just sat down and theyíre like, ďWhat do you want to do?Ē I was like, ďIím kind of open, whateverís good. Letís try something,Ē and they tried something. But after they did that and then the Oh Boy, where they straightened it, they did those two and then I did my hair myself.
I would fix it and then they might put a little product, as they call it, maybe put a little something here and yonder, but as far as styling and everything I went ahead and took care of it myself. It was just like there was either nothing or all. I needed a happy medium and I couldnít get the happy medium, so I just went back and tried doing it myself.
Q: Why did you decide to bring out all the cowboy hats all of a sudden?
A: Actually, I wear cowboy hats all the time back home, but on the TV show they always want to see your eyes.
Q: You have pretty eyes.
A: Thank you so very much. But yes, back at home, every gig I did I wore a hat, but when I got out here they wanted me to wear the hat so far back on my head, just dorking out a little bit. Then when I finally came back out with the hat, I think I was the top ten by the time I did that. I was just like, ďI think people know who I am. Theyíve seen enough of my eyes. I want to go back to what I usually look like.Ē I donít wear a hat all the time. Itís just I do wear it and I did want to put that side on it. So I figured what the heck; weíll give it a hit and a miss.
Q: The thing about Rocky, how can people tell you apart? What is the differentiating characteristic?
A: I have more earrings. Thereís not a whole lot there, but if you talk to me or him for five or ten minutes, if they other one walks up youíll know right away. Youíll be able to spot him right off. But as far as me being able to say it, I donít really know.
Q: When he was on American Idol that week, did he start confusing all the other contestants? Did you play tricks on everyone else?
A: He went out there and sat in the audience and the stage manager, security, everybody was coming up to him, ďWhat are you doing out here? Youíre supposed to be back stage.Ē He said, ďCue homey, you have the wrong one.Ē
Q: Bucky, other contestants who have been on American Idol, Iím thinking like Bo, Reuben, people like that, have said you need to be tough to survive on that show. In what way? I mean talent is one thing, but they say you work hard. Give you take on that. How do you need to be tough and why?
A: First of all, it happens all very fast. There are a lot of hours involved. The bad thing is you come up there and a lot of people donít know you, you jump across the Internet and stuff like that. Itís amazing how some people can love you to death and then theyíll turn right around, and some people just hate your guts. Do you know what I mean? Itís just wow. Do you know what I mean? So if folks read comments like that, the main thing is donít let stuff like that get to you. People are different and thank God they are, even the people who hate my guts. Hey, thanks for pulling for somebody there. It doesnít matter if you vote for me or somebody else, as long as you vote.
Q: Is it confusing sometimes to try and figure out whatís working and whatís not on the show, when you get maybe mixed messages from the judges or theyíre not really clear?
A: It is very, very confusing. Just when you think you have something figured out it changes. One thing about this business, you get in there and you do something people like, thereís a fine line between doing it where people like it and then wearing it out and people hate you all of a sudden. Itís very confusing trying to figure out what people want. You just keep stabbing at it and hope you get it right.
Q: Did you ask anyone for advice, who wasnít involved on the show? Did you ask Rocky or did you ask some band member at home? Was there somebody you had as a sounding board?
A: My wife, my brother, my dad. Yes, I checked in with them all, ďWhat do you think about this?Ē Yes, they all influenced.
Q: The other thing I wanted to ask was this. On some of the shows, if someone was going to give you a piece of advice from Ė Iím trying to think if it was Barry Manilow Ė what they would say to you is, ďYou need to enunciate your words more clearly.Ē You heard that several times, right?
Q: How did you feel about that?
A: Itís something I need to work on. Itís nice to have an outside ear to let you know what to work on, because if itís anything to make me better Iím game for it. Always keep an open mind, because as soon as you shut it you quit learning, and the key is to keep learning. So it definitely gave me something to work on, and Iíve been trying to work on it.
Q: I can think of lots of singers who donít enunciate well, from Bob Dylan on down the line Ė thatís their trademark.
A: Also, American Idol isnít known for a lot of country stuff, more pop stuff and rock. A lot of country stuff, thereís a lot of slurs that go on. But itís still a little something for me to keep my eye on, maybe not enunciate as much as they think I need to, but definitely put something on it.
Q: Well we like you slurring here in Birmingham.
A: Thank you.
Q: Bucky, the judges keep saying the same thing over and over again; Iím sure youíve notice this. They say, ďBe true to yourself. Make it your own. Pick better songs.Ē When you guys get together after a show and after that kind of stuff, do you like look at each other and just laugh about it and sort of in your own way make fun of it? Do these comments that the judges make, are they really seriously taken by the group and by you?
A: I think everybody, yes, we do laugh about it and everything else, but Iím sure some people take it to heart more than other people, but you have to look at it. You have to look at the judges. Like Simon, a lot of times he signs boy bands and stuff like that, so for him to like somebody like me or Taylor, itís out of the question. It doesnít matter what we do, heís not going to like us, because weíre just not his thing. So when he gives me advice Ė it seems like he used to give advice, but now he doesnít so much give advice as he does try to just put you down and make the show, ďOh, I canít believe you said that,Ē which makes people talk the next day.
Like he told Paris, ďWeird.Ē What is that supposed to mean? That tells her nothing. You did not help her none with your comment. You should have just kept your mouth shut. I donít mean to sound rude about it, but you can help and then you can just sell the show. He does a good job of selling the show, because he knows exactly what sells and he does it and does it well.
Q: When you talk about your wife coming out, how long was she able to stay with you, the whole time or just come out for visits?
A: Sheís been out for visits, and then this past time sheís been out here about a month or so, very, very supportive.
Q: Whoís taking care of the dog?
A: Actually my dad and step-mom are taking care of old Slim.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most, coming back home?
A: Scrubbing Slim on the head.
Q: Thatís exactly what you said last night and I understood every damn word of it.
A: Iím going to kick his little ass as soon as I get home.
Q: Whatís your most memorable moment from this whole deal?
A: It has to be between meeting Queen and meeting Travis Tritt.
Q: Thatís a pretty interesting little mix there, man, but that describes you so well.
A: Believe it or not, yes.
Many thanks to FOX for providing access to the contestants this season.