AI6: Interview with Nick Pedro: Itís Wicked Awesome!
Here is a copy of the transcripts from the media call I participated in with Eliminated Contestant, Nick Pedro. I was able to get through for a question and it's highlighted in red. Nick was very nice and seemed very disappointed in his elimination. He also has a much stronger Boston accent then what we heard on TV.
Everyone always has theories that they bounce around about why people are eliminated and whatnot. Any ideas that are in your head about why you were eliminated last night?
N. Pedro: In most basic terms, not enough people voted, I guess, or I just wasnít enough peopleís favorite. Or maybe some people thought since I got good comments, they just didnít pick up the phones. Maybe they assumed I was safe. There are a bunch of number of reasons, and Iím not exactly sure. I just know that Iím on my way home, and hopefully itís not the end of things. Hopefully itís the beginning of a few other things.
Iím sure it is. In talking to different singers throughout the years of covering American Idol, thereís been some who have said that they just sensed that they were going to be sent home, whether it was the way the producers looked at them, or where they were sitting, or whatever that case may be. Did you have any idea?
N. Pedro: Other in that spot that Amy was sent home last week, and I was in the same seat, and I was even joking around with A.J., who was next to me. And I said, ďMan, if they do that same trick where the whole top row is safe, I could be toast, man.Ē He said, ďDonít worry about it,Ē and come to find out both of us went. Other contestants were telling me that they thought I was safe. Itís tough because anything can happen, as I learned yesterday.
I wanted to ask you, because I know you had made it to the Hollywood round last year, and you opted out. Can you tell us why it was that you opted out? What made you want to come back this season? And was the reality of going through the Idol process better than you imagined, worse than you imagined? Tell us a little bit about that.
N. Pedro: Sure. Last year I was just completely exhausted because of the schedule of the Hollywood round. I didnít get any sleep for a few days. What ended up happening was, I was just totally defeated. I couldnít retain any information. I was totally spent. I had such a feeling of defeat, and I went home with that. I had a little bit of time to mull that over, and I didnít want to be remembered that way. I wanted to come back and really prove to the world, and myself, just how good I really could be.
That made this year all the more sweeter because going through that agony last year, and then being able to come down to the top 20 out of over 100,000 contestants, itís just very satisfying. I guess having that last year to contrast with this year really made this yearís feel feel a lot better and a lot more rewarding.
Like I said to the last person, I just really hope itís not the end of things. And hopefully itís the beginning of everything.
Was your reality better than what you had imagined?
N. Pedro: Itís bittersweet because Iím really bummed to go home. I had this little fraternity with these other contestants, and no one really has an idea how it really feels to be in our shoes, except for each other. Thatís why you saw so much emotion last night because we really got really close. Iíve always imagined this whole experience one way, and itís very surreal and it fits what Iíve imagined. But the highs and the lows, you canít really imagine it ahead of time unless youíre on the stage and in these shoes. Itís been tough, but itís something I wouldnít trade this experience for the world.
We were so sad to see you voted out last night.
N. Pedro: I was a little bit, I donít know if you could see, but I was a little sad.
Itís interesting. At the end of Leslieís song, she said that America doesnít care for jazz. You certainly sang ďFly Me To The MoonĒ at the audition, and this week you sang ďFever.Ē Thatís definitely a jazz standard. Do you think that the song choice played a part in it, because I personally thought you sang it really well?
N. Pedro: Thank you. I guess the judges did, too. Thatís the thing; song choice I guess does it. Absolutely, itís probably the key thing. But if you look at Melinda Doolittle, she sang ďMy Funny Valentine,Ē which is an old standard, too, and we all know how she did, unbelievable. So itís all about how you do that song.
Iíve always seen myself as an R&B singer, but since they liked ďFly Me To The MoonĒ so much, I didnít think I sounded like a crooner. I did it my own style, but they liked that kind of vibe I was setting off. So I went back to the judges suggestion and did the song I did, the ďFeverĒ song. I got a really good reception. They all thought that vocally it was good, so it kind of came as a surprise when I was to leave.
Song selection is key. But I still love the song, and I think a lot of people do. Itís just maybe the target audience and just who happened to pick up the phone that night. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes itís the luck of the draw.
Exactly. And as somebody who is from Boston, I just have to ask this. What do you think about the accents in ďThe Departed?Ē
N. Pedro: What accents? I didnít hear any accents from that?
You didnít hear any Boston accents in ďThe Departed?Ē
N. Pedro: No. They all sounded normal to me.
I just wanted to ask you what itís like to sing with that band, because particularly the song you sang, thatís the kind of thing that they do best. They just seemed like such good backup people. How much time did you get to prepare with them ahead of time?
N. Pedro: That band, first of all, I just want to say, is unbelievable. Ricky Marnett, the leader of the band, is a prodigy. Every one of those musicians, there was one day where he wasnít there and somebody else stepped up. They are all unbelievable.
The feeling I had when I was on that stage is unlike any other because Iíve never worked with a band before like that. They were doing the Grammyís the night before we did our first song for last week. Itís unbelievable.
We didnít have a heck of a lot of time to prepare because of the schedule. So not as much time as you would normally have, which is something that I think people donít really take into consideration. A lot of times people judge us in a kind of harsh light, or overly critical light, I think. When you think about what the contestants do, they donít have much time to prepare at all. We run through it a few times, literally, before we do it live.
So I think its hats off to the band and the talent of the other contestants. Itís really something. This show really is unbelievable, what goes into it, and the amount of talent thatís on it, both behind the camera and in front of it.
First, let me get some quick details. Youíre 25?
N. Pedro: Yes, sir.
What do you do when youíre not singing?
N. Pedro: I was a salesman for Household Finance. I was an account executive for them.
Right. You mentioned that youíre hoping that this is not the end of something, but the beginning of something new. What are your plans for the future?
N. Pedro: I would love to pursue music. It was literally hours ago that I was voted off, so I donít have any definitive plans, or Iím going do this with so and so. But I just want to really put that out there. If anyone liked what they heard, I just want, hopefully, some doors to be opened by this whole experience. This is the most publicity anyone can ever hope for, and Iím just hoping to capitalize on this window I have.
This show just really made me realize that I am passionate about music and itís something I want to do, either acting or whatnot, things Iíve always been interested in or had a chance to really dive into these last few months because of the show.
Do you think you had an advantage at all by being on American Idol twice? You were kind of able to go through it a second time.
N. Pedro: Not so much, because I just got to the group round. They did shuffle that Hollywood week around. So, if anything, I think I was a little extra hard on myself. Anything less that what I did last year would have been a complete and utter failure. In that respect, Iím very happy with being able to conquer that group round especially, and to get into this top 20. Never in a million years would I imagine, out of all of those people when I walked into that arena that day, that Iíd be one of the few left standing. Itís been quite a ride.
Knowing what you know, if you could do anything over, would you change the song, would you change your performance star, or would you change anything?
N. Pedro: What I think was changing on its own was every time I got on that stage, it felt more comfortable. And I think you can actually see a bit of an evolution from my first performance to the second time. And then from last night, I think I was getting more comfortable every time I went on that stage.
Thatís the one thing I think I actually had a very huge disadvantage of compared to all of the other contestants. Everyone else seemed to have had demos, or some type of performance experience, which I had pretty much zero. Thatís something you were seeing on the fly. I think thatís something, if I further develop, youíll see even more of an evolution. Hopefully, I will get even better.
So thatís something that I think would have changed on its own. But as far as song selection and everything, I could second-guess myself until the day I die. Thereís really nothing you can do now. When youíre under those lights and under that pressure, and youíre stuck to such a strict schedule, itís really difficult to make these decisions. I had reasons for everything I did, so I have no regrets. I gave it my best shot with what I had.
So now as we all know, American Idol is like the show, itís the popular show now. Were you surprised by all of the attention you were getting from being on the show?
N. Pedro: You kind of know, ďWow, this is going to be huge.Ē But you really donít, at least I didnít really fathom how huge this show was until I actually got a chance to be a part of it. I think it still hasnít hit me until I can step out because Iíve been in a little bit of a bubble. Itís been all normal to me until I really get a chance to step out of it and look at it, and actually go back home and see what kind of reception I get from the hometown and everything. I really wonít get a chance to see how big it is until I actually have a little bit of time to see things settle down, and to step out of this little fraternity Iíve been in for awhile.
Yes, it has been huge. I never would imagine Ė nothing could prepare you for it.
This week Simon for some reason felt like he was the head of all fashion. He was the fashion police.
N. Pedro: He was really dogging on us.
He even took you down: he gave you a little criticism. Do you think he had a point in that, or was he just being funny?
N. Pedro: I see what he was saying. But itís pretty cool when they run out of things to say about your vocals and your performance, and they have to go about what youíre wearing. I donít know if anyone is aware of this, but on the show, they have a stylist go and help us pick out clothes. So I pretty much told the stylist, ďI know openly everything is my decision, but whatever you want me to wear, Iíll do. You know best.Ē Itís funny because I think the same guy that helps him out helped me out. He was criticizing me. Thatís cool. I respect his opinion, but he woke up having some problems with what we wore. If thatís the worst that he says, then I appreciate it.
I have a couple of questions, but one of the questions is Simon had said last night that people were surprised that you were voted off, and he mentioned something about charisma. How do you feel about what he said, and what will you take from it?
N. Pedro: Itís funny, I just wanted to seem very appreciative, and I wanted to leave the show with honor. I had to bite my tongue a little bit because last week he had said, ďYou know what, Nick, youíre charming.Ē So itís like being charming and charisma go hand-in-hand. So I thought it was very funny, and I was almost speaking up a little bit. But I felt Iím just going to take my bow and sing my song, and Iím not going to have it out with anybody.
There is a bit of attitude on the show with some of the contestants. Iím not sure if you see it, but some rolling of the eyes, a lot of things when judges say things. Was it important to you to not do that?
N. Pedro: Yes. Actually, it was. I just wanted to always maintain my honor. I can understand because when youíre up there, itís so easy to criticize, people at home who arenít in the particular situation. And itís very easy to criticize someone thatís on the television. But when youíre out there, especially when youíre singing, a musician can hide behind the guitar, ďIt was my guitar that screwed up.Ē
But when we sing, itís like weíre naked up there. Do you know what I mean? Just to have that many people listening to someone criticize you, something that you feel so passionately about, and something you only had one shot and youíre performing without a net. I can definitely see why people sometimes are taken aback and want to say a few harsh things back.
But thatís something I really wanted to make a point of controlling because I just always wanted to maintain the class, and maintain honor for my family. I wanted to be an example. The showís title, American Idol, I want to be something that kids can emulate and be a good role model because I think thatís something thatís lacking in the entertainment business today.
When you get home, when are you coming home, and when you get home, whatís the first thing youíre going to do? Any place youíre going to hit, and any tauten place that you go to that you really have missed when youíve been in Hollywood?
N. Pedro: I just canít wait to see my family. Iíve got my grandmother and my little sister waiting for me, my mom, and all of my friends. I havenít seen them in over a month now. Even before that, my time was very limited because of the things I was doing for the show. I havenít seen them in a month, so I just really want some home cooking, some Portuguese cooking, and just take it easy for a bit.
Did you ever feel like you were being forced, or pigeonholed into being a standard singer by the critiques that the judges were giving each week?
N. Pedro: Thatís a great question. As I said earlier, Iíve always seen myself as an R&B type of singer, like a popular music type of singer. I love music; I love all kinds of music. Iíll listen to Frank Sinatra and then Iíll listen to Metallica. I love all kinds of stuff. Itís a huge compliment, them saying, ďHey, we really liked your audition when you sang ďFly Me To The Moon.Ē It seemed like everywhere I turned, I was being labeled a crooner, which I donít really mind because to me, thatís a golden age of music.
But thereís other things I can do. I can sing the modern R&B stuff. Thatís what I was thinking of doing next week if I was to stick it around just to show another dimension, but, unfortunately, I didnít get that chance to do it on the show.
But, hopefully, you havenít heard the last of me. If I can make an album, and someone is interested in making an album, or reads this or hears this, Iím very interested in pursuing my musical career. Hopefully, youíll be able to see different dimensions that I wasnít able to show on the show.
Do you wish that you maybe would have auditioned with another song, so that you would not have been put into that category by the judges?
N. Pedro: No. I really liked the way my performance went in my audition. If you look back, and you go on You Tube, and whatnot, and see the video on line of me, if you play Sinatraí s rendition, and you play mine, youíll see itís very different and very updated. Itís not sung in a crooner-like fashion at all. I kind of wanted to pay homage to that, and I felt it was a good song for my voice, and the judges agree. No, I wouldnít have changed that.
But itís not a bad thing. Sometimes youíve just go to label someone because thereís so many contestants that youíve got give everybody a little brand, so you can keep them all straight in your head. I donít mind that at all.
Do you think the viewers are voting on something, other than the singing thatís going on?
N. Pedro: I think itís very easy to develop a bond with these people on TV. Theyíll show a little bit of your back story. Iím sure people liked me for certain reasons because of my back story, and how I was on last year, and I didnít quit when I came back. So I think when you see someone out of the gate you think, ďMan, I like that person.Ē Say, they donít have the best performance. I think itís hard to give up on that favorite and to just purely go by singing performance every week. But that said, I think all of us on the show have a great degree of talent singing. Itís a mix of a bunch of things.
Do you think youíre a better singer than some of the people who are still on the show?
N. Pedro: Those people I am just honored to have been able to share a stage with them, because those are some of the best voices Iíve ever heard in my life. What an honor. Thereís going to be a lot of famous people come out of this season. And itís going to be such an honor if I happen to not become as big as some of the others, itís going to be great to be able to tell me kids, ďDaddy was on that stage with that guy back in the day.Ē I think there are some great voices on the show.
Do you think the viewers listen a lot to the judges in terms of voting, or against them, or what?
N. Pedro: Sure. If you have something in the back of your mind, and the judge happens to verbalize it on the screen, thatís going to resonate with you and affect your voting. People definitely listen to the judges. Thatís what theyíre there for.
On the one hand, they gave me pretty good reviews. A.J., too, and weíre gone this week. Who knows? Nobody has it all figured out, but it definitely has some influence, I suppose.
Iím just wondering, how is it to have to sing once you get that news? Where do you draw from to actually deliver something? Dude, seriously.
N. Pedro: Itís tough. Your life has been on one point, youíve got to take into account the mentality we all have on that stage. Our life has been pretty much nothing, but Idol for months. It all comes to that moment when theyíre saying, ďYouíre going home.Ē When Ryan says those words, it takes awhile to sink in. And then they say, ďYouíre going home, here, sing a song.Ē
Itís a huge transition in your mind where youíre trying to grasp, ďWow, Iím going to go home.Ē And you try to fathom everything that goes along with those words. Itís not just that youíre going to go home. You may not seen these guys again that youíve gotten so close to and all of these things. Your dreams are crashing right before your eyes. And then youíre handed a microphone and itís like, ďGive it your best shot.Ē Itís very, very difficult.
Itís kind of like I had a bit of an out of body experience where itís like your mind just goes into automatic, and the adrenaline kicks in, and it all happens in a flash. Luckily, I was able to get through my song a little bit. I flubbed at the end there. Actually, I was saying that I forgot my words, but it doesnít really make a difference now. It came out more like a bunch of gibberish. But if you slow it down, Iím sure you can make out the words that I was saying.
Who you were looking forward to working with the most of all of the guest artists that they had coming up?
N. Pedro: Thatís a good question. They had me pigeonholed as the crooner, so maybe Tony Bennett, what a legend. A lot of them, Bon Jovi Ė but maybe Tony Bennett just because of the sheer amount of time heís been in the industry, and just how important he is to music. He would probably be my absolute favorite if I was forced to pick one. There also was a rumor that Borat would be showing up; I was really looking forward to getting some tips from him.
Iím wondering whether throughout the show, do you ever think that some of the other guys got beat up pretty badly from Simon about doing contemporary songs. Was that ever a really big concern for you considering the style of music that you like?
N. Pedro: I like all kinds of music. I like the new stuff and the older stuff. But some of the more contemporary stuff is kind of like here today and gone tomorrow. So I did choose to go with some tried and true songs. You get a lot of mixed reviews from the judges.
Sanjaya did a bit of an older song and they told him that he looked like he was playing dress-up because he was dressed up for the song. But then Simon told me, ďWhen you do a song like this, youíve got to dress up for it.Ē So you donít know what to think.
Like where he said I liked charisma, but yet the week before, he said I was charming. So itís confusing when you all of this coming at you so quickly and itís hard to make heads or tails of everything.
So do you think itís unfair for the judges to say that? I mean like American Idol has always been really, really good with the classics and stuff, especially with the guest judges. So for them to start criticizing the contestants for doing old time songs, do you think thatís a bit unfair?
N. Pedro: No. I think theyíre opinion is very valid. Theyíre in the judgeís seats for very valid reasons. If you remember, they actually liked my song, and they liked the way I went back to that. So they actually praised me for that, which was another one of those big surprises when I was told that I was leaving because I had such a good review the two nights before.
They tend to really appreciate the classics as well as encourage you to try some newer things, too. Itís absolutely valid what they have to say.
Thank you to FOX for allowing us to participate in this media call.