Last Friday, I participated in a media conference call with the final four eliminated contestants. Some of them were pretty animated in what they had to say and others were truly genuine people. Enjoy!
I was wondering if you were surprised by your elimination last night.
Asiaíh: A little, but not really. I kind of had an idea I was going home.
Is there anybody that youíll miss that youíre going to root for in the top 12?
Asiaíh: Yes, Iím going to miss everybody. Weíve all formed some friendships, so Iím going to miss everybody. Iíll be rooting everybody on.
Did you live in Atlanta at one time?
Asiaíh: Yes, I did.
When was that?
Asiaíh: 2001 through 2005, I believe.
Were you in school at the time?
Where did you go?
Asiaíh: I went to Harrison High School in Cobb County, and I went to Marietta High School.
What was your impression of Atlanta at the time? Itís a totally parochial question, people. Iím sorry.
Asiaíh: I loved it. I love Georgia. I plan on going back soon.
Thatís wonderful. To live?
Asiaíh: I donít know to live, but to do some work, and I donít know. Weíll see what happens.
Thereís plenty of R&B work here. You can get that.
Asiaíh: Exactly, so weíll see.
Who was your favorite judge on Idol, and why?
Asiaíh: I loved all the judges, but I have to say my favorite would be Simon, probably because everyone says heís kind of bitter, but he does know what heís talking about. He is a professional, and I think he gives very constructive criticism, even though he could probably word it a little bit differently sometimes, but probably him, because heís probably the most harsh and makes you want to do the best that you can do.
Is it awkward when youíre standing up there and the judges are fighting amongst each other? Did you pay attention to any of that, or did you try to focus?
Asiaíh: Yes. I definitely tried to just focus on what was going on with myself, but I love all of the judges.
I know this is a sensitive subject, and I know a lot of people have asked you on how youíre dealing with your dad, and itís been a very stressful time. I just wondered if there was anything that you think he might have said to you to get you through being eliminated.
Asiaíh: You know, Iím a strong believer in everything happens for a reason, and I believe that God has a bigger and better plan for me, and Dadís just getting me through all of this, keeping that in my head.
I thought you definitely should have made the top 12 for what itís worth.
Asiaíh: Thank you very much.
I wanted to ask you, I know so many times the judges so donít do a Whitney tune, donít do a Mariah tune. Was any of that in your head before you made your choice, and was there ever any hesitation? Maybe I shouldnít do this.
Asiaíh: Of course, it came to my head, but I consider myself enough of a unique artist, as far as my voice and my stage performance, and things like that, that I didnít think that I would really be compared to either one of those, even though those are two of some of my favorite artists. Yes, it went through my head, but I didnít second guess myself. I went ahead and did my Whitney song, and he did compare me to Whitney. He said I was a second rate Whitney, and I will take that any day.
I was really shocked to see you go. You said earlier that you were not surprised by your elimination. I was wondering if you could expand on that as to why.
Asiaíh: I was, but I wasnít. I definitely think I deserve to be in the top 12, but at the same time, when they told me that I was first, I actually called my mom at that moment, and was like I think this is going to be my last time performing on this stage.
Asiaíh: Sheís like no, why? I just said I just feel that the order that Iím in is really going to affect the results. I feel that, because I had such an upbeat song, that it wasnít proper for me to be the very first person. I had to look at it as if I was in the audience, and I just sat down. If I would want someone right up in my face, right there in the beginning saying I want to dance with somebody. Iíd be whoa, hold on, I just got here. Let me get warmed up first.
Asiaíh: Thatís probably why. The lineup.
How did you find the strength to go through with the auditions just two days after your father had passed?
Asiaíh: I just think that he was with me and God was with me, and my family and friends just pushed me through it. Thatís what he wanted to do. I wasnít going to not go forward with my dreams because of that. He wanted me to do that, so thatís what pushed me to keep going.
Great, and what is happening next for you?
Asiaíh: For me, I really believe the skyís the limit for me. Iím going to take every opportunity that I can. Iíve been in drama and things like that through middle school and high school, so maybe some acting, some commercials, maybe a little bit of modeling here and there, but definitely music, music, and music. Music is going to definitely stay in that. Itís my heart and soul.
I wanted to ask you just about the process, and if you feel like, as an aspiring musician, do you feel like this is something that you would advise other people to do who are going after their dreams. How did you feel about the whole Idol process?
Asiaíh: Oh, yes. This whole thing has been an experience to remember for the rest of my life. Itís truly been so amazing. It really helps you develop as an artist, and really helps you find yourself. Not so much as competing with the other contestants, but it really makes you compete with yourself, and thatís what you should do anyway, just try to do better each time you step out on that stage. So, I think it definitely prepares you for the music business, because itís not always pretty.
I wanted to ask you, Nigel had said that the top 24 was filled with very talented teens, which all of you are. Why do you think that only one teen is left at this point?
Asiaíh: You know, you never know. Itís up to America who they put through, and Iím very happy for all the other contestants that are left in there. I hope they all do well. Everything happens for a reason, just not for me, at the moment.
Also, was there a song that you wanted to sing that you didnít get a chance to sing?
Asiaíh: Yes, there was a song that I really wanted to sing. It was by Mariah Carey. Itís ĒCanít Live.Ē I really wanted to do that song, but itís okay.
Maybe weíll here it on your first CD.
Asiaíh: Yes, maybe.
I was wondering; what Beatles song were you planning to sing next week if you had gotten through?
Asiaíh: I was so excited about my Beatles song. I was going to sing ďCanít Buy Me Love.Ē
That would be so much fun.
Asiaíh: It was going to be awesome. I totally switched it. I had taken a sample beat from Jazzy Jeff way back in the day, so it was going to have a hip-hop R&B type of flavor to it, and it was going to be really fun and original. So, I was really looking forward to doing that. I know that was going to storm me into the next round.
Asiaíh with the apostrophe, can you explain the apostrophe?
Asia'h: Itís just how my name is spelled.
Your parents were just being unusual or something?
Asiaíh: Yes, they just wanted to be different, so they went and threw that in there.
I would like to know if you think you have real hopes of having success for a music career since almost none of the eliminated contestants from other seasons have had a successful international music career rather than maybe Kelly Clarkson, or Carrie Underwood.
Asiaíh: I do. I do believe that Iím going to have a very successful singing career, as well as acting, or anything in entertainment. I believe that I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I know what I want out of life. Iím very driven, and I think I have enough uniqueness in my voice and just as a performer to do very well in this business. Like I said, Iím a very driven person and determined. If I put my mind to something, most likely, itís going to get done, so yes, I think I will be successful.
Do you think you jinxed it when you got scared because you went on singing first? Do you think you maybe failed yourself?
Asiaíh: I donít think that I failed myself, because I didnít take what number I was going to go. I thought I did a very good job, as good as I could do. I do believe that them picking me to go first was a downfall, because, as I said in some other interviews, if I were on the other end of it, and I was in the audience, and I had just gotten there. Youíre coming out with a fast upbeat song, itís a little overwhelming, like a little too much at the time. You want to wait and ease into that, and then make people get up, because if I was in the audience, Iíd be like whoa, let me warm up a little bit. Let me get into a little bit. So, I think it was a little bit of a downfall that they put me first, so yet.
What was the most difficult thing for you in all of this experience, or maybe a few things that were difficult?
Asiaíh: Probably the most difficult thing was just song selection, because from the Ď60s and Ď70s, of course, I wasnít around then, and we didnít have a lot of time at all, a day or two to pick our songs. So, probably that.
Are you surprised by not making the finals?
Kady: Iím not surprised. I wanted to make it, but I have no hard feelings.
What are your thoughts about Simon discussing your personality?
Kady: Well, I never really understood what he was saying. Maybe one day Iíll understand, but I still donít really get it.
When did being in the top 24 really hit you?
Kady: It really hit me the first time I was on stage. It was just a really great experience.
It gets to be the song choice being so important at this point in the competition. Could you talk about the past couple of weeks and what your thought process has been on choosing songs?
Kady: The first song I did, ďGroovy Kind of Love,Ē I actually did because someone else was doing my first song choice, so I had to pick a new song, and I picked ďGroovy Kind of LoveĒ because my mom used to sing it to me when I was little, so I thought it was a good choice.
Why the Queen song this week?
Kady: The Queen song this week, because I knew that even if I was going out, I would go out doing my favorite song ever.
So, thatís a song that you love that youíve always liked?
Kady: I love it, and Freddy Mercury is my idol, so it was just an honor being able to sing Freddy.
Did you consciously avoid doing anything that the judges might think was an impression, because that was something that you came out with at the auditions, that you did these impressions, and then youíve stayed away from that. Was that something you were thinking of at the time?
Kady: Kind of. I donít know. It seems like they would always try and make me feel like I didnít have my own voice whenever I canít help but have my own voice. My voice is my voice.
I thought you did a great job with the Queen song.
Kady: Thank you.
Do you feel, because you had been getting some criticism about the whole personality thing, do you feel like no matter how good you did this week, it was going to be a really tough climb, or what?
Kady: Yes. I just felt like I was, I donít know, I just felt like I couldnít please Simon no matter what. I did my best, and I think I did well and I went out with a bang like I wanted to.
Coming out of Hollywood, you were definitely one of the frontrunners, or at least thatís what it seemed like. Through the whole audition process, Simon loved you. Can you take us through your thought process in terms of how you were feeling after your audition, and then take us through Hollywood Week a little bit, and how that process was for you.
Kady: Well, after my audition, I was, of course, ecstatic. I was in shock. I went in there thinking heís going to hate me and bash me, and he actually liked me. It was really crazy for me. Then, going into Hollywood Week, I tried to pick songs that would suit me, and I guess it did well for me, but during Hollywood Week, he actually thought I sounded like Christina Aguilera, again, so I didnít think I was going to make the 24, but somehow, I did, so Iím very pleased with that.
Did you see at all how you werenít really featured too much during Hollywood Week on TV. Did that cross your mind at all?
Kady: Yes. Whenever I was watching the Hollywood episode, I was like where am I, but thatís how it was edited I guess.
What do you think of the criticism the different contestants, including yourself, received for having already recorded an album?
Kady: You know, I just donít think that thatís very important, because this industry is so unpredictable, and anybody can fail at an album. These days, anybody can pretty much get a record deal too, so a second chance. Itís just based on talent anyway. A second chance is fine.
You said that you wanted to open an animal shelter in the future. What other things do you want to do after American Idol?
Kady: I definitely want to open up an animal shelter and I am definitely going to keep working on my music. Eventually, I also want to open up a camp for kids, and I definitely want to be a spokesperson for gay rights.
You seemed unhappy, or a little maybe annoyed every time the judges would talk to you. I was just curious as to what was going on in your head. Also, just what are your plans about returning to Houston, and whatís going to be the next thing you do?
Kady: Cool. Well, whenever the judges were talking to me, after the first night, I thought I did well the first night. I do admit that my stage presence is definitely lacking, but, then again, I havenít been on stage that much, so that was really and truly my first few times in front of an audience. For that, for the circumstances, I guess I did pretty well.
Whenever the judges talked to me, I tuned them out after the first night, because theyíre only three opinions, honestly, and theyíre no more important than anybody thatís walking on the street today, because when it comes to music, everybodyís opinion is equal to me. You know?
Yes, I got you definitely. You just said something really interesting and really cool. You said you wanted to be a spokesperson for gay rights. Tell me a little bit about why thatís important for you.
Kady: My best friend is gay, Freddy Mercury was gay, who is my idol. I just think that you shouldnít define somebody by their sexuality, and I think that gay people not being able to get married and things like that is like history repeating itself. I think that we need to learn from our past.
Awesome, and what are you going to do when you get back home?
Kady: When I get back home, the first thing Iím doing is Iím eating at Papa Zitoís and then Iím going to go eat at Casas, but Iím definitely going to keep busy. Iím actually going to be going to New York pretty soon.
Were you surprised to be going home with that many fans voting for you?
Kady: I was a little bit surprised, just because I know that my fans are killer. I had amazing fans, and I know that theyíll still support me, and Iím a really lucky girl for that.
The outfit you wore for the Ď70s theme, thereís been a lot of talk about it. Can you tell us who made it, or who it was made by?
Kady: I actually got it at a store called Cusp, and Iím not really sure. I think it was made by a brand called T-Bags.
I was wondering, for Beatles Week, what song were you planning to sing for Beatles?
Kady: I was planning to sing ďHere There and Everywhere.Ē
Iím not that familiar with that song. That wasnít one of their bigger hits, was it?
Kady: No, but it was still a really pretty song.
Did you know a lot about The Beatles beforehand?
Kady: Yes. I grew up on The Beatles.
Itís like if you knew Queen really well, youíd know The Beatles too.
Kady: Yes, definitely. I listen to all of that.
So, youíre a classic rock gal?
Kady: Oh, yes, for sure.
What type of music would you like to record down the road? Has the show changed that in any way for you?
Kady: Not really. Iíve always known that Iíve wanted to go more of the pop/rock direction, or maybe even the country/pop direction. I just love all music, so itís kind of hard for me to pick one. My voice is kind of versatile, and I can do all of it, so I just have to feel where I fit in, and Iím really excited though. I really am.
No word from Britney about your imitation at all? Any word?
Kady: No word from Britney. Iím still waiting for her to call me about lunch.
What did you learn from your experience on Idol?
Kady: I learned to be true to yourself. No matter what anybody says, keep your head up and keep going, and definitely, I learned more about the music industry. I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What advice do you have for future contestants?
Kady: For future contestants, block the judges out while youíre performing. Donít even think about them. Theyíre just three opinions. In the end, theyíre just three opinions, and be true to yourself.
What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supported you while you were on the show?
Kady: Wow. First of all, if I could kiss each one of them, I totally would hug and kiss every one of them. I got such amazing support, and I never in a million years would have even dreamed of having that much support. They really made being on the show worth it.
Now that youíre going to be watching from the sidelines, Simon pretty much said David Archuleta has it all tied up, and I know that a lot of people in the top 12 agree. Do you agree that David has it all tied up, or are there other people that you think we should be watching who are dark horses?
Kady: I think that everybody in the top 12 is just so talented in their own way. I feel like everybody is on equal playing field now. I really do. Yes, I think everybody is a dark horse. Thereís no telling now.
You doing the great Britney impersonation that you do, Iím assuming you were a huge Britney fan. What did you think of her most recent album? Do you think that she can make a comeback?
Kady: I totally think that Britney can make a comeback, and I loved her album. I thought it was great. She was really successful with it, so great for her.
I just wanted to ask you is there any other impressions that you enjoy doing and your friends just always ask you to do for them because you do them really well?
Kady: Yes. They always want me to do Christina Aguilera and Shakira and Gary LeVox and Cher.
Which one is the most fun for you to do?
Kady: The most fun one for me is Britney, just because I love Britney. Iím a big fan of hers, so itís cool that I can sing like her, because I donít know. I entertain myself all the time with it.
What was your favorite part about the behind-the-scenes on American Idol? I know a lot of the girls have mentioned the clothes, the makeup, and things like that. Was that a perk for you as well?
Kady: Definitely, and also the staff at Idol. Some of the nicest people ever are there, and itís such a close knit family, and theyíre just so sweet.
I wanted to ask you, you have a background in a capella music. Did you feel like the themes were tough for you to try and match your styles with the themes that you were given in these first weeks?
Luke: No, I donít think so. A capella music is such a wide variety of music, and the group that Iíve been singing in, weíve always strived for taking any style of music and turning it into acapella. Weíve always been up for that challenge, and I was certainly up for that challenge here on American Idol.
I was just wondering how you felt your style would have worked on American Idol, which seems very pop driven and acapella is a throwback kind of a style I think. Tell me about that a little bit.
Luke: The question is how do I think it would work?
Yes, did you think your style of singing really had a chance, and why, or why not, on this particular show?
Luke: Yes, I do think it had a chance. It lasted through at least three weeks on the show. I think that if I had a chance to maybe do a little bit more modern music, music that I listen to today, such as Maroon 5 style, where I would be able to show a modern style of the higher tenor voice singing, maybe I would still be on the show right now.
Were there any songs from the other eras that you considered that maybe you couldnít do, or anything like that that might have showcased that a little better?
Luke: No. Iím pretty satisfied with the Ď60s, Ď70s, and Ď80s song choices that I picked. I did a lot of research on those songs and tried to pick the songs that would fit my strength of my style of voice the best, and I still feel like I did that.
How were you advised to handle the enormous audience watching you, and how did you handle it?
Luke: I was advised to not even listen to what anyone had to say on-line, whether itís good or bad, and I did that. I did have some family members that would try to leak to me what people were saying on-line about me, and I would stop them right away and say I donít want to hear it. Iím here to work and to try to be the best performer that I can. Listening to all of that stuff would just mess up my stuff, so I just made a conscious effort to just not pay attention to that.
Which contestant supported you the most during the competition?
Luke: You know, I would say my roommate, Michael Johns. He and I became really close. I was also really close with Dave Cook, and all three of us really supported each other a lot.
We heard over here that your wife had a bit of good luck at a Price is Right taping in L.A. Can you tell us about that?
Luke: Yes. Wow, you guys got that word pretty quick.
What happened with that?
Luke: I was at a taping of American Idol. It was when the girls were singing, so she wasnít able to come to the show, so she and my sister decided to go to Price is Right downstairs at CBS, and she got on. They called her up. She was the last contestant to come up, and she won the bid to come up on the show. She played a game and she won three big prizes.
Luke: Yes, and it was a week that I made it through the elimination rounds, so that was a good week for us.
How did your wife react to your elimination last night, and how did she help support you through the show?
Luke: My wife was the one who really talked me into auditioning for American Idol and she was just as supportive last night as she was when I made it through each round in the beginning. Sheís been a trooper. When Iím down, she always seems to pick me up, and she really did that big time last night.
I talked to several members of the top 12 and there were a lot of people lamenting losing another member of the Four Horsemen. Could you talk about your friendship with a few of the older guys in the competition?
Luke: Yes. I mentioned Michael Johns a little bit ago. He and I are the two oldest in the competition. Weíre both 29. Then Dave Cook, and then Jason Yeager, who actually was eliminated last week. The four of us, ever since day one in Hollywood, we really clicked and we hung out just about every day. We called ourselves the Four Horsemen, just a fun little club name that we came up with. We were super excited when all four of us made it to the top 24, because out of 103,000, and then you narrow it down to 164 the first weekend in Hollywood, and the four of us clicked since day one in Hollywood. For the four of us to make it to the top 24, we were just super stoked about that.
Was there a difference in the way that the older contestants approached the entire competition from the way some of the teens who were in at the beginning might have been approaching it?
Luke: Thatís hard to say, because maybe with the song selections, I think that, at least I knew a lot of the Ď60s and Ď70s songs. I know when I listened to some of the CDs and some of the songs that we had to choose from, I knew a lot of them, and a lot of the younger contestants had never heard of those songs before. So, at least as far as trying to memorize t he words, maybe I had a little bit of an advantage with learning those songs because I knew them so well.
We have had contestants like Jason and Robbie, and they said that they made a lot of sacrifices to pursue a career in music. How about you? How easy or difficult has it been to get your career going?
Luke: Itís a tough career. Iíve made big sacrifices also. I toured in the acapella group for the last six years, and I made a big decision to leave that group to pursue American Idol. Itís a huge risk, but the way Iíve always looked at it is you canít further your career unless youíre willing to take those risks. So, itís a risk Iíve taken and it brought me to the top 16, so Iím hoping that this will spur a big career for myself.
One of the other pieces of news this week, outside of the performance and things was about David Hernandez and his past work in a strip bar. How does something like that impact on the atmosphere inside the AI camp? Does that make a big impression?
Luke: I donít think it does as much as people may think on the outside. Itís something that the news makes a big deal out of, and weíre so busy and concentrated and focused on the inside of American Idol that personally, I wasnít even thinking about it. I was thinking about my performance and what I can do to keep myself on the show. So personally, it really didnít have an impact on myself.
David was the one who, something from his past came up, but I guess everybodyís lives get looked into a little bit.
Does that idea worry you that somebody might be looking into your life and things like that?
Luke: You know, it doesnít. Iíve made a decision to not worry about what people are thinking or looking at or saying about me, because even if I wasnít on American Idol, people still do that to you on a smaller scale. So, Iíve just decided to just ignore and just to stay focused on what Iím trying to accomplish.
I just wondered how your wife responded to when Simon said you were forgettable. What did she say to that, because obviously, thatís quite hard.
Luke: Yes, he told me I was forgettable the first week. She was just very supportive and told me, she said, ďYou know, youíre not forgettable, Luke. I remember you. Everyoneís going to remember you,Ē and she said, ďDonít worry, youíre going to make it past this first round,Ē and I did. She was right, so Iím going to start believing her a lot more now.
So, one of the first songs that you sang, Simon called you girlie. How did you personally deal with the criticism, not just your wife?
Luke: How did I handle being called girlie?
Simonís criticism in general.
Luke: Simon never gave me one compliment on camera, so I learned to really tune out his criticism. He really didnít give me much constructive criticism. It was pretty much degrading stuff, so I just took that with a grain of salt, and I just tuned him out.
How did you come up with your personal pick for the week this particular week?
Luke: I wanted to pick a song that I knew was going to be a classic Ď80s song that people would really remember from the Ď80s, and I wanted also a song to up tempo and fun with a lot of energy on stage and something that I could show off my high tenor range. Thatís how I came up with ďWake Me UpĒ.
What did you learn from your experiences on Idol?
Luke: I learned that you canít listen to what people say about you and you canít take things personally and you have to have tough skin and you really just have to be persistent in what youíre trying to accomplish.
What advice do you have for future contestants?
Luke: I would say be patient, because if youíre going to exceed far on American idol, youíre not going to have any control over your schedule, so just be ready to be patient.
What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supported you while you were on the show?
Luke: I would like to thank them very much for all the votes and for keeping me here for three weeks. Hopefully, I entertained them while I was on the show. It was a blast.
Is there a place on-line where people can go to learn more about you and maybe get in touch with you?
Luke: I donít have a personal My Space page. I know there are several fan pages out there and all they have to do is just Google my name and I think theyíll be able to find them.
What Beatles song would you have sung if you had made it to the top 12?
Luke: I was going to sing ďI Want To Hold Your HandĒ.
Why did you think another one would work for you, two in a row?
Luke: I think that the slow song didnít really work for me. I was actually going to sing ďI Want To Hold Your Hand,Ē and it wasnít going to be up tempo. I was actually going to slow it down a little bit.
Luke: I was going to switch it up that way.
I figure in acapella, you guys sing Beatles all the time. Isnít that a standard?
Luke: Weíve never sung a Beatles song in my acapella group.
Luke: I donít know. Thatís a good question. Weíve never even really brought it up. Weíve never brought up the Beatles. We donít do many Ď60s songs in our acapella group.
What decade do you usually focus on?
Luke: We donít really focus on a decade. Itís more of the style. Itís a six part, kind of a like a jazz style. We have a lot of six part harmony going on. I guess we do some Ď70s songs, and a lot of modern songs also.
Are you going to go back to that after this?
Luke: Right now Iím not sure. Iím planning on, hopefully, maybe getting into some television with some acting.
Luke: Yes, or maybe pursuing some kind of Broadway career. I would just to really see all the stuff that I potentially might be able to do after this.
You mentioned that you were really close to Michael Johns. I know that you guys are ridiculously busy during the week, but were you guys doing any collaborations? I know that Blake and Chris Richardson had in the past, along with Ace and Chris Daughtry. Were you guys messing around at all, maybe doing some arrangements with some songs?
Luke: We never got to that point where we arranged songs together, but we listened to music together a lot. We were roommates, and we went through our I-Pods and listened to music quite a bit in the evenings when we were back in our room, so that was fun.
What are you most looking forward to doing once you get home? Is there anything that you really missed from your old house, or your day-to-day life? I also read somewhere that you were possibly going to take a motorcycle trip from L.A. to New York with your wife. Is that something that you want to do?
Luke: Itís something that I said I would love to do, although I donít know how Iím going to get my motorcycle all the way to Los Angeles. I didnít think about that before I gave that answer. One thing Iím looking forward to doing is actually spending some time with my wife, because Iíve been shut off from my everyday lifestyle for the past month and a half, so itíll be nice to spend some time with her. Iím also looking forward to getting my career going, kick starting my career and getting out there and seeing what I can accomplish.
Is there anything youíre going to do to unwind from this? Iím sure it was a stressful experience. Is there anything youíre looking forward to doing to unwind?
Luke: I canít wait to go to the movies.
Luke: Just watch a movie and just kick back in the dark where no one will see me and just enjoy the movie and not think about anything, and not have to worry about memorizing any songs.
Are you disappointed for not making the top 12?
Luke: Absolutely Iím disappointed, but I think Iím more excited for making the top 16 than anything, and right now, thatís overshadowing any disappointment I have in not going on any further.
I know that you do not have any formal singing training. Do you think that you need this, or do you prefer to sing from the bottom of your heart?
Luke: From the bottom of my heart. I think that people can really see in your eyes if youíre really thinking about what youíre singing and thatís what I was trying to do.
Do you realize how big American Idol is, that it is not seen only in the U.S., but in other countries like Venezuela or Mexico and Colombia? How do you feel about that?
Luke: I think thatís awesome. Just the fact that itís seen worldwide is just surreal to me of how many people actually watch this. Thatís very exciting to know that there are people across the world that are watching this.
Have you seen other Idol shows, like Latin American Idol or Pop Idol?
Luke: Iíve seen some clips of Pop Idol, but thatís the only one Iíve seen clips from before.
I remember Simon called you verging on grotesque at one point. How did you respond to his constant criticism?
Danny: I was shocked, because I didnít know what grotesque meant for a second there, and then I was pretty upset, because I thought he was going to kind of like me, or say something a little positive, but yes, it was a bit on the negative side. So, I was kind of upset, but you brush it off after.
What do you say in defense of the videos that are circulating the Web that have you in it?
Danny: Thatís something that is so forever ago that I used to do. It was almost like another person ago. Thatís when I was younger. It was more like an acting thing. I used to do personalities and things like that. Iím actually shocked that they used that one. Thereís more interesting ones, but itís more of an acting little show that I used to put on for You Tube and things.
I wanted to ask you, because I know so much of the feedback you got from the judges was the fact that you were so different, you stood out, you have such a personality. Did you feel that going into the show that you were different from the rest of the contestants, because it seemed like, in some ways, you were really using that to your advantage sometimes.
Danny: Yes, definitely. You always want to stay true to yourself. I see the other contestants. Weíre all different, but I definitely was really different, but I wasnít trying to be different or anything. It just came naturally I guess, but yes, I wasnít over-trying it, but itís always important to stay true to yourself. I think thatís the main key to this competition.
Did you ever get some of the people thinking maybe you should tone it down, or we want you to be more like so-and-so? Did you ever get any of that from other people?
Danny: Definitely. I got that a lot, and I didnít really listen.
It looked like you were really close to Ramiele. Tell me a little bit about how that relationship developed, the friendship.
Danny: She and I are like best friends right now. We started talking at the end of Hollywood Week and we grew to be really close. I actually just talked to her right now, and yes, weíre just really close. We have a lot in common. Sheís my little twin.
What Beatles song were you planning to sing next week, if you had made it into the top 12, and you should have made the top 12?
Danny: Iím not sure, because we were still picking them.
What were your candidates? What were you pondering before you left?
Danny: Honestly, I donít even know.
Really? You didnít have one really solidified in your head?
Danny: No, because I donít know.
You donít know the songs that well?
Danny: Yes, I donít really know them too well.
I donít know if you keep up with the chatter thatís going on, but your sexuality was a bit of a hot topic. I donít know if you picked that up. If youíre going to continue to be in the public eye, which Iím sure you will. Iím sure youíre going to go into great things. Do you think thatís going to be something youíre going to have to address or talk about, or something youíre comfortable talking about?
Danny: I think your personal life and your job are two different things and I think people should respect that and know the fine line between that. Privacy is really important, and I noticed a lot of celebrities donít get that, but I just think it has nothing to do with your job.
You said you want to continue with your music career and keep at it, which I totally recommend. I was just wondering; what sort of role model would you like to be for your fans or in your career? Who would you like to inspire?
Danny: I really love the little fan letters that Iím getting from these little kids that are telling me that they admire me. Like this eleven year old little boy wrote me, and theyíre telling me they admire me for being myself, and I showed them that you can be different and still be successful on American Idol. They said that itís cool that they never saw that before, and Iíd really like to inspire those little kids that think that they canít do anything because theyíre different in certain ways, whether itís sexuality or their race or anything like that. Itís fine to be yourself and be successful. I think thatís the kind of message I want to send out.
You were a very exciting entertainer, and I loved your style. The forums really have been buzzing since the results were announced, and in most polls that Iíve seen, you were not predicted to go home. On a poll on ricky.org there were 5,600 votes cast, and there were three other people below you. Were you surprised? What do you think happened?
Danny: I would say Iím surprised. It was more of a yes and no. I always go to the results not knowing what to expect, because theyíre so unpredictable. But I definitely have a little bit of confidence because you get all the fan mail and things from these kids, and you think youíre doing something right for a second, and I definitely thought I was doing good for a second, but it is what it is, and I donít know.
Another question was people are asking for your haircut. Who was the stylist for your hair?
Danny: I cut my hair myself, but the stylist that did my hair usually was Sara, one of the hairdressers whoís amazing.
What do you think about Ryan Seacrest, because he said youíre probably one of the most courageous contestants, probably because you actually stand up to Simon, and you didnít seem intimidated by him. Whatís your take on that?
Danny: I donít know. I try to just be myself and not over-think things. How would I have a conversation with a normal person on the street, or one of my friends? I just took it like that. If somebody calls you grotesque, I donít think most people would react to that positive, but I just work it as that. I wouldnít call it too courageous, but Iím just definitely being myself.
You and Ramiele, she seemed really affected by your departure. Did she mention why she was crying? What did you say to you afterward? And can you describe your little half heart hand signal that you guys have between each other?
Danny: Yes. Me and her are really close, and the reason why I was crying so much is because I didnít want to see her reaction. That whole little half heart thing, we call it corazon, which means heart in Spanish. Itís like a cute little half a heart thing that we just do. Sheís my little twin and I love her.
Could you talk about your experiences on Idol last year, trying out and comparing it to this year and how youíve changed as a person between those two years?
Danny: Yes, definitely. Last year I was just totally not being myself, like I explained on one of the videos on Idol. I was just creating an image, trying to find something that I thought the judges would like, rather than being myself, because I was more afraid of what they would think of me. I was a little much, but this year, I decided to just be myself and see if it would work, and it definitely worked. It got me farther than last year, obviously, but youíre not going to be able to please everybody, but I wasnít really trying to.
Who were you trying to be last year? What were you trying to put up as who you were?
Danny: I totally cut my hair, started dressing different, acting different. It was so bad. It was horrible. You can totally tell I was so uncomfortable the whole time, which read on my face. I think it was the whole reason why I was eliminated.
This weekís performance seems to have been your most out there performance. It was just like you saying okay, Iím just doing this. I donít really care what anybody says. How much fun was it for you to put together the entire performance?
Danny: It was so much fun. I was really happy with the performance. I donít even care what anybody says. Iím really hard on myself with my performances and stuff, but this is the one performance that I was actually semi-happy about. I was excited about it and I had a blast doing it.
Somebody mentioned earlier those videos that people pulled up of you, and obviously, David Hernandez and Amanda have had that taste of people probing into your past and all that kind of stuff. What do you think about that? You talked before about how celebrities donít get much privacy, but you guys are so new to this. Whatís that like having all that kind of stuff so closely examined, and what did you see from them reacting to those things coming out?
Danny: Itís just really weird. Doing something as simple as making an acting video, like I did that, which I did so many moons ago, but something little like that that was made for rude humor, can be blown up out of proportion, and can be shown as your character and thatís the kind of person that I am. Do you know what I mean? I just think itís pretty sad that people will do that to just tear down somebodyís success. Weíre all trying to be something in life right now, and we donít understand why people would try to cut it down with doing some negative things like that. I donít know. Itís pretty sad to me.
Yes, and I guess having your background pulled up like that. Were you able to sympathize with Amanda and David as they were seeing stuff like that come out about them?
Danny: Yes, definitely. We all try to stay away from the Internet as much as possible, but itís hard to ignore when youíre turning on the TV in the morning and seeing it. Yes, we all had our little talks and stuff, but theyíre amazing people and theyíre holding up well.
I know you have a punk rock past and you were in a punk rock band back in the day. Is that the type of music that you ever would consider going back to?
Danny: No, I donít think so. The whole punk thing, thatís when I was in eighth grade to eleventh grade. I love punk music, donít get me wrong, but I donít think I would be able to make an album with all that music.
You always seem to keep your composure on stage, and you didnít really let Simon or anyone else bug you. Did you have any kind of rituals or anything like that that you did before you performed that brought your nerves down a notch?
Danny: You know, I really didnít. It got easier each time that you performed, but I didnít really do anything too much, just drank a lot of water.
You were talking about your friendship with Ramiele, and I think I talked to Kady a couple of times, because sheís from Houston, and I think that she mentioned that she was also good friends with you. Talk a little bit about your relationship with her and what do you think made her special and connected to you?
Danny: Kady and I are like freaking brother and sister. Itís weird. When I first started talking to her, I thought she would be a completely different person, and then I started talking to her, and I was like, she acts just like me. Itís like sheís a girl version of me. Itís weird. I donít know. We do the same things, we talk the same, we both have ADD. Itís just cool. Weíre the little Charlieís Angels of the group.
I would say this to you. I thought your version of ďTainted LoveĒ was awesome.
Danny: Thank you.
You spoke before about being yourself and being a role model for kids and not toning things down, but the fact is, in the past, contestants who talked back to Simon didnít stick around for a long time. Do you think that your talking back to Simon was a factor in your being eliminated? Also, do you think it might also have been peopleís reactions to your out there personality/flamboyance for a better word? Do you think people are prejudiced in any way?
Danny: Yes, of course, but you canít please everybody. Itís important to be yourself, and I donít know. I donít know how to answer. The whole talking back thing, it wasnít me being all crazy and dramatic towards him. It was more of a sarcastic thing that I would joke around with Simon with. It wasnít like I was really like I was going to beat him up or something. He knows that I was kidding. It was more of a sarcastic thing between me and him, and thatís why he always laughed after everything I did. I think a lot of people realized that though that I was kind of sarcastic about it. I wasnít more mad or anything like pissed, but I try to just be myself. I donít know.
From some things that Iíve read on-line, there were some people who seemed to be very disturbed by you for some reason. Because you were being yourself, they were disturbed by this. Do you think that that was a factor in you being eliminated?
Danny: Definitely. As I said, you canít please everybody, and I guess the majority of the votes just didnít like me, but thatís that, and it is what it is. I canít change myself for anybody. Itís so important to be yourself in this competition, itís ridiculous.
Danny, I was interested when you said that you and Kady were a lot alike in real life, because on the show, you came out as opposites. You were criticized for having so much personality; she was criticized for not having enough personality. Itís interesting that you guys were similar, but you had different approaches when the cameras came on. What do you make of that? You can be criticized either way, too much personality, not enough personality. What would you tell someone else who is trying out for the show?
Danny: I think itís more like she admits it. She says itís her song choices and stuff. Sheís the greatest performer. She tells stories through her performance, and, of course, if sheís singing a sad song, sheís not going to be smiling. Do you know what I mean? She was totally making that clear, but backstage sheís more out there than I am. You should just see her. We were so crazy, itís funny.
If she had gotten a little bit crazier, that might have helped her.
Danny: Yes, probably.
Danny, I wanted to see what you would say to the Danimals. You had one of the most fanatic fan bases in the history of American Idol.com. What would you say to not only the Danimals, but just your fans all over the place?
Danny: I just want to thank them for sticking by my side after all the stuff thatís been written about me and stuff. Itís so weird that so early in the competition that I can have so many fans and so much stuff being written about me. Do you know what I mean? I just wanted to thank them for everything that they did and voting me and keeping me this far and sticking by me. They didnít have to do all that.
TMTH is probably the greatest phrase that I will use for the rest of this year. Thank you, Danny.
Danny: Thank you.
Thank you to FOX for allowing us to participate in this media call.