Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert talk Idol
By April MacIntyre Mar 3, 2009, 3:38 GMT
American Idolís second set of three finalists were Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert. courtesy of FOX
American Idolís second set of three finalists were Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert. The show will select the last of the top twelve this week on FOX.
The final group of 12 will perform this Tuesday, March 3, followed by a results show on Wednesday March 4.
Then on Thursday, March 5, is the still-confusing wild-card round.
Monsters and Critics joined other online journalists to speak with Allison, Adam and Kris about their performances.
Allison, why did you pick Alone as your first song to introduce you to the world?
A. Iraheta Okay. So my nerves, obviously you can tell about how much I have nerves before I sing. I guess I really try not to show them while Iím performing, because I try to really focus on the song and just not really focus on whatís going to bug me, whatís going to happen. So obviously anybody thatís going to be performing on a stage like that is going to get nervous.
I just really love the song Alone, and I love the band Heart. I had already thought about it beforehand that I really wanted to do that song, so I guess it helped me out you know. Yeah.
Did you have any sort of fear about picking that song? Did you feel like you really had to do something different?
A. Iraheta No. I mean I did think about the fact that Carrie did it and the past Idols; they really did that song and they did it really well. Theyíre amazing. But I really focused on me and how I would just do the song and just, yes, I guess give it a little taste of what I can do. Like not change it, because you know weíre different, so just give it a little of me in the song I guess.
Are you a natural redhead?
A. Iraheta Am I a natural redhead? I wish; that would be great, because then I wouldnít have to be worrying about dying the roots every other like five weeks. But no, Iím not. My natural hair color is black, like brown/black.
Why did you go for red?
A. Iraheta Why? I donít know. I like it. I think Iím going to be one of those hmm, red these couple of months and then purple the other. I donít know, probably. I might be doing something with my hair.
Danny Gokey has a very moving back-story, do you feel like that gives him an extra advantage of any kind?
A. Iraheta I donít know. I think they give us all airtime fairly. They all focus on all of us, so I think it depends on what people see, if they like it or not.
Do you think the viewers vote based on judges comments or do you think they focus more on the performance? Whatís your feeling about it?
A. Iraheta About people voting?
Yes. Judgeís comments or performance how Ö
A. Iraheta I think both. I think a lot of people always take a listen to what the judges have to say and take that into consideration, and performances also, of course.
Allison, you had at least a bit of experience in this because you won a contest on Telemundo a couple of years ago.
A. Iraheta Yes, I did two years ago.
Were you singing in Spanish or English at the time, and just what did it feel like to win that?
A. Iraheta Well okay, so it was two years ago. I was fourteen. It was a great experience. I sang both Spanish and English. It was amazing to win, you know; it was awesome.
So Iím curious to know how are you going to approach Simonís comments about the personality thing? I mean how do you take that?
A. Iraheta He doesnít know me enough, I guess, because he said I was boring. But honesty, Iím not. I guess I was nervous a little; I mean who isnít going to be nervous before they sing the first time for that round. So I guess Iíll just chill a little bit more, because the nerves got me a little.
But what are some things that youíre going to do to kind of bring yourself out of your shell? Are you going to be doing practice interviews with Ryan Seacrest backstage or anything like that?
A. Iraheta No. I think Iíll just chill a little more, relax, because I think, I donít know, I donít even know. I think Iím just going to relax more and just relax. Because that was my problem, I was just like
Got you. My follow-up is whoís your favorite Ö?
A. Iraheta I donít have a favorite. Ö everybody.
You donít have a favorite Ö? There isnít anyone that you admire their performance or think wow, theyíre really good too?
A. Iraheta Everybody is because you know theyíre all so frigging awesome and everybody is different, so Iíd have to admire everybody.
What did you think about Paula comparing you to the original Idol, Kelly Clarkson?
A. Iraheta Her comparing me to Kelly Clarkson? I have to take that compliment, you know, because thatís a big one, you know, because itís Kelly Clarkson. Sheís amazing and I really admire her a lot, so I thought that was pretty great.
Have you been watching the show since it started?
A. Iraheta Of course. Yes.
So do you have any favorite past contestants or anybody that you kind of look to for inspiration on the show?
A. Iraheta I guess my favorite past Idol contestants would have to be Kelly, of course, Carrie. I think I might as well just end up naming all of them, because theyíre just all pretty awesome.
Could you tell us what else we might be able to expect from you going forward, what other genres of music you enjoy, what other artists you admire?
A. Iraheta Well you know I love doing all kinds of music, but Iím really trying to go down on one lane of like I guess you can say like rockish pop or something like that; something, you know, that really can show my style, I guess. I donít know. So maybe a little bit of everything, but maybe just Iíd be doing a little, you know, rock.
Whom do you have on your iPod right now?
A. Iraheta Who do I have on my iPod? Kings of Leon.
Did you maybe think about waiting a couple of years to go with your voice a little bit more or did you just want to dive right into it as soon as you turned sixteen?
A. Iraheta Iíve wanted to actually audition since nine, since I was that little. You know? Had my face on that TV screen wishing I were on the show. It would have been the same; I would have still wanted it as much as I do now.
Now do you feel that you have any advantages or disadvantages of being the youngest contestant, finalist, so far?
A. Iraheta No. I think it doesnít matter what the age is of how Iím the youngest or whatever, because I think really all it comes down to is the same thingóweíre all here for the same thing and it depends on how much we want it and how much we prepare. You know, weíre all here for the same thing.
Beyoncť, has talked a lot about how she has an on stage persona that sheís named Sasha Fierce. So what would you name your on stage persona?
A. Iraheta I have no idea. Thatís a good one, though; she could be Sasha Fierce. I donít know, Iíd be like wild blah-- I donít even know.
Wild Blah. Okay, itís on the record. And one other question, what was the first album that you ever bought?
A. Iraheta The first album I ever bought was a Queen Volume I and a Volume II greatest hits dual CD thingy.
It was a CD?
A. Iraheta Yes.
Tell us what are your roots? Your parents originally come from what country?
A. Iraheta My parents are originally from El Salvador.
Do you look to other bilingual singers, like Shakira or any of those people in that genre, to inspire you?
A. Iraheta Yes, definitely. I think itís hard, actually, to go out there and do both English and Spanish, because a lot of people wonít be into that; you have to be really good. Obviously Shakira sheís good, you know, and itís hard. Sheís a real inspiration with the whole bilingual. I used to look into Selena because she was very bilingual and she was very well known because of that.
So whatís it like for you to be kind of performing in your backyard essentially?
A. Iraheta Itís pretty awesome. It feels good to be here. I know a lot of the other contestants are like, ďOh, I want to go back home,Ē like they miss their homes. But Iím like, ďYeah, Iím already here.Ē So itís awesome already being here.
And so do you have like a lot of family support around you as youíre doing this show?
A. Iraheta Most definitely. Of course all the contestants here are going to have their family support, and I know my family, and my mom especially, great support. Thatís really what we all need.
I have a big family.
Adam, how do you think your look has changed between the time you auditioned and now the live performances for your votes?
Adam. Lambert Obviously we were waiting around all day at that San Francisco audition, so I kind of wanted to stay comfortable. For the other night, for the performance, that was my chance to kind of present myself, so of course I upped the fashion kick a little bit. I put on something a little dressier, a little funkier.
Now do you shop for your own clothes or are you getting help from some of the Idol stylists?
A. Lambert No, actually at this point, up until now, it has all been my own eye.
You mentioned that youíve been doing musical theater all your life. Can you tell me maybe your first role where you were up on the stage and got to sing something cool or when you kind of knew that you were going to want to do this?
A. Lambert Yes. I actually was cast in a production of Youíre a Good Man Charlie Brown when I was ten years old, and I played the role of Linus with the blanket.
Yes. And it was downtown San Diego at the Lyceum Theater, and it was like the first time and it was pretty wild.
Simon kind of had a mixed review for your performance the other night calling it brilliant and then excruciatingly bad. How do you kind of respond to that critique?
A. Lambert Well I responded on air, and I just kind of said well I guess thatís kind of music in generalóyou either love it or you donít love it. Obviously Iím a risk taker. I kind of feel like Iím not easy listening. You know what I mean? Iím not going to be always the most digestible thing for everybody across the board; Iím specific, and I like to kind of blow it out the box and either you like it or you donít.
Going forward are you going to kind of stick to that or do you try and take into consideration what the judges say and work that in as well?
A. Lambert Yes, of course I take what they say. Theyíre obviously professionals, and I take everything that they say and I listen. I think that itís important to maintain a balance between your own integrity and what you want to do, and then what the audience wants, and what the judges want to hear. So kind of mix that all together and come up with something.
My plan is that Iím not planning on wailing at the top of my lungs every week; I think the audience would grow tired of that. I intend on making it interesting by varying up the mood and the style of the song that Iím singing week-to-week.
What was your reaction when you heard the producers placing your performance last on Wednesday? Thatís always considered an honor to be the last guy on.
A. Lambert Yes. I was honored. I was excited, because I knew that meant that I was closing the show and that Iíd be fresh in everybodyís minds when they started voting. I was really, really happy.
Did you have to sing to a backing track or was there some sort of unseen live band Ö?
A. Lambert Oh, that was a live band. Unfortunately you didnít see them; they were behind the wall. If you look at the wide shots theyíre to the right Ė or to my left, to your right.
Why did they hide them?
A. Lambert I donít know why they hide them. I was asking the same question.
It sounds like you really did accomplish in the Broadway thing. As close as I can tell you were kind of like the male romantic lead in the Los Angeles production of Wicked. Is tható
A. Lambert I actually understudied him.
Oh, understudied. But did you get on the stage sometimes?
A. Lambert Yes, a handful of times.
When you made this visual transition, and you look so much like a rock star now, did you get some help from some of these? Because you worked, obviously, every night with Broadway people who know about make up and clothes did you get advice on this?
A. Lambert No, actually itís funny. When I started going into rehearsals for Wicked all the other kids looked at me like I was a freak because I was dressed like that in rehearsal. That has always been my style. In the Broadway community, in the show, Iím costumed in that. So the stuff that youíve been seeing me wear on Idol is really my daily street wear.
Weíve seen quite a lot of you on screen, how much do you think that focus helped you?
A. Lambert Of course it has helped. It has exposed me to people more and more times, and so they get the feeling like they know me, and thatís really exciting. And they get to hear me talk and hear my opinions, which are many. Yes, of course it has helped, and Iím really, really thankful to the producers for featuring me in such a way.
How much do you think that say like an emotional story, like say Dannyís emotional story, how much do you think that back story makes a difference?
A. Lambert I think it does make a difference. I think it allows the audience to empathize with that person, with that artist, especially when you go on stage and sing a certain number. If they can relate to the song, if they feel like youíre relating to the song based on your own personal experiences, I think that that really evokes quite a reaction from the audience.
Was there a moment you thought, ďOh my God, Iím not going to make it?Ē
A. Lambert You know, I did, I got a little nervous. I thought Nick was brilliant the other night, so I didnít really know which way it was going to go. I thought, ďWell here it goes; itís a toss up.Ē
Simon is always saying during the performance rounds, ďThat was too Broadway. That was too Broadway.Ē How are you going to kind of pull it back and sort of not make it too Broadway, because thatís your style?
A. Lambert And I hate to correct you, but luckily he hasnít said Broadway yet; he said theatrical, which I guess is synonymous. But I think that I take the theatrical comment as a compliment as opposed to a derogatory statement. Simon kind of makes it seems derogatory, but when you think about it in the pop music scene right now a lot of the big artists are going a very theatrical route. Thereís lots of camp and costumesóthatís kind of an angle right now in the scene. So I kind of think itís time for something like that.
Paula mentioned that you had an extraordinary range, and obviously thatís an advantage when youíre performing. But is there any song, any one song you can think of, that youíd be terrified to attempt?
A. Lambert You know Iím kind of competitive and I like challenges, so I donít think range wise there is anything Iíd be scared to attempt. I think maybe there are certain styles that I might want to stay away from.
Country week would obviously be a slight stretch for me if that comes up. Iím kind of up for the challenge; I like all different types of music and I feel like I could probably try to sing all different types of music. But weíll see what the judges think.
Whose musical career, from the spectrum of todayís recording artists, who do you most envy?
A. Lambert I think David Bowie has been a really, really, really cool artist. Just considering that he has reinvented himself, he took a ton of risks, both visually, lyrically, and musically. Obviously vocally weíre very different, but I think that along those other lines we have some similarities, and someone like that is a great model for me.
Were there any things that were similar, or at least helpful, between your musical theater experience and the Idol experience?
A. Lambert Obviously you have to like be on your game with the theater world. You have to be ready to go at any moment. This machine itís turning real fast, so itís kind of like you either hop on and hold on and you know how to own your stuff or you fall off. So I think with theater itís definitely trained me to be able to sing under any condition and be able to just go with the drop of a hat.
I think in certain ways there are certain elements of the theater training that could be detrimental to the Idol experience, because thatís not really the sound Iím going for. Iím not going for a Broadway sound. But the cool thing is that this is finally allowing me to be myself, I mean I donít listen to show tunes on my spare time I can assure you. The show tune thing, the musical theater thing, was just kind of they way that I was paying the bills. I mean we all have to have a job. Right?
So now I get to finally sing the kind of music that I like to listen to.
Are you hoping that they will have a musical theater theme week or are you kind of hoping they donít? You want to kind of get away from that?
A. Lambert Yes. No, I hope they donít. I mean not because I have anything against it; I just donít see myself doing that as a recording artist anyway.
How much do you think the Internet is going to help you?
A. Lambert I think any exposure is good exposure. I was aware that there is a lot of uTube presence, and I think that of course itís been helpful because it has allowed viewers at home to see me do various songs and take on various styles. So I can see how that could be an advantage.
Are you reading the comments that people are saying about you on the Internet? And if so is that helpful to you to know what the voting audience wants?
A. Lambert Yes, here and there. I try not to dwell on it too much; I need to kind of keep my head in the game. But I have seen things here or there, and it does help. I donít take anything personally good or bad; I try to remain as objective as possible. But itís like market research in a way; it really helps you find out what the fans think.
I wanted to find something that was like classic rock that everybody would know and be able to kind of sing along to, at least the parts where I followed the melody. And then I wanted to be able to turn it around midway through and kind of break it down my own way, and so hopefully Satisfaction was the way to go on that.
And plus my mother is a huge Rolling Stones fan, and I kind of wanted to give her a little nod. I knew she was going to be there and I thought that would be kind of fun.
Is there any other artist that you think that people tend to shy away from on American Idol because itís just so hard to replicate?
A. Lambert I think people would probably tend to shy away from a lot of the male power vocalists that weíve had in the past 30 or so years people kind of shy away from. I mean Freddie Mercury is one that I hear a lot of people try to tackle, but I never am that impressed. I think Led Zeppelin would probably be a tough one to own, but I would be up for the challenge.
Kris, How do you think youíve evolved as a performer since Hollywood week?
Kris Allen Well you know I usually do stuff with a guitar, I usually perform with my guitar, and so I really had to learn not to do that this past week. So it was tough, but I learned a lot from this past experience.
On your Website it talks about you traveling to Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Mozambique, South Africa, and a number of countries. You seem to be really well traveled. Whatís taking you to all these different parts of the world?
K. Allen Actually just doing kind of philanthropy stuff; just trying to help people out and just a lot of mission kind of stuff.
Is it mission work with your church then?
K. Allen Itís with a campus ministry that I went to. Yes.
Was it a surprise or how much have you expected to make it through?
K. Allen Yes. When I made it through I was really, really shocked, because this group two that we have was just really, really good and a lot of talented people. I felt like anybody had a shot, so I felt really, really lucky to actually make it through with all those other people.
Did you feel in a way when you watched the show back, ďHey, where am I? How come I didnít get more screen time?Ē
K. Allen I think that went through my head maybe a little bit, but in the back I was just trying to stay grounded and be like hopefully that doesnít matter--it doesnít matter so much and I can go out there and do my thing this week on live TV and more people are watching that then even the Hollywood stuff. I think that I showed myself this past week and I think people liked it.
How much do you credit Simonís comment about how, ĎI think the chicks are really going to dig you,Ē as sending you through to the next level?
K. Allen You know it probably helped. Iím not going to lie.