Aaron Kelly Speaks With the Press – Conference Call and Video

Aaron Kelly spoke with the press today, and I was pretty impressed with his maturity. His parents could not raise him, so his aunt and uncle adopted him, and have obviously done a really excellent job!  Aaron was an American Idol Experience winner–that’s the Idol attraction down in Orlando.  Aaron talks about what that experience was like. He also namechecks his favorite mentor, and is emphatic about what genre of music he sees him self pursing. He’d love to have a connection to Disney, but he sees himself pursuing a country music career.

Read the transcript from the conference call below, and at the bottom of the post, there is a whole slew of videos from Aaron’s FOX News satellite interviews, conducted early this morning.

Is it important to Aaron to stay true to himself and his age, and not grow up too fast in the competition? “Absolutely. You don’t want to change who you are in this competition because the people send you through for who you are in the beginning. If you change who you are, you are changing the person America fell in love with.”

What are his feelings about country music? “Country music is what I’ve grown up listening to, and it’s what I feel most comfortable with. Rascall Flatts and Keith Urban, they advance such great honest music and I have a great time performing country music. I see myself hopefully going down that road.”

Who was his favorite mentor this season? “My favorite mentor was Harry Connick Jr. He worked with us on such a personal level. He did all the arrangements; he worked really hard making sure that we all shined on our performance night. Just to have him…care so much, and such an iconic figure—Harry Connick Jr—he’s incredible. It was such an honor to share the stage with him. I felt really privileged to have him as mentor.”

Does Aaron think Harry Connick Jr. would be a good replacement for Simon Cowell? “He would be a great replacement for Simon. He’s very honest and he’s going to tell you straight out—I think Harry Connick would fit the bill perfectly. “

On his moment with Michael Lynche after Aaron was eliminated, “He said, you made it this far and it’s alright. Good things are all going to come out of this for everybody. No worries man. I’m good friends with everybody on the show. It’s one big family. We’re all stuck in the Idol bubble. Contestants and people behind the show are all we’ve got pretty much, so we all stick together, we’re all very close.”

Did he have a chance to talk with Rascal Flatts when they were on Idol? What did they say? “I got a chance to meet them and take a picture with them. They are really down to earth guys. That was incredible—that was one of the highlights for me—getting to meet somebody who inspired me so much. They thanked me for doing their music on the show. It’s an honor to do their music on the show. I look up to them so much.”

Is that the kind of music he hears himself making? “I think that’s definitely the road I see myself going down.”

What are his thoughts on the American Idol tour? Has he ever attended a show? “I’ve never been to an American Idol tour, but I’m really excited to get to be a part of it and interact with the fans and supporters. It’s going to be nice to connect, and also go out there and not have to worry about judges. It’s just going to be good clean fun, and I’m going to have a blast.”

What did the judges want from Aaron? “I think the judges wanted to see a little charisma. I got the confidence up and I was having a good time, I just needed to believe a little bit more. “

What did Simon say to him after he was eliminated? “He asked me what I felt my best week was. I said country week. He said that’s where I really shined. So I just have to figure out what kind of artist I am and what kind of road I want to go down. Country is what I feel most content with.”

What Did Harry Connick Jr. say to him? “He said it was great. During the mentoring–they actually didn’t air it– he said that I had a great voice. He said it was almost ‘angelic’. But singing a song beautifully is not the same– just go out and sing the song without all the high notes.”

Did he have a song picked out for movie week? “I was still filtering through the list, and didn’t really have something decided, nothing set in stone. I think it would have been a pretty good week. I’m really happy with as far as I made it.”

Will he go back to high school for a little while? Would he like to make an album with Rascal Flatts? “I’d love to. They are a huge inspiration to me. I’m actually on the verge of finishing up with high school. I’ve got all my senior credits. After that I’ll be all finished. I’d love to record an album, and get to do some original music—stuff that I’ve written. We’re not allowed to do that on the show. I don’t know if people know that I write songs, it’s also another huge passion of mine.”

Aaron got his start in Florida. More about those years, “I was born in Sarasota, FL…I didn’t really start with music until maybe 9 years old, but it wasn’t anything too serious. I got my start down there. The more I did it, the more comfortable I got with it—I started picking it up as a career. I did the American Idol experience, which is at Disney world. After winning that ticket to go to the front of the line, I auditioned in Orlando. I did really well with that, so I’m happy getting this far.”

Does he have a lot of Florida relatives coming to the tour? “Yes, I do. It’s going to be so great seeing them all on tour, and getting back to some of my old stomping grounds.”

What’s it like being a minor on the show? “I balanced school…normally it would be the same, waking up a little early to go to school. I look at it as—the contestants, they have to worry about their performance or the results, but I have to worry about astronomy, so I’m not thinking about all this stuff. I have school to take my mind off of it. I use it as an advantage.”

On the criticism that this year’s Idol doesn’t have the strongest contestants, “It seems like they say that every year. They are all talented people. We’re all working very hard up there. When people watch the show, they think we just go up there and sing, but there’s a lot more behind the scenes that we have to go through. It’s very difficult singing a song or genre that you’re not very comfortable with. It’s a very difficult task, but we’re all doing it pretty well, I think.”

Who does Aaron think has the best shot at winning? “They’re all talented, and I think they all have a shot at winning this. When it all comes down to it, it’s America that votes. Any one of them has a shot at this. They’re all fantastic, they’re really going to go out there and shine for Top 4. They’re going to do a great job.”

What’s it like having his mom on the show, “Mom being with me on the show—she’s a great support. She gave up so much to make sure all of her kids got what they wanted out of life, and had a good life ahead of us. We never had to worry about anything. She’s always encouraged us to follow our dreams–also my Dad as well. They both put out a lot for me to be able to do this. I’m very thankful for both of them. I love my mom very very much for the things she’s given up for me.”

His mother and father were originally his aunt and uncle. They adopted Aaron and his older brother. More on his adoptive parents, “I’ve had a great life. I love getting to share all this with my family and my mom and dad. I’m glad that it’s my aunt and uncle that adopted me because, if it hadn’t been them I wouldn’t get to see my real mom and dad, or any of that side of the family. That’s the reason they adopted us, because they didn’t want us getting taken away by somebody—parents who would never let us see our real family.”

What was her reaction when he dedicated the Shania Twain song to his mom? “She did cry actually. She’s just very proud of me. She wasn’t in the audience that night, but…I know she was very very proud. She had no idea I was going to dedicate it to her.”

What is he looking forward to most about his homecoming? “I’m looking forward to getting to see some family back home, and some friends. We’ve been out here for, I think about, two months—I lose track of the time—but it’s going to be nice getting to reconnect with them when I get back home.”

Mike said backstage that he was going to hold an idol prom for Aaron and Katie, is that going to happen? “I don’t know if it’s happening or not, (laughing) knowing Big Mike it will probably happen.”

He wants to take Selena Gomez as his date? “She’s probably really busy (laughter).”

What were some of his favorite backstage moments? “After we get off the stage and finish up, the contestants are all waiting, because they watch the performance back on the television as it’s going on. And they are all waiting there to give support. And if the judges cut you down that night, they’re there to build you back up. The contestants are all like family. We love each other very much. We want to see each other succeed.”

Was he like the little brother of the season? “They definitely called me the ‘little brother’ of the season. I’m very close with all of them. They’re all great guys…and Mommasox…I love them all.”

What did his friends say when they heard he had a little crush on Miley Cyrus? “I haven’t heard from them, but they actually thought it was funny. They actually haven’t said much about it.”

How does he feel about the other contestants calling him ‘Yoda’? “It’s cool. I think it’s funny to have a nickname on the show, because that’s how some of the fans have come to know me. They call me Yoda, and it’s cool to have a name like that. I know Casey is a huge fan of ‘Star Wars’ too.”

More on the American Idol experience. Would Aaron urge others to do it that way? “Absolutely. Doing the American Idol Experience—first of all it’s a great way to get a feel for what this competition is really like. You go through a set of audition processes and then…the audience actually votes you through. They had two different shows that day, the first one is when the audience lets you through. And at the end of the day, they pick one person from each show that day to go to the finale, and then from the finale the audience votes you through. The gold ticket from that puts you to the front of the line for any audition. That was good for me because, I actually ended up being one of the first to audition in Orlando that morning. It’s a fantastic thing, and it’s a good way to get a good feel for the competition.”

Will they ask him to promote it? “I’m hoping so. That would be cool.”

Does he see himself going down the Disney road? “I see myself interacting with Disney—I know Rascal Flatts, they’ve done some recordings for Disney, like ‘The Highway’ was a Disney recording– but also being able to be a country music artist. I see myself more along the lines of a Rascal Flatts or a Keith Urban style.”

He sang “Fly Me to the Moon” last night—was it difficult to do? And did he think he did better than he did Tuesday night? “I didn’t get to watch it back after I sang that night, but I did feel a lot more—I just let everything go. The difference for me between Tuesday night’s performance and last night’s performance is, I was over-thinking it Tuesday night. Because when I go out there, I want it to be perfect and I think that in a sense, it kind of pulls you back a little bit, because you’re trying to clean everything up, whereas, on Wednesday night I just let it all go, and had a great time with it.”

Closing: “I’d just like to send a shout out to all the fans and people who have supported me and got me this far. I have enjoyed this journey so much. The things I’ve learned, and the friends I’ve met, have made me…just thrilled. I want to thank everybody for voting, and your support and I love you all very much. I can’t wait to see you out on tour.”

Satellite Videos:

Good Day New York:

Good Day LA

Good Day Philadelphia

FOX 9

FOX Chicago

Backstage with the Idol judges

  • Liva

    Holy, that kid is so well spoken! And poised. I think he’ll do very well down the road in country music.

  • sue

    Aaron is really articulate and sweet. I think he would do really well with Disney and being teen country star. His studio recordings are actually pretty good.

  • revcat

    He’s a great kid; kudos to him and his family. Can’t wait to see what he is doing this time next year, hopefully still singing!

  • Pam

    Aaron seems like such a sweet kid. I hope some great opportunities come his way in the future.

  • Lys

    Aw, he seems like a sweetheart. A lot more articulate and confident than I would have guessed, too. I wish him all the best.

    It seems like the moment I start to warm up to a contestant, they get voted off. *sigh* That’s been the pattern for Katie, Tim, Siobhan, and now poor Aaron… I guess that means it’s probably Lee’s turn next.

  • anovich

    Wow, he’s really articulate and well-spoken. I wish we could have seen that on the show a little more. I think he could have a real future in the music business and I do hope a country label will take interest in him and help him develop the potential that’s there.

  • http://mjsbigblog.com/luvadamlamberts-american-idol-tour-2009-washington-dc-re-cap.htm luvadamlambert

    He wants to take Selena Gomez as his date? “She’s probably really busy (laughter).”

    That’d be so cute!!!

    I am SOOOOO DEPRESSED he’s gone: I <3 u aaron!!
    Wow,mike's the only person left whose performances I don't *hate* but I haven't liked one of his performances either in a REALLY long time.

    Aaron keep making music; you're an AWESOME dude!!!!!! <3

  • http://mjsbigblog.com/luvadamlamberts-american-idol-tour-2009-washington-dc-re-cap.htm luvadamlambert

    Lol on the happy side,for me at least ;)
    I predicted he would go home b4 the performance night,and for the first time I got 22points!!!!!!!!!
    I moved up from 400-something to 155 …

    Which still kinda sucks.haha I’m
    pathethic :)

  • cookcricket

    Aaron sure is a cutey and very well spoken. I hope he does get signed and all of his dreams come true. :D

    ETA: Congrats on your points and moving up in the pool luv!!

  • iluvai

    Aaron is adorable and a sweetheart. He made S9 interesting and worth watching for me and my daughter. I hope his dreams come true!

  • jammasta

    I’m still furious hateful immature and in need of therapy over this elimination coupled with Siobhan’s elimination.. Bright side is that Canada is ultra nice.

    So delusional I think I’m in Canada now. Aaron’s maturity with being eliminated did not make things a tinge better.

    See y’all next season if my American Idol life is intact. No point voting Crystal, America hates me and she’ll get eliminated next week.

    *grumble mope bleed*

  • joanincincy

    Aaron is so good! Each year with Idol, I am lucky to find one contestant that I really really like. Last year, it was Anoop and this year, Aaron. So as “bad” as we all keep saying this year is, I can’t really call it a total bust for me. I’ll look forward to seeing Aaron on the finale and in the years to come.

  • sunny2

    Aaron the song is called Life is a Highway, Rascal Flatts did a cover of it. The original is sung by Tom Cocharan.

  • Megz

    I’m still sad that he got voted off!

    BUT, I was really happy to see all these videos of him. He didn’t seem upset at all, and that was good to see. And we got to see a side you definitely didn’t see on the show. He’s so well-spoken and mature. He’s so adorable, I just want to give him a great big hug.

    He better get a record deal. They can’t let this kid slip away, he’s way too talented.

  • jackypond

    His performance is always fantastic I am big fan of this song It is really a nice song for us,
    flash drive

  • carolina pagada

    Aaron…still clicked on news and interviews after he was voted off from top 5…because not only his fans were shocked but i know i think the press also…loves him…there’s something in him that he can be also great singer or artist soon…I hope i will see or hear Aaron on his next step…How about being a star…as young actor too?