American Idol 13 – Dexter Roberts On Moving To Nashville, Changing Up Songs (UPDATED)


In a teleconference with reporters on Friday, eliminated American Idol 13 finalist, Dexter Roberts, talked about moving to Nashville to pursue music, being mentored by former Idol winners like Taylor Hicks and David Cook, how the band sometimes discouraged changing up songs, and much more!

What’s the best piece of advice he got during the competition that he’ll take with him? “Just to be myself and go out there and have fun and don’t have regrets. Have fun with America and have fun with your friends.”

Who would he like to sing a duet with? “It would have to be Florida Georgia Line or Luke Bryan.”

Was it difficult to make the transition from life in Alabama to California? “Yeah, it was really different. I’m a country boy, and this is city life. I’ve tried to make the best [of it] I could.”

What advice from the judges impacted him the most? “Probably–just to go out there and have fun. I remember they told me to work on my diction…it’s just the southern twang I’ve got.”

When he ended up in the bottom 2 with Jessica, did he think he’d be going home? “Man, it’s really crazy. Nobody really knows if we’re going home, because it’s such a great competition between us. We’re like family and you just don’t know, cause everybody is so good. You don’t know who’s gonna go home. We all had knots in our belly.”

What was he planning to sing for next week’s country/rock theme? “I was going to sing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith and for the country thing, either a Brant Lee Gilbert song or I was gonna do another Luke Bryan song.”

How has his girlfriend, whom he met while waiting to audition, supported his journey? “Oh man, she’s been nothing but great support. She’s been behind me the whole way, her and her family and my family…and America. This has been a great experience.”

How does he feel about making it this far in the competition, and did it exceed his expectations? “I’ve had a great time. It was just a blast to be able to be there on American Idol. I did my best. I just came out there and tried to kill it each week. It was just amazing.”

Did he feel like the judges feedback was ever confusing? Did he have a hard time figuring out what they wanted him to do? “Sometimes I’m sitting back there…I go back and I’m asking everybody backstage ‘What are they taking about?’ Each one of us contestants, we all had that same…Harry, he’d say something way out of the way, and we’re just like ‘What in the world? You’re talking sign language.”

When he threw “roll tide” into “Sweet Home Alabama” during Top 11 week, was that a calculated move for votes? “I always sung that song. If I go play the bar, or any kind of place–I’d always incorporate the “Roll Tide” into the ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’–to get the crowd with you, to just have a good time. It’s a song that everybody sings along to. Everybody knows the song. It’s just something to make it your own.”

What was the biggest challenge for him making a transition to TV? “Just getting used to doing interviews, really. Getting used to having to be on TV. Remembering all your lines–it’s real different.”

What was his reaction to watching himself back on TV, “I [would go] over each night that I [sang], and I was like ‘Man, what can I do next week that I didn’t do this week. What can I improve on just to make myself get better?’ That’s what I did each week.”

What inspired him to audition for American Idol? “It was dream. I told my grandma ‘I’m going to be famous one day.’ I’m either gonna do something for somebody, or just become famous, or I’m gonna sing. All my buddies and everybody I sung to, sung in bars, weddings and parties and stuff [said] you need to try out for American Idol. I didn’t think I was ever good enough. But I thought, ‘One day, I’m just going to try out.’ I just wanted to see if it worked, and sure enough it did.”

The anthems he was singing kept him out of the bottom mostly. What happened this week? “I don’t know. It’s really hard to say. I wish I knew why I ended up leaving. I had a great time on the show. I’m going to have a great time going on tour.”

Did he take the judges criticisms about making the country songs more his own to heart? “I wanted to try and make the song more my own. But sometimes, the band didn’t think that it would be great. And I was like ‘Well, I’m trying, man, I’m trying.’ Let’s just play the record [they would say], and I was like ‘OK.” I tried as much as I could, but hopefully, when I get on tour, I can have a little bit more say so in it.”

Did he think the judges were a little to harsh on him at times? “No. I wanted the judges to be harsh on me. I think if you…have criticism, that’s going to help you be a better artist. That’s what I told CJ a bunch of times before [when] they were all just saying good things. Then they started hitting the criticism and I was like ‘Man, I love it!’ Everybody else was getting down. It drives me more. It’s just like putting fuel on to my fire. It makes me want to go out there and do it better each week.”

What is he looking forward to most from the summer tour? “Just to be able to hang out with all my friends again. I’m really looking forward to see who wins. Everybody is so good, you don’t know who’s going to win. I’m looking forward to being with everybody and getting out on stage and not be worried about getting judged.”

Who did he bond with the most on the show? “It’s hard to tell. I bonded with everybody. Probably Caleb and CJ, the most.”

Did fellow Alabamian, and Season 5 winner, Taylor Hicks give him any good advice? “He told me to just go in there and just have fun, be yourself and kill it. He was really rooting for me.”

If he had a choice to pick for a finale collab, who would it be? “I’m going to try to step out of the box and do something crazy. I don’t know. I’m going to work on it. It’s going to be a surprise.”

Did he find some of the advice he received a little confusing? Like when Randy would say ‘Put that Dexter spin on it.’? “I was confused just as much as y’all was.”

Was the show different from what he expected it to be? “I watched the show in times past, but I’ve not been on it fully. I didn’t know that [there were so] many different steps that you had to go through. I thought you just went up there and auditioned and that was it. You got to go through a lot of stuff. A lot of not being able to sleep. It’s hard work. Everybody that’s been on American Idol–hats down to everybody–I understand what you went through.”

What are his plans post Idol? Will he be moving to Nashville to begin a music career? “Yes ma’am! I’m going to go up to Nashville and hit the roads. I’m gonna try my best to launch an album. I’m going to start my career.”

What kind of an album would he like to make? “Sorta like a Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Craig Morgan/Eric Church kind of album.”

On the advice that David Cook gave him when he mentored, “Oh yes! That’s one of the best mentors that we had on the show. He really stepped out and helped. It was like getting a cheat sheet, really. He had been in this situation. He knew what was going [on]. He said, ‘You’re just going to have to get up there and speak to America.’ And I was like “OK sir! I’m ready to do it.'”

What did he think about the song CJ picked for him for Competitors Week? “I was so pumped up about it, because I sing that song all the time in the shower. I think CJ was just tired of me singing it all the time. He just wanted me to sing it on national television to get it out of my system. I’m still gonna sing it! I was really excited. When I saw that on the list, I didn’t look at nothin’ else.”

Did the contestants have fun picking songs for each other?  “It was really easy, because we all know what kind of artist we want to be, and we’re so close with each other. We didn’t want to jeopardize each other and make them sing something way out of the box. We helped each other out.”

What thoughts were running through his mind the first time he sang on the big stage? “I was singing ‘This Old Boy’ by Craig Morgan. It was so crazy. Thousands of thoughts were going through my head. When I got out onto stage I heard the crowd just screaming. I thought ‘This is it. I’ve made it. I’ve made it here.’ I thank God about it… and all my fans.”

How did he feel when he found out that his old friend CJ had also made the show? “We made it in Tuscaloosa at the bus tour. I’ve known CJ for a long time. He walked up and he was actually late to the auditions. He had his old guitar. We stopped and talked for awhile. I told him, ‘I had a feeling you were going to be here.’ He ended up breaking his string on his guitar. He walked up to me, ‘Man, my string just broke.” He asked if I had some more. I said. ‘When I get through, you can borrow mine’ because I was in front of him in the line. I told they guys [American Idol] that there was going to be a guy coming here in a minute, he’s going to be carrying my guitar. And sure enough, he made it! It was a great experience for us being so close, that we made it this far.”

Did having a close friend on the show change his experience? “We’ve always had a real great chemistry with each other. He’s been like a brother to me. We try to help each other out. If we hit a flat note [we say], ‘try to do it this way.’ It was awesome. It was fun.”

Being a country singer himself, how did it feel performing each week in front of Keith Urban? “Man, it so intimidating, because he’s such a great artist. When I went out on stage, I didn’t think I was in a competition. When I got on stage, I thought it was my concert. I tried to go out there and just have fun. When I got through singing, it brought me back into reality.”

Did the judges give more advice off air than they do during the live shows? “What’s crazy about it–we hardly get to talk to them because they have to go and do their stuff. But they do give great advice.”

What he more comfortable with, ballads or anthems? How does he plan to differentiate himself from the country pack? Does he write his own stuff? “I do write my own stuff. I write slow songs, and I write up to beat songs. I’m just going to have to figure out what best fits me. I loved singing every bit of the stuff that I sung.”

More Interviews:

Dexter dreams of having his own Hunting show on TV!

Gold Derby Interviews Dexter Roberts

About mj santilli 33321 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!