Anoop Desai Speaks with the Press

American Idol bootee, Anoop Desai tells reporters at his press conference yesterday that the most comfortable he felt on the Idol stage was during his singout on Wednesday, when the pressure was off

Heading home after the press tour, Anoop looks forward to a belated celebration of his beloved Tar Heels victory in the NCAA championships.

Read more below…

Did he think he was leaving this week? “I think we always think about that sort of stuff on the inside, but it amazing how many people out of that group were sure that they were going home last night. So, it was really a toss-up.”

How did he feel about not have the opportunity to be saved? “Honestly, the save process was just something that you had to deal with. One of the things I learned from this show is you got to roll with the punches. Things are not going to always work out for you. This was a format change. I dont think that, ultimately, it changed anything because as we all know, the only real order that matters is who at the top, who number one. Everything after that, you can do whatever you want with your career. So, it didnt really bother me. In terms of the elimination, I actually told Ryan right before the show, …Hey, man, dont mess around with me tonight. So, I was glad that it was relatively quick. If I had a choice, they would mail me the results.”

More after the JUMP…

What was he thinking about during his sing out? “You know, nothing. Actually, that was the easiest performance Ive ever done. Hopefully that going to be how it is on tour. There something about the burden of having four people sitting in front of you that you know are your harshest critics. With that burden relieved, I was free to sing the song with personality, which is strange. It sounds strange to say, but that was the freest Ive ever been on stage. Watching it back, I think it shows that I was very relaxed. Honestly, that was the persona that Ive been trying to put on stage for a little while. It just so happened that it came out when I was most relaxed. So, now that competition is over, Im looking forward to putting that out there every time I go on stage.”

Did the double elimination make it easier to leave? “It did a little bit. At the end of the day, it is our own personal journey that coming to an end, so that much still remained, but as were doing press and everything, it is nice to have Lil there just so youre not wallowing all the time.”

What did he and Lil say to each other? “Were both proud of ourselves for how far weve come. Were both eager to start working on albums. She has a very clear idea of what she wants to do. I know that I want to go the pop R&B route. I know that I want to put my own soul in pop songs – as Kara said, my MO is. So, Im looking forward to making that album.”

Was it hard to sing by himself after performing with the Clefhangers? “It was. It was definitely an adjustment. For me, the week that I think I was the most comfortable on stage was the week that the band was on the stage for movie week because it did remind me of the close background of the Clefhangers, having your backgrounds right behind you literally. I miss it. It was definitely an adjustment, but I think it one that was necessary for me to move into a professional music career, not just singing with the Clefs.”

Were there songs he sang on Idol that he would like to sing on tour? “There are a bunch of wish list songs, most of which are all Stevie Wonder songs because, as I said before, he my idol. I wanted to do …All Is Fair In Love for Motown week because I think it the most beautiful song ever written.The thing that I had to keep in mind is that you have to reach an audience. So, the songs you want to sing are not necessarily the songs that people want to hear you sing, which is a lesson I learned very early on. So, wish list songs: Stevie. Stevie.”

Looking forward to next week’s (Rat Pack) theme, “One of the reasons Im bummed out about going home this week is that I was really looking forward to next week. I think the theme has been announced. I was really looking forward to some of the songs for next week, but there will be a time and a place for all of those.”

Which Mentor did he learn the most from? “They all had their different thing. I think that Quentin had very, very good points about roughing it up. I mean, Smoky was amazing to work with. Randy Travis had some really solid advice about getting into a song, about the shape of a song that is really important for any singer. I can only measure it in experiences. All three of those ‘ also meeting Stevie Wonder and doing all those ‘ some of the greatest experiences ‘ not some of – THE greatest experiences of my life. Im thankful for all of them. I think that they all contributed to what I now am, the singer that I now am and hopefully will continue to be for a long time.”

As the competition heated up, did it get tense in the house? “Not at all. That was the amazing thing really. Quite frankly, when I started this process, I was expecting not to get along with everyone. I mean, I get along with people, but when youre competing against each other, living in close quarters, I would imagine that it would have been a bit much, but the great thing about this group is that ‘ and I think it shows on TV too ‘ we really, really are very good friends.”

About his relationships with the other contestants, “We help each other out. We realize that it a competition, but we also realize that the competition is not the end all, be all of us. We have our futures in the industry, and were all going to make albums. For us, this was a growing process. It was a learning process. It amazing how we all got along. Each person brought different things, both musically and personality-wise to the table. So, the mansion was actually a great place to be in. As fewer people were left, we actually got to spend more time with each other and bond that much more. So, it was not the tense environment that I think a lot of people imagine it to be.”

What did he learn from the other contestants? “Everyone obviously has something different they bring to the table. I think the thing that I got from having all the contestants around is that I was really truly able to be myself because who I was was unique and was different from everyone else. It just added to the diversity of the group. I have a diagram in my head. I dont know if Im explaining it well. I think everyone learns from their friends. We are such close friends that, when youre around each other all the time, you pick up stuff whether it musical things or whether it like small, little, quirky things. It was very humbling to see how good everyone was. It not a skill or a vocal ability that we learn from the contestants. It more about how to play to your strengths. I think as you see people realizing that throughout the competition, you sort of find your own niche. So, it almost a communal experience. Were all finding our places in this competition. Ultimately, that going to help us out by finding our place in the industry hopefully.”

What did he learn from being on the show? “I learned how to bounce back from things. A lot of times, Im really hard on myself because if I dont live up to my own standards, then to me – the way I used to look at it was as a failure, but what Ive really learned is how to learn from my mistakes and how to bounce back from them.”

His favorite judges’ comment, “One of the best comments I got from the judges was Kara for this last performance when she said that she could hear that song on the radio. That really what I was striving for with the fast section of …Dim All The Lights. We put it to a very modern, almost electronic beat. That the type of music that I feel most comfortable with and I look forward to making in the future.”

Will he go back to school?   “Well, Im definitely going to pursue a music career. If I learned nothing else from this experience, it is that singing is what I am the happiest doing. I think it what I do the best. So, Im definitely looking forward to releasing that pop R&B album. I really like the things, for instance, that Nia is doing right now. I think that the direction ‘ obviously not a copycat, but Im really interested in pursuing that direction in music”

About his fans, “I appreciate the fans more than anything because that why were here. My fans especially have been so supportive throughout this entire process. Theyre strategic; theyre loving; theyre kind. They really do care about me, not just about my music. They care about me. That a very, very gratifying feeling, to know that there are millions of votes coming in for you, from people that you dont even know because they feel connected to you personally. So, all I can say is that everything that I did and all the success that I had was because of them, so I thank them immensely.”

His plans when he gets back to Chapel Hill, “I want to sit on the couch. I want to wake up at noon. Then, I want to go get a Sunrise Biscuit.”

About his strong link to his hometown, “Im a native North Carolinian. So, North Carolina is what I know. It what I love. I like to think of it as my natural habitat. I have such a connection to this place, I think, because of the people. My best friends, I made in Chapel Hill. The best experiences of my life, aside from Idol, have been in Chapel Hill. I dont know. I love the place. I love the people. I love just the aura of our town. It a beautiful thing. You know that it special because other people always tell you when theyve been to Chapel Hill or when theyve been to North Carolina because it strikes other people as special too. I wanted to share that with everyone. I also wanted to make Chapel Hill proud. That was in large part a reason for me auditioning for the show. I feel a dedication; I feel a responsibility to the town that gave me the best years of my life.”

Did he feel the hometown support? “It been hard. I keep in contact with all my close friends at Carolina, of course, but it so hard because people are going to classes. Now, people are getting ready for finals and stuff, but I definitely feel the support. It been tangible. The GAA has been instrumental in that the chancellor been a great support, and so have all my friends over there, even the ones that have graduated. You know what? Im definitely looking forward to coming back to Chapel Hill because, like Ive been telling people, there is nothing like spring in Chapel Hill. That the honest truth.”

About the Tar Heels winning the NCAA Championship, “I was watching it at the mansion. We were recording some backing tracks and stuff like that. I was able to go home and watch the game. It was really important for me to watch the game. Unfortunately, I didnt watch the first couple of minutes when we were really beating up on them, but that was the greatest scenario in the world. I knew that I wasnt going home that week because the Heels pulled it out.”

Was it hard not to be home after the championship? “It was unbearable. It really was. I got so many text messages from Franklin. I watched the time lapse on   a Web site. Geez, it was hard, but Im going to come back. Im going to do some celebrating from a couple weeks ago.”

About mj santilli 35048 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!