Didi Benami Talks to the Press: “It Was a Cool-Crazy Ride”

Eliminated Idol contestant, Didi Benami, spoke with reporters in a conference call earlier today. She talked about making her way in cut-throat LA the past 4 years (she lived in her car for awhile, handling tough criticism (including Kara telling her she lost her way), the uncomfortable moment with Ryan Seacrest (“I did what I felt was in my best interest”),   and her close relationship with Siobhan Magnus and Crystal Bowersox (Didi will get to see the cast again on Saturday.)

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Also, I’m posting FOX interviews, at the end of the post. (Good Day Philly, Good Day LA, FOX Tampa)

*Didi tells FOX9 in Minneapolis that she wants to sing “Terrified” and “Paperweight” on tour. She’s thinking about “Hey Jude” too.

Was she prepared for the scrutiny she got on the show? “Actually, I wasn’t prepared for that. I wasn’t an avid American Idol watcher, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Honestly, I was just being myself and I did stuff that meant something to me, and I also had a good time. I’m Ok, I’m done with it. And it’s actually interesting, it was a lot like my Los Angeles experience.  You get kicked down, you got to get back up again and start over. It’s not anything I haven’t dealt with before.”

She’s been living in LA for 4 years. What has that been like? “I moved out here when I was 19. I had crazy roommates and all sorts of ridiculous experiences, where I moved around a lot. There were points where I didn’t even have a place to live, and I was living out of my car.  It’s been rough. I wanted to do some entertainment, and I wanted to sing , and do a bunch of songs. I somehow managed to find my way along the way, because I didn’t really know what I was doing, other than I moved out to LA and was trying to pursue what I loved.  It takes a lot of ridiculous hardship—I was waiting tables, it’s never predictable,   I switched jobs many times. It’s never been a stable environment for me, ever living out here until just recently, and then my life got uplifted again. It’s a crazy experience in LA. You get kicked down a lot. I taught myself how to play guitar, and write out everything that was bothering me or anything that I had on my mind that I couldn’t say in reality to somebody because I wanted to be nice, and I was able to start writing songs and meet people that wanted to co-write [with], …I can’t find the words I’m so tired! I started working on my skills, and train myself to write and [started] voice lessons. I worked really really hard to get where I am. I’m just really grateful to have the opportunity to be on American Idol in the first place because it’s a great platform for me to be able to get my music out there and to continue my songwriting and my love and my passion, and what I was put here to do. It’s really amazing.”

When did she live in her car? “Probably within the first year that I was here [in LA]. I moved 6 different times when I first moved out here in 2006. It was between 2006 and 2007.

Did she feel relieved to make the Top 10? “I’m relieved. I get to go on the tour, I don’t have to work as a waitress, anymore, which is nice. I get to do what I love, more than anything.  It’s just amazing, the fans that are already reaching out and supporting – it’s a blessing. It’s a relief to know that I will be able to make a living at what I love to do over the summer, and hopefully for the rest of my life. It’s been a really awesome experience. “

It’s been emotional for Didi that last couple of weeks. She’s cried a lot. Has Idol been a release for her emotionally? Or is it just the way she is ordinarily? “I’m not always emotional. I’m actually pretty shocked—when ever something happens …unfortunately it’s right when there’s a camera in my face. (laughs). It’s been an amazing ride, and of course,   it’s been emotional, because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Reaching that place that I got to on the show was a really amazing thing for me and a really big accomplishment . That was emotional for me.  You work so hard, and you just try to believe and keep the faith and just imagine, know that, good things will come, and when they finally do it’s almost…disbelief. It’s a really amazing opportunity—it brought me to tears.”

How she felt about Ryan “dogging” on her to reveal what “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” meant to her, “It was kind of a weird situation—it was a little awkward for me. There’s a time and a place for—I was trying to convey the message through the song, not by somebody asking me why I was singing it. I think it was pretty obvious to people why I was singing it. I don’t think anybody has to have that emotion—I sing the song because I love the song. It was kind of an uncomfortable situation for me, because I didn’t want to answer the question.  Ultimately,  I did what I felt was in my best interest.  It’s all good.

How did she feel when the judges hesitated before they decided not to save her? “The whole crowd was chanting, and that was pretty cool. Ultimately,   I kinda felt like I was going home and I thought it would be cool if they exercised the option to let me stay ‘cause I wanted to come back next week , Beatles week, and be great. Regardless of what happened, I was OK either way.  I’m not really worried. I’ve had amazing support from everybody and it’s just been a crazy-cool ride. I’m happy because I’m going on tour, and I have a lot to look forward to, so I’m not at all distraught about anything. I want to put a record together–I want to get my music out there.”

What songs was she considering for next week’s Beatles theme? “I’m so bummed.  I wanted to do “Blackbird”. I love that song.  Blackbird, or maybe “Across the Universe.” I was kind of going back and forth with several.  I hadn’t really started to delve into that, though, because I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen.”

Did she lose her way, like Kara suggested? “I don’t feel like I lost my way. I feel like they wanted me to do something specific every week. I kind of went out on a limb several weeks. I did different things and they weren’t expecting it and it was kind of a surprise—just to show that I can do other things. I am a singe/ songwriter and I have that, but I also tap into every single emotion that I have. And that I do very well.  That is artistry. Through these songs I was just showing a different side to  myself.  It probably wasn’t necessarily the side they wanted to see, but I have them, and I think everybody does.  I was just being me.  I appreciate Kara. I think she was trying—I think they were all trying to be really helpful.  I was just trying to do my thing, and it wasn’t exactly what they, kind of, planned out for me, I guess. It’s not every day that you get to sing in front of 30 million people. I just wanted to do different things, and not do the same thing every week—to show that I can do other things.”

How do the contestants get along with one another? “Everyone seems to get along pretty well. I think everyone is doing their own thing, and everybody respects that.  It’s kind of like, you know, separate little families, in all of our apartments and everything.  It was really nice, actually. I really enjoyed spending time with them, some of them, I think they are really really great people.  I really enjoyed meeting all of them.”

Does she think it’s a strong group of singers? “I do. I’m excited to see what happens throughout the season. I can’t wait to watch it. I’m really really looking forward to it.”

What did Crystal say to her at the end of the show? “Lots of things! (laughter) Crystal and Siobhan and I are very close. Crystal actually came down and stayed with me last night. It was nice. They are really amazing, wonderful people. I really enjoyed getting to meet them and getting to know them both.  It’s hard when you meet other artists, that you really connect with, and you want to work with, you’re put into a position to compete against each other when really when you’re singing, it’s not a competition. It shouldn’t be a competition. We’re all very different, and unique in our own ways , and we all had something different to bring to the table. We’re all aware of that. We do what we do best, and love each other along the way. I’m really really happy that they are going forward and I wish them the best of luck, and I will see them again.”

What did a distraught Siobhan say to her on stage after she was eliminated? “Siobhan is a really really unique, amazing person. I love her very very much.  She’s a total sweetheart. It’s interesting because, I never would have thought, upon meeting her—or anybody—that you’re going to forge a close friendship with them.  She ended up being my roommate the first week. Actually, I met her on the very first day of Hollywood week.  I was like ‘ahhh, who is this girl?’ She was just herself, she was never anybody else but herself.  She doesn’t care, and neither does Crystal—that’s what I really love about the both of them.  They are just themselves, and they are very unique and they’re very different and I just really respect them. Siobhan is one of my best friends, and I think that we’re going to be friends for a long time and I thing that girl’s great.  They are both going to go really far, and I do love that girl, she’s  worked really hard to be where she is, and she deserves it and so does Crystal. They are both really really amazing. It’s tough to leave your friends, it’s like leaving summer camp. But, I’m going to see them again soon.  You meet really good friends along the way, and you build relationships with people and then all of a sudden, it’s like, it sucks.”

What kind of music does she hope to be making in the future? “Didi music! I’m going to do my thing—I’m going to do singer/songwriter type, acoustic , low-key, chill, relaxing music. I’m going to put my heart into what I do, like what I do every time.  It’s me–folk/acoustic, soul acoustic kind of fusion stuff, with a little jazz, a little bluegrass, and a little bit of everything that I’ve experienced in my life.”

What was it like working with Usher and Miley Cyrus? “It was pretty cool.  I realized finally where I was, being there with Miley Cyrus and Usher it was ‘Oh, I’m on American Idol, I’m in the Top 10, ’ which is kind of riding the wave. Honestly, I got further than I ever thought that I would.  It was a really cool experience.  I’m just grateful to have had the fans and supporters that I did that got me to that point where I actually got to meet them. They were really cool, they were really nice. I’m grateful that I had that opportunity.”

Didi’s sister moved to Israel (her father is Israeli) “My sister went to get her master’s degree in Israel, and she’s very interested in the culture. I have some family over in Israel.  Like aunts, and my dad was just in LA.  Yes, I have some Israeli background, and yes, my sister made up the nickname Didi, because when she was really young she couldn’t say [my name], so she just called me Didi.”

How did the pace on Idol compare to what she was doing otherwise? “It’s insane, intense—like boot camp for singers. Hear a song, learn it in very little time to sing it on a stage in front of everybody—it’s very, like,  it’s a lot of pressure. It’s an amazing experience, at the same time if you want to take full advantage of it, you don’t want to mess up and you want to do everything you can to give them everything you have. It’s definitely an interesting experience and they definitely always keep you busy with Ford shoots and photo shoots—there’s always something.  I’ve learned a lot. I can’t wait to sleep! (laughter) I’m exhausted, but, I’m really really  grateful and glad that I got the chance to do it.”

On the judges’ tough criticisms, “It’s tough, but you know, you’ve got to get back up and do your thing, regardless of what anybody says—the judges, America, anybody. It’s about your music and your passion, and what you do, and not what anybody else thinks. That’s what I think is a real artist—somebody that just does it.  That’s part of everything—you’ve just got to hang in there and be resilient. It can be confusing, but you just got to do your thing.”

FOX Tampa

Good Day Philadelphia

Good Day LA

Minneapolis MN FOX 9

About mj santilli 33680 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, 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!

26 Comments

  1. What songs was she considering for next week’s Beatles theme? “I’m so bummed. I wanted to do “Blackbird”. I love that song. Blackbird, or maybe “Across the Universe.”

    Apparently no one told her about Simon’s pathological reaction to songs about birds (Carly w/ “Blackbird,” Cook w/ “Little Sparrow”) or the fact that Michael Johns bombed with “Across the Universe” because it doesn’t cut down to a 90 second segment very well.

    Don’t these kids do any RESEARCH?

  2. Didi sounds like she has her self pretty well together for somebody who is supposed to be so emotional and fragile. Sometimes these Idol “back stories” are so far off the mark. Didi, Crystal & Siobhan are friends…I wonder how Katie fits in?

    Don’t these kids do any RESEARCH?

    I wouldn’t make any judgment about song choice until I saw the list. Those two sure beat I Want To Hold Your Hand six ways to Sunday.

  3. Didi seems like a really nice person (I probably should have typed really, really or very, very LOL – she likes to use those a lot). Sounds like she’s got her head on pretty straight.

    It must be a tremendous relief to someone in her position to know that she’ll actually have an income for a whole 3 months. When you’ve been living like that for a few years, the tour opportunity much just seem like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  4. I loved Didi and actually think she would have done well either either “Blackbird” or “Across the Universe”. She was my favorite of the bunch and I’m sad to see her go.

  5. Apparently no one told her about Simon’s pathological reaction to songs about birds(Carly w/ “Blackbird,” Cook w/ “Little Sparrow”)

    Or Megan Joy with Rockin Robin. God, i would have loved a Didi version of Across the Universe…

    Didi was probably my fav this season – I think her downfall was horrific song choices. I wish she had stuck with her folky vibe rather than go for lounge singer. Still I got some nice studio versions from her. Please come out with some great originals Didi!

    I have been very curious how this group gets along. They are often so stiff, uncomfortable, and desperate onstage that it is hard to imagine them having fun off of it. Nice to hear she got some friendships out of it – especially since they’ll all be touring together…OMG I just realized I am now more curious about what this crew will sing on tour than who actually wins the show…

  6. I wish she had stayed longer and Tim was the one who was leaving the competition. As now they are only 3 girls left and 6 guys.
    That makes it more boring to me. I like a more even number between the genders.

  7. Interesting. I really like Didi and hope she is able to get out a record after the tour.

  8. The way the kids are shoved around, Ford Commerical, photos, ect, oh by the way pick a song, your done, you had 5 minutes to pick it, they havent watch every single episode of Idol, so I dont think they have a clue about who sang what and what the judges said about which song. They should have the most time working on their songs, but if this is all new to them, not like some past Idols that know more, they just cant get the song right. Its a shame, the most important thing is the 90 seconds they get, and they probably dont get much more that that to practice their songs. I bet we see a lot of duplicates next week, and they well get slammed for that too.
    Didi sounded like she will be okay.

  9. I love Didi. I was so sad to see her eliminated last night. :( Bad song choices I think did her in. Her performance on Tuesday is so different than her studio version. Her studio is FANTASTIC. It has a folk/acoustic vibe, faster than the performance, and her vocals are spot on. Very nice studio version.

    It seems she has her head on straight. I’ll be looking for an album from her. Best wishes, Didi!!

  10. I find it interesting they’re all living in separate apartments. Last year, they were all in one big mansion, shared the house, had a chef that came in a few days a week, etc. It doesn’t sound like they are living in one big house this year.

  11. I love Didi. She seems so real, natural and sincere. If she had whored out her dead friend, probably she could have gone through. But she didn’t! No Gokey here.

  12. separate little families, in all of our apartments

    So they are not living in the mansion this year? No wonder that girls and boys seem a little more far from each other than last year.

    I really love Didi, for me she is the best 10th place finisher the show has ever had, which is truly a shame. I’m looking forward for her career after the tour, even if it’s with an indy label.

    It would have been really cool to hear her version of Across the Universe. Blackbird…not so much, actually, I hope everyone stays away from that one this week (please Crystal don’t even think about it!). It’s one of my favorite Beatles songs, but Simon was way too hard on Carly two seasons ago, merely because of the song choice, which was kinda unfair.

  13. Michael Johns bombed with “Across the Universe” because it doesn’t cut down to a 90 second segment very well.

    Don’t these kids do any RESEARCH?

    I thought that was what they said about his performance of “A Day in the Life.” I actually liked when he did “Across the Universe.”

  14. Michael Johns definitely did Day In The Life. Someone else needs to do their research. haha. Whatever. I hadn’t thought about the bird song thing though. I’m sorry for Didi, but she just didn’t seem up to the task at hand, not at all ready.

  15. Michael Johns sang both A Day in the Life and Across the Universe. Neither went over well. They did Lennon-McCartney/Beatles songs 2 weeks in a row season 7, Top 12 & Top 11.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Johns_%28singer%29

    Still don’t care for Didi. Her voice always sounded whiny to me. She doesn’t sound very focused as an artist, despite having spent years in LA working on it.

  16. It’s one of my favorite Beatles songs, but Simon was way too hard on Carly two seasons ago, merely because of the song choice, which was kinda unfair.

    As disingenuous as Simon is he’d probably “love” Blackbird if Crystal sang it. He hated country music one year and loved it another so anything is possible with this guy.

  17. Siobhan Magnus Pretty much had no choice but to waive good-bye to her. I mean really it’s a competition and Siobhan knew she had to eliminate her out of the picture sooner or later! Siobhan Magnus on American Idol will be an exciting event to watch tonight :) Canno’t wait…

  18. i like her voice much. Hope she works hard on her singing abilities and comes out very strong during the tour so she has chance of a recording opportunity. Wouldn’t recommend ‘hey jude’ unless she can do a great version of it!

  19. She dissed Tim Urban in one of her interviews. Although I agree that Tim should’ve been gone by now, but I really started to respect his personality after last couple of shows. But most importantly, I don’t like when eliminated contestants diss those who are still on the show. And it happens for a second time this year – first Lily with Kathie, now Didi (who I thought was more classy than that) and Tim.
    I don’t think that those people are getting along. After last season and close ties between the group, it’s painful and unpleasant to look at.

    And I don’t get why Didi mentions her dead friend in interviews? If it’s such a difficult topic for her, why she insist on talking about it? It all looks so calculated and cold.

  20. Tim Urban needs to be dissed (and dismissed). I’m really not a stickler on the order that those events take place either, both work for me.

    I don’t really think that Didi “dissed” Tim by not answering that question either. The two bozo announcers definitely dissed him but Didi just declined to answer the question, “Is Tim a good guy?” She just said that she didn’t get to know him very well.

  21. Nobody neds to be dissed and dismissed. She was as bad as Tim, and deserved to go.
    I think she should have been polite about fellow contestant, even if she didn’t know him well or thought he shoud’ve been eliminated instead of her. Her giggling while they were ripping him apart said it all.

  22. Hey, does anyone know why or if MJ is going to post those after the elimination videos on stage once the results show was over and the contestants are still hanging around on stage saying their goodbyes and the judges come up to talk to the eliminated contestant???

    I remember MJ posting those clips last season, it was so exciting and nice to watch! Does anyone recall those?? I wonder is it maybe cos they don’t film that anymore cos this season really, REALLY seems low-keyed. :(

  23. For me, that was a classy way to keep her opinion about Tim honest. When you have nothing good to say, it’s better not to say anything at all.

    She’s an actually interesting singer, who had some very, very good performances on the show. The most memorable moment of Tim so far is the fact that he laughed while being criticized. It’s not his fault, but the boy is being kept on a spot that he doesn’t deserve.

    monleo1705, now that you mention it, those used to be clips from the exit interviews on American Idol Extra, apparently, that show does not exist anymore.

  24. monleo1705, now that you mention it, those used to be clips from the exit interviews on American Idol Extra, apparently, that show does not exist anymore

    Alxsavage – oh yeahh you are right! It was called American Idol Extra with that lady interviewer right?? What happened? Could it be because this season has received so much bashing that it’s not worth their time and hype, or is it cos they just think their contestants are not interesting?

    Honestly, to us it may seem that these kids may not seem like a close-knit group, but i think it’s more so that this season’s producers have caused barriers within the group (e.g. putting them in seperate apartments instead of mansion), and barriers from us and the contestants e.g. not seeing them behind the scenes and after results shows, interviews etc… The contestants could be bonding extremely well for all we know! That makes me feel sad that we can’t get to know them a little more… It could have helped this waning season…

  25. Well, I’m getting sick of them saying they’re “confused.”

    Clearly clearly clearly — and it really really *ought* to be clear, if you think you’re on the verge of being a full-fledged professional singer — they mean that you should take different songs and sing them as well as you possibly can as *you.* They say versions of that over and over and over.

    And they never ever told Didi to switch her performing style up to that of an early 1960s lounge singer, which is pretty much what she did R&B week. If she doesn’t get what they’re telling her, to me it’s only because she herself doesn’t get what it would mean for her to do what she wants to do for a living.

    If her own musical style and persona isn’t yet well enough developed for her to be able to take a song pretty much each and every week and sing it well in a style that’s recognizably Didi — well, then, time for her to be off the show. Maybe she’ll figure it out someday. Or maybe not. And, if not, then she can just go make her living elsewhere.

  26. alxsavage:
    04/02/2010 at 4:42 am
    monleo1705, now that you mention it, those used to be clips from the exit interviews on American Idol Extra, apparently, that show does not exist anymore.

    The Fox Reality network went under, so the shows did too. Idol Extra is no more. It looks like the TV Guide channel pulled the plug on Idol Tonight too.

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