The eliminated Top 20 contestants, Jermaine Sellers, Michelle Delimore, John Park and Haeley Vaughn were available this afternoon for satellite interviews with the press. Check out some choice quotes below. And keep checking back, I’ll be putting up each interview as I finish them….
3rd Update: Haeley Vaughn’s interview after the jump…
2nd Update: John Park’s interview, after the jump…
UPDATE: Michelle Delamore’s interview, after the jump…
Jermaine Sellers was terrified about what the judges were going to say each time he took the stage. He tried to “pull it back’, but it was never enough. He thinks his references to his faith might have cost him some votes, and he’s not really the arrogant diva he appeared to be on the show. Check out quotes from his satellite interview below
Was he confused by the judges’ criticisms? “I did it the best way that I possibly could…I mean, I think about it as you have to stay true to yourself, it’s a certain way that I sing–from my childhood up–I kept pulling back. I felt like if I pulled it any more back, then I’d be basically whispering to them…they constantly said that I did too much. I feel like in general, though, that everything has its own season and has its own course that has to play out the best way it does.”
What was the best part of this whole experience? “Being in that line first with 15, 000 people– just different personalities, from different states. Making it into the To 20 is a blessing. That’s the best experience about it, just getting on that platform and being able to, not just sing to people…people don’t realize that the reason why I sang songs like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”, half of the reason I did “What’s Going On” right then and there at that time was, I felt like we’re not paying attention to what’s going on as far as Haiti, as far as Chile, we’re not paying attention to it, we’re spending time focusing on other stuff, we should be focusing on what’s actually going on in the world right now.”
On his faith, did it influence his elimination? “Though I hate to say it, yeah I do. Sometimes the camera can make you look more arrogant and diva-ish, because anybody that knows me knows that I’m like, the coolest guy. I like to make people laugh, I honestly do wear onesies to bed, the whole 9 yards. I hated that I was made out to look like something that I’m not. But, you know, it’s television. I felt like every night that I went out there that I sang from my heart, and the part that really messed me up the most was that I couldn’t focus, because I was so scared of what was going to be said, as far as me singing or over-singing so much. So, I just felt like the best way to prove a person wrong is by fighting them with God. Let God fight your battles. That’s why I kept throwing it out there. A lot of people don’t realize that with us making it this far in the competition, and without him we’ll fail, so that’s why I kept having to throw him out there. We don’t acknowledge him enough.”
On switching up his songs, “All the songs that I picked, had meaning behind them. With me picking songs that were so much older and mature, I think that had a lot to do with my votes too, because American Idol is for teeny boppers. There’s a lot of young people that want to hear more current stuff, they want to hear the Keri Hilson stuff, “Knocks You Down” type stuff, that’s not where my soul is. I’m more of a “Let’s talk about reality, let’s talk about what’s going on right now. When I sang “Get Here”, I wasn’t just talking about one specific individual. I was talking about peace, I was talking about love, respect, joy. I want all of that to come back to us. Even though I try to deliver it the best way that I could, I never got my point across because I let fear conquer me.”
About letting fear conquer him, “I’ve always sang in church, since I was a little kid…the whole 9 yards, it’s just the fact that when you are there, and have millions of people watching you, and you are so scared of what the judges are going to say to you, you tend to lose focus. And that focus is what you actually need to show the sincerity in your voice. Every night that I got out there on that stage I was like, ‘Oh God…I’m pulling back right now, I’m trying to see if they’re going to like this.’ I took a lot of risks out. And you still go up there, and they still say the same thing, to you and your just like ‘OK, oh God, it’s just out of your will.'”
What was surprising about the show? “Joe Munoz, when I saw him go home, and he was so good, I said to myself, If somebody that good is going home, and I know I’m a good singer too—my Dad has been my biggest fan—I know they’ll send me home. That was a shocker. Honestly, to see him go home, and other people get comments like, ‘oh that was excellent…that was the best performance of the night’ and it’s like, you know in the back of your mind you’re thinking the same thing that Simon is thinking. I love the fact that Simon was honest throughout the whole thing , not just sitting here playing with people…he was ‘look, I don’t know whose ears your listening with, but that’s not what I just heard’. Because, it’s like the show last night, for instance. You get somebody who critiques you good one night, and the next night you get a bad comment. It’s confusing.”
What kind of artist is he? “I see myself being a contemporary artist. My style is very much what Bebe and Cece Winans were years ago, how they sang songs like “Heaven” and “I’m Lost Without You”, and it still was marketable where you would see it on the MTV or BET…basically a show that doesn’t just show Gospel stuff, it also shows R&B stuff. It’s that crossover working.
Funniest moment, “The funniest moment was groups night…cause choreography—all of us have two left feet. That’s the funniest moment, honestly. Just trying to go out there and remember how to ‘park and bark’ and block in the right place.”
Michelle Delamore questioned singing the Creed song, “Arms Wide Open” even before she stepped out on to the stage to sing it. She feels he lack of confidence in the song affected her performance. Also, Michelle didn’t agree with Kara, that Tuesday’s performance was her best, was a little disappointed when Kara took it back anyway. For Michelle, who is a huge Michael Jackson fan, working with vocal coach, Dorian Holley, who was featured in the MJ movie, This is It, was a dream come true… Read more quotes from Michelle’s interview below:
How did she develop her stage presence? “I’ve been singing on stage since I was 5 years old, mostly at church. That’s been my platform and my playground, practicing at church, I definitely think that’s helped me. I do a lot of gigs at home”
On Kara taking back her compliment from performance night, “It was a little bit disappointing, but I’m really a perfectionist, I know that I didn’t do my best, I know Wednesday wasn’t close to my best performance. I understood where she was coming from. For me, when she actually said that, on the stage that day—it was my best performance ever—I was really shocked, cause I didn’t feel like that was my best performance at all, so when she took it back, I thought she was going to stay true to what she said, but I knew that it wasn’t my best performance.”
Does she question using the Creed song? “I did. As a matter of fact, I think part of what messed me up a little bit is that I questioned it before I got on that stage, when you’re not sure of the song that you’re performing, it’s going to be noticed and people can feel that. I would have done my next song…I would have reversed it. I wanted to do “Come Together” by the Beatles, Michael Jackson style. I feel like it has so much drive and so much intensity, and it’s a song that I feel. I thought it would be so much fun to perform.”
What was her thought process picking the Creed song? “After my first performance, I had done Alicia Keys, and the judges all thought that I needed to take a risk, and do something that they wouldn’t expect me to do. That’s why I chose to do Creed, because, I knew they wouldn’t expect that, it ‘s kind of a rock ballad, and I’m not a rock singer so, I thought it was taking a risk, and I believed that I kind of tried too much to go by what the judges said. I just wanted to make sure that I did the right thing. I was too caught up in my mind. I should have, more than anything, just stayed true to who I am as an artist. I still feel I gave my own style to it, but I should have maybe chosen another song. Everything happens for a reason. I really love the song. The lyrics really went with what was going on in my life at that moment.”
Was she more comfortable from week one to week two? “The first week, just knowing that you’re going to step out on that stage—I’ve watched every single season of American Idol and when we first walked into the room where the stage is, and saw the lights, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, is this for real?’ Everything I ever watched for the past 8 years, I’m about to step on that stage and make it happen. There were nerves, but there was so much excitement and adrenaline rush, I was driven mostly by that. I was very confident in my song choice, so I was more excited than anything. Second week, I was a little bit unsure of my song choice, and I think that ‘s what came through. That’s why you saw a difference in one performance to the next.”
Does she think her lack of screen time hurt her? “I wasn’t really bummed. Actually, before the show started, they made a whole commercial and it said, ‘meet Michelle’ and I thought that was amazing! So I was excited about that. Then I saw that they really didn’t show me so much. I figured they know what they’re doing and I knew that I really didn’t have a story. I kinda have a normal lifestyle at home, not so much tragedy. I don’t think that makes for good TV, so I understood.”
On her sense of style, and designing her own clothes, “The beginning stages, every episode you dressed yourself completely, I kind of put it together, my sister and I went shopping together. I am really big into fashion, that’s why some of the things I wore were so out there. I got so excited when Vera Wang was in the audience. I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ She’s amazing. I am going to start working on my clothing line, I want to get that together. I’m going to do music, and then come out with a clothing line.”
Her favorite moment on Idol, “Working with Dorian [Dorian Holley, Idol vocal coach]—he worked with Michael Jackson, and if you saw ‘This is It’—I saw the film 5 times. Michael Jackson is my Idol, he’s my inspiration. I said ‘one day when I become specialized, I pray to God that I can work with this man. And when I walked into the room and I saw him, I just started crying, I got so emotional, cause I felt like a dream of mine just came true. This is as close as I’ll ever get to Michael, and he really helped take me to the next level and that to me was the highlight of the whole Idol experience.
On Crystal Bowersox, “I’m not to sure of Crystal’s health, I just noticed she seemed fine when I saw her, she seemed pretty healthy. I wish her the best.”
She’s staying in LA, “I’m going to do everything that I can to make something big come out of this. I’ve come this far, and I know that I was made to do something with music and I’m not going to give it you. You guys are going to see me do something big, I promise.”
Once John Park hit the live stage, he found the cameras and the judges comments so distracting, he had a difficult time focusing on his performances. He came out of the Idol experience sure that he wants to make music his living, whether performing or behind the scenes. He doesn’t feel that he let the judges down. In fact, he believes he barely got through to the Top 24.
On not living up to expectations, “I didn’t really think that my first audition was the best. I thought when I sang “God Bless The Child” during my first audition during Hollywood Week, I thought that was my best before Top 24. They didn’t show that on TV. I don’t think the judges were necessarily disappointed because I wasn’t living up to their expectations, I think I was too distracted during Top 24. I don’t know that they had such high expectations of me because, even getting into the Top 24, I felt that I was one of the people who barely got through.”
On Simon telling him he would be eliminated, “You know, he is basically saying that I might go home this week, and he of course dramatizes it so that people at home get a kick out of it. I don’t really mind it ’cause I understand where he’s coming from, that’s just how he is on TV. After the elimination happened and I sang my last song, he came up to me and he shook my hand and said ‘Congratulations for coming this far’. He’s not that mean of a guy.”
He was a favorite in the early rounds and Hollywood Week. What happened in the Top 24? “I think it was mostly, song choice and nerves. I definitely got distracted by the cameras, and that the judges were going to criticize me in front of 30 million people. I think that kind of took away from my concentration on just singing the song honestly. I couldn’t do my best to interpret the song my own way.”
What would he have performed next week? “I actually hadn’t figured it out yet, but I was thinking either a Stevie Wonder song, or Marc Broussard or Britney Spears. I had a long list of songs to choose from and try different things with.”
Most memorable experiences from the show, “Meeting the other contestants and really becoming good friends and also working with Rickey Minor and the band—just working with the top of the top crew and band and coaches. It was just incredible.”
Who he was close to in the 24, “I want to keep in touch with a lot of people, but Tyler Grady who was eliminated last week is someone I continue to keep in touch with, also Casey James who is currently in the show, and Lee Dewyze, who is also from Chicago, we’ll be keeping in touch also.”
What the judges said to him after the show, “…all the judges said nice things to me like, I had a great voice-validating that I had a great voice was really nice. After I was eliminated they told me I sounded great, and I should be doing this for the rest of my life, and that I do have talent.”
How did he feel about going home? “I’m usually pretty laid back, and usually have a positive outlook on many things, even during Hollywood Week. After the group audition, I thought I was going home because it was a trainwreck, I told myself, if I go home today, I’m going to come out such a stronger person, just more confident in general, there were several moments when I had that thought–this week of course.”
Is he going back to his a‘capella group, Purple Haze? Yes.
What kind of album would he make? “I think it would be more pop, neo-soul—kind of like a John Mayer, a John Legend, Gavin Degraw kind of feel.”
Which artists would he like to work with? “Stevie Wonder is one of my biggest Idols. If I got a chance to work with him, even for a minute that would be just a dream come true. “
Who are his favorite Idols? “My favorite Idol winner was Kelly Clarkson, and I vividly remember here finale show when she sang “A Moment Like This”. It was an incredible moment for me when I was a kid.”
What are his plans now? “I’m going to head back to Chicago and see what kind of open doors there will be for me. And just wait it out, and probably go back to school this upcoming quarter which is happening in about two weeks. I’ll probably take some time off to decompress and think about if performing is really what I want to pursue. Of course, that will change as I get different offers from different people. Everything’s really up in the air, but basically I want to finish school and pursue music, performance or not.”
On his future, “I do want to pursue music instead of going back to school and studying economics, and go in that direction. So, when I go back to school, I’ll most likely study something that’s much more relevant to the music industry . Even if it’s not performing, I’d like to have a career in the music industry, whether it’s management, or songwriting, or whatnot.”
I came away from the interview with Haeley Vaughn impressed with her maturity. She’s more than just the giggling smiling girl we saw on Idol. She’s got some ambitious career plans that include wanting to work with Disney and make pop country music albums. She might even give up going back to her high school to do it (though she’d take classes online and eventually graduate) Read Haeley’s interview below:
What did she think about Kara’s comment that she should take a year and work on her voice? “I kind of agree with her. I think that more experience and more time working on my vocals would be good. Experience is always better, especially since I’m only 16, and this is my first thing I’ve done…ever. I never performed in front of millions of people before—I’ve never performed in front of 100.
Did she feel the judges gave her conflicting advice? “No not really. They didn’t necessarily mean that I was too young, they think my voice needs to mature, and I need to work on the technical aspects of my voice, and I think that they’re right. I think that there were moments in my songs when I was pitchy and I need to work on that. I’m going to take time to work on that, and come back full force.”
Was she surprised to hear that her voice was not mature enough? “Yes, it was a little surprising.”
On the nerves of the contestants going into the first week of live performances, “The first week was really tough, and we were all really nervous and scared, and worried about our song choices. We were all just freaking out and trying to pick songs and make sure that America would like them. Nerves are always going to play a huge factor in what we do on the show.”
Did the nerves settle down in week 2? And, if she had stayed, would it have gotten easier? “I think the nerves kind of settled down in week 2, but they were definitely still there—for me anyway. If I would have continued to be on the show, I think as the weeks went on, I would have gotten more used to it.”
How did she pick her songs? “The first week I sang “I Want to Hold Your Hand” which is one of my favorite Beatles songs, I played my guitar, I added my own pop country twist to it. I wouldn’t do anything different, but do it better. This week I did “The Climb” which is one of my favorite artists, and one of my favorite songs. That song definitely means a lot to me. If I were given the chance, I would just make it better, and work on my technicals– my voice sounding better, and not pitchy.”
Why didn’t she pick any country songs during the past two weeks? “The songs I chose, I made them kind of pop country, so that was my whole thing, I wanted not to have to sing country every week to prove I’m a country artist. Carrie Underwood on her season, didn’t sing country music every week. She was very versatile and she chose songs from a different genre that she gave her country style.“
Did she get advice from any former Idols? “I talked to Allison when she came and performed and she just told me to stay true to who I am and keep doing my thing in my genre of music and just be really strong and confident to accomplish it.”
Was she friends with the other minor contestants like Katie Stevens and Aaron Kelley? “Katie and Aaron are awesome, they’re my fellow minors, and we did school together. I really bonded with everybody, we’re like a family.”
On working with movement and choreography, “It was weird singing without my guitar. I’m used to having my guitar in front of me. But, when I sang “The Climb”, I didn’t. It’s hard for me to have to work the stage and move around. I have a little confidence issue—I’m worried about what I look like or if I’m doing it right or if I sound OK.”
Would things have been different if Paula had still been a judge? Was Simon harsher? “I think Paula was great, but I really appreciated the judges this season. Ellen was amazing whenever she’d give back criteria, and I loved to hear what she had to say. I don’t necessarily think it would have been different if Paula were there…Simon was definitely harsh this season. I mean, he has reasons to be. All the comments he gave us were good and we would think about them, but sometimes he should soften the blow a little bit. But, that’s Simon Cowell, he’s been that way for 9 years.
What she was thinking while she watched her Idol journey? “It was definitely hard. I was just thinking about my journey through the show, and everything I’ve done, and how far I’ve made it. It was really emotional and having to sing afterward was so hard, because I was just trying to get through the song…the lyrics really meant something to me.”
What’s next for Haeley? “I’m definitely going to keep working on my career, I’m going to keep singing, and hopefully, doors will open up for me and I’m a really big fan of Disney and hopefully there’s something there that I can work on. I’m just going to keep working on my career , doing what I love to do.”
What would kind of thing would she like to do with Disney? “I would love to be on the shows. My favorite show is Hannah Montana, because I love Miley Cyrus so much, that’s a really big inspiration for me. Being on Disney would be awesome, and performing with the artists would be great too, but also singing my pop country, and staying true to who I am.”
What kind of music does she want to make? “Country music is definitely my genre–pop country and playing my guitar. If I was given a chance, I would definitely jump on it.”
Is she going back to high school? “I think I might go back to high school, but if there are any other doors that open for me, I don’t know if I’ll go back to high school, or if I’ll just do my school online and focus on my career, which is really important for me right now. But, I’m going to finish school.”