If ousted contestant Lakisha Jones had made the Final 3, she would have had a huge celebration in Flint, MI this weekend. Flint officials say that LaKisha will get her celebration anyway, probably right after the finale and before the Idols start rehearsals for the tour.
In her exit interview with American Idol Extra, LaKisha said that she was encouraged to try out for AI by the manager at her new job at a bank in Baltimore. He gave her gas and toll money to drive to New York. After she made it, even though she had just started the job, her manager gave her a week off to participate in the Hollywood Round in California. When she made the Top 40, she did not go back to her job. The folks at the bank have supported her entire run on idol–they sat in the audience one night, voted for her and sent her text messages encouraging her.
Other highlights from her press interviews:
- She felt like she was going home 3 weeks ago when she was in the bottom 3 with Sanjaya.
- She had a really difficult time choosing songs for Bee Gees week. She changed her mind a lot. Even now she regrets her song choices.
- She’s kept her daughter off TV since her audition to protect her. Her daughter will probably go on tour with her.
- She doesn’t understand Simon’s criticism that she was “yelling.”
- A tuxedo shirt she was going to wear last week that got ruined at the dry cleaners did not make a tough week any easier.
Read more excerpts after the jump
From Entertainment Weekly:
- LaKisha talks about her singout: I was [having fun]. And you know, they asked us ‘ they asked all of us ‘ if you go home, what song would you like to sing? And I said, ”Honey, ‘Stayin’ Alive!’ ‘Cause I’m gonna stay alive after American Idol.” I would have sung a slow song, but I wanted to go off with a bang! I looked at the lyrics, and you know what, it says, I’m gonna be alright anyway. And that’s how I was feeling. I’m gonna make it anyway.
- About singing ”Stayin’ Alive”: I was a little nervous just because I know the song is so well known that I didn’t want people to make bad comments about me trying to switch it up and slow it down a little bit.
- Were the judges comments about slowing down “Staying Alive” fair? I don’t think that’s fair ‘ no. Because if I would’ve just did it like they did it, then he would have said, ”Where’s the LaKisha at?”
- A couple of weeks ago, did she feel like she was going home soon? Yeah, I felt like my time was coming. I had to decide what works for me. And if it for me to be here, then Ill stay, and if not ¦
- About Bon Jovi Week: Bon Jovi said to me, ”You know, if you do that song, you got one more week.” And did he call it or what?! I had changed my song when I first met him. And when I did, he said, ”I’m so glad you changed it. I’m so glad you’re doing a ballad.” And after I sung it to him, he said, ”I hope you packed enough clothes because you’re gonna be here another week!”
- Does she feed off the crowd? I do! My confidence level just shoots up and I get a rush! It means so much to me to have the crowd let me know they’re right there with me. I think the objective is to bring America to you. Not for you to go to America. But in a song and a lyric, you embrace it and bring them into you. And I think that’s where my problem was this week because I had such a hard time choosing songs and I really was not at all…I don’t think I was prepared. Because I just felt like this really wasn’t my style.
- Did she find her own songs or choose from a list?
No, you get a list. All the different genres that we’ve had, I’d never heard of most of that music in my life! But I look for songs that touch me. That grab me. Because if it grabs me, I know I can work it and make grab America. If I can feel it, I can make other people feel it.
- Does she have iTunes? Well, I just recently got iTunes! Because throughout this whole competition, I didn’t have iTunes. I just got a computer like three weeks ago! So I’ve just been doing without!
- Would she change anything about her run on Idol?
I would pick new songs from the Barry Gibb night. I wouldn’t change anything but Tuesday night’s performance. I would have done two big ballads. It’s my strength ‘ it’s my thing. I’m a ballad singer! I love Whitney Houston!
- About getting another kiss from Simon: I wanted to, and he said, ”Man, no kiss for you today!” And then I really wanted to come back and say, ”Baby, it was your pleasure!” That’s what I wanted to nail him with last night.
- Is her daughter going on tour with her? They’re trying to make preparations for her right now.
- LaKisha kept her daughter out of the limelight: Yah, after the audition and everything, I wanted to keep her separate from what’s going on. Because she is still small ‘ she’s only four years old. Now, I’ll go crazy over my daughter! I don’t play when it comes to her, and that’s one part that I would like to keep private. I don’t want pictures of her out. I want life to be as normal as possible for her. For TV interviews and stuff, they asked if she’d do it, and I said, she’ll be here, but she’ll never appear on the show.
- About Simon’s criticism that she was “yelling” during her songs: I know! I’m like, dude, you’re nailing me to the wall here. I don’t think I was yelling at all. I don’t know what he was hearing. How could he tell me that he loved it when I did Jennifer Holliday’s song? And he loved Whitney Houston’s ”I Have Nothing, ” and then turn around tell me don’t do Fantasia? I’m treating them all the same, baby.
- Her favorite performance: “And I Am Telling You.” That was my opening number, and the message was, “I’m telling you, America, I’m gonna stay. I’m not going nowhere.”
- Did it hurt to start out as an early favorite? It did. I believe that everybody wanted the “And I Am Telling You” moment every week. And when you’re singing different genres of music, and because it’s such a different style of music, those styles don’t necessarily have the big song that everybody’s expecting every week. I think I did the best with what I was given, and I went out there every week and I gave it my all.
- Did she know she was going home on Wednesday? I was hoarse on Tuesday, and I tried to sing past my hoarseness and give it my all, because on “American Idol” you can’t say, “My voice is jacked up and I can’t sing this week.” … You have to just kind of do what you gotta do, and I kind of knew [on Bee Gees night] that those weren’t the best songs, but I did the best with what I was given.
- What was she thinking when her voice cracked on Tuesday? I kinda gave up, because I was hoarse, as I am now, and you can only sing so much until your voice is like, “OK, enough.” … We do dress rehearsal before the actual show, so I had sung that song at least four times that day. It put a strain on my voice.
- What did her daughter say after her elimination? I was crying last night. She wiped my face and said, “Mommy, I’m not mad.” I just thought that was really cute. It’s almost as if she was telling me, “You know what? I’m proud of you.”
- About her song choices, particularly two back to back Idol songs: I was thinking that they were two winners, and I was also thinking of the message within the song. [Carrie Underwood’s] “Jesus Take the Wheel” ‘ I was going through some things, and I needed Jesus to take the wheel, period. I was like, “You know what? I can’t do this competition by myself. Lord, you’re gonna have to help me get through it.” And then [Fantasia’s] “I Believe” ‘ I do believe in myself, and I do believe that no matter what happens, God has a plan for me and that I will be successful.
- Her favorite Simon comment: My favorite comment would have to be “She’s in a league all her own.”
- Her least favorite comment: “You’re shouting.”
- Is Simon a good kisser? He is a good kisser, and I would do it again. His lips were really soft and thin.
- About Sanjaya: Sanjaya was like a little brother that got on your nerves all the time. … He has this energy, and I could be just having a moment, and he’s jumping all over the place, and I’m like, “Sit down somewhere!” I appreciate the fact that he trusted my judgment, he took my advice and he was also there for me when I needed him.
- About the remaining contestants: I like Jordin. One, she’s so doggone cute, and she just has a really wonderful spirit about her. She’s really genuine. Blake, oh my God, I love him. Blake keeps me going. I tell you, at times when I was like, “Oh my God, ” Blake was like, “Nope, uh-uh, come here” [she mimics Blake’s beatboxing], making up something to make me laugh and smile. He was really cool, and he has originality and personality. He’s great. [And] Melinda, oh my God, that girl has so much soul and power.
- What kind of album would she like to make? I’m not sure exactly what I want to do yet. I know that I want it to be kind of sassy and soulful with a little inspiration.