Right after Thursday night’s live broadcast, the Top 12 attended a party in their honor at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. EW conducted a fun Q&A with the 12 here. TV Guide’s Justin Guarini and Kimberly Caldwell interview the finalists here. And, USA Today’s Idol Chatter blog has an item about the party here. Read MTV’s article here.
Meanwhile, this wasn’t highly publicized, but, Jennifer Hudson visited the show during last week’s Top 20 results show.
Says Jennifer, “I just went to visit the show. I wanted to surprise the kids. I wanted to meet the contestants. It was elimination day. I still remember that day. I still get nervous on Wednesdays, because I was always in the bottom three (to be voted off the show). So I wanted to go and encourage them. The last thing I said is, ‘Remember, it’s OK if you get eliminated!’ I’m the perfect person to tell them that.”
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Paula Abdul at the Top 12 party here.
Simon Cowell, ever the diplomat says he’ll quit the show if Top 12 finalist Sanjaya Malakar wins it all. I think a few Idol fans might take that threat as a challenge…
The British telecast of American Idol features Cat Deeley interviewing the Idols back stage. Telspy has posted a bunch of these interviews on You Tube. For your viewing pleasure: Melinda Doolittle, Antonella Barba, Antonella again, Chris Sligh, Chris Sligh again, Chris Richardson, Chris Richardson again, Blake Lewis, Blake Lewis again, Ryan Seacrest.
Listen to this week’s TVWeek.com interview with Idol producer Ken Warwick here.
For highlights from the interviews, click on the jump.
Entertainment Weekly asked the contestants if there was any song they haven’t sung yet, haven’t gotten cleared yet, or would really like to perform:
- HALEY SCARNATO: ” Songbird” by Eva Cassidy.
- BRANDON ROGERS: ”Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
- MELINDA DOOLITTLE: Donnie Lane’s ”It’s Not Over, ” Vivian Green’s ”Keep On Going, ” and a James Brown song called ”Bewildered.”
- BLAKE LEWIS: ”Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap, I kind of want to do that, with strings or maybe a Capella.
- SANJAYA MALAKAR: ”Are You Going To Be My Girl” [by Jet] ‘ I really wanted to sing that song because it would be really fun to just rock out, but I doubt it’ll ever get cleared.
- LAKISHA JONES: ”I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. Yes, definitely. Man, I want to do that one a Capella.
- JORDIN SPARKS: ”Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5.
- GINA GLOCKSEN: ”Who Knew” by Pink, but she doesn’t clear her songs.
- CHRIS SLIGH: I actually tried to do one of my own songs, and they felt like the show wasn’t ready for it yet. When we get down to, I think, the final three, you get to sing your own choice. I’d love to be able to do my own song at that point. Hopefully America will love me enough to be ready for it. I also wanted to do ”Hysteria” by Muse and ”City of Blinding Lights” by U2, but neither one of those got cleared.
- PHIL STACEY: Whatever song it is that wins the competition for the winner [of American Idol].
From TV.Guide.com: Who has been the hardest goodbye so far?
- Gina Glocksen: For me it would be my roommate [Leslie Hunt]. She lived in the same city as I do, in Chicago, and we formed a bond during the hiatus.
- Chris Sligh: For me, Rudy [Cardenas]. We met at our first audition in Memphis. And Sundance [Head], tonight, was really, really tough to say goodbye to.
- Blake Lewis: Sundance. He was a really great friend to me. I loved him, I loved his voice…. [On Thursday] he experienced a tragic loss in his family, as well, which makes the whole competition seem like a really small deal. My heart really goes out to him.
- Melinda Doolittle: Pretty much everybody, because I’m kind of the older one here, so I’m like the mama and these are my babies going home, and I can’t stand it!
- Blake Lewis: This is true. You should see Melinda on elimination day. She loves everybody.
- Jordin Sparks: I’ve grown to love a ton of people, but it was really hard to say goodbye to Sundance and Jared [Cotter].
- Brandon Rogers: I love everybody, but the difficult one was Jared. He and I became very close, and that’s my boy. I don’t know if the camera showed it, but Jordin and I were sort of the first two in tears. I really didn’t expect it. I think he’s a great singer, a fantastic songwriter and a really great guy.
- Lakisha Jones: Everybody, really, because we’ve been together for a while and everybody’s good and everybody’s talented. I wish everybody the best of luck.
- Chris Richardson: For me, A.J. [Tablado]. He was my roommate and my best friend here, and it was really hard to see him go, but like Lakisha said, it’s so hard to let go of anybody, because you do become a family.
- Sanjaya Malakar: Amy [Krebs]. We were representing Seattle, plane buddies and all, so that was really hard, and I really admired her for her voice. Her tone was really pure.
- Stephanie Edwards: Antonella was my roommate and I loved her. We were becoming so close. I cried like a baby.
Sound bites from the MTV.com article:
- About last Thursday’s results from Simon Cowell: “Tons of surprises, but it wouldn’t be ‘American Idol’ without it, would it…At the end of the day, I could go out and find 12 great singers, but that’s kind of boring. The fact that there’s people there who shouldn’t be there makes it ‘American Idol.'”
- For the record, Cowell is actually hoping for a “battle of the divas, ” with Melinda Doolittle edging out Lakisha Jones and Stephanie Edwards. “I like her humility, ” he said of professional backup singer Doolittle. “I like the fact that she’s happy to be on the show and she’s giving 100 percent. She’s got passion.”
- Brandon Rogers, was “glowing” from a congratulatory e-mail he received from former employer and pop star Anastacia.
- Blake Lewis was excited to hear that 311 singer Nick Hexum approved of his “All Mixed Up” performance Tuesday, and said he plans to push the envelope even further. “Maybe I’ll do some BjÃƒÆ’ ¶rk, ” he said. “I was trying to get an R&B/rap song cleared, and it didn’t. I’m just trying to do music that inspires me.”
- Chris Sligh says, “My Christian faith is obviously very important to me, but I don’t see myself in the contemporary Christian world, ” he said. “I did the DC Talk song because I thought the message was so universal.”
- Phil Stacey says, “With the Navy Rock Band…I do My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, so we’ll see.”
Ken Warwick’s Interview with TVWeek.com:
- Ken felt the boys picked unfamiliar songs that did not “press the buttons with the public or with us.”
- Although, Ken thought that Blake Lewis made his unfamiliar song memorable.
- He didn’t think Sanjaya Malakar’s hairdo did him any favors. He thinks he’s a weak vocalist, but the young girls will vote for him.
- Sundance Head–Ken felt that Pearl Jam has a very limited audience. He incorrectly remembers Sundance’s song from last week as “Sweet Home Alabama” while suggesting contestants perform songs that people will remember.
- Ken thinks we have not heard the best from Chris Richardson yet.
- Ken thought Jared Cotter chose a strange song.
- He said Brandon Rogers has charisma and that we have not heard the best from him.
- Phil Stacey chose a bad song.
- He thinks Chris Sligh has a good voice. He’s sure that Chris will be in the Top 12.
- A listener asks about American Idol DVDs. Ken says that they don’t issue DVD’s of the entire series because the song rights are a nightmare to secure.
- Ken says that they have not been able to get Eagles’ songs, although “Desperado” and “Take it Easy” have been performed on the show.
- Jordin Sparks is lovely, and is a performer beyond her years.
- Ken says Sabrina Sloan needs to show more personality. He says she comes over quite “hard.”
- Ken talks about Antonella Barba’s “scandal”. He says that Antonella’s pictures were personal. Her spring-break pics proved that she’s not boring and what lots of girls do on spring break. Frenchie was on an “organized website”. The two misdemeanors are not comparable. He adds that she will have a tough time in a singing competition.
- Simon Cowell’s remarks to Haley Scarnato upset Ken. He thought the remark about not remembering her name was very cruel. It made him mad. He thinks she’s quite commercial and that she can sing.
- Stephanie Edwards has a great voice.
- Lakisha Jones is a “fabulous thing.”
- Gina Glocksen came out fighting. It’s good she is doing “edgier” stuff.
- Melinda Doolittle has to be careful that she has someplace to go, but she is a brilliant singer.