Second in my series of chats with "Idol" performers during their tour's stop in Cleveland on Sunday.
I'm not big on hair and wardrobe questions -- but I did note that Anoop Desai was wearing a polo shirt that was a North Carolina blue, and that Allison still has that huge, leonine mane of dark red hair, with purple highlights. It looks as if she is sticking with it for now, but she did mention offhandedly that she'd like to dye it jet black, or black with some deep blue in it. Notes from our chat follow the jump.
How has all this been for you?
It's crr-azy, is what it is. There's a lot to do but it's a lot of fun as well.
What's your favorite part of the [live] show?
Getting to do my set, and the finale ["Don't Stop Believin'"]. The last part of the show, to get to do it with everybody else. ...
What do you get to do in your set?
I get to do "So What," by Pink; "Cry Baby," by Janis Joplin, and "Barracuda" by Heart.
Did you get to pick?
Sorta, and sort of not. We pretty much had to send a list of songs, and they told us what would work and wouldn't work. They pretty much helped me out with the Pink "So What."
If you had a dream three, what would it be?
Um, I'm pretty happy with my set. I'm good.
What do you want to do when this is all over? You've signed a record deal, right?
I'm already recording. So just pretty much getting the album out there would be the next step, after the tour. Just promotion.
And what is the album sounding like?
It'll definitely sound like a rock, a good rock album.
Originals. ... There's some stuff I helped write. ... It was fun, getting to work with some AWESOME people. So far, working with David Hodges. I've worked with a couple of people so far.
Are people who know you just from the show going to recognize you on the record, or do you want to offer up something different? Is there an aspect of you that maybe didn't come across on the air?
I think people pretty much got what I am. There's definitely that point in the show where you don't get to show who you really are. ... Being on the show, it's kind of tough showing what kind of artist you really are when you're getting thrown to do themes. That's kind of hard when you have disco week and you don't want to do disco the rest of your life.
Anoop also mentioned disco ...
It was really tough.
Do the theme weeks serve a purpose?
They definitely do serve a purpose. I think the point is to change the songs into something that you are as an artist. So, I guess, what I tried to do, which sort of worked and sort of did not work, was changing "Hot Stuff." ... I wasn't going to do a disco-ey song. That's not what I am as an artist. ... It's not going to work.
What else do you want to do? Are you thinking about school?
I definitely want to finish school on the road. ... But after the tour, it's going to be promotion, touring again, to get the album out there.
What's it like on the road? ...
No longer in the "Idol" bubble, but in the tour. ... Same routine. Every day's the same. ... We all love each other, and we're pretty much a dysfunctional family.
(We then talked about her iPod music.)
When you listen to things, are you thinking about how you'd perform them?
I definitely listen to things that are totally different from what I do as a performer, just to listen to it, whatever. When I do get serious, I sit down and listen to some stuff that I would use to help me with my album.
What are your thoughts on the whole Paula (Abdul) situation?
Um, I don't know. All I can say is, I feel pretty lucky to have worked with her last year. .... It was nice. She's an amazing person.
And who of the mentors was your favorite?
That's hard. 'Cause all of them were pretty damn awesome. I mean, Quentin Tarantino. Slash was my favorite, I'm not going to lie. I freaked out. Jamie Foxx, you know, and getting to work with Cyndi Lauper -- it was frickin' amazing.
What would you tell young people who are auditioning for "Idol"?
I think they should definitely stay true to themselves. ... The problem with people is they tend to change during the show, and it's not cool. But I think if they just stay true to themselves, and go for it, everything will fall into place.
But, as you said, the show forces you to change as you go along.
It doesn't FORCE you to change. It's hard to come out as who really are when you're getting thrown into doing themes. So it doesn't force you to change, it just doesn't allow you to be the artist you are.
The next chat I post will be with Michael Sarver, but not sure when I will get it done. Still later: Adam Lambert, Scott MacIntyre.