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Interview:
"American Idol" Finalists Get Loose Before Tour Start At Palace
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

AUBURN HILLS -- The Idols met the press on Thursday afternoon and did what they do best.

They sang.

Several of “American Idol’s” Top 10 finishers from Season 9 — who launched this year’s American Idols Live! tour Thursday night at the Palace — broke into some African-style vocals in the middle of an hour-long session with reporters. Their smiles indicated that they felt abundantly loose as they hit the road for the first big-time tour any of them have experienced.

“You’re probably talking to the 10 happiest people in America,” Casey James said. “We’re not competing anymore. There’s no stress, and because of that we’re just lovin’ on each other and encouraging and everybody’s helping each other. It’s a good place to be.”

Not all of the Idols were stress-free, however. Season 9 champ Lee DeWyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox, the only two with recording contracts so far, will be spending their spare moments “flying in and out and recording (their debut albums) all over the place,” according to DeWyze. That means they’ll miss out on some of the fun on the tour buses, of course.

“It’s kind of a bummer,” he acknowledged, “but it’s all for the greater good at the end of the day. To be on tour and making an album…that’s my dream come true.”

Bowersox, who had friends and family from Toledo attending Thursday’s show, will also be juggling tour and album-making duties, as well as taking advantage of rare opportunities to see her young son. But she’s no stranger to multi-tasking.

“I was a mom full-time; I never had a minute to myself,” explained Bowersox, who’s reached out to Linda Perry, Michael Franti and Melissa Etheridge to collaborate on the set. “As soon as I got to the hotel room here…I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was alone. It was quiet. All I had to do was pick up my guitar and start playing. It’s definitely going to be easier to write on the road.”

Their compatriots also pondered their post-“Idol” futures. James, who was slated to duet with “Big” Mike Lynche during the Idols Live! show, reported that Sony Nashville had expressed interest in signing him, while Andrew Garcia said he’d be using his Macbook to work on his material.

Lynche was also planning to write songs, noting that, “You want to make sure you can capitalize on the work you did all year and the exposure you got from (‘Idol’). It’s important to hit the ground running once that plane lands in September,” at the end of the tour.

Others, however, are not in as much of a hurry. Didi Benami said she’s looking forward to “a vacation or a spiritual journey” after the tour, while Katie Stevens, who graduated from high school last week in Middlebury, Conn., said that she “won’t release my album for, like, a year. I want to make sure it’s the best it can be…and develop a really good album for my fans.”

Tim Urban said he’s been taking some acting lessons and even has “homework” from his coach during the tour, while Siobhan Magnus hopes to do an album but also said she’d like to explore opportunities in film, theater and fashion design.

Mostly, however, they were looking forward to piling onto the tour buses after Thursday’s concert. Bowersox gave herself biggest slob honors for the women’s ride, while Garcia was chagrined to hear that his fellows had named him the odds-on favorite to be the messiest rider on the men’s vehicle. “I’m not messy,” he claimed. “I like to be organized. It’s a beautiful mess — that’s what I call it.”

Not to worry; James said he’s happy to pick up after him.

“I’m a clean freak,” James confessed. “The bus is not that big, so it can’t get that dirty, but I’ll clean it up if it does. I’ll be the maid.”

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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