Season nine contestants plan acting careers, albums after ‘Live!’
By Josh Kendrix/Appeal-Democrat
“American Idol” is TV’s most popular show. But it’s also in a major transition period as producers mull new additions to the judging panel to replace the departed Simon Cowell.
Meanwhile, the “American Idols Live! Tour 2010” continues. The tour rolled into Arco Arena in Sacramento on Wednesday.
Casey James, Didi Benami, Tim Urban, Crystal Bowersox and Aaron Kelly were on hand to discuss the tour, future plans and the future of “Idol.”
How has the tour been going?
Casey: It’s going great. … I’m happy to be out here meeting fans and getting to play music in front of so many people.
Didi: It’s been a crazy experience and one I’ll never forget.
Tim: This whole thing has been a new experience for me. Whether it’s been having hundreds of fans waiting for us at midnight or people giving you scrapbooks and teddy bears, it’s all very cool.
Crystal: We’re in the home stretch; we have about 10 dates left. I’m having a good time.
Aaron: I’m having a blast. … I’m going to miss everybody.
What are you doing after the tour?
Casey: I get to do an album. I’m working with Sony Nashville, and I’m super excited. … I’m from the country, so it’s going to have that vibe. Kind of edgy rocky blues country.
Didi: I want to get into acting, and I’m going to finish an album I started before “Idol.” I also want to do a dedication album for my friend Rebecca who passed away four years ago who inspired me to do what I’m doing now.
Tim: I’m going to start working on my album. I set up the dates, and hopefully I’ll get it done without any hitches. I’m going to try to get that out by November. I’m also going to move out to L.A. and try acting.
Crystal: After the tour, I’m going to make my album and do it all over again.
Aaron: I’m moving to Nashville … and try to make a modern pop country album.
What made you want to audition for “American Idol”?
Casey: It was a combination of me seeing I wasn’t making a lot of headway where I wanted to be musically … and my mom pressing me to try out. … I literally went straight from a gig, wearing the clothes I wore to the gig, to try out.
Didi: This was my third season auditioning; the first two seasons, I didn’t make it past the first round. I auditioned because I wanted to get Rebecca’s music out, because she inspired me so much.
Tim: My family followed “Idol” for a very long time, and said I should audition. … For the longest time, I said no, but I said if it came to Dallas, I would audition.
Crystal: I was repelled for a very long time, and when I finally had my son, I thought it was time to make that career choice.
Aaron: I’ve been a faithful watcher since season four with Carrie Underwood … and I hoped to have a career as successful as her.
What did you think of Ellen DeGeneres as a judge?
Casey: I liked her as a judge and as a person.
Didi: She was amazing. … She didn’t say anything hurtful, but in judging, it’s important to be honest … but it’s also important to be positive.
Tim: We needed that breath of fresh air in the middle of the panel. I love Ellen, and I’m not surprised she left abruptly because being a judge is tough.
Crystal: She brought the consumer’s opinion to the show, which is important. … Her decision to leave I didn’t see coming, but I wasn’t really surprised. She’s too nice a person to judge other people.
Aaron: You could tell she didn’t like to hurt people’s feelings. … She’s a busy gal, so I wasn’t surprised she left.
What will happen to “Idol” with the changes to the judging panel?
Casey: I have no idea what will happen. … As massive as “American Idol” is, it will be interesting to see what happens.
Didi: We’re really blessed we had the season we had with the four judges. … I just hope they’re really helpful to the new contestants.
Tim: The judging panel had a chemistry to it. I don’t know who will be on the show, but I’m not too worried about it. The focus should be on the contestants, because in the end, contestants are what people watch.
Crystal: “Idol,” as a TV show, is a powerhouse. No matter who they choose as judges, the show will go on. I hope they pick someone who is a musician, and knows what to look for in someone.
Aaron: As many years as the show has been going, (a new panel) could be a good thing, or it could be a bad thing. … I’m anxious to see what comes along.