Didi Benami was given her nickname by her sister. Her real name is Vered Benami. This American Idol contestant hails from Los Angeles....

by Free Britney at . Comments

Didi Benami's journey came to an end on American Idol this week.

The 23-year-old won praise (albeit without a judges' save) from the show's panel on Wednesday night and moved many to tears on her road to stardom.

While she fell short, Didi Benami has a lot to be proud of, and despite disappointment, she's not feeling distraught, just looking forward to what's next.

Below are excerpts from an interview she did with USA Today ...

On the scrutiny she faced: "I was not prepared for that. I was not an avid American Idol watcher, so I didn't know what to expect. Honestly, I was just being myself, and I did stuff that meant something to me and had a good time."

On making the top 10: I'm relieved that I get to go on tour. I don't have to work as a waitress anymore. I get to do what I love. It's a blessing. It's a relief to know I'll be able to make a living doing what I love for the summer, hopefully longer."

On wearing her heart on her sleeve: "[Crying] has definitely been therapeutic for me, and I do it as a release. It's funny because the camera was always catching me when I'm emotional. And I'm not always that emotional."

On losing her way, or so Kara said: "I don't feel like I lost my way. I feel like they wanted me to do something specific every week ... and I went out on a limb several weeks and did different things. And they weren't expecting it."

On her moment with Siobhan Magnus after being ousted: "Siobhan is a unique, amazing person. I love her very much. She's a sweetheart. She ended up being my roommate the first week. I met her the first day of Hollywood Week."

On the judges' save that wasn't: "It was tough. The whole crowd was chanting, and that was pretty cool. Ultimately, I kind of felt like I was going home, but I thought it would be cool if they exercised the option to let me stay."

On her competition's reaction: "Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan and I are really close. Crystal came down and stayed with me last night. They're amazing, wonderful people. It's hard when you meet other artists you really connect with."

by Hilton Hater at . Comments

The live performances have scarcely begun, but controversy has already enveloped this season of American Idol.

Semifinalist Todrick Hall was embroiled in scandal last summer when a Tennessee production he played a role in never actually aired any performances, depriving the families involved of money.

More recently, Chris Golightly was booted from the top 24 (and replaced by Tim Urban) because he had signed an exclusive contract with a boy band.

Now, one of THG's early favorites might be in trouble: Didi Benami has a connection to judge Kara DioGuardi that some might say gives her an unfair advantage on the show.

Didi on Stage

Didi Benami possesses a unique sound and a genuine stage presence that makes her among the favorites on American Idol.

Benami has worked with Jason Reeves, a man she referred to as a “magical genius collaborator" and thanked on her MySpace page last April. The pair wrote the single "Pretty Fool" together.

Who is Reeves? A friend and songwriting partner of DiGuardi's.

Would this affilation have any actual bearing on the competition? It's unlikely. But as the most popular show on TV, American Idol must be extra careful about any appearance of favoritism. This is a situation worth keeping one's eye on.

by Hilton Hater at . Comments

Thank goodness it's Hollywood week on American Idol. Goodbye embarrassing contestants, hello major talent!

Before we get to that talent, however, let's also greet Ellen DeGeneres... with open arms. Wasn't she great on her first night as a judge? The comedian was funny (we loved when she had singers moving all around the stage before letting each one through), but also fresh and straightforward.

Ellen won't be Paula Abdul 2.0, sugarcoating every critique and covering up bad performances by telling the contestants how nice they look. She'll bring the criticism, but in a humorous fashion, such as when she told one dude his routine "scared" her and resembled a leopard stalking his prey.

There were also no contrived cat fights, nothing that Ellen did to bring attention to herself. She seemed steady, focused and, of course, funny.

As for the best of the night...

Didi Benami has finalist written all over her. She came across as a more polished Brooke White, strumming her guitar and bringing an emotional singer/songwriter vibe. Probably our favorite performance.

But the "infectious, real" Crystal Bowersox, as Simon put it, was a close second. She also relied on her guitar and had fellow contestants applauding before she even completed "Natural Woman."

The third impressive female was Haeley Vaughn. Only 16, she offers a unique pop/country sound and a healthy dose of charisma. We were very happy to see her advance.

Ellen on Idol

Two men stood out, as well:

  1. Andrew Garcia proved that guitar-playing was a theme for the top performers so far, impressing the judges with a soulful acousting rendition of "Straight Up." We wouldn't refer to him as "genius" or compare him to Adam Lambert (closer to Kris Allen), as Kara did, but certainly someone to keep an eye on.
  2. The same can be said for Casey James, and not just because he took off his shirt for his initial, pre-Hollywood audition. We loved his bluesy number... played with the help of a guitar, of course.

Watch all five of these performances in our American Idol video section and then let us know: WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE?

  • Andrew Garcia Pic
  • Casey James Pic
  • Hollywood Audition
  • Crystal Bowersox Pic

by Hilton Hater at . Comments

Darn you, American Idol!

We work so hard to remain numb during the early audition episodes of this show, as Fox aims to tug at heart strings more than impress viewers with actual vocal talent.

While the singers and their skills will be on full display next week in Hollywood, these editions of the competition are typically reserved for joke acts (see Platt, Larry) and emotional backstories that leave us rolling our eyes like Katy Perry.

But Didi Benami broke down our cynical exteriors last night.

During her audition, the Los Angeles native burst out in tears at the memory of a friend that passed away four years ago. When asked by Kara if she wanted this badly, the beautiful blonde simply lost it.

Fortunately, Didi could also carry a major tune. She impressed judges with a rendition of "Hey Jude" and received unanimous approval for Hollywood. She's also rumored to be a semifinalist.

Benami plays the guitar and attended Belmont University. The Hebrew definition of her real first name (Vered) means "rose."

Watch Didi's audition below and chime in: Were you moved by this singer's performance and her backstory?

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Didi Benami Biography

In Hollywood Didi Benami was given her nickname by her sister. Her real name is Vered Benami. This American Idol contestant hails from Los Angeles.... More »
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