Thanks to Entertainment Weekly for this insightful look at the 12 American Idol finalists …
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There are a lot of theme nights coming up. Any you’re looking forward to? Any you’re not looking forward to?
CHRIS SLIGH: I’m looking forward to Bon Jovi week, if I can make it that far. Diana Ross is going to be tough, because she had this weird range, about seven or eight notes, and that’s about it. So it’s really hard to, like, rock out to Diana Ross, you know what I’m sayin’?
STEPHANIE EDWARDS: Diana Ross. I love ”Baby Love, ”Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and ”You Are So Beautiful.”
MELINDA DOOLITTLE: Tony Bennett. I love classics and standards. I’m also looking forward to Diana Ross. I’d take almost any song that the Supremes have done, as long as I can do the movements — probably ”Stop in the Name of Love.”
PHIL STACEY: I’m looking forward to the Tony Bennett night. I remember hearing him sing ”I Left My Heart in San Francisco” when I was a kid and thinking, ”Man, I want to be Tony Bennett.”
BLAKE LEWIS: Tony Bennett. I have a [music] improv background, so if I can work with that man, that’ll be just, man, awesome.
CHRIS RICHARDSON: I would love to make it to the inspirational week. For me, Diana Ross week is strenuous because Diana Ross is a woman and the Supremes were all women, and it’s hard to make a woman’s song a man’s song, but you can do it.
JORDIN SPARKS: Being so young, J.Lo, Gwen Stefani, they’re current, but everybody else [coming on] my parents knew growing up — they’re idols to them. I can’t wait; I’m excited! I can’t wait to meet them!
LAKISHA JONES: It’s going to be a challenge for me, because I’m used to just listening to only the music that I like. I’m like [after hearing there will be a British Invasion week], I’ve never listened to British music in my life. I was like, black girl singing British, oh my God, hold on — how am I gonna pull that off? How am I gonna feel that? I’ve just got to grab it and get a good song.
Any song you haven’t sung yet, or haven’t gotten cleared yet, that you really want 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 cappella.
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.
Is there something about your appearance you’d like to make over, or definitely don’t want to touch?
STEPHANIE EDWARDS: I want to cut my hair even shorter than it is. And color it red. Do something radical.
GINA GLOCKSEN: I want to chop off my hair. I said that from day one. I’ve always wanted short hair.
SANJAYA MALAKAR: [Gesturing to his hair, with a huge grin] I think it would be really fun to just shave it off! I don’t know if it’s smart, but I think it would be really, really fun to just see people’s reactions.
HALEY SCARNATO: I’m up for anything, but I don’t want any crazy colors. [Laughs] So nothing, like, too drastic.
BLAKE LEWIS: Definitely not. I came here with my own style, just being me. No one’s telling me what to do. Everything you see here are all my own clothes.
CHRIS RICHARDSON: I don’t want to change anything, I am who I am and they might want to change something but I just want to stay true to myself.
PHIL STACEY: I’d pretty much be down for whatever, if they start putting wigs on my head, that kind of thing. It’s fun. We’ll see. You never know.
JORDIN SPARKS: [Takes hold of a ringlet of hair] I think they’re going to straighten it, and they might do some extensions with different colors. Like, Gina — I love her hair! I don’t want to be Gina, but I want hair like that. Maybe some pink and some red, and I might throw some green or blue in there if I’m feeling like it! [Laughs.]
Which contestants from Idols past would you most like to emulate?
GINA GLOCKSEN: Kelly Clarkson, I don’t think that anyone thought she could win until week five, and she just brought it. She’s a rocker girl, but still the girl next door; she’s beautiful and really grounded. That’s what I really hope doesn’t change for me. I really want to stay the person that I am.
LAKISHA JONES: I think I relate more to Fantasia, because she is a single mom, she has probably been through a lot of struggles that I have been through.
SANJAYA MALAKAR: I think Fantasia is amazing. I think she puts her soul into her performance, and I would love to be able to do that.
CHRIS RICHARDSON: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, I’m a big fan of Elliott [Yamin]. But for me I still listen to Kelly Clarkson in the car, I roll down the windows and blast it! I’m a man, I can admit it.
BRANDON ROGERS: Elliot has a beautiful voice, a phenomenal sounding voice, and Chris Daughtry has got that great voice and was always himself.