Saturday, April 14, 2007

Haley Scarnato's Exit Interview I know for the past couple of weeks, you were shrugging off Simon’s comments about just that. But deep down, was it bothering you each week that you weren’t getting much feedback on your voice, and on your vocals, but just about what you had on?

Scarnato: I little bit. They always say this is a singing competition, etc., but it is what it is. You just have to brush it off and do the best that you can do. Do you think that not responding to Simon’s comments was the right decision?

A: That’s who I am. I’m on national TV and I don’t want anybody to think – I still want to stay on that frame of mind of, you’ve got to respect him. He’s Simon Cowell, and you’ve got to set an example. It does hurt a little bit, but you just kind of brush it off and try to get through it. Last night you had your farewell performance, and you totally could have just stood there on the stage and just sung it; but you actually went out into the crowd and you played to the audience. It was very enthusiastic and energetic. Did you consider just doing it straightforward? Or did you always know that you were going to go and do the whole thing?

A: whether I’m wearing shorts or not, I’m not strutting around just because I’m in shorts. Do you know what I mean? That’s just who I am, no matter what I was wearing. I was wearing pants and I was still strutting around. That’s the style of the song. The song was about basically in your face, the rhythm, it’s funky, and it was Latin, so it is a sexy vibe. That’s just kind of what I was going for. But no matter what I was wearing, it was still the same vibe. I’m just talking about last night after the elimination announcement. Often that ends up being a sentimental, sort of sad sing-off, and you made it into something much more lively than that.

A: Right. As a performer, when it’s time to sing, it’s time to sing. That’s my home. It’s like my second home. It’s very easy to clock in and get the job done. It was good to sing again and have fun with that song. It was easy. It’s not hard. I was still kind of tearing up, but I was just enjoying my moment.

People Magazine: What was it like to work with J-Lo as a mentor? What was she like in person?

A: It was amazing. She was great. She was very warm and comforting, and she had a lot to tell us. You could tell she really did want to help us. It was a very good experience on my part and I think everybody felt the same with it.

People Magazine: Did you get to spend a lot of time with her?

A: A little bit, it was like ten minutes, so it was good to hammer out the song and stuff.

People Magazine: Did you get to meet Marc Anthony at all?

A: Yes, we did. That was really cool, too.

People Magazine: What was he like?

A: He was great. He was really, really nice. He loves her and he adores her, so that’s really cool to see. They just look really happy.

Soap Opera Weekly: What challenge did you not expect in this competition?

A: That’s hard, there’s so much. You can’t prepare yourself for something like this. You expect picking the right song is a huge deal, but just making sure it gets cleared. I didn’t know it was going to be that tough to try and get the song cleared. That was pretty tough and it affected us a lot, because then if it didn’t clear, we had to change the song, and we had to pick another song. It would just hold everything up. That was pretty much it.

Soap Opera Weekly: Did any celebrity mentor give you good advice that we didn’t see?

A: No, not really. Lulu was amazing. That was all on TV. Her and Jennifer Lopez were great. I loved them. What you see is what you get. They try to put everything in as much as they can.

The Houston Chronicle: Who were some of the artists that influenced and inspired you, even before Idol?

A: Definitely Celine Dion, Martina McBride, I love her, Faith Hill. I’m trying to think of who else.

The Associated Press: When Simon first started commented on the way you looked, did you ever think about changing the sort of outfits you were going to wear, so that you wouldn’t play into what he was saying?

A: You get so much feedback from everybody, and they’re like, “Keep it,” I never really changed my look. Since Hollywood week, I showed my midriff a little bit and stuff like that. Not really, I want to stay true to who I am. It’s fun dressing up and playing the part of the theme week and the song that you’re signing. Like with Latin week,
it’s more of a sexier vibe. I don’t think I wore less clothes than before, so I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think I stayed true to who I am.

The Associated Press: Does it bother you that you got voted off before Sanjaya?

A: No, oh my gosh. Sanjaya is a great personality; he has a great energy backstage, and on stage. I think he did a great job last week. He’s a great kid and I wish the best for him and all of the other contestants.

Starry Constellation Magazine: The judges seem to give a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to your performances and, of course, Simon mentioning your legs all of the time. How do you adjust and correct your performances for the next time when it comes to those times when they give that kind of conflicting advice?

A: If I was still going to be here next week, I was going to wear a choir robe. I was going to be fully clothed. You just take it for what it’s worth and just try to brush it off, and just know that you still have to perform. I felt good about it, so I’m okay with it.

Starry Constellation Magazine: Now that the tour is coming up, what are you most looking forward to when it comes to the shows?

A: Just seeing the fans and the excitement that they get, and the excitement that we get from it, so it’s just going to be crazy. I can’t imagine the feeling that we’re going to all get from it.

Gannett News Service: They showed Tony Bennett giving a couple of people advice and the people ignored the advice. They went ahead and they did different fruit from Tony’s side and they did pretty well with it. You followed his advice, but I’m not sure if you wouldn’t have done well ignoring it. You had this funny, silly, vampy version that you wanted to do, “Saving My Love For You,” where it was kind of playful, and he told you to do it seriously, and you switched it to seriously. Do you think maybe your playful approach would have worked, too?

A: I think I still kept the playful vibe. I just didn’t do the you-and-you-and-you like he didn’t want me to do.

Gannett News Service: That’s what kind of made it humorous. Like I’ll be true to you in my fashion, kind of a humorous touch to it.

A: The version that I was leaning towards was the Broadway version. It’s more characters, and more cutesy kind of vibe. But he’s Tony Bennett, so you want to respect him. I took his advice, and took what I wanted, and still gave it my flavor.

Gannett News Service: One other thing, we get revisionist with Simon, and we think he always hated the look. But the truth is, he and everyone else seemed to really like the British invasion look when you had the shorts and you danced around. It seemed very fresh and youthful. I was wondering, how did that idea first come up? Did one of the fashion people suggest it to you, or did you come up with, "I want to wear the shorts and the high heels and dance around."?

A: I thought about the shorts because it’s more of an upbeat kind of song, and it would be comfortable to wear. Art just finished the style and he molded it together.

Edmonton Journal: First Simon, a powerful judge on the show, is telling you how great you look, and he’s praising you for your legs and stuff like that. And then this episode, he’s basically saying, “Geez, you’re showing a lot of skin in order to stay on the show.” Is this confusing? What do you make of what he’s saying when you’re taking this in?

A: You can’t please everybody. It’s just one of those things. I didn’t go shorter. I didn’t wear less clothes. I just did the same thing. It was going to happen eventually and I figured that. But I got a good vibe from the judges and I didn’t want to lose it because I didn’t really get any great vibes from them before. My stylist liked it and it just seemed to kind of work. Everybody was liking it, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Edmonton Journal: What did you think of his accusation that you’re basically showing off your body to get ahead on the show? When he said that, what did you think?

A: It hurts, of course. It’s just legs. It is what it is, it’s legs. I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s frustrating because I’m just trying to go out there and perform and entertain and sing. It is a singing competition and I wasn’t … to me anymore, but I’m okay with it.

Edmonton Journal: It’s not exactly strange for pop stars to dress like you were dressing, either. It’s the role you’re playing and then to get hammered for it.

A: Exactly, but that’s okay. You can’t please everybody, like I said.

The Virginian Pilot: What were you and Chris Richardson saying to each other when it came down to the showdown last night? Secondly, what do you think of him? Do you think now that he has as good a chance as anybody to win this?

A: Everybody is so supportive. It’s a great feeling to know that they’re there for us. It feels really good. We love each other and we want everybody to do well. I think Chris is going to do great in this competition. I think his chances are so great. I love him. He’s a great friend of mine. I hope the best for him and for everybody else.

The Virginian Pilot: Did you all talk to each other when you were standing there waiting for Ryan to give the bad news? Did you chat with each other?

A: I little bit. We just let each other know that we love each other and that we’re here. That’s pretty much all we can do when we’re standing out there in the middle.

The Virginian Pilot: Then when it was over, did he say anything to you?

A: Yes, of course. He was great. He’s a great guy and he has a great heart. He’s a really good friend of mine, one of my best friends here. He was great.

The Flint Journal: A question for you about when you were in the bottom three the first time, what goes through your mind when you first hear that? How does that affect your thinking going into the next week?

A: It’s definitely tough to be in bottom three. It’s emotionally just draining. You just have to get through it and know that you do have fans, and that they’re very loyal. I’m very thankful for that and completely blessed, so you just kind of keep going.

The Flint Journal: From this point on, besides the tour and the album, what is your obligation to Idol? Are there appearances that you’ve got to make, interviews, and things like that beyond today?

A: Yes, there are a few interviews and appearances. I’m excited and looking forward to it.

The Flint Journal: Just beyond that, do you have some free time before we have to prepare for the tour? Or do you have other Idol commitments you have to make?

A: I think I have some free time. I need to go plan my wedding, so I think I have some free time.

TMZ.comE Online: There was some reports earlier on in the season that people said the show stylist recycled the Katharine McPhee hair extensions. Do you know if you got old Katharine McPhee hair extensions yourself?

A: That I got ...

E Online: At one point early on in the season, they said that you were wearing hair extensions that have previously been used by Katharine McPhee on the show the season before, the hair stylist reused them.

A: Yes.

E Online: Did you know they were Katharine McPhee hair extensions at the time?

A: Yes.

E Online: Any particular thoughts on wearing old hair extensions? Did you think they’d bring you good luck? Did you think it was weird?

A: No, I think it’s cool. It’s fun. They can wash them. It was fun. It was kind of cool to wear Katharine McPhee hair extensions. Usually after the show, the judges come up on stage and wish the people well. Did that happen and what did they say to you?

A: They were great. Did you say before the show? After the show, after you were voted off.

A: Everybody is so supportive. We all love each other. It truly is a cast kind of environment. It was really nice. What did Simon say to you?

A: I didn’t talk to Simon. You didn’t talk to Simon. My other question is you said that you need to go plan your wedding. When is your wedding, and how stressful has it been being in this competition, knowing that you have that to deal with?

A: The wedding was November 10th, but we have to move it back because the tour is running into it, so we’ll see how it goes. And it didn’t cause you any extra stress, knowing that you had to deal with that while you’re dealing with American Idol?

A: No. Because I pushed it to the side for a little bit because I planned a lot of it before, and then I have time to plan before the tour, so I just kind of pushed it aside and focused on American Idol.

MTV News: I just had a quick question, even with all of the negative feedback you got from the judges, are you happy that you were part of the competition?

A: Oh my gosh, yes, my life changed. It truly was a blessing. I’m very thankful, so definitely.

MTV News: Obviously, you had a pretty big fan base to take you this far in the competition. Did that help you get past the bad comments?

A: Definitely, it means a lot. The bad comments are hard, but it helps to know that there are people out there that do like me. I thank them so much for voting and supporting me. I couldn’t do it without them.

The San Antonio Express: After all of this excitement, is it going to be tough maybe coming back to San Antonio? Or do you not have any plans for your future here? Or would you like to just strike it out in Hollywood or New York on Broadway? You seem to have a Broadway vibe about you.

A: I’m open for anything that comes my way. This is such a great experience and great exposure, so I’m up for anything, definitely.

The San Antonio Express: What’s going to be your first thing you do when you get back to San Antonio?

A: What’s going to be the first thing?

The San Antonio Express: Yes. Did you miss anything? Did you miss the food?

A: I’m definitely going to eat Mexican food.

The San Antonio Express: Have you gotten any other opportunities yet, any other opportunities offered right off the bat?

A: I haven’t even slept last night. I have no idea what’s going on, so it’s just been crazy. Until I venture off, I don’t know anything yet. Hopefully, something will come in, but we’ll see.

The Oklahoman: I wanted to ask you about this latest part of the competition, the Latin music competition. There’s been a lot of criticism that it wasn’t a good fit for a lot of the performers. Could you address that? Was there a lot of tension among the contestants about whether or not they could really pull it off in the Latin music department?

A: We were all really excited about the Latin theme. The band sounded awesome. I thought everybody did a great job picking the right songs for each voice and just performing it well. I felt really good; I guess it just wasn’t working for the judges, but everybody did a great job and that’s all that really matters.

The Oklahoman: Now do you have any particular long term plans after the tour? Do you have things set up to where you want to go after the wedding and after the tour?

A: I would love to get a record deal. That’s exactly what we all want, so that would be a dream come true. Like I said before, I’m up for anything. I’ll try anything. We’ll see.

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