A compilation of QNAs with Jordin Sparks from People (and here) and Entertainment Weekly.
So what is it like to follow in Kelly Clarkson's footsteps?
Jordin Sparks: Oh my God... really amazing. I hope I can be as successful as she is. Her being here tonight was so cool.
Have you been thinking back to when you were 12 and watching Kelly win in the first Idol finale?
Yeah, and I got a little choked up when I started singing the song because it's what I've always wanted to do. When I was 12, I remember the show was just starting out. We were actually watching the finale and I was just like, ''I want to do that, Mom.'' I said I wanted to do it, and now I've done it. It couldn't have been more perfect.
Did you first audition in Seattle?
I auditioned in L.A. and didn't make it past the first round. They told me no, so I was like, Okay, something obviously has to happen. Something else is in the works. So I went home and I did an ''Arizona Idol'' competition. I won that and they sent me to Seattle.
What did they tell you in L.A.?
A producer made me sing a couple songs. And she was like, ''I really like your voice, but there's something missing.'' And I was like, ''Are you sure?!'' [Giggles] And they were like, Yeah, sorry, sweetheart, maybe try out in another city. And I was like, ''Well, I'd love to try out in another city, but the next city is kinda far away.'' So when I went back home and I did the ''Arizona Idol'' thing, when they said they were going to send me to Seattle, it was just this blessing in disguise.
What was going through your head after you sang ''A Broken Wing'' and Simon said it was the first time he could see you winning the competition?
Oh, during country week! It was one of those moments where I was just like, Did he really just say that? I mean, seriously, you never think he will say that to you.
We spoke during the Top 12 party, and you told me you wanted to win because you're young and you want someone young to win this year. So how does it feel to be the youngest American Idol ever?
[Covers mouth, eyes water] OH MY GOD! Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about that. [Pause] Oh my gosh, really? I am?! I'm the youngest one? [Closes eyes, pumps arms] Yes! Yes! Yes! Yesssss! That's so cool. I LOVE it.
What was going through your mind right before Ryan announced that you won?
I was standing up there and Blake was holding my hand and he was like, "I love you, sweetheart." I was like, "I love you too." He squeezed my hand and I knew whatever happened I'd be okay and everything would be fine. He's such a great supporter and so encouraging of me. I'm one of his biggest fans and he's one of mine. It turned out pretty cool, I guess!
You became very emotional during your last song, 'This Is My Now.' What were you feeling then?
It was a mix of a lot of things. I can't believe that it's over. It seems like years ago that I auditioned in Seattle, but at the same time it's gone by so fast. It was a mix of everything was ending and I don't know – the song is just so amazing. I looked up at all the people and I saw my parents sitting there and I realized that what I said I wanted to do a long time ago, I was doing it. And it just totally overcame me.
Did you know you had such fan support going into the finals?
I've been in a bubble, so I didn't. When I went home I got so much support there, but that was my home state. I had no idea what everybody else was thinking. I love the love, what can I say?
Are you ready to record your first album?
I might be getting some material during the [Idols Live] tour and then I guess right after I'll start working on that.
Will you write your own songs?
I would love to write. I've written a couple of songs but I don't know if they'll go on the album. But I've written and I hope I can write a little bit on my album.
Now that you've won and have a singing career ahead of you, how does college factor in?
I haven't graduated [high school] yet. I'm only a junior. I'm still working on it. During this whole process I've been doing at least three hours a day because that's what I'm required to do and it's been really cool. It's kept everything pretty normal. I'll do my school and then I'll go sing; I'll do my school and then I'll go get fitted in amazing dresses. It's so crazy. I would love to go to college one day, but I'm kind of just thinking about the now. But education is important and I'm still getting it. I actually get out of school tomorrow!
Do you have a favorite performance?
I have no idea. I loved each and every performance that I did. There were some that I liked more than others. I think that I tried to top myself every performance. I liked them all. I don't regret anything.
Did you speak with Simon after tonight's show?
He was like, "Congratulations, Jordin. You deserved it." And I was like, "Thank you." And he gave me a hug and it was like, "Oh my God! Simon Cowell is hugging me!"
You had so many costume changes. Describe your personal style and what complements you best.
I think corset-y tops fit. Baby doll tees like this are better because it's very flattering on the side. It was so crazy doing all the costume changes. I've never done that in all my life. I'm learning more and more about myself as this goes on because now I have to look good! So now I'm like, "Okay, so the stylists are helping me out." Badgley Mischka designed those gorgeous dresses that you saw. They designed the reveal gown. It's so beautiful. It was one of a kind. I think I get to keep them all!
What part of this process has prepared you most for your career?
You know when you see celebrites and the paparazzi follow them? That actually happened to us a couple of weeks ago. We had three cars following us and it was so crazy. And I was like, "What have I gotten myself into?" But I think it's prepared me because I think I've become a better person and a better performer throughout all this – like interacting with fans and being able to convey my emotions better. Thank you to everybody who kept me around!
How do your parents feel?
I've been watching the show since I was 12 and I've always wanted to do it and I've always told my mom every year at the finale or during the show, "I want to do that, Mom. That's what I want to do. I want to be able to sing on that stage and whether I win or not, I want to be there." And now I'm actually doing it. I know she's proud of me and I know my dad is and my brother. And we're just going to take it one step at a time.
Have you gotten your driver's license? And are you a good driver?
Yeah, I have my driver's license. I actually got it July of last year, so it was about before I went and auditioned. So, I'm ok, I haven't gotten any tickets or anything yet. I'm all right.
How did you do on your driver's test?
Well, my driver's test I think I did pretty well. The permit test, I kind of had a problem with, but then I went and studied and I passed – so it was good.
How do you think will handle the pressures in Hollywood to be super thin?
Oh, that super thin stuff? Hollywood needs to get over it, but I don't know. I've got a really good family around me and I love the people that I've got around me and I'm pretty sure they'll keep me grounded – I know they will because they're always like, "Don't let it go to your head, Jordin." And I'm like, "Okay." And I know that my mom, and my dad and my grandparents – as long as I got them with me I'll be okay.
How did you emotionally handle the shows various pressure throughout the season?
It's cool because since I am a minor I have a guardian with me and so I had my mom or my nana, because they would switch off. I would have them with me throughout the season, so it was cool to have them to lean on.
Who is your celebrity crush?
I'm going to have to say Brad Pitt.
I don't know – he's just really cute. I don't know him so I don't know anything else except he's just really good-looking.
What was your greatest moment before winning Idol?
Oh my gosh, you're going to laugh at me but getting my braces off. I'm just a normal quirky 17-year-old girl and getting my braces off was awesome. I did get my license and that was cool. And then just making it through the first round of auditions I was just – it amazed me because I didn't think that I had a chance because so many people auditioned.
VIDEO OF JORDIN RIGHT AFTER HER WIN
Watch video of Jordin Spark's interview with CNN right after her win:
BLAKE LEWIS INTERVIEWS
A compilation of QNAs with Blake Lewis from People and Entertainment Weekly.
Blake Lewis may have lost the title of American Idol to Jordin Sparks but he's perfectly fine with his second place finish.
"I never looked at it as winning and losing. I just tried going out and performing really well each day," the 25-year-old says. "In a sense, I’m kind of glad I didn't win just for like contractual reasons. I think if you're first you might have to come back for like three years or something.
"American Idol is such an amazing show and experience," he adds. "I honestly didn't care one bit [about] winning or losing, because I call myself a winner just by getting into the top 10."
Many Idol watchers – including the judges – say that Lewis' fate was sealed by the final song, "This is My Now," an emotional ballad that clearly suited Sparks' powerful voice over beat-boxer Blake.
Lewis agrees. " 'This is My Now' is definitely not my style, a song I would never sing if I didn't have to," he says. "It fit [Jordin] like perfectly. And I honestly think they should have had two songs that were tailored to both of us, but I'm so happy with being second place."
Instead he's focusing on the future, which he hopes includes acting as well as performing music. "If acting comes calling and I get the right opportunities and the right script, or just to do voiceover work for maybe like a Pixar or DreamWorks movie – I think that would be a plus," he says. "I love being goofy, I love doing different voices. I've been doing it since I was a kid."
In the meantime, Lewis will focus on his singing career and he has a specific type of music in mind for his first album.
"My music. I've been making it for seven years," he says. "[It's] very electro-pop, hip-hop music in a sense of Duran Duran [and] Michael Jackson. I'm a child of the '80s, so it's definitely going to have very advanced thing to it with more of a melodic jazzy, like Maroon 5, Jamiroquai, but definitely more on the hip-hop and electronic kind of thing."
Asked which previous American Idol has a career that he would like to emulate, "None of them," says Lewis. "I want to set my own path."
How did you deal with having to perform ''This Is My Now''? It seemed so... not you.
Blake Lewis: [When I first heard it] I was like, really? All right. I gotta sing this song, shake hands with it, make friends with it. And hopefully perform it well. It's definitely not my style. That track would never be on my album.
Did you think about rearranging it?
They wouldn't let me do that, because it was the song that won the contest. If it had been a song for me and a song for Jordin, I think that would've been a lot different. They could've picked two songwriters.
Did you want to speak out?
I don't care — it is what it is. You have your good, your bad, and your in-between.
Moving on to the songs that you were allowed to rearrange: How did you decide to remix ''You Give Love a Bad Name''?
They say ''make it your own,'' so from a producer's standpoint I just remixed a song if I felt like the piece needed it. I'd do that with my own songs, whether I was on Idol or not. After you've been singing for a couple years, you want to revamp them and make them fresh. So I just tried to be true to myself and let my creativity take hold.
Do you think that taking those chances mostly helped you or hurt you during the competition?
I honestly never looked at it that way. I did what they told me. They told me to make a song my own, and that's all I tried to do. So I don't think it was taking a chance. See, they contradict themselves a lot, the judges. With ''You Keep Me Hanging On'' [during Diana Ross week], I totally revamped it and kept the main ingredients of the song, but they gave me some criticism about that. So you never know — you can't win, you can't lose.
So what's next for you?
I did some work with Nick already — a song I had written and another that he and Kevin Griffin from Better Than Ezra put together for me and I improvised over — which is like a dream come true. [Producer] BT is my other main inspiration. If we could get together and create a song, I'd be like a kid in a candy store.
One of the highlights of the finale was watching you and Doug E. Fresh together on stage ...
Hip-hop on American Idol, you can't beat that! The experience has been so amazing, I can't even explain in words. It's bittersweet right now, because it's over. Two seconds before I got on stage, it was like, ''It's done — this is the last time I'll step on the Idol stage.'' The journey was truly a blessing.
PAUL McCARTNEY SLAMS 'IDOL' RUMORS
The UK's Metro reports that Paul McCartney's representative has dismissed Internet rumors that McCartney ducked out of appearing on the "American Idol" finale.
According to the rumors, Macca supposedly pulled out of the show at the last minute because his ex Heather Mills was there.
But his spokesperson told TMZ.com, "Paul was never scheduled or approached to appear on the Idol finale." The rep added: "Even if he were [invited to appear], he likely would've needed to decline as he is in the throes of promoting the June 5 release of his new album. With that in mind, it would likely make it difficult to refer to him as a no show."
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