INTERVIEW WITH AN IDOL CONTESTANT
Those of you who watched the American Idol auditions from Greensboro probably mostly remember Seth Strickland, AKA Michael Jackson Boy, the Jacko impersonator who danced and sort of sang "Thriller." He was only slightly upstaged by ghetto fabulous Rhonetta.
Seth has graciously agreed to sit down with me for an interview. His answers are short and sweet, but hey, after all, he didn't have to do it. Here's the interview in its entirety.
M.R.: What made you decide to go all the way from Rome GA to Greensboro NC to audition for Idol?
Seth: Kelly Clarkson. And the fact I hadn't done it yet was eating me up.
M.R.: You made it through to the third round. Tell us a little bit about
what the previous rounds were like.
Seth: I first auditioned in front of some crew members, then in front of Nigel [Lithgow, producer] and then Simon, Paula and Randy.
M.R.: Did you get any indication that the third round was going to go as wrong as it did?
Seth: Not really.
M.R.: In your American Idol audition, you appeared to be channelling Michael Jackson's dance moves. Based on what I've seen from your web site, you do seem to have quite a few of his moves down, but what happened to the voice? Or were you trying to do Tito's voice?
Seth: I just didn't do so hot.
M.R.: How edited was the audition that we saw on TV? What things did we not see?
Seth: Simon asked me to sing "Thriller." I was planning on singing "All My Life" by K-Ci And JoJo.
M.R.: Is Paula as gorgeous in person as she is on TV?
M.R.: Did Randy at any point call you "dawg?"
Seth: I think so.
M.R.: Where does Simon put his pitchfork and demon slaves while he is on the air?
Seth: Um, I dunno.
M.R.: I'm listening to your voice again. I notice that you have a good solid vibrato, which suggests to me that maybe you know how to sing just a little bit more than you let on in the audition. Seriously, did you put on that voice for the audition? Did you do this seriously, or just as a joke to get on national TV?
Seth: I was serious. I just didn't do as good as I hoped.
M.R.: Since you're a huge Kelly Clarkson fan, how cool is it to be standing in front of a larger-than-life size picture of her on national television?
Seth: I wanted to hug it!
M.R.: Did you get to meet any other really good auditioners, or any of the ones that we saw on TV with you?
Seth: Sammy [Neighbors, the one that looked like Sylvester Stallone's sister]. He's nice!
M.R.: How about that Rhonetta girl? Did you meet her? And if so, did she steal your wallet?
Seth: I talked to her a little. And no she didn't steal my wallet. (laughs)
M.R.: What has been the response from people in your hometown since the Greensboro episode aired? Ridicule? Praise? Cash prizes? Toilet papering your house?
Seth: Praise (sarcastic smile).
M.R.: Your website says that you had contemplated retiring from the business. Retiring at age 22? What kind of pension plan is there for a Michael Jackson impersonator?
Seth: I wasn't retiring just from being a Michael Jackson impersonator, necessarily, but from being an artist in general.
M.R.: Tell me a little about your record deal with Acute Kronic records. Is this for real?
Seth: Yes, at the time I wrote that on my site. However, the president left the label so now I'm under new management and under my own label.
M.R.: Based on what I see, Acute Kronic will sign anyone with a band, an 8x10 photo, and 10 songs to record. Their official website is a tripod site, and their company email is a throwaway yahoo account. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Your thoughts?
Seth: Shannon's a cheapo. (laughs) He doesn't like to pay much for things. But that's probably a reason why he's so much more loaded now than me. He's got money but he's good at saving it.
M.R.: I did see a mention on their site of the "Coosa County Prince of Pop." Would that be you?
M.R.: Where can I find some samples from your album?
Seth: Ain't got none right now. The last time we were working on my album the hard drive crashed, and everything got deleted.
M.R.: So what new projects, other than an album, are coming up for you in the near future?
Seth: A DVD called "Night of Resurrection" and a Kelly Clarkson Tribute short film called "Someone in the Dark."
M.R.: If you could sum up your feelings about each of the previous Idol winners in two words what would they be?
Seth: Kelly Clarkson: Love Her. Ruben Studdard: very talented. Fantasia: also talented. Carrie Underwood: Cute.
M.R.: Any chance that you'll audition again next year?
M.R.: Any thoughts for any other American Idol contestants, such as what or what not to do?
Seth: Don't go in thinking you ARE the American Idol. Someone is always gonna beat you! And the true idol is God!
And there you have it! Yet another Idol contestant who has been a good sport about their competition on TV tells their story (albeit briefly!) Thanks a lot to Seth for taking time out to talk to us, and check back again tomorrow night for more live Idol coverage!