Friday, June 09, 2006

AMERICAN IDOL PANEL DISCUSSION

One of the main features of the Reality TV Convention was the various panel discussions on different shows featuring former cast members. The very first panel was the American Idol panel, featuring Lindsey Cardinale, Jessica Sierra, and Scott Savol. What follows is a transcript of that 45 minute session to the best that I can decipher the tapes. There were many people asking questions, so the audience is represented by the term "Question" (as if you couldn't figure that out by yourself.)

Moderator: I'd like to welcome you all to the convention, first of all. The magazine (Reality TV Magazine) is happy to have with us today Lindsey Cardinale, Jessica Sierra, and Scott Savol from American Idol. You guys watch the show, so you know what questions you'd like to ask, and feel free to ask anything.

Question: Scott, when is your album coming out?

Scott: Um, I will be working on that here in Nashville come August, so we'll have to wait for the labels to open up to us at the first of the year, so I'm hoping like sometime early next year, like around the same time as the next season [of American Idol] starts.

Question: What was your biggest obstacle after your time on Idol?

Jessica: I think, um, the whole process of getting started. I mean, you're on this show where there are, y'know, 50 million people watching the show, so once you're off of it and you finish the tour, you're out of contract. They're not helping you. It's kind of getting your foot in there, finding management, y'know finding people who will actually work with you.

Lindsey: I think the biggest obstacle for me was that too, but the good thing is that Idol does put you a step ahead of the game. But as far as, like, management now looking at you and wanting you, whereas, you don't have to knock on doors anymore, and say y'know, "I'm Lindsey Cardinale and this is what I have to offer." They watched you, and they know who we are now.

Question: Who were your favorites this year?

Jessica: I personally liked Mandisa. I wanted her to battle it out.

Scott: My personal favorite was Elliott.

Jessica: Oh, Elliott was great!

Lindsey: Yeah. I liked Taylor. I liked that he could dance. He made me laugh. (audience laughs) I thought he could dance! I thought he had a good voice.

Question: When you started on American Idol, when you got up on stage, you all had such stage presence going out there, and you didn't seem nervous to me at all. I would've been getting ill...

Jessica: Oh, that was BEFORE the show.

Question: Yeah, but you all looked like professionals out there. You weren't the least bit nervous?

Lindsey: Oh yeah we were! We just hide it very well.

Scott: I mean, the attitude was, we would go out there and deliver, or we were gonna go home, so you kinda had to put the nerves, y'know, to the side. Leave 'em back in the green room.

Question: And you remembered all the words to the songs...

Jessica: Uh, sometimes...Some of us learned to cover up!

Scott: (pointing at Jessica) Some of us just used the same words twice. (audience laughs)

Jessica: Thank you, I think you did too!

Lindsey: He sang more than us, so he had more words to remember.

Question: What are your thoughts on some of the songs you had to sing?

Lindsey: I personally hated "Knock on Wood." I mean, I'm just being honest about it. I mean, I had a good time with it. It was fun. It was fast. But I really started to dislike it when they said "this is what is going on the album." I was like, "alllllright," and I was trying to get out of it, but I couldn't, so I just made the best of it.

Question: They told you what you were going to sing on the album?

Lindsey: Oh yeah.

Scott: They did that for everybody though, too.

Jessica: But, I mean, the songs...y'know, you pick your own songs [in the show.] You give them a choice of songs, and if they can get it cleared, then you get to sing it. And if they can't get it cleared, you have to choose another song, but you pick your own list of songs that you do want to sing.

Scott: But every week, the categories change, and they give you a list that has roughly 100 songs on it.

Jessica: Right.

Scott: So, if yours didn't clear... Like, one week, I sang a song I had never heard of. I had to learn it in like two days.

Jessica: Let me tell ya, "Shop Around"... (audience laughs)

Question: But y'all, you came out, you memorized it, that's amazing.

Jessica: Yeah. It's fun. It's fun to actually learn new songs, though, because it's really challenging. It challenges your...um...y'know your ability and stuff.

Question: I guess it's not your fault if you pick the wrong songs. Y'know, the only time you really know what you're doing, I think, to get the right song, is when Rod Stewart or Burt Bacharach or y'know somebody helps to say y'know "you're voice is good for this or that" or "go up a little more or down a little more"...

Jessica: Not really! Because nobody knows your voice better than yourself. So YOU know what you can or can't sing. You know what's too challenging for you, what you honestly could not do. You know that.

Question: Well that is something the judges will say, y'know, is you picked the wrong song.

Lindsey: And a lot of the time if you watch the show, like if you watch a Tuesday night show, the next week, they will a lot of times contradict themselves. They'll tell you one week "well, you didn't sound like Faith Hill," and then the next week they'll say "well, you really took that song and made it your own," and I'll be thinking "well, that's what I tried to do last week, but I didn't sound like the original artist!" So, you never know what they're going to say.

Question: That's part of the hype though?

Jessica: Exactly. Controversy. That's exactly what American Idol is about.

Scott: It's "scripted reality."

Jessica: Pretty much.

Lindsey: (pats Scott on the back) Very well said, Mr. Savol! (audience laughs)

Question: Jessica, do you have an example of where it is scripted reality TV for you?

Jessica: Um... I wouldn't say it was "scripted." I mean, they don't...you're not standing there and they've got words in front of you telling you what to say. Everything you say and everything you do is on your own. No one's forcing you to do anything. But as far as "scripted," I think what he meant by that is that Simon, Paula and Randy have the same comments that they've said EVERY SINGLE WEEK. And whether you did good or you did bad, I think it was more or less their opinion, if they liked the song. If they didn't like the song, they're just gonna kinda rip you apart. You could've sang it great, but if they didn't like the song, they're rippin' you apart. Especially Simon. So I don't think...um...it wasn't like scripted. (turns to Scott) What did you mean by "scripted?"

Scott: Like, there's a lot of other reality shows, like Survivor, that more comes across like it's just happening and cameras were just rolling...

Moderator: I've worked in reality TV for 10 years. It's pretty much "creative editing." Do you know what I'm saying?

Jessica: There! Exactly.

Moderator: Creative editing, where the story might be out of order, there's a whole team that creates this.

Jessica: Which it, y'know, it kinda stinks... Because, like, they'll interview you, and they'll cut and paste it. They make it sound however they want it to sound. You could've been like "you know what, I love Simon." And then, they can make it sound like you said "Simon sucks." I mean, they can do whatever they want, that's your right you're signing away, that's your rights. But um, for the most part they didn't do that.

Question: Exactly how tall is Simon?

Jessica: Well, I'm five feet, and I'll stand next to him, and he's probably like 5'5.

Lindsey: He's probably my height [Lindsey is about a head taller than Jessica.]

Question: You're kidding!

Jessica: He's not tall.

Question: That explains the Napoleon complex.

Scott: They're all smaller than me.

Question: Randy is too?

Scott: Randy's like up to here on me. (puts his hand about nose level)

Jessica: Paula's like up to my ankles, and I'm short! (audience laughter)

Question: As far as the American Idol contract, was there any reservation on your behalf before signing any of those contracts? Did you send a copy back to your mom or someone in your family to look it over, or did you just say y'know what, it's Idol, I'll do it anyway?

Jessica: Well it's not THAT bad. But it's your choice, basically. Sign your life away or not. I mean it does benefit you. I mean, you do sign your life away, but, I mean, for the first two years, because once they pick a winner, you have until the end of the tour, and then you're pretty much out of contract. So it's not like you're going to be trying to do anything anyways while you're on the TV show or on tour. So I mean, once you're kinda free from the tour and from American Idol, you're free from the contract to do what you please.

Question: How much time did you have before you saw the contract and you had to turn it in?

Jessica: Which one? Because, yeah, there were different ones.

Lindsey: Sometimes they were just handed to us. Like y'know, there were sometimes when we'd have producers come in and said "ooh, I forgot to do this" and we're all kinda like "wait a minute..."

Scott: You sign it, or you don't go on.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jessica: Exactly, you have to pretty much sign it, or you're not gonna sing.

Scott: It's not that there was anything in there that was...

Jessica: ...bad.

Scott: Or really cutthroat, but to make it all legal, I guess that was a step they missed between then to now, so it was like "we got a show to do...wait! we can't put them on!"

Lindsey: And this would be, like, 3 hours right before you're supposed to go on the TV show live. But that's life on a reality TV show.

Moderator: A lot of reality shows will push a contract on you, like a 3 page contract, and tell you that if you don't sign it, somebody else will, so that's how they get that. They know you want to be in the show, so you'll sign.

Question: Did everybody do the same thing with their contracts?

Scott: I gave mine to my attorney. He said "well, if you don't win, you might be okay!" (audience and panel laughs) I mean, in all fairness, the contract, it basically walks you from your first audition all the way to if you win. You know, and a lot of people think that the contract that they get is that bad, but there's some things from the contract that top any company in the U.S. as far as percentages. Y'know, they take their management percent off the BOTTOM of everything. You'll never NOT make any money with them. It might not be a lot, but you won't go home at the end of the day and say "well I paid everybody, I hope I can crack a can of beans." (audience laughs)

Question: 19 has the right to sign anybody in the Top 12, right?

Jessica: Absolutely, they have first dibs on anybody who...

Lindsey: It actually starts in...

Jessica: Actually, I think it starts in the Top 24.

Question: Is there a certain date by which they have to tell you whether or not they're going to sign you?

Scott: Within 90 days from the finale.

Jessica: Yes. So if 90 days from the finale they have not signed you, you're on your own. You can do whatever you want.

Scott: Which, 90 days are up before the end of the tour.

Question: And you don't have any say about whether or not you want them to sign you?

Scott: It's not one of those, uh, good faith things where you signed it...

Jessica: That's what you signed the contract for.

Scott: They really have you anyway in black and white, but if they want to, they'll...

Jessica: They didn't want any of us. They don't want anybody who doesn't win, because what is it gonna gain them? I mean, they feel like we're not gonna make them money, or we would've won. I mean, you figure because the fans, the people that like you, are voting for you. They're the ones that will buy your album. So the winner has all these fans. That's how they won. If they didn't win the show, then they must not have had enough fans to push them that far, so see, 19 Management is not gonna have enough confidence in them making them money.

Question: So they eliminate lower placing people?

Jessica: Well, they usually sign, like, number two.

Lindsey: I think they signed Constantine.

Jessica: (rolling eyes and laying head on table)

Question: So...Constantine??

Jessica: Yeah! (brushes off obvious question) I'm not positive, but I think that they did sign him. I don't know if he's still in a contract with him or WHAT he's doin'. I don't really...

Scott: They didn't keep him...

Lindsey: No, they kept him.

Scott: I think the artist agency...

Lindsey: No. They kept him.

Scott: Oh, they did? (sort of an "ugh" tone.)

Question: Do you see any money off the Idol game that they have?

Lindsey: What Idol game?

Question: There was an American Idol CD or DVD game.

Lindsey: Is Ryan on the front of it?

Question: Yes, there were actually clips of Lindsey in it.

Lindsey: Really? (throws hands in the air) I'm on the game! I made it onto the game!

Question: I think 19 signed William Hung too.

Scott: Well, obviously they keep the best AND worst (rolling his eyes at the thought of William Hung being signed.)

Question: Do you have a choice in your attire or hair that you wear on the show?

Lindsey: You pretty much have a choice in anything that you do. They'll help you, though. They'll guide you. I had problems though, because I'm, y'know, just a small town girl, and there were certain things that I didn't feel comfortable wearing.

Jessica: Well, I wouldn't say that you have a choice on anything that you do, because...

Lindsey: Well, on an outfit and hair! I mean, I'm not gonna go out there in pigtails if I don't want to!

Jessica: Hair and outfit, you choose what you want. I mean, they have somebody guiding you, and kinda telling you y'know what looks good and what doesn't look good, what to buy...

Scott: Ultimately, it's your responsibility.

Jessica: Yeah. And they pay for it. Remember that time we went shopping and they wanted you to make you wear that huge hat?

Lindsey: Oh yes. Our wardrobe lady, she bought this huge hat, like the bill, it stuck out like THAT far. She's like "please would you wear this?" And I was like "no, that's not me." And she was like "come on, pleeeease?" And she tried it out on me, and I was just like "no."

Jessica: I wouldn't even let her take me shopping just because I'd see what she wore. What was her name? I forgot her name.

Lindsey: Agnes, I think.

Question: Did you all have the same one?

Scott: Well, they have like a female and a male. I wish I could remember the guy's name. Agnes, oh my goodness! I asked, week to week, please do not give me her.

Jessica: We had this one guy. There was this one guy who worked with Prince and stuff. I can't remember his name. He was fabulous, but they actually hired him, like, just a um... somebody said that he was just a substitute. Y'know. I don't remember his name.

Question: Does Simon have any other wardrobe besides a black t-shirt?

Lindsey: At the finale. He dressed up nice for the finale.

Scott: Blue. White. A couple of the others.

Jessica: He was snazzy at the finale. It was kinda hot. Hmm...black, blue...I think he wore a couple of turtlenecks.

Question: You guys are all smiles onstage, but was there any drama going on backstage?

Scott: No comment. No comment.

Question: I'll take that as a yes, then.

Jessica: Yes. Obviously, if you think about it, there's always controversy behind the stage. You figure everyone's not gonna get along. I mean, you'll get along and sometimes you don't. It's really the things that everyone is gonna have. You've got twelve different personalities. It's silly to think that everyone's getting along backstage.

Question: What kind of compensation do American Idols receive? Are there different stages of pay?

Jessica: Yeah, I think the pay started at the top 12, no, top 24. You sign um... oh, what is it when you're under um... a union. Basically, you get paid for every show that you're on.

Lindsey: AFTRA.

Jessica: Yeah, AFTRA. And then once you actually hit the tour and stuff, um, you get paid on your shows. Y'know, a certain amount every show, a percentage of ticket sales, all that good stuff. So we walked away with a little bit of money.

Scott: It's just like anybody. You're paid an hourly rate for whatever kind of show you're on.

Question: So, you didn't get paid at all until you were part of the final 24?

Jessica: Yeah, they really didn't show you on TV, enough. Yeah, you have to be on TV a certain amount of time before you can become part of AFTRA.

Question: Okay, so if you are part of the final 24, how much were you paid? Does the amount change when you move from Top 24 to Top 12?

Jessica: I think it, um, I don't even remember how much it was, but for a 30 minute set you get the same amount every week. Y'know we had 30 minute sets, you get paid the same amount. And then for an hour set you get paid a little bit more. That's just how the union works. And I think that it's any, like any TV show, you get paid the same thing, since they're all under a union.

Question: So you're getting paid scale. Was it the same amount when you were part of the 24?

Jessica: Oh, I don't even remember. That's been so long ago. I need to find a check stub lying around somewhere.

Scott: I mean, we weren't, like, shopping for Bentleys or anything. (audience laughs)

Jessica: Yeah, right! I didn't buy the Lamborghini I wanted, so... I bought a Mitsubishi though!

Question: Clear this up for me, because I've heard that you don't just go straight to Simon, Paula, and Randy. There's judges before that, before you get to that point. Because I knew somebody at work that knew somebody that worked there before I did, and they were telling me that they couldn't get past the beginning.

Lindsey: There are two rounds before. I don't know how it was in their audition cities, but there were eleven booths with producers, and maybe like 2 or 3 people [contestants], and you would actually line up with three different people, and you would sing, like, ten seconds of a song. And then you had another, if you made that round, you had another, which was the executive producers. And after you went through the audition process and got to the final twelve, the first audition were all the producers we worked with, and the executive producers we saw all the time. It's just everything comes together. But yes, there are two auditions before.

Question: They let some of those really bad people go through those two auditions!

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jessica: Come on. I think that's what draws people in. People, like, wanna see the bloopers.

Moderator: There's a comedian named Chris Wylde who works for E Channel. He went in last year as a rapping babysitter [Christopher Noll].

Jessica: Oh yeah, I remember that. That was awesome. That was great.

Question: Going back to people getting along, you do have roommates, right?

Jessica: Yeah, they put us in apartments, because the house [from Season 1] was falling off the hill.

Question: Were there ever any bad experiences with roommates?

Lindsey: I had Jessica for, like, three weeks, and I tried SO hard to get rid of her.

Scott: Who had the worse end? (said playfully)

Lindsey: (smacking Scott on the arm) Shhh, these people don't know me!

Jessica: Actually, I had Carrie [Underwood] as a roommate, and then I had this other lady who worshipped the devil and thought Lucifer was sitting at the end of her bed. WOOO. (audience laughs) They actually did change me from that room. Yeah, and then, I had Lindsey for, like, three weeks. And that was like all during the audition process, actually, until we got to the top... 12?

Lindsey: Yup.

Jessica: And then we moved to apartments, and then I had Vonzell and Nadia.

Lindsey: I had Carrie.

Jessica: But I got along with all my roommates.

Lindsey: Other than minor stuff.

Jessica: You got along with all your roommates, didn't you?

Lindsey: Oh yeah.

Jessica: All my roommates were from Florida, including me. We were all Florida girls. Quick question from us to you: who in here is going to the concert, let me see your hands? (half the room raises hands) If you're not, come down to City Hall in downtown Nashville. All the reality stars will be there afterwards, just hanging out, partying, selling merchandise, you know, all that good stuff. There's a bar for the parents, y'know. People who are old enough to drink. Not me.

Question: How did it come to be the three of you who are doing this show [panel and convention]. Were other people invited, or how does that work?

Jessica: Well, I live in Nashville. I guess they contacted my manager, and Scott shares management with me, so we both came. And Lindsey found out through...

Lindsey: I got an email from them.

Jessica: From Verge, my management...

Moderator: The magazine tried to reach out to as many of the personalities as we could.

Question: Do you keep in touch, the three of you?

Jessica: Yes.

Question: So you've kind of been friends all along?

Jessica: Scott and I have been friends the whole time. Lindsey too.

Question: Would you guys ever cut a record together? Because you really sound great.

Jessica: Scott and I were talking about recording "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and really singing it. So, yeah.

Scott: That would be great.

Question: Seriously, that was a great duet during the concert tour.

Scott: Even, like I was telling somebody, everybody has their own group of fans, but they kinda joined the tour when it started, and throughout the tour, like, everybody's fans were like blogging to message boards and were talkin' about our duet and everything so...

Jessica: It was really cool, actually. It was a really cool experience getting a lot of Constantine fans, Bo fans, everyone's fans, like, leaving us emails saying how great the duet was and how it was the highlight of the show. It was really nice.

Question: You know, the message boards can be really cruel.

Jessica: Oh yeah. And we tried not to go on them.

Question: Once you went out in that concert, you changed a lot of people's minds.

Jessica: Yeah. Actually, you know what, I think when you're on tour, they get to see your personality more.

Scott: You're more accessible.

Jessica: Exactly. At the shows, you're onstage, you get to talk to your fans. You get to relate to them and stuff. And when you're on the show, you really don't have time to talk to them or have one-on-one with your fans. It's over a camera. And, y'know, also personalities on camera are not perceived very well.

Lindsey: And, y'know, Simon's not there, either.

Jessica: Good point.

Question: Address the haters. How have you guys dealt with criticism that you've gotten?

Scott: Well, one thing I live by is that there's nobody in this world who is loved by all.

Lindsey: Exactly.

Scott: If everybody loves you, that means you're not being yourself. Because there is nothing about one person that everybody loves. There is something about me that somebody likes, and there is something about me that somebody hates. So, if I try to put on such a big mask to make everybody love me, odds are, with time, I'll be found as a phony, and then EVERYBODY will hate me. So I'd rather have those who love me to love me, and those who hate me... whatever side you're on, thank you. Because any publicity is good publicity.

Jessica: Amen!

Question: Lindsey, how do you deal with criticism?

Lindsey: Actually, I... often I would deal with it pretty well. And like Jessica said, they would always tell us "don't get on message boards," because not everyone is going to like you. And, um, so we dealt with that pretty well. And then, this year, in April, we had the big Strawberry Festival where I'm from [Ponchatoula, Louisiana], and I was headlining that this year. And I saw two signs that said "Lindsey Cardinale Sucks." And I will tell you, it hurt me. It really like broke my heart. And my mom was just like "there's so many people out there, and those two people came out, and they didn't like you, and they actually took the time to make those signs." And it, y'know, it took me like a week to get over it. I cried every night after it. I don't understand who these people are or what I did to them. But y'know, it's like Scott said, not everybody is gonna like me. I mean, y'know, there are so many million of people that didn't like me, obviously, because I was number 12, but...

Scott: You have to look at it, too, even though they thought you suck, they actually took time to create something that was for you. (audience laughs and claps)

Jessica: You've gotta think about it this way too. Not only did they take the time to make the posters, they actually had to spend a day out of their life to come see your show. They obviously had to like you a little.

Scott: Yeah, they could've been somewhere else, home, playing Playstation, whatever, but they came out for you.

Lindsey: They weren't there for very long, because I acknowledged that I saw it. And I was like "that's not very nice," and I was like, "BUT I did deal with Simon Cowell for six weeks, and if I can deal with him, I can deal with anybody." I mean, in a way, it helped me to make it through to realize my mom was there for me.

Question: Jessica, was Simon really mean?

Jessica: Yes.

Lindsey: I don't even wanna think about that.

Jessica: I mean, he was always really nice to me, but he was really mean to some of my friends, and I don't like that.

Question: When y'all got voted off, did y'all have to go, like, immediately that night, or did you have any time?

Jessica: That night. THAT night. Pack your stuff, and they take you to a hotel.

Scott: Then you have to get up in three hours, and do eight hours of satellite.

Lindsey: Forty-five interviews.

Jessica: Yep.

Scott: Five minutes with every radio and TV station from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

Jessica: Then you get on the airplane, and they start flying you to do other interviews.

Scott: And they're like "so, how do you feel." Oh, I, just lost! (with a fake smile on his face) (audience laughs)

Jessica: Oh yeah, I feel great, y'know...

Scott: I get to go home and not win! (laughter)

Question: What do you think of American Idol this past year. Did you watch?

Jessica: Yes.

Question: What about Katharine McPhee's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow?" I thought it was over the top.

Scott: Personally, I thought it was a little bit UNDER the rainbow. (audience laughs)

Question: I don't like her, and I don't know the reason, but now that I've seen her with Taylor and all on the tour... I don't know, I'm starting to like her now. I see more of her now versus when on the show. I just never cared for her.

Jessica: Yeah, I think that performance was great, but um... No, I just think that performance was a great performance, but I didn't personally... I thought she was a great singer, didn't like all of her performances or her songs. And she was very pitchy at times, but again, y'know what I mean, there ARE fans of hers, and she's got a HUGE fan base. People watch her, and she's got votes. She made it to second place, obviously. Almost won the whole competition. So, and yeah, there's many that are not a big fan of hers. I love her, I'll support her, I'll buy her album since she was on American Idol, but um... I'm not a big fan.

Question: There's been talks about the voting. Do you really believe that the voting process is legit?

Jessica: Voting? There's gonna be controversy about voting on ANY type of reality TV show. I mean, there's no way to prove it. We don't know. Everyone can have their assumptions and assume things and, y'know, listen to the controversy that's going around, but there's nothing really to prove it.

Question: I ask that because when Jasmine [Trias] from Hawaii was on, the whole island clogged the lines, and there was a lot of negative publicity saying something was fixed, they were buying time, and a lot of under-handed things were going on. That's why I asked if you feel it was on the up-and-up or what.

Scott: Well, a lot of people make the mistake of feeling that their favorite is safe, and then they'll vote for someone else.

Jessica: Yes, absolutely.

Scott: And if that happens with enough people, then that person doesn't make it through, because everybody...

Lindsey: So THAT'S what happened to me! (audience laughs) Yay!

Jessica: It affects so many different people, especially in the top 8 or 9. Because there are so many different people to vote for. I think you should vote for who you don't want on the show. It's so hard to tell, of the top 12, who is your favorite. You've got so many favorites. You like so many people, but there is always that one person that just gets on your nerves, that you're like "I don't like them, I want them to go."

Scott: Right.

Jessica: I think you should have to vote for who you want to go.

Scott: Vote off!

Lindsey: Every reality show is about voting somebody off, though, y'know?

Jessica: Why vote for the person you love? Usually when it's the Top 12, there's not just one person that you love. There's more than one person that is your favorite. It's hard to say. You haven't had enough time to, y'know, get to know them or watch their control with their voices and stuff.

Question: So, I'm not following you. You're saying the voting should be rearranged to where you're...

Jessica: Vote for the person you most want kicked off the show. Vote for the person you want to leave the show.

Question: Why?

Jessica: Because, you figure when you're in the top 12, there's so many... there's 12 people out there. It's hard to pick one favorite. You have, y'know, 3, 4, 5 favorites. But usually there's one person you just don't like, that gets to you, and you just want them to leave. So why not vote for the person that you want to leave the show?

Scott: It's harder to pick your favorites than the one you don't like.

Question: Are you guys surprised at the success of Kelly Clarkson?

Jessica: No. No. She's amazing. And she well deserves it. I think she's great, and I think she's...

Scott: Her voice is...wow....

Jessica: And she's blown up beyond American Idol. Y'know, she's beyond it already.

Scott: I think she would've made it otherwise.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Jessica: Um, yeah, I think one day she would've. It may have taken longer. Like, American Idol gives you, y'know, five years of experience that you would've taken... I mean, it would've taken you forever to get in front of fifty million people. It takes most new artists at least five years, if not more, to get to that point.

Question: Have any of you met any celebrities who were fans either of you or of the show?

Jessica: Oh yeah.

Lindsey: Ooh! I met Willie Nelson! He's my favorite, and I went on his bus, and he's like "we watched you," and I was like "what??" So that's my favorite celebrity encounter.

Jessica: Mine was Rascal Flatts and Babyface and um...

Scott: Mine was George Benson. Most of mine were like rappers and Hall & Oates, yeah...Babyface, everybody from the finale. I had a lot of rap guys that liked how I did the R&B thing, so I had a few come to the show and actually hang with my friends.

Jessica: Method Man stopped him in, like, a shoe store.

Scott: Yeah, HE stopped ME walkin', and it's like that's what happened when, like I met him and Ice T, I was like walkin' through the mall, and he stopped me. I'm like, I'm not a big star. I wasn't going to stop him, because I'm not a big celebrity stalker, but he stopped me. It's like somebody told me, "I already know who you are," because believe it or not, people on that level of that magnitude watch the show. They enjoy the show. They already know, like, anybody that we may work with in the future, they probably already know us. We may not know them yet.

Jessica: The President knows us. He watches it. You can't tell me he doesn't. (audience laughs)

Question: Did you have anybody, like, in high school, or anybody back home just come out of the woodworks once you became famous?

Jessica: Ohhhhh yeah.

Lindsey: Family, the most.

Jessica: They're your long-lost sister. Actually, I really did meet a sister of mine that I never knew I had. You guys go figure that one.

Question: So they just come up to you, try to talk to you, and be your friend?

Jessica: They still do that. It's just weird.

Scott: "Yeah we went to school together!" And I'm like "Well, ya didn't talk to me then, so..." (audience laughs)

Lindsey: Yeah, really!

Question: Did you care who would win once you got kicked off? Did you call in and vote?

Jessica: Yeah. Oh yeah. I did. It wasn't that I cared who would win, but there was certain people that I like didn't want to win.

Scott: I didn't care.

Lindsey: Oh, you know we ran up our cell phone bills voting for ourselves. (audience laughs)

Scott: I was texting away!

Lindsey: You know I voted for myself! I'm not why I got voted off!

Question: Is there a reason they don't do internet voting?

Lindsey: I don't know.

Jessica: Because they get paid for the phone voting. Yeah, because Cingular is their sponsor.

Question: You mentioned earlier that Kelly Clarkson has gone beyond American Idol. Does that mean for some people that American Idol is a blessing and for some it is a curse?

Jessica: No no no no absolutely, anybody who gets on American Idol it's a blessing, but what I'm saying is that she's already moved beyond that station. She's so much above it. Y'know, like with American Idol any of the other contestants that won or even came off the show have only made it just so far. And they really haven't done anything with their careers. And, for Kelly, I mean Kelly Clarkson, sorry I almost said Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, she like blew up. Like, she sold how many gold or platinum albums and is still putting out amazing music, so I think she just kind of, she's very beyond American Idol.

Question: Do you think Carrie might possibly have that kind of career, maybe in the country realm?

Jessica: (shaking head no)

Question: You don't think so? (sounds incredulous)

Lindsey: Well I hope so!

Scott: I think, with Carrie, Carrie's kinda cross-over. She's got country fans, but she's got a lot of pop fans too. Because a lot of her stuff isn't... I mean if you listen to her songs, they're all not, y'know, steel guitar and...

Lindsey: Right, yeah.

Scott: Anybody listens to her... I mean I can play it. There's even a few songs she has that I like.

Jessica: Yeah, I bought the album. I think that her first album did great, y'know. First album did great, because it's her first album. Everybody that gets off of American Idol, y'know, their first album always does great, but it will be very interesting to see exactly how far their careers could go. So...

Question: Does she stay in touch with any of you?

Jessica: With her (pointing at Lindsey)...

Moderator: Alright, that's our time folks, thank you so much... (audience applause for panelists)

J.D.: Lindsey, just for the record, you don't suck.

Lindsey: Awww, thank you!

Wow. Now my fingers really hurt.

31 Comments:

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great report. Thank you, JD.

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Whit said...

I think the voting for people you don't like idea is horrible. I'm not going to spend money texting for people I don't like even if I really don't want them on the show anymore...I want to spend 2 hours of my time power voting for people I want to get through to the next round.

 
At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little dissapointed in Jessica's attitude towards Carrie. It seems she is dissing her success and I smell the stink of jealousy, Carrie has had phenominal success with her album and the country music industry. I have to say shame on you Jessica you sound like a bitter loser.

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

To be fair, that may not be what she meant. I don't think she was hating on Carrie as a person, but was taking sort of a "wait and see" attitude about Carrie's second album. I was just as surprised as most of you guys are (and believe me, they're BOILING over at the www.carriefans.com message board and the Constantine message boards too.) But you just have to take it at face value and not read too much into it. Like I've said before, Jessica really is a sweet girl.

 
At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here I was thinking that all the AI finalists were really the one big happy family they claimed to be. I am so disillusioned. ;-)
Not sure if some of the answers here were at all wise from a career standpoint (oh Jessica, Jessica!), but it made for interesting reading, and I have to admire her honesty if not the astonishing lack of pr sense (or seeming desire to even have one). I think the jealousy angle is offbase, though; if it was a jealousy thing, why praise Kelly Clarkson so highly in one of the other questions? Looking over the blogs here, I do wonder a bit more about her background. Given the long-lost sister bit in this transcript and the drug addict mother revelation from the other interview, Jessica obviously had a story, not that you would have known that from watching the show. Anyway, thanks for transcribing this J.D. And just in case Lindsey sees this, I'm sorry those girls ruined your hometown concert for you.

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous CARRIEROX said...

Jessica Sierra sounds very jealous and spiteful towards Carrie! I cannot believe she dissed Carrie that way- first she said she doesnt think Carrie will have the career kelly is having, then she implied that her first album only sold well because it was her first album- not because it was good. Well I have news for you Miss Sierra: Carrie already is having the kind of career kelly clarkson is having- she is triple platinum and winning country academy awards left and right! She has TONS of fans and the number is growing every day. Her album is amazing, and much better then you could ever do- so grow up and give carrie credit where credit is due! Poor Carrie- to be back-stabbed like this! shame on you jessica!

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't the first time that I have had the impression that Jessica was jealous of not only Carrie, but also of Constantine. She wasn't anything special on the show, at least in my opinion.
Lindsey, however was my daughters favorite and we would have rather seen Jessica leave before Lindsay.

 
At 8:58 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

I don't suppose it would be too much to ask for a little maturity from the Carrie fans? Really, this is not all that much to get worked up about.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I was hoping to hear more on exact dollar amounts that were paid and some discussion of Kellie Pickler.

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Dellane said...

Yeah really j.d. I don't see how Jessica's comments qualify as backstabbing. She said it publically and in answer to a direct question. Perhaps some folks don't like her answer - heck, I didn't like it one bit and I'm a Jessica fan! - but it's not as though she just committed some horrible crime. For her own benefit, Jessica should definitely think more before she speaks. A "Miss America" pageant type answer is not always a bad thing. She also seems to have some issues that need resolving. I hope she does so because she is a talented girl.

 
At 10:04 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

You also have to take into account Jessica's background. She's the daughter of a drug-user and deadbeat dad, raised by her grandparents, and has recently been through a hair-raising stalker incident. Not much of what we say is really gonna hurt her anyway.

What you do need to remember is that Jessica is working VERY hard. Add that to the fact that she is the National Spokesperson for the Department of Justice on stalking crimes, and the girl has a full plate. In my mind, she's earned the right to speak her mind.

 
At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Jessica speaks what's on her mind without filtering her thoughts. She is totally out of the loop as far as Carrie's success. I don't follow Carrie and I know she has had the best selling debut album of ANY idol, including Kelly. I'm betting on on a long lasting career.
I found Scott to be articulate and funny. Hope things work out for him.

 
At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott is an absolute low-life loser who will probably never do very well at anything in life and I mean anything. Jessica-well no ones every gonna rush to sign her to any kind of record contract and I guess we all no why--little enough talent. For these two to be commenting negatively at all about someone ( lie Katharine ) whos talent far surpasses both of theirs combined is just plain silly and counter productive for those two. But still it is about what I expect from the likes of them.

 
At 1:15 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

Anonymous, the only "low life loser" out there is you. Come back and comment when you've actually achieved half the level of fame and success as these two. You don't know these people, and you'll never be half as good as them. Shoot, if you were worth anything, you'd AT LEAST sign your name to it, as opposed to hiding behind your anonymity. Both of them have more talent in their little toes than you do in your whole family, and I suspect celery has a higher IQ than you.

I welcome any dissenting comments, but ugly talk like that from pathetic anonymous losers like yourself is just uncalled for. Go back to your meaningless life.

 
At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott has already done very well on something; it was called American Idol. What have you done?

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger Bathroom Hippo said...


You really think Scott's gonna be successful?

 
At 8:07 AM, Anonymous St. Lucia said...

J.D, thank you for taking the time to type all that up. I for one really enjoyed reading it.

I do find the candidness of the whole thing refreshing. While I was never really a Scott Savol fan, per sae, I must say I loved his wit that seemed to come across. I bet he'd be a fun guy to talk to, and I wish I had paid him a little more respect when he was on the show.

Always liked Lindsay and I feel she had too early of an exit on the show.

Jessica, I can say how she came across as jealous and bitter in some instances, but I never took it that way. I think she was being honest and I respect that from anyone.

I love the idea of vote for the worst. :)

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger Ali said...

Thanks for this J.D. - it was a very interesting read & I really appreciate all the effort you've obviously put into this for the enjoyment of your rabid readers! Just a few comments - I hope that Jessica, Lindsay & Scott learn from this experience how important it is to watch what you say in any public forum. I would have a much better impression of all of them, had they deflected questions about conflict behind the scenes and negative experiences with other contestants, and focused instead on their vision for their futures, their passion for their music etc. When Scott & Jessica were speaking about their duet, for example, it was great. They seemed excited and happy about their performance together. It would have been nice to see more of that rather than the denigration of the sucess of, and derogatory comments about, Constantine and Carrie. Obviously, these kids are relatively young and still learing about "the business". But on a simply human level, it doesn't reflect well on anybody to be casting stones, especially when the people they were speaking about were not there to defend themselves. And it invites the same treatment to be applied to the person casting those stones - as we can see even from the comments posted here. They'd do well to keep in mind that it is easy to try to satisfy the publics purient interest in all things negative - but much better for everyone to focus on the positive.
I also found all the interest from the audience in the contracts they signed and the money they were making to be a bit depressing. Shouldn't we all be more interested in the music? I would have liked to have heard more about the feelings they had when actually performing - in front of millions of people! How did they control their nerves - any special tricks or techniques? What was it like backstage before they went on - do they have a vocal coach with them or family - do they speak with one another? How did they process the judges comments after their performances - did anyone take anything positive from the criicism? What is pushing them to keep trying to realize their dreams - is it their love of music, performing?
I sincerely hope their current management helps them all with lessons on public speaking, so they can avoid these kind of pitfalls in future and learn to focus more effectively on the positive.
Thanks again for all your efforts J.D. and have a great day!

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

Ali,

They did deflect the questions about conflict backstage. Lindsey didn't say anything at all, and Scott very specifically said "no comment." Jessica did a few non-verbal things, but y'know, they were there, and they know things we don't know. If we'd seen how some of their fellow people acted (like, oh, say, Constantine) we'd probably have something to say too. They did deflect, and they didn't go into any great detail. Cons and Carrie fans are just WAY over-reacting to this.

As for focusing on their vision of the future, they spent the majority of their 48 hours at this convention doing that, whereas they spent less than 60 seconds on Cons and Carrie altogether.

The comments about Carrie weren't denigrating. It was just one musician commenting on another, and quite frankly her expertise in this area FAR outweighs any of our own, particularly because she knows more about the singer in question than any of us do. And since when is it such a crime to bring out what is a totally legit question? I've often wondered myself how Carrie's second effort will do. I mean, it's not like Carrie's some goddess that we're forbidden to question. These are all just Jessica's opinions, and she's entitled to them as much as we are. If you remember, she was considered to be the best technical singer in the competition last year, and she does have talent. If you'd seen her show and her original material, you'd know this.

Personally, I'm refreshed by honesty, and I'm glad she didn't turn the whole thing into a Carrie stroke session.

As for the stuff you'd like to have heard about, I tried to ask some of those questions, but I do find their contracts and how they were paid to be of interest too. There was discussion of how they felt when performing...no need to ask that again. They answered the backstage question, which led to the so-called "denigration" that you didn't like. Besides, sheesh, there were only 45 minutes for them to talk...answering all these questions could've taken all day!

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger Ali said...

Thanks for the feedback J.D. - I wasn't trying to slag these people, really! And I'm sure you have a different vision of them, as you were at the convention and were able to speak with them individually and at length.
But the reality in todays world is that anything a person says can be transmitted thru the internet in a matter if seconds - so it is vital for anyone, in the public eye or not, to moderate their comments accordingly. You, perhaps, could easily tell that Jessica was answering a question honestly and, in all probability, without malice. But to anyone reading her comments, without backround explanation, they can sound "jealous" and petty. And that does not look good on her - at all! Just take a look at some of the comments posted here. That is the type of danger uncensored comments can invite.
I really do hope all three of these people do well - I'm sure they are nice individuals. But a little P.R. training would go a long way towards ensuring that they don't fall into the kind of pitfalls that this reality convention exposed them to. Because there are rabid fans out there who will take things the wrong way - so it is best to be careful with what you say in a public forum. Honesty is all well and good, and is appropriate in private - but in public, as my Mum says "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"
My comments about the contract stuff were not directed at you or the panelists - just a general observation. Our fascination with all things monetary is just personally depressing - I'd rather know about what pushes a person toward their dream, whatever that may be. Do you aspire to be the worlds greatest chef, doctor, artist, musician - whatever - I'd like to know why and what that feels like. It is the experience that is fascinating to me and the feelings that it evokes. The emphasis on money is just...disappointing. But again - and please don't get me wrong - I really appreciate your posts, I love to read what you have to say - and above all I admire your passion and dedication! You are much more interesting to me than any of these panelists because the emotion of your writing, the experience of your writing, is fascinating! That's what it is all about!

 
At 12:42 AM, Anonymous kcsnedah said...

Another thank you, JD, for typing this all out for us.

I never followed season 4 of AI, and the only person I could actually remember from this group was Scott, and only because he was portrayed as the "villian" of Season 4. Contrary to everything I've heard, he's an articulate and amusing man, and I'm now looking for more interviews from him.

On the other hand, I was slightly surprised at some of Jessica's answers. I appreciated that they were honest, but at the same time, more than once I got the feeling she didn't know when to stop. At any rate, I found myself skipping her answers and looking for more from Scott and Lindsey.

And as whit said earlier, I also don't think voting people OFF is a good idea, simply because AI is a tv show, and people wouldn't spend hundreds on the people they hate. We would end up with the middle of the road, completely unpolarizing, probably mediocre contestant as the winner. You cannot "anti-buy" a finalist's CD, as much as I would like to do just that with Kellie Pickler.

And speaking of, if Jessica's opinion is that of Carrie, I would be interested in hearing her take on Kellie. (I'm not saying this as a fan of Carrie, although I DO enjoy her cd. Then again, I actually listen to country about 95% of the time.)

Thanks again for taking the time to do this. It was a very interesting read!

(BTW, I found you through AceYoung.net if you're trying to keep track)

 
At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello everyone !!!! My name is Jessica Sierra you probably know me me since ur all talking about me. I want to clarify some things; I first want to say that I have no problem with Carrie and support her album and I own it, I also want to clear up any misconceptions that were taken from the interview. I simply stated that it will be interesting to see how well her career goes, just like everyone else who has won American Idol. I'm far from jealous of anybody that has been on American Idol and support all of their careers, personal opinions aside.

Love,
Jessica

 
At 8:09 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Jessica, I'm so glad you commented. I've been trying to tell all these people the same thing. Sorry for the mess the last couple of days! I still haven't gotten to tell anybody how awesome you were in concert.

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Dellane said...

And that's the bit I'm really looking forward to reading. :-) Also definitely looking forward to hearing more music from you soon Jessica. I'm glad you clarified things here. Good luck and forget the haters.

 
At 9:56 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

And just in case anyone is wondering, yes that was the real Jessica posting that comment. I've verified it.

 
At 3:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi JD, thanks for sharing your interviews with Scott, Lindsay and Jessica. I wish them all a lot of professional success and personal happiness.

Floradora

 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger Oughtyut said...

I know Jess personally and you all need to relax about this. She is outspoken believe me. You all need to relax and stop hating on her for it. Last time I checked there is a such thing as FREEDOM OF SPEECh since we are in the USA!!!! I'm sure she wasn't being rude or mean about her comments. If you weren't there then you wouldn't know the context in which she said them. So everyone SIMMMAHHHH!

 
At 8:32 AM, Blogger Oughtyut said...

And another thing after reading all the comments. How could you call Scott a low-life loser! You obviously do not know him so that is ridiculous! Just so you know he was very nice to my friends and I when we went to see Jess at the Idol shows. He was very respectful and always made it a point to say hello so watch your mouth! Jess and Scott are talented HELLO their duet STOLE the show! And excuse yourself about Jessica's music because if you heard it you'd change your tune real quick! You make yourself look like an ass making comments like that when clearly they have talent!

 
At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Amanda said...

I've met both Scott and Jessica! and love them both!atleast they say what they think!! compared to others that just read whats written for them to say to make everyone happy!

believe it or not they have opinions too!

 
At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting read. Thanks. But we needed to hear more from Scott. He amuses me.

 
At 8:59 PM, Anonymous anquensia said...

i would love to sing at american idol because being a singer means so much to me

 

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