After having her American Idol dreams dashed by being eliminated just short of making the Top 24 in season 10, 19-year-old Hollie Cavanagh returned to compete during season 11 firing on all cylinders.
The pint-sized balladeer and this season's fourth place finisher proved to be one of the contestants to watch, as she slayed big diva ballads, such as Christina Aguilera's "Reflection," Whitney Houston's "All The Man That I Need," and Celine Dion's "The Power of Love," during the first few weeks of season 11's live shows.
This past Sunday, hours before taking the stage with the rest of season 11's Top 10 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., Cavanagh sat down with me for a quick chat backstage. The singer spoke candidly about the tour, a time during the competition where she felt the judges misinterpreted the intention behind one of her song selections, and her advice for season 12's Idol contestants.
How’s the tour been going, so far?
Good, really fun.
Is it everything you expected it to be?
Yeah, I was kind of expecting to get more comfortable on stage and that’s what’s happening.
That’s great! You originally tried out in season 10 and now you’re on tour with season 11, how does it feel to make that whole journey?
It’s really exciting. The whole point of coming back this year was to make Top 10, and then I did, me and DeAndre both, that was our goal for the year. When I got fourth, I was like, “Ooh.” I was shocked, because I was just hoping to make Top 10.
Is anything about the tour and life on the bus that you maybe didn’t expect?
There's bathroom rules.
Strict bathroom rules, I’m assuming?
Mmm-hmm. I mean, not really. There’s a lot of us, so there’s a lot of rules you have to follow just out of courtesy to everyone else. Other than that, it’s fun.
What has been your favorite moment/performance from one of your fellow contestants on tour?
I love Elise’s “Whole Lotta Love.” She does this scream in it and it’s crazy. I love that song.
Switching over to the show, we’re you surprised at all that both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez decided to leave the judges’ panel?
I just found out about that. I’ll be interested to see who the new judges will be. I’ve heard its Mariah Carey, and I’m not happy about that at all. Cause she’s my idol. That’s probably a good thing, because if I was to sing in front of her on the show, I’d probably pass out.