Entering the world of American Idol is a surreal mixture of superstardom and ordinary people who are just trying to make sense of it all. At their summer tour stop in Tacoma, Washington I got an up close look at a day in the life of an American Idol.
In part one of a five-part series of backstage interviews with the Idols, I talked with Michael Johns. Johns has put his surprising eighth place elimination from American Idol behind him. Currently he is focused on the Idol summer tour and recording tracks for an album he hopes to release later this year. Having talked with him a few weeks before, this would be my second interview with Johns. As with the first interview I found him to be friendly and open about his time on Idol, his musical interests, and his plans for the future.
Johns came into the interview with his left arm heavily bandaged. The injury was obviously recent because no one in the room seemed to know what had happened to him. Carly Smithson took time out of her interview to find out what caused the injury. He explained, "David Cook threw me a pass, and like, we're running back - and Archuleta's dad was right there - and then BOOM! I went straight down."
I did not know until that day which of the Idols I would be talking to, so I had prepared some general questions that I could ask anyone. I told Michael that I had already asked him most of the standard questions I had prepared. "It's okay - let's just talk. What's with your bracelets? Live Strong? And what's with the multi-colored one? I'll interview you, how about that?" he teased.
We chatted briefly about the Live Strong and David Cook American Brain Tumor Association bracelets I was wearing. Johns was the most easygoing of all the Idols I talked with. He genuinely seemed interested in talking with everyone and keeping the mood light, despite his injured arm. As I was preparing to delve into more serious interview questions I noticed liquid was slowly spreading out on the tablecloth beneath his bandage. For a moment I was concerned but he assured me it was just an ice pack that was melting. "Yeah, fluid is just draining out of my arm. But I will sit here and do this interview, that's how dedicated I am." So we got down to business.