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Big Red Speaks

American Idol finalist John Stevens is interviewed by Paula Abdul on Entertainment Tonight tonight:

    with his boy-next-door charm, John turned out to be quite the crowd pleaser, making it to the final six before being voted off the talent competition.

    On tonight’s ET, our special correspondent and “Idol” judge PAULA ABDUL catches up with John in an emotional interview that doesn’t leave a dry eye in the house.

    So just how is the fallen Idol dealing with the verdict?

    “The only thing I am upset about is that Big Band Week is next and that is what I would be good at,” he says. “Other than that, I have nothing to complain about. I have nothing to worry about, no stress and no panic.”

    The “American Idol” schedule is a grueling one for all the finalists, but even more so for those who are still in high school. In addition to all the rehearsals, performances and commercials that John was a part of during his seven weeks in the competition, he also had schooling to complete each day, along with DIANA DeGARMO and JASMINE TRIAS.

    “It is not a disadvantage,” he says, “but it puts more pressure on us. You have to worry about balancing school with performing on TV. I grew close to everyone in the competition, but especially Jasmine and Diana because I was in school with them an extra three hours a day. We became best friends.”

    One of the positive results of the hectic schedule was the fact that being sequestered kept John from hearing all the negative media buzz that was swirling about the week that JENNIFER HUDSON was voted off.

    “They keep us pretty isolated,” he says. “We couldn’t be on the Internet or anything like that. I think it helps us. If we hear one person’s negative comment, it’s more likely that that would stick in our mind than all the good comments.”

    And despite the cocoon of silence that surrounds the Idols as far as what the outside world is thinking, each week John still had to face up to the harsh comments of the judges. That said, John declares his favorite judge was SIMON COWELL, because the Brit wit kept him in his place and was always honest with him. “Most of it is constructive criticism,” he says of the judges’ comments. “You have to take that and run with it. Try to get better every week. If you do, you succeed.”

    Still now that he is out of the running, he has heard a bit more of what went on in the media the past two weeks, but refuses to let it upset him.

    “It is people’s opinions,” he believes. “People have a right to have their opinion. You can’t let it get to you. You’ve got to let it roll off your back, and that’s what I did.”

    As for the comments that Jennifer made last week when questioned about John telling her, “It should have been me,” he explains, “One of the things I did every week before Wednesday’s show was tell myself, ‘This is my week. I am going home.’ It prepared me for the worst, so if I didn’t get voted off, I was shocked. That was part of my look that Wednesday. When Jennifer got voted off, I felt she deserved to still be there, so I felt guilty that I was still there. I guess America felt different.”

    John will be joining the rest of the “Idols” when they head out on tour this June, but before that he returns to school, and his junior prom, but probably not his normal life.

    “I will get a lot of attention, I assume, especially from females, but I am prepared to handle that,” he says with a smile. [ETonline]

I found John to be nearly unlistenable most of the time (his best was “King of the Road”) – his voice is pleasant enough, but he was often off-key and has very little power, projection or sustain, and he rarely looked convincing or confortable with his material. BUT, he’s a flipping 16 year-old kid and as Simon said, he handled himself with remarkable poise and stoicism, taking a vast amount of abuse from the judges and even the guest judges: Quentin Tarantino stated flatly that he wasn’t a fan, the others damned with faint praise.

It is also ironic as hell that he’ll miss big band week, but seriously, the kid had to go.

Tonight there will be a special Idol focusing on the five remaining finalists, and after that the list of dumpy, frumpy, insecure, sad sack women in America will be reduced by two on The Swan, which posits the notion that ANYONE can look good with a few-hundred-thousand dollars worth of cosmetic surgery, dental work, physical and psychological training and the luxury of doing nothing but working on oneself for three months. No kidding.

But while the show is practically eugenic in its mechanical pursuit of perfection, at least there are no losers: the women get to keep their new selves regardless, and the nation is made more attractive with each and every episode. And a few of the transformations have been truly stunning. Yeay.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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