I had the opportunity to sit down with several of this past season’s American Idol contestants during their recent tour stop in Sacramento, CA.
Tim Urban and I discuss the tour, life after Idol, and what he thinks about Ellen’s decision to leave the judges panel after one season.
How’s the tour been?
It’s been pretty great. I feel like we’re all kind of used to it at this point, cause we’re close to being done, we have only 10 more shows, so at this point we’re all kind of in the groove. It’s really a pretty incredible tour.
I was actually at the Mountain View show. It was a great show, I really enjoyed it.
I appreciate that. That was a really good show. The crowd was nuts that night.
You were originally eliminated during Hollywood week, you were brought back to the show and now you’re on tour. How does that feel?
You know, it’s added on top of everything else as a reminder of how blessed I have been and how blessed I am to be sitting here talking with you. Thinking back on my American Idol journey, just the whole process, I’ve realized that it really is just one huge blessing. I had no idea what was happening the whole time, but it all worked out.
So, what are you going to remember the most from tour, since you did say that you have 10 shows left, what are you going to take from it?
I think for me, I’m going to remember meeting the different fans and just kind of that whole thing. You know, I’ll always remember what it feels like to walk out on that stage. It’s a very unique experience. It’s hard to explain, and I don’t think I’ll duplicate it. Walking out on that stage is something I’ll always remember.
After tour, what’s next?
What’s next? Well, I’m working on an album. I’m actually working on that right now. I’m working on getting all of the songs picked out for it, and I’ve got some guys back home who I’m working with back in Texas. So, I’m going to get that out, and actually I’m going back to LA and try to do some acting.
So, now that the judges panel is all mixed up, what did you think about Ellen’s decision to leave?
If that’s what she wants to do, then that’s awesome. For me, I’m not too worried about what’s good for the show or not, because the panel changes so much, who knows what it’s going to be next year. For me, if that’s what she feels like she wanted to do, then that’s what she needs to do then, and I think it’s awesome.
One more about the judges. There have been so many rumors about who is going to be added, do you think it’s better for the contestants if they have someone’s who’s been successful or if they have an industry insider that’s critiquing them after performances?
Industry insider, I think. For me personally, just because if you have a performer that’s been successful, they’ve been successful at one unique thing. They know exactly what they did to be successful. But, if you look at the music industry over the years, and you look at who’s been successful and who hasn’t, it’s been for a hundred different reasons. There’s not just one cookie cutter reason. And you can’t say, “Well it worked for me, so it will work for you.” But an industry executive that has seen everything as a whole will understand the big picture, and realize the key things that will set you apart from other people.
Do you have any advice for future contestants?
Really just have fun with it. There is no magic bullet for American Idol, there’s no “If you sing this song, you’ll make it through.” You never know what they’re looking for, it really is just go up there, have as much fun as you can, be yourself, so regardless of what happens, you can be satisfied with what you put forward.
I just read something the other day that they [Idol] were going to focus more on the talent, and it made me think, “Isn’t that what the show’s supposed to be about?” Do you think in the last couple years has it been about casting or has it been about who can sing well?
You know, I feel like because there was some shake-up in the judges last year and this year, it kind of was about the judges a little bit more maybe potentially in years past. And I think it’s very smart for them to re-focus just on the contestants. I mean, that’s what the show is about, and they know that with Simon Cowell leaving, it changes everything as far as the judges go. They really do need to just focus on the contestants, to them singing and them performing. And people will watch it, that’s what people love to see.
I have some fan questions. What has been the most random item you’ve been asked to sign this summer?
I signed somebody’s forehead. I’ve signed a lot of shoes, a couple pairs of pants, a baby.
A baby. Nothing too crazy, though. Like that’s probably the extent of it.
Kind of random, but what’s your favorite kitchen appliance?
That’s a tough one, because I like to cook. But, I also love smoothies. Just as a general rule, I love them. So, probably the blender, cause I could make some killer smoothies.
You like to Twitter.
Which question are you asked the most on Twitter?
“Will you please follow me?” I get asked that constantly.
Do you think using Twitter is a good way to communicate with fans on tour?
I think it is. I think it’s a great way, for me personally. You know, you get on there, you just send out some messages to people who are on Twitter, they can message you. It’s kind of a quick way, it’s better than Facebook or something like that. It’s more convenient, you can just click reply and type something and all of a sudden you send a personal message to somebody. So for me, it’s really cool and I get on there all the time and I do little Twitter parties and try to respond to as many people as I can.
Thanks so much, Tim.