Next week, "American Idol" fans will be introduced to their season-seven top 12. But during Thursday's elimination show, some contestants who seemed like locks for the finals were sent packing. We caught up with the castoffs to talk fashion, boy bands — and one contestant's dubious hair.
Hair today, gone tomorrow (you know we had to recycle an old Sanjaya joke for the "American Idol" contestant with the second-most-controversial locks). The 26-year-old from Melbourne, Florida, had a lot of people talking during his short run on "Idol" — but, unfortunately for him, no one was discussing his version of Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" during the boys' performance night. First, he was known only as Britney Spears' ex. Then, TMZ asserted that Carrico's Kurt Cobain-wannabe hair was a wig. (Of course, Robbie's bandmate told MTV News that the long locks were the real deal.) But we had to talk to the man himself to get the truth about Brit and "Wig Gate '08" — oh, and his singing.
Q: The Web has been going nuts about your hair. Any response to that?
A: I have been growing this hair for a very long time, and I think it's ridiculous that they have to come up with something like that.
Q: So no wigs?
A: No! [He laughs.]
Q: Another thing fans are buzzing about is your past relationship with Britney Spears. Has she reached out to you since you've been on the show?
A: I haven't spoken to her in many years.
Q: So you guys haven't stayed in touch?
A: Honestly, it was a long time ago, and we were friends on tour. That was pretty much the gist of it. It wasn't really that big of a deal. We went on a couple of dates, but that was pretty much it.
Q: When you guys were together, did you notice any bizarre behavior that hinted at some of her recent drama?
A: No, not at all. She was always a real down-to-earth girl. She's incredible. She's a really good girl. A lot of people are saying stuff about her, and I kind of wish everyone would leave her alone, just let her be, and I wish her the best here in the future. I think everything will work out fine.
Q: Do you have any advice for her?
A: Didn't she just release an album?
A: I thought so. I think so far, that one's doing pretty good. I congratulate her on that and I wish her the best of luck with everything, and just tell her: "Don't listen to everybody else." [He laughs.]
Q: One of your biggest hurdles on the show was convincing the judges you were a real rocker. How did you react to that criticism?
A: I've spent the past six years working my tail off in grungy bars and pulling our own trailer with our equipment, loading it in and out, living out of a van sometimes — doing all the grunt work that they said they didn't see me doing. And because of what I did before with pop music — that was a job to me. If you ever turned my CD player on while I was out on the road, you'd be hearing rock the whole time. This is me — you get what you see.
Alexandréa's first performance for the judges, singing "My Funny Valentine" during her Atlanta audition, introduced the "Idol" audience to an artist mature way beyond her 17 years. But voters didn't keep that moment in mind during her underwhelming take on Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now," sending the Douglasville, Georgia, teen packing. At least she got one thing out of the competition: a reunion with old pal David Archuleta. The two appeared on "Star Search" together in their preteen days, and Alexandréa talked at length about their friendship — and Archuleta's front-runner status.
Q: David's fanbase seems to be growing out of control.
A: It's the girls, trust me. I remember telling him from the beginning, "You're going to be a huge chick magnet." He is a phenomenal singer, and he's going to do great. It was so funny, because we were getting picked up form the airport and he was sitting next to us, and my dad said, "Isn't that that kid who was on 'Star Search' with you? Was his name David?" I looked over and was like, "I don't know!" because he looked different. My dad asked him and said, "Do you remember her? She was on 'Star Search' with you. She sang 'My Funny Valentine.' '' And he was like, "Oh my God!" ... From then on, we were just really close.
Q: He seemed to be more upset than you when you were voted off.
A: I probably would have been the same way if he would have left. It was kind of weird, because I've never seen him that emotional before. It's always sad to see someone that you're close to leave.
Q: Was it fun to get dressed up for the show?
A: It was fun, I guess, but I was always a tomboy. I wasn't necessarily into makeup and hair and all this. Being able to have my own style, my own individual style, like the only tomboy visually there, it was kind of cool.
Jason who? The Grand Prairie, Texas, 28-year-old fell victim to the faceless "Idol" beast known as "lack of screen time." The first we heard from him was on the semifinal stage, and he never managed to make a good impression on the judges (the kindest comment Paula Abdul could muster for the single dad was that she had danced to Yeager's first-week selection, "Moon River," at her first ballet recital — what?). So the writing was on the wall for the Yeagermeister, especially after a poorly received interpretation of the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Runnin'."
Q: How did your son react when you were voted off the show?
A: He called me right after I got off the stage. He was the first person I talked to, and he was quiet. At his age, he didn't know what to say. He was just feeling the same things that I was feeling. He just said, "I love you, Dad, and I'm proud of you." That meant a lot to me. ... I'm just looking forward to getting to hang out and talk to him about the experience. He's been going to school and been riding along with the same deal.
Q: Was your son a Simon fan?
A: If he was, I don't think he is now. Being a kid, I think you stand up for your parents as any kid would. I hope that he knows that this is a television show and that Simon is playing a part on a television show. He's got the reputation for being the mean guy. I'm sure it's nothing personal. He won't come back one day and yell, "You voted my dad off!"
Q: Do you think your lack of exposure contributed to your early ouster?
A: I have to discuss this with my family and my friends. They were all really disappointed that America didn't really get a chance to get any kind of background story or interviews to really get to know me as a person to really get the opportunity to get behind me. ... [Simon] complained that I didn't stand out, and all I could do is just laugh at that moment and be like, "Well, it's out of my hands." I don't want to be sour about it, I'm just kind of disappointed. I felt like I had a lot to offer the show. I think my fans out there, people who know me, people who know my voice, would attest to that.
Q: What was your singing background before the show?
A: I started out just doing vocal talent competitions, radio competitions. They were putting together boy bands at the time, and [I] was always in the final 10 — just kind of the "almost" guy for the longest time. ... I auditioned for "Making the Band," the very first one, so I was in the top 25 for the O-Town group. I was in the first television episode of that back in '99. That kind of really helped me get to know some people, and through that, I joined a production company that was putting together another boy band and signed a developmental deal with them. They really helped us try to get a record deal. Unfortunately, at that time, the whole boy-band craze was, right after 9/11, all going downhill. But it was an awesome experience. I was with the group for two years and got to see the world. ... I got to record with some of the greatest producers in the world, and I'll never forget that experience.
"Idol" fans should know to expect the unexpected after six seasons of competition, but that didn't keep the studio audience (and Alaina herself) from being flabbergasted when Ryan Seacrest called her name Thursday. Just a day before, when she performed "Hopelessly Devoted to You" from "Grease" during the girls' performance night, Simon Cowell had called the 17-year-old from Tulsa, Oklahoma, a "dark horse" in the competition.
Q: You seemed really shocked when you and Kady Malloy were called to the stage.
A: Yea, we were really good friends and we had hung out a lot through this whole thing. She was really shocked. She told me she thought she would be the one going home. I kept telling her all day, "You need to stay really positive," because it's really bad to be down on yourself. So it was kind of ironic when it came down to me and her, but I'm really happy for her. She has a great voice. ... It means a lot to me that people — I mean, it's a compliment that they were shocked. They didn't think that I was going to go. I don't know if it makes me feel better about it.
Q: Were you close with the other contestants, living together and everything?
A: The minors have to stay with their parents, so my roommate while I was there was my mom. ... It was so much fun. I think what America doesn't understand sometimes is that though it looks like a short amount of time, months-wise, we're together every day of the week, every hour doing the same thing. We know what each other is going through. That plays a big part in how close we get.
Q: Are there any former "Idol" contestants who you hope to emulate?
A: I definitely loved Kelly [Clarkson] from the very first moment I saw her. I remember a specific performance from her, when she sang "Stuff Like That There," and it's really weird that I remember this, but I seriously remember sitting in my living room, and she just blew me away. ... At our top 24 party, I met Ace Young. I met Justin Guarini, which was great. I met Jon Peter Lewis. And actually, at our hotel, Chris Daughtry was there in the lobby and I got to shake his hand. That was awesome.
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