Allison Iraheta knows what it's like to be the young kid on [article id="1656273"]"American Idol."[/article] She made it to the top four in season-eight when she was just 16, making her the youngest singer to ever advance that far on the show. But when the now-18-year-old music biz veteran dropped in to participate in MTV's first-ever post-"American Idol" live stream on Wednesday night, even she was shocked at how young some of the contestants were on night one of season 10's audition round.
"Damn, that's scary!" Iraheta said via Skype. "I was scared for my auditions. Fifteen? That's when everyone is figuring out who the hell they are. I didn't even know who the hell I was until a year ago."
With the age limit dropped to 15 this year, Iraheta said she hopes a young 'un can win, but admitted that before she came out onstage when she was on the show, she would often totally freak out due to nerves.
"Really, be you, be who you are, be true to yourself," Iraheta advises contestants.
The big question of the night, of course, was whether Iraheta missed departed judge Simon Cowell, who famously put her through the ringer a few times during her season. "It was different, right?" she said of the vibe with new superstar judges [article id="1656275"]Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez[/article]. "I think change is good. We all miss him. It's a little weird at first. I think it's cool. It's about time they did a little something different."
Iraheta is sporting new dark locks, which replace her signature flame-red hair. She said the radical change came about after she grew tired of seeing "16 chicks at the mall" with the same kind of red streaks in their hair.
Though she couldn't reveal much detail about her upcoming second album, Iraheta said it was going to be a "hell of a year," promising some rocking new music.
Unlike pal and season-eight [article id="1656278"]"Idol" winner Kris Allen[/article], Iraheta didn't have specific comments on how Tyler and Lopez did, but she was happy to sing a bit of J Lo's "Jenny From the Block" to spice up her appearance.
What did you think of the "American Idol" premiere? Share your reviews in the comments!
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.