When Casey Abrams ended up standing next to Jacob Lusk and Scotty McCreery on “American Idol” on Thursday night, he had a feeling the end was nigh. Then, when Lusk was sent to safety, well, that was all she wrote.
“Everyone was just so incredible [on Wednesday night]. … My performance was pretty good, but seeing Jacob kill it and then seeing Haley kill it, seeing Scotty and Lauren kill it and Durbin obviously … it just made me feel like, ’These guys are incredible. These guys could carry the show. I don’t really need to be here, so if I go home tomorrow, I’m prepared,’ ” he said of the thoughts going through his head after Wednesday night’s Carole King performance show .
But, facing a deluge of questions about the status of his relationship with frequent duet buddy (and reported offscreen paramour) Haley Reinhart during a call with reporters on Friday morning (April 29), Abrams made sure to clear up the most important bit of business about the rest of his career first, saying that the moment the two shared at the end of his final performance on Thursday night was unplanned and not a sign of anything other than good times. “I was saying goodbye to my very special musical friend,” he explained of their eye-lock, emphasizing that they are not, and never were, a couple.
Abrams said he was “feeling really good, actually” about things on Friday morning and that he never really got too upset about the results. “I felt really good even afterwards. Maybe I’ll break down crying some other time. But right now, I feel really good about what happened last night.”
In his typical fashion, Abrams went out with a bang, not only having his “Haley moment,” but also kissing audience members and the judges and rolling around onstage. “What was going through my mind was just, ’Make this good,’ ” he said of his jubilant goodbye. “I was completely on random mode. I didn’t plan on ending up on Haley; it just happened that way. Nothing was planned.”
Though we saw him play acoustic and electric bass, piano, guitar and melodica on the show, Abrams revealed that he also dabbles in drums, sitar, accordion, cello and clarinet. When it comes to how he might corral all that prodigious instrumental talent into a live show, he said it would likely bear the title, “Pure Craziness” and encompass everything from hard rock to smooth jazz, much like his first post-“Idol” album.
With a number of shaky vocal performances over the course of his tenure on the show, Casey said that, even with his long background in studying and playing music, being on “Idol” has done a lot for his confidence as a performer. “Everything. It’s done every single thing,” he said. “I used to not like to sing in public, and now I feel like I’m singing a little bit too much. Now I’ll sing in the hallways with random people I don’t even know. Maybe that’s a bad thing, but I just feel a lot more comfortable onstage, and I feel like I can do anything onstage now.”
Although the judges and mentor Jimmy Iovine had warned Casey to dial back the growling and scowling after his take on Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the singer had fallen back into his old ways in recent weeks, begging the question of whether he was purposely ignoring their counsel. “It is kind of how I sing when I don’t think about it,” he explained. “I think that’s a good place to be when you don’t think about how you sing. … It’s a gray area. It’s hard to define what’s a good growl and what’s a bad growl.”
Like other contestants who have benefited from the judges’ save in the past, Abrams said he felt the pressure of having the panel bail him out and dedicated himself to working even harder because it would have been “really embarrassing” to go home the very next week. That said, Abrams admitted he never expected to get as far as he did, or win, and feels pretty great about making it to the top six.
Asked for his final thoughts, Abrams said simply, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take music seriously, but not yourself.”
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