It's a lot to take in. Imagine being on TV for the first time in your life, in front of several hundred screaming fans in a Los Angeles studio and more than 20 million at home, and not only performing a cover of a song you may not even know, but listening to feedback on your work from three judges, mentor/ record industry legend Jimmy Iovine and the show's producers.
"I tended to listen to the coaches more," he said of the "Idol" team of behind-the-scenes vocal coaches that includes associate music director and arranger Michael Orland. "He's sick and he's funny in a weird way. And I just trusted him musically."
But Abrams, who studied music and music theory at California's Idyllwild Arts Academy, also combined that with the words of wisdom from the producers, Iovine and the judges' comments from the previous week. "You piece it together and it's like the jelly beans in a big jar," Abrams explained. "You're not gonna be like, 'Hey producer what do you think? Oh, you think that?' "
In other words, none of those other voices are enough to push a performance in one direction or another, but rather, they're all pieces of a tapestry. There are always those weird flavors in a jelly bean jar, though, like your cotton candy or root beer, right?
"The buttered-popcorn jelly bean would have to be J.Lo," Abrams said of the judge he famously smooched on the show. "Right? She's buttery?"
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