The American Idol frenzy hits fever pitch as the top 11 finalists of the hit US reality talent search begin their back to back concerts tonight at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Casey Abrams, Naima Adedapo, James Durbin, Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart, Lauren Alaina, Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano, Stefano Langone, Thia Megia and AI winner Scotty McCreery will perform their most memorable songs from the show for the final leg of the American Idol Live! Tour 2011. The Philippines is the only Asian venue of the AI tour.
The Idols arrived before dawn Saturday aboard Philippines Airlines flight PR-103 and were quite surprised to be greeted by fans who waited for them at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
And while they have already performed in front of millions all over the US, it was clear that the Filipino hospitality immediately conquered the hearts of its latest international guests.
During a press conference held at the Manila Hotel Saturday afternoon, the Idols expressed their appreciation for the support of their Filipino fans.
“We’re all so excited to be here, the plane ride was awesome and just arriving here was beautiful, the food is amazing, and the fans are incredible. They greeted us at the airport, it was pretty cool experience,” Toscano told members of the press.
Haley Reinhart said she was pleasantly surprised to see how different the Philippines was. “It’s so beautiful and all of you guys are so beautiful inside and out…your manners, and everything it’s a really different place,” she said.
“Everyone is really loving here,” gushed runner-up Lauren Alaina, while Jacob and Naima praised Filipinos for being so polite and well-mannered.
Naima said that apart from performing for an international audience, she is also looking forward to learning about the Filipino culture. “I’ve been learning some words in the language and tell me if i say it wrong but, salamat po,” making the audience cheer.
Jacob then made the audience laugh when he said that he was looking forward to doing some shopping and had already tried out some local food.
“Because this is the place to shop shop shop! And it’s also such a great place for eating. I had some of the purple stuff that’s sweet– ube? And I liked,” he said.
Having grown up in LA, Jacob said he has already met a lot of Filipinos, “You guys have such great spirits!”
Filipino-American singer Thia Megia, the youngest Idol finalist, said she was so glad to be back in the Philippines.
“I haven’t been here since i was four. It’s really lovely to be back with my mom. I keep telling her that one day I would eventually take her but I didn’t expect that it would be this soon.” I’m really looking forward to learning more about the importance of my culture and seeing my family again. I’ve missed them terribly. It’s really amazing, and I’m really excited. Salamat po,” she said.
“All of us were thrilled when we learned that we were going to the Philippines for the tour,” Scotty told The Manila Times. “We’ve been receiving a lot of tweets from Filipinos and we are very thankful for that,” he adds.
After the press conference, Stefano, Pia, Thia and Scotty guested in Manny Pacquiao’s TV show ‘Manny Many Prizes’ and sang ‘Stand By Me.’ Thia then did a duet with Cong. Pacquiao’s “Sometimes When We Touch. The idols also went on a mall tour at the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City, Sunday.
Beyond the tour
Now that the AI tour is about to end, the idols assured their fans that it would not be the last time their fans would hear of them.
The season’s top four finalists has just released their own EPs featuring songs they have performed on the show such as “I Love You This Big” from Scotty; “The Climb” from Alaina; Haley’s rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep;” and James Durbin’s version of Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” Each EP features 5 songs and will be distributed by MCA Music.
Thia on the other hand says she is also doing an album and promised her fans that she will be singing for the rest of her life. “I promise you this will not be the last that you here from me. I’ll be working and working and working on my music, and I hope you guys stay tuned,” she said.
“We’re all performers and I think we’ve had that sparkle in our eyes since day one and we all really wanted to sing. I think all of us are going to be singing our entire lives because it’s our passion and we love to do it– whether or not we get that single out next week or next year or another decade, we’re are still going do it,” Haley said passionately.
The rest of the other idols also announced that they were coming up with their individual albums very soon with Casey teasing of doing a rock album focused on bass, Naima doing a fusion of soul reggae and jazz, Jacob promising to go back to traditional R&B, while James jokingly hinted of also pursuing a wrestling career with the WWE.
Since the announcement of the AI concert, there have been a lot of fans wishing for a Scotty and Thia “ScoThia” duet, and Scotty admits he’s been hearing a lot about it even before they arrived.
“I have read a lot about it on Twitter, but I have always sang with Lauren in the tour, so I am not quite sure if that is possible,” said Scotty.