Interviewer: How difficult is it for you or for anybody to start the show because I think you were first in two out of the past three performance shows. Is that harder to do for you than going in the middle?
DeAndre A little bit because you have to have that level of being really good to start off the show, and it kind of sucks going off the show because you know you don’t want to get forgotten, but everything happens for a reason, so I was happy no matter what. It was cool.
I: Did you get a chance to talk to any of the judges or any of the other contestants after you were eliminated last night?
D: The judges came and talked to me and just told me to keep doing what I’m doing and that I’m going to keep going on in life with music, and I did get to see some of the contestants at the mansion when I was packing up. It was all love, and everybody’s amazing.
I: Do you think Jimmy was being a little hard on you, and did you get a chance to talk to him after last night?
D: No, not at all. Jimmy has an opinion. Everybody has their own opinion, and it’s going to come from either Jimmy, from fans, from people that don’t like, from my friends and family. It’s going to come regardless. So, I have much love for him for doing that. I have nothing but respect for him, and even though it did come off like that, it drove me even harder to try to prove him wrong. So, in the end, he helped me, and everything he has said to me helped me in the long run.
I: Follow-up question, before you were saying … were you talking to someone in the audience, or were you talking to your family?
D: I was talking to my sister because she was crying. I just told her just to not cry because there’s no reason to cry because I accomplished so much and why be sad for things I’ve done. You shouldn’t be sad because I’ve done so much. Why dwell on something that didn’t happen but rejoice on the things that have?
I: Being 17, what did you have to do that the older contestants didn’t, like schoolwork or maybe having an earlier curfew?
D: School, me and Jessica, we had to do schoolwork, and we had different call times, sometimes earlier. Sometimes we got pulled out earlier just for minors, but it was kind of nice. It made things a little bit easier being a minor, I guess.
I: You’ll get to go on the Idol tour this summer. Who do you think is going to be the most fun on the tour, and what do you think the tour is going to be like for you?
D: Everybody has their fun moments. It’s just going to be a fun experience all around because we’re so close. It’s a really close bond that we have for each other, and it’s going to be really fun. I really want people to come watch the show to see it in person how individual everybody is. You can’t compare anybody to anybody because they’re just so different and so uniquely talented.
I: My first one is just the judges gave you high praise on your performance on Wednesday night and then Jimmy had the bad words and they stuck by their words from Wednesday. So, I was just wondering did this vote come off as kind of a shock? Were you thinking that you were safe going into it?
D: This vote was …. I thought I did a very, very well job the night before, and even though it did happen, it happens. It’s just I can’t really explain the feeling I had. It was just more a numbness because I didn’t know what to feel because I was happy for myself, but I just didn’t want to go.
I: During the show, you got to meet Eric Benet. So, what was that like for you?
D: That was amazing. That was the highlight of the whole Idol experience. I loved meeting Eric Benet. He’s a big influence to me as an artist.
I: When do you get back home, and when do you think you’re going to be back in the school and stuff like that?
D: I get back home in about a week, and I’m not going to go back to school because I’ll only be there for about a couple of weeks. I’m just going to stay homeschooled and independent study because I’m going to go back for tour practices, but I’ll be home. I really can’t wait to come see all the support I got from San Jose .
I: I was wondering, what advice did you receive while you were on the show that you’re going to carry with you?
D: Just to stick to myself. That was a big thing that I was struggling with because I always wanted to try to please people, and it just never works. When you please yourself, everything comes out together. You feel comfortable and people love it better when you do what you want. The judges voted me in because they loved me, so why would I change myself if that’s not what I even got in there for the first place.
I: How do you maintain the curl of your hair? A lot of people are wondering.
D: It’s natural.
I: You don’t use any product or anything in your hair?
D: I use like a little leave-in conditioner, but it’s natural even without stuff in it. It looks the same, actually.
I: It seems like a lot of times contestants come on the show and they don’t know their music history. Like, for instance, 80s week, some contestants wouldn’t know what to perform, but the big difference with you is you do know your music history. You know Earth, Wind and Fire. You know all those groups. So, what I want to know is how important you think that is in this competition. Does it help to know your history?
D: It does help because you just get thrown with a whole bunch of different genres just randomly. You need to know different styles, different genres, different decades of music and because song choice is the whole game of Idol. That’s the whole game at first. To know the history of the music, to know old things, to know new things, just to know what you’re singing and how to sing them, is really important.
I: Now, Randy said that he would have done a record with you that would sound a lot like the DeBarge’s, I Like It. What I want to know is what you would want your record to sound like. What kind of an artist do you want to be?
D: I want to be an R&B artist, true R&B soul with the … of the old school kind of stuff. I want to bring that back a lot because I think music is just really lacking that and people just need to know that there are other things. I want to bring back instruments because people don’t really use them as much now. Everything’s computers, and it’s just really—not that I don’t like music nowadays. I love music nowadays. It’s just I just want people to know that there’s other things out there too.
I: Jimmy Iovine said it was most likely going to be you or Holly packing your bags to go home when he reviewed your performance during last night’s results show. What was your reaction to that? Do you think he was a little too hard on you, and how did it make you feel when the judges immediately came to your defense and stood by their positive feedback of you?
D: Jimmy saying that, it was fine. People have their own opinions. It doesn’t bother me at all. It comes along with the gift and with the ride. So, whatever he says is all out of love and I take everything to heart whether it be bad. I have to take that, and it makes me want to drive to go further. I really loved how the judges stood by my back. I love our judges. What you see on TV is what you get off TV because they’ve always been supporting me since the beginning, and it just made me feel good, really good. So, even though I did get eliminated, I’m glad I got eliminated the way I did. I went off on a good note. I went off happy. It wasn’t a sad moment in the way where I had a regret or I did something wrong. I have no regrets. I felt like I did what I needed to do and I just got cut just because of competition sake.
I: Jennifer Lopez admitted she wanted to use the judges save on you. Did you ever get a better explanation as to why Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler weren’t on board with her to save you? I was wondering whether you were a little surprised Steven Tyler didn’t, considering you were his wild pick at the beginning of the competition.
D: I didn’t ask because people have their reason. I don’t really want to ask, but I just think because I was a wild card, I just think I don’t need to be saved again. This is my second chance from last year. So, it’s my second chance on Idol. Then, I got a second chance with wild card. You only get so many second chances in life. You just need to make good of what you have now. I think even getting this far, I could deal something off of this, and I think they believe in me too that I don’t really need the whole show to be who I want to be.
I: I’m curious, what is possibly one thing that you were surprised to learn about yourself through being part of the show?
D: Just that I’m able to be at that level with everybody else, and it took me a really long while to realize that I’m in the same competition as everybody. I’m good enough. Why do I have to feel intimidated with everybody? This is my family. They support me. I support them. There’s no reason to feel that way. My own idol came over and told me I did a great job with one of his songs. I could do what I want to do. I have the talent. I’m able. That’s basically one thing I really learned. I gained a lot of confidence from this.
I: What are you most looking forward to about going on tour?
D: I’m really looking forward to number one is being with everybody and just singing because I love to sing with people, that’s a big thing for me, and going to my hometown and performing for everybody from all the love I’ve been getting and hearing about. So, it’ll be really cool.
I: Jennifer Lopez called you a shining star saying that you were making a comeback, and then, on Thursday, the next day you get voted off. What do you make of that? Do you think the voters are making the right choices or maybe they’re kind of lost, or what do you make of that?
D: Nothing. I just think everything happens for a reason, and I think partially because of the voting, why I got kicked off is just my voice and my style is not popular nowadays. I’m trying to bring back something, and it’s still in the process of bringing it back. It’s something that got lost and unappreciated in this new generation, and I think that was partially the reason. But also, everyone is so good. Someone has to go home one week. Every week, someone has to go home. So, it had to be me this week, and I just have to take what I got and just be grateful for what I did get to experience.
I: We all know Steven Tyler picked you as his wild card. Do you think that being a wild card pick gave you a disadvantage going into the competition?
D: Somewhat just because I just think America didn’t really get to see my full voice because it was only based off of one performance because I only got shown the day before, and it was all falsetto. They didn’t really get to show my low register back in Hollywood week and everything and all the other auditions I did. So, I’m glad I did get to show the other side of me that was there, and I think that was basically it.
I: Well, what do you see as your next move?
D: Tour, number one. Then, hopefully getting a record deal out of this or something and whatever comes my way, I’m trying to grab it as much as I can whether it be modeling, acting, anything. I just want it, and I just want to keep working. Like I said before, I want to be exhausted the day I die.