Four lives were changed dramatically last night when American Idol filled its last three--no wait--four slots to move on to the final rounds of the competition, yet this morning all four seemed as cool as a cucumber. In a conference call with the media, last night's survivors talked about the experience and what's in store.
Jasmine Murray, from Starksville, Mississippi, sounds every bit her age (17) with multiple "ummm"s and a soft-spoken voice. But when she's on stage, she's a singing tsunami. She's got a powerful voice and ease on stage, which she credits to her experience in pageants.
"I've got experience on stage, I've been involved in pageants," she explains, talking about her edge over her competition. "I got to sing for the Miss America pageant two years ago, it was amazing. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life. But being on the Idol stage, it's different because you have people judging you."
She's not quite ready to think about her post-Idol career yet, but one reporter asks her anyway. She believes the key to success if finding the right material that suits her style. "I really like so many different types of music, and since I'm so young, I don't want to limit myself [and I want to] try different things and see how it sounds with my voice."
Anoop Desai, on the other hand, sounds about as relaxed as one can be for nearly suffering a heart attack the night before.
"It was the pits, man," Desai said of hearing Matt Giraud's name instead of his own for (what he thought was) the final available slot to move on. "It was the difference between having all your dreams dashed and seconds later having them all alive again. It was genuine shock."
The well-spoken 22-year old has a special motivation in the competition--his late friend Eve Carson, the University of North Carolina student body president who was murdered a year ago yesterday.
"I was lucky enough to know her," said Desai. "Every time I go out on stage I go out to make her proud." As a good luck charm, he keeps a button with her name on it in his pocket when he performs.
Megan Joy Corkrey comes on the line with an almost deafening "Hi!" and is clearly still riding a good mood from the previous night. She's one of the black sheep of the competition, not your stereotypical pop musician. But what's up with her little dance she does on stage?
"I really don't know why that happens," Corkrey says. "When I start singing I just flop around!"
Though she may not be your typical Utah resident, she loves the state and says it's a wonderful place to raise a family. However, she's knows she's not like other Utah residents, with her love of Bjork, her tattoos, and her dislike of country music.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with country week," she says. "But I'm going to tear it up!"
Matt Giraud hails from Kalamazoo, Michigan, but he sounds like he should be from the place he auditioned from: Kentucky. The man nicknamed "White Chocolate" by his friends has a thick drawl and the type of Southern hospitality one expects from the movies.
"I heard someone call me the white boy Alicia Keys," he says proudly.
Giraud also plays Keys' instrument of choice, and can't wait to incorporate the ivory into his routine. "Maybe I'll use the keyboard for the first half, and rock out for the second half."
The judges love his southern blues style (he was raised on gospel and Motown), but he knows he's going to have to tackle some pop. And he can't wait to erase a previous mistake.
"This week, I'm going to make people forget about the Coldplay thing," he says of his Top 36 performance.
And of Simon's harsh words of his wardrobe choice, he says, "I trusted the wardrobe people, who takes fashion advice from Simon anyway?"
American Idol moves on to its final rounds next week.