'American Idol' Finalists Talk Live Tour (Exclusive Interviews!)
Aubrey Cleland, Angie Miller, Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Janelle Arthur, and Amber Holcomb hit the stage during the American Idol Live! Tour held at the Prudential Center on Wednesday (August 14) in Newark, N.J.
The tour is currently halfway finished and there are still twelve stops to go, so if it hasn’t made it to your town yet, get tickets now at Ticketmaster!
Before the show, JustJared.com sat down with Kree, Janelle, Devin, and Paul to talk about life on tour, interacting with their fans at meet and greets, and even who they think will be good judges for next season.
Click inside to read all of our interviews with the American Idols…
Kree Harrison Interview
Just Jared: How has life changed for you since being on American Idol and now being a part of the tour?
Kree Harrison: Drastically. I mean obviously when I say outloud that I’m on tour it’s kind of crazy. It’s so amazing that I not only get to perform every night, which is exactly what I want to do, but also to get to meet people. Really the best part are the meet and greets before and after. It’s nice to put a name to the face. With all the support we’ve gotten, to thank them in person is great.
JJ: You lived with all the contestants back in Los Angeles while doing the show. How is it different traveling around the country together now?
KH: Not any different, really. Me and Angie roomed together from Vegas to the end. It’s not any different because we’re all so close and whether or not we had roommates, we’d all be in the same room, you know just talking about the show, or venting. We’re family so the support would have if you would have your friends and family there is what we have created with amongst each other. And the tour bus is all girls and there’s a boys bus. But it’s like a slumber party. We’re like sisters, genuinely. People think we are making this up and that we don’t get along secretly, but it’s the truth. We really are close.
JJ: During the actual show, what is your favorite moment?
KH: I love watching everybody. I watched the show all the time. We have a monitor backstage. It’s high energy. There’s a good contrast of intimate moments and times when people are just jumping up and down. I feel like we’ve all gotten so comfortable with our numbers on stage. I like seeing the process of seeing everyone progressing to being so comfortable.
JJ: What has been your favorite city to stop in so far?
KH: Well I’m a little biased to Texas and especially Grand Prairie. There was so much energy. But, I don’t know. We have so many different great crowds. I know that the last show will be in Nashville, which is where I have lived for fifteen years. I have adopted family there. And Paul and Janelle are from there, so it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a bittersweet moment. We’re going to be sad that the tour is ending, but we’re going to be pumped because we’re in Nashville.
JJ: When the tour is over do you have plans to write and record music?
KH: Yeah! A lot of us are multi-tasking during this tour. I’m listening to songs, writing songs during all of this. Immediately when I get back to Nashville I start recording, which is kind of crazy. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get into the studio.
JJ: Which artists inspire you?
KH: Oh my gosh. So many artists inspire. I was spoiled in Nashville. I have a great group of friends who are all very driven and young. One of my best friends is Kacey Musgraves and she is killing it. She inspires me. We all push each other. Other friends of mine are on a radio tour right now and doing amazing. I’m so inspired by that. Among my peers, you know there are so many people who have inspired me and influenced me throughout my career, but having those friends are doing the same thing as you and whether you are tired or not you push each other to keep going. That’s inspiring.
JJ: We know that Keith is coming back next season to be a judge. Who would you suggest to be an addition to the panel.
KH: I don’t know. So many people would be great at that, I think. I think they know what they are doing. They are going to get some good judges regardless. I don’t know, I always liked the panel last year. I thought it was great and funny and entertaining. I love Keith and obviously everybody does too. He’s great.
Janelle Arthur Interview
Just Jared: What has life been like since finishing American Idol back in May?
Janelle Arthur: It really has just been a whirlwind. I mean it’s hard to fathom what is going on, just processing what I just did and what I’m doing right is kind of crazy.
JJ: What has changed the most for you?
JA: Just the amount of people who know who I am. That’s what has changed the most. Because, you know I haven’t changed and my mindset hasn’t changed. I’m hopeful for things after the tour, but I’m not getting caught up in just thinking things are going to be roses after this. I know I have to work for it so I’m definitely just embracing the change that has happened with the exposure.
JJ: Have you had any time to go home and visit with family and friends between Idol and the tour?
JA: Yes. Actually, I had about two months since January that I’ve been at home. But when I was there it felt so good to be home.
JJ: Is it hard being away from family and friends?
JA: It’s hard being away from my family. I’ve lived in Nashville for three years and I got to see them some, but not as much as I’d like to. It was definitely hard being away from them in California.
JJ: What has been the coolest thing about being on tour so far?
JA: I think meeting all the fans because you know that you have fans, but when you meet them in person and they cry or are like so excited that they’re shaking, it’s crazy. It’s strange to me that we’re at that status.
JJ: How is it different spending time with the fellow Idols back in Los Angeles doing the show and now being on a bus touring around the country?
JA: I think it’s better that way because we’re not in this competition mode. We’re all here in the same boat. We all just went through this amazing experience together, so now we’re just having fun.
JJ: What is your favorite moment during the concert each night?
JA: I love performing. I love my set. I love Candice’s number. Her first number, it’s a Beyonce song and all of us girls [are in it]. It’s a big girl power moment.
JJ: What has been your favorite city to stop in so far?
JA: Of course Knoxville, Tennessee. That’s where I’m from. I went down the road and my mom picked me up after I did some press and I got to go sleep in my own bed just for three hours. And then they fixed me breakfast. It was good.
JJ: Do you guys have time to sight see in all of these cities?
JA: It depends. Some places we have time and some it’s just the venue and then we are out.
JJ: When the tour is over, do you know what your plans are? Do you plan on recording an album?
JA: I have some gigs set up already. Just kind of filling up the calendar, getting ready to do a ton of writing with some awesome people I already have contacts with. I’ve already played the Grand Ole Opry, so I think mainly from here it’s just auditions… I’m going to get into acting. So keeping myself open for auditioning and recording.
JJ: With acting, do you plan on doing comedies, or would you like to get into drama?
JA: it just depends. I like both and I’ve done both. I think in person, people would think I’d go more with the comedy stuff because I like to make people laugh. I would love to do something in the comedic world, but at the same time, I love drama. I like to watch shows that are like that.
JJ: What are your favorite shows to watch right now?
JA: I love The Vampire Diaries. I love it. I love Once Upon a Time. I love fantasy stuff.
JJ: Do you have time at all to watch your shows while on tour?
JA: We have to watch on the computer and my computer has been dead because my charger was broken. It’s a long story. But, I did get to catch up on some episodes recently.
JJ: Now that American Idol is having auditions for next season, what advice would you give to people who want to audition?
JA: Just know who you want to be as an artist. Don’t sing one genre for one round and then sing another genre the next round and confuse the judges. I’d also say, if you don’t make it past a certain round, don’t get down. It has nothing to do with how good you are, it literally is just timing and what you bring to the table. If it’s what they’re looking for and what the world is ready for record-wise and what type of artists the record industry is looking for. It’s about that. It’s not like ‘Oh you’re not good.’ I didn’t make it. I made it to group round in season ten and top 60 last year and I was eliminated, so I could’ve thought that ‘what were my chances of making top five’ and that’s what I made.
JJ: So we know that Keith [Urban] is returning to be a judge next season and there are lots of rumors going on about who will be joining the panel. Who would you like to see as a judge?
JA: I’d love to see Justin Timberlake. I think he is just it. He knows what he is talking about. He has such a great personality. He’s funny, he’s a musician, he’s a dancer, he’s an actor. He does everything and he’s been in the business since he was a kid, so I feel like he would know a lot.
Paul Jolley and Devin Velez Interview
Just Jared: Congratulations on being on the tour! How has life changed for you guys since the show ended and starting the tour.
Paul Jolley: It’s been the same. Just walk down the street and nobody recognizes us, no I’m just kidding. It’s pretty cool. Devin already makes Starbucks friends and it’s pretty interesting because he used to work for them, so everyone recognizes him there.
JJ: Do you correct the baristas at Starbucks now if the drinks aren’t to your liking?
Devin Velez: Oh yeah. I have to say I’m one of the hardest critics now after being a barista. I’m just like, ‘ma’am, this is too watery.’ But, definitely. Life has been completely different. I’m glad to say that even our relationships have changed, between us Idols. It’s only gotten better. I think we have gotten so close. I used to look at them as friends and now they are just family. I love that I can confide in them with anything. I can wake up at 3 in the morning if I want a hug or if I want to talk and they’re able to talk. And just the music we make behind the stage is really awesome. It will be like 4 in the morning and we’ll be singing on the bus. It’s absolutely incredible. Just the fact that we are living our dreams. Every day we’re in a different city and we’re being paid to do what we love. It’s the greatest.
JJ: How is it different from being back in Los Angeles together and now being on a bus and on tour?
PJ: You know, I would say it’s kind of similar. We’re just with each other more than we were then. And I think that’s what he was just getting at then, because we were getting to know each other as friends then, but now we are with each other so much that it’s turning into a family relationship. We have our little spurts where we are like, ‘oh they make me so mad,’ but then we turn around an hour later and we are like, ‘oh I love them so much, I don’t know what I’d do without them right now,’ because we are like family.
JJ: Have you had much time to spend time at home with friends and family?
DV: Not really. After the finale of the show, we maybe had two or three weeks and then we jumped straight onto a plane and came straight into rehearsals. We were rehearsing for a month and boom, we’ve been on tour ever since.
JJ: What do you miss most about being at home?
DV: For me it’s food and family. It has to be family. I think it was a hard transition going from immediate family to Idol family. Now it’s kind of like, you want your immediate family again, but I feel like after the tour I’m going to hate it, because I’m going to be like ‘where is my Idol family’.
PJ: I would say friends and family as well. It’s difficult being on tour because we’re so limited with our time and our time differences with that come up, so when we want to talk to them, they’re already in bed or asleep. And then you don’t want to text them and wake them up. It’s hard because you want to talk to your friends and family, but it’s like, ‘ahh I don’t want to call them. It’s too late.’
JJ: What’s been the best part about the tour? Meeting the fans?
DV: You just said it. The fans. My favorite types of fans are the ones I know from Twitter, just because we have a lot of support from Twitter, and it’s so funny when you see a face and you’re like, ‘man, you’re @owlcity555.’ And it’s so cool to put the face to the name and thank them in person to see that they genuinely care about you and genuinely support you. It’s so cool to meet the fans.
PJ: Yeah, I mean it’s crazy because we see these people and they bring us gifts and things and it’s so crazy to think these people genuinely care about us and they don’t even know us face to face. It’s like, it’s very touching to us because if we came across that way through TV and interviews, imagine what it would be like in person sitting down talking face to face. I think that’s one of my favorite things, getting to see people face to face and getting to know their hearts as well as sharing mine with them.
JJ: What is your favorite moment during the show?
PJ: I would say our group numbers because we all just go out there and have a good time together. On our last show, we are going to be bawling our eyes out on our last song [“Gone, Gone, Gone”]. I mean, the lyrics just go with everything we’ve been through. I know I’m going to be crying.
DV: I’m going to say our finale song is my favorite, just because, there’s a surprise I can’t give away, but there’s a part where us guys separate from the girls and we start doing our own thing. It’s so cool to be backstage and seeing all these people and how enthusiastic they are. I know that the energy that the audience is giving me and looking at one another, there’s just this big… ahhh, it’s so good!!
JJ: What has been your favorite city to stop in?
PJ: For you [Devin], it’s probably Chicago. We just went to Chicago, his home city. I don’t really have a favorite. I mean, they’ve all been amazing. I think the the that has made them so amazing for us is our meet and greets. Getting to meet all of them. You know, because the crowds, they all have various waves of energy, but in the end, after we’ve seen them after the show, that’s when they show us they really did enjoy it. Because a lot of people, like me, if I’m watching a show, I just sit there and I’m just like in awe of like, ‘Wow this is so cool. This is such a great idea.’ And a lot of these people are probably like that too, so it’s nice to see them after the show.
JJ: Do you guys have time to go sightseeing in any of the cities?
DV: Some cities it is really just pack up and go, but sometimes we have days off, so when we have days off, we’re pretty good about texting each other and being like, ‘Hey guys, let’s do something so we’re not sitting in our hotel room and doing absolutely nothing.’ But yeah, the cities where we have had days off, it has been pretty fun.
JJ: What have been your craziest fan stories so far?
DV: I feel like for Paul, when he got to L.A. there were people waiting at the airport with signs and gifts and he was like, ‘Where are these people coming from?’
PJ: That really was the craziest one. But, it was so touching because on the posters, they had like the nicest messages on there and it brought tears to my eyes because these people had drove an hour just to see me at the airport. It’s crazy how much these people genuinely care for you.
DV: I had a fan give me a phone case just recently. It was a Spider-Man phone case, and I love Spider-Man. And then the hashtag I use excessively on Twitter is #booyah and she got a little silver thing engraved in the phone case and I looked at that and was like, ‘oh my god. That’s the best phone case ever!’
JJ: So Idol is starting up auditions for next season. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to try out this year?
DV: Just do it. You really cannot lose. Let Candice [be an example]. If at first it’s a no, it’s not that you failed, it’s just not your time, but come again and try again. I know personally for me, I auditioned for The X Factor and The Voice before I auditioned for Idol, and I get no’s. And so that’s why auditioned for Idol, and Idol was my third try and like Candice, I made top ten and now we’re living our dream.
PJ: Always stay true to yourself. I think that’s the hardest thing people struggle with is staying true to themselves and then they go into it knowing who they want to be because there are going to be so many things that will be pulling you different ways that you can’t let it affect what you truly want to do and what’s in your heart. And what he was just saying about Candice and Janelle and everyone. They auditioned three times and made it to the top 40. I auditioned three times and never made it past the first round. You’re going to get no’s all through your life. It’s the timing that matters in life. It’s always staying positive and never letting it get you down.
JJ: What are your plans for after the tour ends? Do you plan on recording music?
DV: If not recording for me, I’ve been really thinking about Broadway lately. So, I just might move to New York.
JJ: Do you have any favorite shows?
DV: I haven’t seen a lot of musicals. I’ve never seen Wicked, which I hear is one of the best ever. I’ve seen Jersey Boys. I want to see Book of Mormon. I’ve seen Lion King. My favorite musical is Rent, and that one is not here anymore, but I’d love to do Rent. But yeah, just to do anything. Just to be on a stage and have an audience every night. To get to sing and relate to a character, I think the emotion behind that is really special.
JJ: We know that Keith will be returning as a judge next year. Do you have any suggestions for the open slots?
PJ: I keep telling them I think they should have me and Devin. I think we would be great judges. And I’ll take that big paycheck. Something like $17 million (laughs).
DV: One of the people I would honestly love to see on that panel would be David Foster. He’s one of the, if not, the greatest producer of all time. He’s worked with Celine. He’s brought up artists like Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Yolanda Adams, Charice. All of these people that are now amazing and extremely well known, he’s brought them up. He knows music and he sees it in a different way because he’s not a performer, but in the end you have to work with a producer so I feel like if there should be a producer, like Randy, on the panel.