'American Idol' Alum Heejun Han Talks Season 13 (Randy's 'Soft' ... Harry's 'Cold'), New Music
Returning judge Jennifer Lopez, however, is "very cool," says the season 11 favorite, who releases a new song, "Bring the Love Back," on Sept. 17.
It seems like only yesterday that Heejun Han ripped off his top on American Idol and proclaimed that he wanted to dance along to a rip-roaring performance of Billy Joel's "My Life."
"My dream came true," says the ever-so-cheeky season 11 finalist of the moves he displays in a new video for "Bring the Love Back," released on YouTube ahead of the song's iTunes premiere on Sept. 17.
"I thought I danced so much better than that, but when I saw myself in the video, I was embarrassed."
The video, directed by Sylvian White, boasts a guest appearance by rapper Pusha T and is a prelude to the release of Han's first EP on Polaris Records.
"To be honest, when [Pusha T] agreed to do it I was surprised," Han tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I thought he was more into the serious urban rap."
Equally surprising to the Idol alum? That former Pussycat Doll Vanessa Curry would come along for the ride. In the clip, she flirts with Han throughout a series of scenes, including a jamming party outside of the same motel featured in the video for "Free" by season 10 semifinalist Haley Reinhart.
Han promises his new EP will feature more "R&B" flavored tracks. The record will be released this fall on the Korean-based label.
"Not only are my roots Korean, but I wanted to have some sort of K-Pop fans behind me as my foundation," Han tells THR. "I pursued them to release my album and single in the states and they totally agreed on it."
The 24-year-old Flushing, Queens, native describes "Bring the Love Back" as an "anthem" demanding love return to the world. One thing fans are questioning, however, is the use of auto-tune on the track. Han explains the decision to use the effect was not arrived at lightly. "It's not because I can't sing, but it was more of the mood and the atmosphere of the song itself," he says.
Han adds that he hopes to return to Idol next season for a performance -- if the producers will have him.
"It's my home. I can't hate it," he quips, adding that he can't wait to see one particular person returning to the show: judge Jennifer Lopez.
"I'm so glad she's back, actually. Last season was pretty good, too, but I think J.Lo and Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson had the best chemistry," he says. "Behind the scenes and on camera, she was the most friendly judge. Randy and Steven were friendly, but Jennifer has that charisma where she can go, 'Oh, you can't touch me,' but at the same time be, like, 'You're my friend and I'll talk to you.' She's very cool."
Conversely, Han thinks that contestants are going to have trouble connecting with new judge Harry Connick Jr.
Says Han: "I don't know about Harry. I never met him, but he looks really professional and cold and sarcastic [where] you can't be really comfortable. That is going to be tough for a contestant because I know how it goes."
As for Randy Jackson in his new role as mentor, Han has reservations, too.
"I don't know if he can pull it off, because Jimmy [Iovine] is an all-business type of guy and Randy's not like that," he says. "Randy's just really soft."
He does, however, think that the show needs a reboot, saying that season 12 had "talented people, but it wasn't spicy enough." One exception? Winner Candice Glover, who had come out last summer to visit the Idols when they were on tour.
"Last year, she came to one of our tours and she was sitting by herself at the table and nobody was talking to her," he said. "She is a quiet girl. She's the shyest girl and she was on our season and got cut off at the last second during Las Vegas week and everyone was surprised. I never had a chance to talk to her, but Jessica Sanchez and DeAndre Brackensick were really close to her. Candice came on tour and they were keeping her company. But a year later, she won the whole thing and I'm like, 'Damn!' Life just changes. One day, you are visitor on a tour and then you're the winner."
It's been one year since Han entertained the American Idol Live tour with his version of LMFAO's "Party Rock." Does he miss his Idol family?
"When I was on the tour I couldn't wait for it to be over, because even though it's a great opportunity when you are doing 50 cities in three months, it's really tiring," he said. "But when it was over, that's when I realized, I will never have this moment in my life ever again with these people. Now I'm really missing it."
Watch Heejun Han's "Bring the Love Back" video below.