'American Idol' Burning Questions: Is Colton Dixon Mad at James Durbin? Was Jimmy Iovine Too Harsh? Is Heejun Han for Real?
Plus: Who's planning to croon a Justin Bieber song? The answers might surprise you.
Wednesday night’s American Idol certainly had its share of ups, downs, hits and major misses. But it’s only the beginning for these 13 finalists who hope to see many weeks of competition ahead. Can they hack the harsh judgments, as Shannon Magrane had to? Can they handle the criticism from fellow Idol grads, as Colton Dixon is experiencing right now? And how about strategy, does Phillip Phillips have one or is he just flying by the seat of his pants (jeans, almost exclusively). We’ve got answer to your burning questions below...
What did Colton Dixon make of James Durbin’s tweet and subsequent comments suggesting the season 11 finalist was copying a performance from the previous year? "Honestly, I was good friends with James last year, made it to the Top 40 with him and I have nothing but respect for him," Colton told The Hollywood Reporter. "And you know, any press is good press." Added Jeremy Rosado with a laugh: "Besides, his hair goes to this side, while James' goes to the left."
Were the judges’ comments the longest 90 seconds of Shannon Magrane’s life? No matter how hard she tried, the 16-year-old from Tampa could not pull off Whitney. "It's OK, I mean, [the judges] have all been told 'no' before," she said after the show. "It’s gonna happen if you want to grow and learn... I just had a really off night, but everyone knows that I can sing really well. This just wasn't my week."
Did DeAndre really have a "breakdown," as Ryan Seacrest described it, or was he just really emotional? "That's the word I would use,” the 17-year-old told THR. "The emotions were pretty strong because last week I was number 13 to be picked and it was emotional. Even Top 40, I was towards the end. Top 60, I was towards the end. Always being towards the end and trying to fight for the spot is a lot to handle. So yeah, I broke down."
Were the judges and Jimmy Iovine too hard on Elise Testone? "My feelings were hurt," the 28-year-old admitted. "I tried to do the best I could. I feel like if I had a bit more time with the song, I would have done much better -- even a couple days. But it's confusing, because they're telling you to be yourself, to put your own spin on it, but they're also saying sing it more like Whitney."
How does Erika Van Pelt’s nickname EVP sit with her? Comfortably, you could say -- it's what she’s been called by her friends in Rhode Island for as long as she can remember. "I was psyched Ryan gave it to me," she said. "I actually respond to that more than Erika because I got that nickname in high school and it's stuck ever since. And I love it. Colton Dixon told me it's a Ghostbusting term, too."
Do the contestants respect Jimmy Iovine’s comments or just fear them? A little bit of both, if you ask Jermaine Jones. "Jimmy goes for the jugular," he said. "The judges always like to be politically correct but Jimmy doesn’t care what anybody says or thinks about him, he's always gonna keep it real. I'm always on edge to hear what Jimmy has to say."
Hollie Cavanaugh looks so cool, calm and collected, is she also riding an emotional rollercoaster like her fellow finalists or on her own track? "The show brings out every emotion that you never even knew you had," she said. "Like in the morning, I was getting really emotional about a hair ‘do! It's such an intense thing and a lot of people don't realize how hard you work every day."
Would any of the guys have performed a Whitney Houston by choice? Ding, ding, ding, Joshua Ledet. "I wanted to sing 'I Will Always Love You' and was hoping that no one would pick it so I could perform it later this year," he said. Now he has his sights set on another dream: "Tina Turner night -- you could rock to that and she has ballads. It would be awesome for the competition."
Did Heejun Han purposely misspell Jimmy Iovine’s last name ("Iveen") and Mary J. Blige’s first ("Marry")? "He has a really weird last name," said Heejun, who claims he didn’t realize he was writing either name wrong. "Dude, you are not a smart Asian," cracked co-contestant and roommate Phillip Phillips.” Heejun stands by his gift. "I was going to bring him a towel or soap, but he has everything," he says. "But he doesn’t have a picture of me!"
Will Heejun ever sing anything other than a ballad? "I feel comfortable with singing slow songs because I can express myself more," he explained, but promises something up-tempo is on the way, perhaps by… Justin Bieber? "I like 'Baby, Baby,'" he said without a hit of irony (shocker!).
Is Phillip Phillips employing a strategy or just winging it? "I'm just up there trying to have fun," he answered nonchalantly. "I'm not about the image, I'm all about the music… I'm not worried about people if they like it or not. If they like it, that's cool; if they don't, that's cool, too. They can vote for whoever they want to that's the beauty of it."