'American Idol': Jess Meuse on Last-Minute Song Changes and That Stage Mom Drama
The top four were supposed to perform original material during Wednesday night's show, the latest eliminated contestant told reporters on Friday.
Jess Meuse may have looked unsure of herself when she performed Pink’s "So What" on Wednesday's episode American Idol, but she has a reason for that. The 23-year-old Alabama native revealed on a conference call with reporters that the top four were supposed to perform original material that night, but producers got cold feet at the last minute.
"It was originally going to be originals, because we are all songwriters," the latest eliminated contestant said of the switch. The remaining finalists were informed on Monday that the original theme was scrapped, and then had to pick a new song that day. "We were all just like, ‘Oh, crap we have to learn another song now.'"
Meuse said that she was fine with touting another cover, since she does so at bars back home, but said, "I would have liked to do originals -- at least one a week, get it out there and push it." Still, she has no regrets about her song choice. "I loved being up there! ... I did a Pink song, I had fire and I had fun all the same."
Plus, there is always the tour to look forward to. Idol alumni like Colton Dixon and Angie Miller were each given the opportunity to perform original material on the summer trek, and Meuse could be afforded the same courtesy. "They better let me do 'Blue Eyed Lie' on the tour," she said. "I really hope so!"
She added that she was humbled by the way Idol fans have reacted to the song's lyrics. "That song is so real to me -- it happened to me, I lived it. Word for word, it’s so honest and so bare, and it’s my soul. It’s like taking my diary and reading it on national television," she said, adding that performing the song on a national platform was a blessing. "For people to actually like it is absolutely amazing ... I couldn’t put it into words if I tried."
Meuse said that Harry Connick, Jr. is her favorite judge, thanks to his guidance. "I like to compare him to somebody up in the stands while you are playing a football game -- you don't see what is about to happen or the things you are doing wrong on the field, but he can see everything and he knows what he is talking about and he has the correct terminology. He can pinpoint things and ultimately help you grow." Keith Urban also gave the songwriter encouragement after Thursday night's show. "Keith mentioned some people talking about me, and I believe he was referring to my songwriting," she said.
Of her career, Meuse said she hopes to collaborate with fellow season-13 contestant Majesty Rose, produce music and design her own cover art, and also try acting, particularly on Supernatural. "I would love to even be the creepy person in the background, looking around for ten seconds!"
She acknowledged that she's had her share of drama, particularly her showdown with Stephanie Hanvey’s mother during Hollywood Week, but she said she is over it. "To be blunt, I really don’t care about that lady. I feel bad that she was so mean like that. I am a strong believer in just being kind to people. Treat people the way you want to be treated ... The edit they gave me made me look kind of snide, and I feel bad about it because I am really not that way, and I didn’t know how to handle that. I just walked away. What do you do when somebody doesn’t let you talk? I mean, I’ve relived it about a billion times now, and it’s all good. It all happened for a reason ... I just hope that she’s happy, and I hope that her daughter is doing well because her daughter is a very sweet girl, and I wish the best for them."
The pressures of Idol has also yielded personal repercussions: Meuse and her boyfriend have broken up. "We have been apart a month," she said, sadly. "I know it’s very stressful. He’s a good guy, but sometimes, situations bring out the worst in people."
Even so, Meuse is ready for the next stage of her career. "I really figured out myself on the stage, ultimately, and I am very proud of that," she said. "I have bigger things ahead of me and I am very sure that I am going to make it happen."