Why Kristen O'Connor Ditched Her In-Ear Device on 'American Idol'
The top 13 singer reveals what America has yet to discover about her, and what Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry told her during Randy Jackson's workshop.
If any part of Kristen O'Connor's American Idol journey was a disaster, it wasn't her song choice, but faulty production.
When The Hollywood Reporter about her about choosing to ditch the in-ear monitors just before performing Kelly Clarkson’s "Beautiful Disaster," O’Connor revealed that she didn't hear Harry Connick Jr. critique Dexter Roberts use of the device, as she was "backstage in my own world," she said.
"At all our rehearsals everything was great, and then while I was singing up there, there was a click-track that was playing through the in-ear monitor like a metronome," she told reporters on Friday during a conference call. "I think it might have been for someone else’s song or something, because it was off beat. It was really loud, louder than all the instrumentals, and louder than my vocal. It was extremely distracting, so I had to take it out just to get through the song. But I think I pushed through it."
Looking back on her Idol journey, the wildcard pick wishes America got a chance to see her conversation with Adam Lambert at Randy Jackson’s workshop about rude online commenters. "He was like, 'Kristen, you just can't read that stuff…People are going to say things…they do it to everyone,'" she said. "Until up until this point, none of us have ever experienced anything like that ... that advice was definitely helpful for me going through this." She added that Lambert also helped her with song choices and approach, while Chris Daughtry gave advice about staging, movement, microphone techniques, and how not to be the one holding up your fingers with your number, begging for votes.
"I had the highlight of my life when I got to sing for him," she said of Daughtry. "He was really excited about it. His advice for me…'we don’t even need to help you…you just killed it.' I’m sad that America didn’t see that because everyone behind the scenes said I did really good. It was such a bummer."
She also wishes she got to show off her guitar skills, "because that is more of who I am. And some more upbeat stuff, because I think America only saw one side of me, which is unfortunate."
So was her final song choice of "Beautiful Disaster" her own? "I had taken advice from production and people on the show, although I did come to agree with them that it was a good choice. When I sang the song for my vocal coaches, Randy Jackson and the executive producers, they all told me it was a great choice, and so I felt confident with it ... I don’t regret doing it. I am happy with the way it turned out."
O'Connor hopes to record a soulful R&B album, continue uploading singing videos, and explore acting and theater opportunities. Still, "singing in front of people who love you is an incredible feeling," she said. "That’s what I live for."