'American Idol' Burning Questions: Who's Funnier, Heejun Han or Will.I.Am? How Serious Was Phillip Phillips' Surgery?
Plus: what size pants does Colton Dixon wear? THR gets to the bottom of this week's hot topics.
One thing we learned during Wednesday’s episode of American Idol? The early 1990s were not kind to pop singers. Most of the finalists readily admitted that they struggled with choosing a song for this week’s theme -- hits from the year of their birth -- which made for a few head-scratching performances. And, of course, there was plenty of drama playing out backstage, too. Jermaine Jones ouster aside, here are 12 more hot topics concerning the season 11 finalists.
Was Phillip Phillips’ kidney stone procedure serious?While the condition certainly is, Phillip says last week’s surgery was a quick, outpatient affair. “It didn't take too long, maybe 15 to 20 minutes at the most, but I do have to get another big one done.” For now, he says he’s “pushing the whole thing off for a little while” as he continues to compete on Idol. And he always has roommate and bestie Heejun Han to lean on. “We ended up sleeping in the same bed together I had to take care of him all night long,” Heejun cracked after Wednesday night’s show. “He was having a painful moment where I just had to be right next to him.”
Who’s funnier, Will.I.Am or Heejun Han? “Whatever, he had a really weird haircut,” says Heejun of the Black Eyed Peas singer. The two went toe-to-toe on the funny. “He spoke Korean to me. Like he was trying to teach Korean to a Korean person, which was ironic. I couldn't understand anything he was saying.”
What size are Colton’s Dixon’s pants? Shockingly, the chicken-legged singer is a size 30. “If you get into a skinny, skinny jean, it's a 32, believe it or not,” he said with a laugh. “Actually, I was born a chubby baby and I think I was just stretched out from there. I haven't grown a pound since.”
What other songs did DeAndre Brackensick consider singing?“Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,” “Can we Talk?,” “Water Runs Dry,” “I'll Make Love to You,” “I Swear” -- so many that were just horrible,” he says. “It was a horrible day.” In the end, he chose “Endless Love” because it was a song he was familiar with. “I was hoping that maybe it showed my vocal range.”
What trick was Shannon Magrane holding in her proverbial back pocket?“The judges weren't expecting me to do that high note,” she explained. “And I was kind of like, ‘OK, here, boom! I'm bringing this to the table!’”
Were Jessica Sanchez’z glitter-tastic pants her first find? “Soyon our stylist presented them to me,” the 16-year-old reveals, but they weren’t her first choice. “They're amazing. I went through a couple dresses and there was one I was going to wear but we had extra time so we just tried on some stuff. That’s how it became my outfit.”
Was Erika Van Pelt tempted to sing the 2002 DJ Sammy version of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven?” Of course, she says, “because it's a bit more current and more people of the younger generation have heard it. And obviously, it would have shown a totally different side of me, which may have shocked some people, but I wanted to stay true to the song and not take too many liberties. Plus, 1985 was the Bryan Adams version.” Added Skylar Laine: “And I made her listen to Jason Aldean's version of it, too.”
Was Skylar Laine feeling out of her element in the presence of Jimmy Iovine and Will.I.Am? “Will actually got me as soon as I sang the first time,” she says of the laborious song selection process (she ultimately went with Bonnie Raitt). “When Jimmy started playing all this stuff, Will looked at me kind of, like, ‘Nah, this is her.’ Jimmy was just trying to help me but I thought it was a great choice and I was really happy that I didn't do like, ‘I'm the Only One’ or ‘Piece of My Heart’ -- they've been done before.”
Was “When a Man Loves a Woman” a staple of Ledet’s pre-Idol repertoire? “I actually didn't know the song, I just knew of it,” says the Louisiana finalist who was gifted a giant tub of crawfish, which he says was “done exactly right -- the right spices, tomatoes, corn everything! … I learned the song that week and the amazing Michael Orland and Peisha McPhee helped me with the arrangement, the key, the modulation and falsetto. At the end of the day, it worked out and the judges really liked it.” No kidding.
Is Elise Testone wearing her heart on her face? It seems the main criticism of the raspy-voiced singer is that her facial expressions tell too much of a story -- and it's not a happy ending. What does the 28-year-old have to say about it? "I was upset and frustrated because when I watched the Whitney Houston week performance back I thought I did a really good job. So I was confused: like, are they messing with me?" Still, she learned a key lesson from the experience. "The biggest thing for me is to remember that people are watching and when I'm upset, it can be mistaken for angry. That's something I need to learn my whole life."
What’s up with Hollie Cavanagh’s brothers? No on-air love or a show of support for the little sister with the big voice? “My brothers are crazy we just joke around all the time,” Hollie laughed after the show of their camera shot, which showed the guys assessing her rousing performance as so-so. Asked whether a playful slap was due, she said, “I'm not gonna playfully slap them, I'm gonna hit them!”