• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

'American Idol:' Post-Show Breakdown with the Top 13

Paul McDonald critiques Ryan Seacrest's dance moves, Naima talks style and Karen Rodriguez ponders the future: "You can be a winner and in a couple years, nobody remembers who you are. Or you could be in seventh place, win an Oscar and be in 'Dreamgirls.' "

naima idol top 13 performance
Ray Mickshaw / FOX
Naima performs Rihanna's "Umbrella"

After a quick post-show dinner (20 minutes to be exact), the Top 13 sat down with reporters for a quick recap of performance night. In one corner, teen hopefuls Lauren Alaina and Thea Megia leaned on each other for emotional support. In another, James Durbin (his dream theme: 80s night!) and Casey Abrams looked relieved following their turns on the big stage. The chattiest of the bunch? Stefani Langone, Karen Rodriguez and Ashthon Jones -- no surprises there. Their thoughts on the first finalist showdown, which was taped on Tuesday and aired Wednesday? Read on… 

On working with professional producers…   Jacob Lusk: I feel like it’s a complete 100% collaboration, if you let it. I think you can allow someone to run you over, but they allow you to pick the song and they ask you, are you happy with this? Because they don't want it to come back on them.    Casey: They're like therapists in that way because when you sing an off note or you're just not feeling it, they'll say, “You wanna try that over again?” Or, “try it this way…” So they'll make you feel comfortable and you get the 50-50 collaboration.    Stefano: It’s their name too that’s on the line. They're not just doing it for us; they're trying to make us look good and themselves as well… so it's really cool to get that chemistry going. Knowing that you both really want to succeed makes for a great product.   On their Idol style:   Stefano: We have the coolest, best stylists. We go out and shop and they put us in the sickest gear so we're always looking stylish. We just put it in their hands and they make us look good.    Casey: They help us find our own personal style rather than taking pieces from somebody else’s. They take into consideration who we like and admire but it all culminates in who we are.   Naima: A lot of people know that I design my own dresses and I come with my own flavor and style, but being able to work side-by-side with the stylists has been amazing. [Soyon] took me to this shop today that was like straight African garb with couture flare that was just off the chain.   Karen: For me, I love Selena and I was singing a Selena song so this outfit was inspired by her. I sketched out what I wanted and gave it to Soyon and she actually got the fabric to make it. I loved it. Whatever you want, they'll do their best to fit who you are.    On living together:   Haley Reinhart: One shower and seven girls!    Ashthon: We've been living together for four days now. I don't think it's been a problem. It's been really cool. We all get along. It's not like America thinks, but it is one shower… We work it out. It's been very low drama. It’s more like you might catch us in a jam session.    Jacob: We’ve kind of already been living together because the season has been so long and we've done so much before you guys see us today. So we all kind of know each other. We're a family.    Casey: A dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.   On dream duets:    Jacob: [Selana’s] “Como La Flor!” (Motioning to Karen)    Stefani: Me and Pia doing an Italian song together -- maybe a little Andrea Bocelli?    James: Paul and I write a lot of music together and one day it's going to be time to release that album together.   On Ryan Seacrest’s dance moves:   Paul McDonald: I'm glad he's feeling comfortable now. I thought he would be nervous trying to bust them in front of me.    On what they might have done differently…   Ashthon: I could've picked a song that everyone knew like the judges said -- a song that the crowd can sing along with -- but hopefully I made it my own and America liked how I sang the song, made it mine and made it new in the studio.   Naima: I wish I would've used a little bit more breath control because it's a very hard technique to dance and sing -- you're breathing from two different places. I wish I would've been able to find my breath in certain spots for the singing aspect of it.    Stefano: Girl, you performed the hell out that song! You did it baby.  Naima: I will in the future, I will!  #00:07:49.6#    On who’s their biggest competition:    Jacob: I don't think anybody's really threatened by each other because we're all bring something different to the table. So there is no one where it’s like, “Oh my god, she’s gonna take me down!” It's like we're all here, we all got our own niche and that's why we gel so well together. We haven't thought about who's going home. I believe everyone's focus is on what am I going to do to stay here? I'm not worried about Karen, Stefani or Casey going home, we have to worry about giving our best and making sure America sees us.    Ashthon: I believe we're all going to have great careers after this competition and we believe that and know it inside. It doesn't matter if we go home or if we stay, we love each other, we think everybody is talented and we all want to work with each other after this.   Naima: Our competition is ourselves.    Karen: I'm also thinking about what I want to do after the show. Because you can be a winner and in a couple years nobody remembers who you are. Or you could be in 7th place and win an Oscar and be in Dreamgirls. I feel like American Idol is pretty much a jumpstart to everyone's career. It's what we do after the show that really matters -- how we really use that fire, that flame that we got, all the fanbases and what we do to make it 10 times bigger.