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‘American Idol’: Post-Show Breakdown With the Top 6

The last contestants standing talk celebrity crushes (James's is Steven Tyler?), duets, the royal wedding and "grumpy grandpa" Jimmy Iovine.

lauren alaina scotty mcreery top 6 duet
Michael Becker / FOX
Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

After exploring recent hits with last week’s Songs From the 21st Century theme, American Idol contestants jumped back decades for a tribute to Carole King on Wednesday night. The Top 6 had plenty to say about the songs they picked by the legendary songwriter when they talked with reporters after the show. They also scooped on preparing their duets, their celebrity crushes and what they would sing if picked as the entertainment for Friday’s Royal Wedding.

On their song choices for Wednesday’s episode:

Scotty McCreery: My mom kind of raised me on James Taylor 'cause she loves him so much. He was actually my first concert. “You’ve Got a Friend” was one of his big songs that Carole wrote, so it just seemed right.

James Durbin: I was looking at the list, and I saw “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and I was like, "Wait, I think I know that song!" So I looked it up and listened to it, and I just felt that immediate connection like I do with every single other one of my songs. I had this vision for it. I just felt it and ran with it.

Casey Abrams:They showed me “Hi-De’Ho,” and I was like: “You know what? This is bluesy, and I’m into it.” I knew that was my only choice and I stuck with it.

Haley Reinhart: Somebody told me about “Beautiful,” and it didn't take much for me to fall in love with it. I listened to the words, and they're just so motivational and inspiring, and I write music like that so I was like, “Oh, this is it.” And I had the vision to get brass in it finally; I love the big band feel. It was just something I was really into and felt. I loved it.

Lauren Alaina: “Where You Lead” was on Gilmore Girls. That’s how I knew it.

Jacob Lusk: I needed to find a song where I wasn’t just singing a Carole King song, where I sang one of her songs and made it my own. It’s trying to find a song that I could really make my own, and when I heard “Oh No Not My Baby,” it was like, “Oh! We could start it slow, and I could scat, and I could put some jazz in there,” and it worked out, and I was able to make it mine. So it wasn’t just me singing a Carole King song. I think it became me singing a song that could potentially be on one of my records.

Lauren, on her impromptu serenade to an audience member: I wanted a cute guy up there. He's an intern for American Idol, and they said if he looked like he enjoyed it, he couldn't get fired because he's not getting paid. So it just worked out! I don't really know him.

On preparing to sing the duets:

Haley:I feel like we threw those babies together a lot faster, and we didn’t have as much time. You’re not preparing for that one as much as you are for your real song.

Casey: The minus is that we didn’t get that much time, and we didn’t know the song as well as we should. But the positive is that it’s fresh in our minds, and you get onstage and it just feels new and feels fun.

On feeling torn between the producers’ and judges’ advice:

Casey: Nigel says this, Jimmy will say this, the judges will say something completely different. You don’t even get to talk to them. They have completely different opinions, so you just have to do this big balancing act.

Haley: There’s a lot of opinions, and they can eat you up. A lot of them are contradictory, so that’s the part that gets me, but you gotta just think about the parts you want to take in and meet in the middle somewhere and do what you feel as well.

Lauren: “It’s ultimately your choice, but I’m just telling you what America’s gonna want”  — I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that one!

On working with Jimmy Iovine:

Jacob:I felt a lot more support this go-round. I didn't feel like it was kind of just like a snark attacking like "Do this!" It was more like "You guys are here, and whether I like it or not, I love you guys and I wanna make the best out it that we can do." And I feel like jimmy is a partner now. I don't just see him as the guy who was just trying to be mean to us. He's a partner, and he's trying to make it happen for us.

Scotty: For our first episode, it was like Jimmy Big Man on Campus. We were intimidated as we walk in. Now it’s kind of like a relationship, and we get it right.

Casey: He’s like that grumpy grandfather that really knows best for you.

Lauren:He’s going to love you for calling him a grandfather. Don’t get upset if you get knocked off!

On what they would perform at Prince William and Kate’s wedding:

Casey: I would probably sing “Who Let the Dogs Out.”

Jacob: I’m obsessed with the U.K. I love Princess Diana. I cried during her funeral, and I was only 9 or 10 when that happened. At the wedding, I would sing “I Believe in You and Me.” That’s my favorite song.

On their celebrity crushes:

James: Steven Tyler.

Haley: Johnny Depp, please!

Lauren: Johnny Depp, mmhmm.

Casey:I don’t know why – Ke$ha. But that’s like my guilty pleasure. Esperanza Spalding is the perfect woman. Just putting it out there.

Jacob: Honestly, I love Raven-Symone. We would have beautiful babies.