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Season 10 finalist Naima Adedapo was in the house Wednesday for American Idol‘s ’80s theme. Ironically, it was the eleventh place finisher’s reggae-flavored performance of the 1983 Elton John hit “I’m Still Standing” that sent her home, but her dancehall roots bear resemblence to Season 11 contender DeAndre Brackensick, who judge Steven Tyler dubbed “the male Naima” in an early critique.
Adedapo competed last season with Brackensick (who she calls her “little brother”) and current top 10 finalist Colton Dixon in the semifinals, and cheers each of them on weekly on Twitter. Clearly, she’s still very much a fan of the show that gave her a platform to launch her career. Earier this January, it was announced that Adedapo will release an EP and a debut album from Peak Records/One Music later this year.
Adedapo took time out from her recording schedule to discuss her thoughts on the current season of Idol and who she believes may be the one to win the title.
The Hollywood Reporter: If you had to predict the top three finalists, who would it be?
Naima Adedapo: That is so not a nice question, but it would be Jessica Sanchez, Skylar Laine and between Joshua Ledet and Colton Dixon. I love DeAndre too — he is growing and I love his flavor and the way he performs. But with the beastly voices that are in this competition, it’s going to be difficult.
THR: What do you love about Jessica Sanchez?
Adedapo: She’s an amazing performer. Her vocals are flawless and she’s just a sweet person. I think she should win the whole competition. I got to sit down with her and DeAndre at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles the other night and chill out with them for a while.
THR: Is there a bat phone that all Idols have?
Adedapo: Well, DeAndre was on my season, so I kind of took him under my wing like a little brother. He loves reggae and he’s got that spirit you know, so that’s how we ended up hooking up. But I still support them on Twitter. I reach out, and being someone who experienced it, I encourage them to just try and keep it real and keep fighting.
THR: What kind of advice did you give DeAndre?
Adedapo: Just to be more confident; Don’t care what anybody says or thinks about you. Don’t read the blogs because people can be really negative and it will crush you as an artist on a platform like this. He’s really young and I think it’s important to be more confident. Don’t look to try to figure out what somebody is thinking and just relax on stage. I think he did that on Wednesday.
THR: How about the other guys, Josh, Colton and Phillip?
Adedapo: Josh is just ridiculously talented. Like he calls it “Mantasia” and it really is. He pulls it out and that energy, it’s like ridiculous. It’s just awesome. Colton, he was also on last season, so I got to know him a little bit. But he’s just an artist and that’s what I love about him. I think the same of Phillip Phillips, you know what I mean, he’s an artist. They’re not afraid to take certain risks. He knows how he wants to be. It’s really important as an artist to know what it is that you want. I think Phillip Phillips and Colton both have that and Elise as well. Elise, I love her voice, the rasp. I love her voice.
THR: What was it like to be back at the show?
Adedapo: It was wonderful. I got to see everybody. I got my hugs from Steven and J Lo and Randy. It was really awesome. It’s always nice to come back. I feel like I’m returning to family.
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