By Liane Bonin
March 24, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
  • TV Show

Image credit: American Idol: Ray Mickshaw

Hawaiian Punch

Catching up with ”AI” finalist Camile Velasco — The island girl ”Idol” wannabe admits she’s feeling a lot homesick

Camile Velasco may be a small-town girl from Haiku, Maui, but so far she’s been singing like a pro on ”American Idol,” even winning praise from the notoriously cranky Simon Cowell. Here’s what the 18-year-old IHOP waitress told about what’s making her homesick and why she thinks the roughest part of the competition is already over.

SHE MISSES HER ISLAND Hollywood is not without its charms, but Velasco, who grew up on the Hawaiian island of Maui, may prefer a slower pace. ”I come from a small town, so this is a totally different lifestyle compared to what I’m used to back home. I’m definitely homesick. I miss the clear skies and the millions of stars and my family.”

STICKS AND STONES CAN’T BREAK HER BONES While the judges haven’t given Velasco the drubbing that they’ve dished out to other finalists, she says she can handle whatever they throw at her: ”They’ve been pretty cool to me, but I always try to use negative energy and channel it into positivity to better myself.”

SHE’S COASTING Surprisingly, Velasco feels that the worst of the competition is long over. ”The hardest part was the auditions. Now it’s just getting more and more amazing. And I love that I’m getting so much support from people I don’t even know.”

SHE’S MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME Though Velasco only started singing professionally two years ago and has never had formal training, she intends to make music her career goal no matter what happens on ”Idol,” though that may include a pit stop at college for a music degree. ”About three years ago I started writing music, and that’s where my passion is. I want to become a singer, but if I can’t do what I love on stage, I definitely want to be behind the scenes.”

Image credit: Amy Adams: Ray Mickshaw
OUR AMY IS TRUE Adams says she may tone down the hair, but her funky style will remain

Chasing Amy

Checking in with ”AI” finalist Amy Adams — The pink-haired ”Idol” wannabe says she’s ready to lose the neon tresses

It’s hard to stand out against competition like Fantasia and LaToya, but ”American Idol” contestant Amy Adams has made at least one flashy statement — with her hair. talked to the Bakersfield, Calif., hairstylist about that darned ‘do, why she’ll always stand out, and why she’s open to changes — both big and small.

SHE’S SO OVER THE PINK While her neon coif has helped her stand out from the crowd, Adams (and ”AI” hairstylist Dean Banowetz) fears the ‘do may remind viewers of previous pink-haired (and eliminated) contestants Vanessa Olivarez and Nikki McKibbin. Adams and Banowetz are now considering slowly changing her hair color to a more natural shade. She says, ”I think Dean wants to break the pink-hair curse and hopefully make me a winner. And I trust him. He’s a great guy.”

SHE’S PLAYING THE WACKY CARD Even without pink hair, the 24-year-old — who counts making weird voices and noises among her talents — feels her silly side will impress viewers. ”I have a very different style of voice, and a different personality. So, regardless of the hair, that side of me will come out.”

SHE STILL WANTS TO BE FUNKY… Don’t expect her clothing to become more mainstream, even if her hair does. ”I kind of do what I want stylistically. I can wear skirts with little tennis shoes and still feel very feminine.”

Image credit: Leah Labelle: Ray Mickshaw/FOX
SOB STORY Seventeen-year-old LaBelle says, ”If I wanna cry, I’m gonna cry”

Cry Her a River

Like it or not — teary ”Idol” finalist Leah LaBelle says she’ll cry if she wants to

Leah LaBelle, the 17-year-old ”American Idol” contender from Seattle, has made more of an impression with viewers for bursting into tears than with her singing. In the first of our interviews with the spring 2004 finalists, she talked with about her emotional outbursts, her personal style, and what she’s willing to cut (if she makes the cut) in the coming weeks.

You’ve gotten flak for crying after initially failing to make the final 12. How do you feel about that?
A lot of people have taken my emotions as immaturity, a sign that I’m not old enough to be in this competition. Whatever. I feel what I feel. If I wanna cry, I’m gonna cry — regardless of who watches me. They can take it how they want to take it.

But it must do a number on your ego.
It hurts, because I’m a very sensitive person, which is why my emotions spill easily. It’s hard for me to hold them in sometimes. But I’m human. And when you’re so close to your dream and this is what you’ve worked for for 17 years, of course you’re gonna cry. What do you expect me to do, laugh?

What’s your favorite type of music?
I really like the whole urban, hip-hop kind of thing. I’m also into the ’80s thing. I’m kind of all over the map.

What’s in your CD player right now?
Beyoncé’s ”Dangerously in Love.” She’s always in my CD player.

How do you stand out among the finalists?
I don’t think any of us are alike in this competition. I’m an R&B singer, which is different. We’re all individuals, and that’s what makes us all stand out.

Everyone on this show gets a makeover. Are you ready?
I’m really looking forward to getting a new style. I want to have some say in it, but it’ll be fun. I might change my hair. I’m cool with it being cut, but we’ll see.

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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