Credit: Ray Mickshaw/

As of a couple weeks ago, American Idol season five alum Ayla Brown wasn’t planning to release her new EP until this April. Then last Tuesday, Jan. 19, her father, Scott Brown, was elected the first Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts in a generation. The next morning, she got a call from her label, Double Deal Brand Records. “They’re like, ‘Hey, we’re going to release the CD,'” the Boston College senior, 21, recalls.”So I had no say in it. We were lucky — it was already done and ready to go.”

Even if it came as a slight surprise, Brown (pictured on Idol in 2006) is glad those political headlines caused Double Deal to rush the Circles EP to market on Jan. 26. “I feel like it’s almost promoting itself in a way after my dad won the election,” she says. “When you’re part of an indie label, every little bit of promotion and publicity will help your music career.”

Read on for Ayla Brown’s thoughts on her American Idol experience, why it’s a mistake for the show to let Simon Cowell leave — and how her father the Senator-elect would fare if he had to face Randy, Kara, and Simon.

On why you should check out her Circles EP:

When I put out my first CD, Forward, I didn’t really have much of a connection with it. The reason I say that is because I only co-wrote two of the 11 songs, just because we had to put it out so quickly due to NCAA basketball rules that I was living under when I was a freshman. This CD I’ve had much more of a part in, in terms of the thought process, the lyric writing, music, everything. It means that much more to me because of that.

On her Idol experience:

Absolutely it was positive. I was 17 at the time. I had only played basketball. Never sang in front of people, except for national anthems at local high school games. So being on stage with a live band was a first for me. Of course I was nervous. Of course there were times I felt I had no idea what I was doing. That was the fun part.

On her fellow Idol season five contestants:

I keep in touch with Ace Young. I saw Paris Bennett actually last year when we were traveling through Minnesota. I was not expecting to see her at all. I catch up with Mandisa from time to time. Katharine McPhee just wrote on my Twitter page, and I haven’t spoken to her since Idol at all. Will Makar, who got eliminated the same night as I did, signed with the same record label as me, so I keep in touch with him a lot.

On whether Idol will work without Simon Cowell:

To be honest, I don’t think so. Which is unfortunate, because Idol is such a great family show. But I think without a Simon persona, the show will not be successful. I just feel as though the past couple years, they’ve tried everything to get the ratings that they did in season four and five, but it just hasn’t worked out as well as they thought. So I think by Simon leaving, it’s going to be a real loss to the show.

On who should replace Cowell:

Me. [Laughs] No, I’m kidding. I don’t know. I think it should definitely be another man. A person like David Foster would be incredible as a judge on that show.

On the current season of Idol:

The only night I missed was the victory night for my dad, that Tuesday. But I’ve seen every other episode.

On whether she’s interested in a political career herself:

No, not in the immediate future. A lot of people have asked me that, because halfway through the campaign I came out and supported my dad at his press conference, because I felt like what his opponent was doing was wrong. But I was really just doing that to support my dad and set the record straight.

On whether her father, Sen.-elect Scott Brown, has any musical talent:

Well, like I said on Idol, I used to think that my dad was Elvis Presley…He thinks that he gave me the singing talent, because he used to sing to my mom’s tummy every day. So I’ll give it to him, why not. [Laughs]

On how her father would fare if he tried out for Idol:

Uh, I don’t think he would do well at all. I haven’t heard him sing in years. I would be very curious to see how that would go.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Photo credit: Ray Mickshaw/