American Idol revealed its top 10 last night, but after the lights dimmed on the live show, the new crop of contestants and the judges had a chance to speak to the press about the big night and preview the competition to come.
So what did we learn? Here are some highlights:
1. Keith Urban thinks Lazaro could upset the Year of the Girl
Since the early audition rounds, producers and judges have said the girls have a strong chance of breaking the male-winner streak. But while Keith Urban notes the strength of the female lot, he’s not counting out the boys, especially Lazaro Arbos. “There are some really good girls singers, but when you see a guy like Burnell [Taylor] or even more so Lazaro and the way he connects with an audience — he comes out and sings and they go crazy. They love him and the votes have really reflected that,” Urban told reporters.
So could Arbos be the one to upset what’s been referred to by some as the Year of the Girls? “He certainly could be,” says Urban. “But I love that there’s a few in here who could do that if they get the right song and the stars line up. The timing is everything. I hate that [that’s the case] for them. It’s like — you might be the best football team ever, but if you don’t have the game on Super Bowl day that you need, you don’t win. But you could [have] won the day before if you’d played the day before. This show is like that.”
Meanwhile, Arbos admits that his “Bridge Over Troubled Water” performance may have not been his best showing: “Yeah, I was a hot mess with my song tonight. I didn’t get a chance to rehearse it. Therefore, I walked on stage and found out I have to sing, I was like, ‘Oh My God! Uh-Oh.’ So from now on, I just want to get comfortable with performing.”
2. That reveal was awkward for the contestants, too.
EW recapper Annie Barrett wasn’t a fan of the awkwardly formatted top 10 reveal show, saying it lacked suspense and tension for the home audience. But backstage, the biggest problem was an overload of emotions. “I think that was the ugliest walk I’ve ever made because I was in the middle of crying and laughing and just thinking of what’s going on back home right now,” Amber Holcomb joked. “But it was great.” Spanish-speaking singer Devin Velez also admitted to being a little overwhelmed after the big moment. “I got a little woozy, and Ryan had to shake me, ‘Devin, Devin, you have to go on stage.’ And the moment the doors open on stage, I just walked out, and I had to put my face in my hands. I just couldn’t look. It was unbelievable that all those people were clapping for me because they voted for me,” he said. “It was just confirmation of, ‘Devin, you’re here to sing. You were born to sing. We need you to do this.’ So it was like, ‘Alright. I have to do it now.'”
3. A change will do you good
Speaking of Velez, who has made it a point to show off his Spanish skills during his performances thus far, he’s going to skip the Spanish twist next week in an effort to keep his offerings fresh. “I’m not going to make it predictable; I want to catch them by surprise. If you make it predictable, you will get voted off. But I definitely think there will be more coming, just not right now. We’re going to take a break,” he said. “I might [eventually] do a whole Spanish song, too, but I don’t know yet. It’s all up in the air right now.”
4. Even contestants fear the Nicki
Minaj’s side eyes aren’t the only scary thing about this season of American Idol. As contestants prepare to head into the more intense rounds of competition, Minaj’s razor-sharp tongue and bluntness have some of them sweating. “She’s always so honest — but it’s so necessary,” Burnell Taylor told us, after confessing Minaj was the judge whose critiques he’s most fearing. “I can always count on her when it comes to honesty.” Country singer Janelle Arthur echoed the statement, saying despite being Minaj’s beloved “Marshmallow,” she doesn’t consider herself safe. “Even though I know Nicki loves me, I always know that she’s looking for that certain thing that makes her love me. So when she doesn’t see it, I know she’s going to bring it up and she’s going to say, ‘What happened? I didn’t see what I wanted to see,'” said Arthur. “She’s also so unpredictable. I never know what she’s going to do. So, yeah, I’m probably most apprehensive about her.”
5. Just Say No… to Carrie
While we’re talking about Arthur, it’s worth bringing up that this blond country singer is well aware of the comparisons being drawn to that other blonde country singer from Idol, and while flattering, she said she has no plans to cover a Carrie Underwood song. “I’m trying to stay as far away from the Carrie Underwood songs as I can because Carrie is incredible,” she said. “I don’t want to be compared to Carrie — but of course I’m going to be because I’m blonde and country. But our styles are so different, and that’s the good thing about it. Hopefully Nashville has room for another blonde.” One blonde singer’s music she definitely wants a chance to tackle, however? “I hope to perform a Dolly Parton song at some point,” she said.
EW’s Idol recap: