'American Idol' eliminee Alex Preston: I never expected to get here at all
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/20/2014
American Idol's thirteenth season eliminated Alex Preston and determined the competition's Top 2 finale contestants during Thursday night's live results show on Fox.
Alex, a 20-year-old from Mont Vernon, NH, became the eleventh finalist sent home from American Idol after he had received the fewest home viewer votes cast following the Top 3 performance show, which had featured each finalist singing three songs each -- mentor Randy Jackson's pick, the judges' pick, and a song selected for each contestant by his or her hometown.
What would you say you learned from this experience?
Alex Preston: I've learned a lot about myself and a lot about, like, the music industry, I guess. I think that being an American Idol really pushes a lot of aspects about the music industry at you in a really short amount of time.
So it all comes really fast and, you know, I learned that there's so much more that goes into performing than what I originally thought. And it's definitely helped me get a lot of confidence in myself and in my performance, especially compared to when I first started out, so it's been amazing.
How do you think you will evolve as an artist? Do you see yourself always performing or maybe starting to write songs for other artists out there?
Alex Preston: All I want to do, well, my main thing is definitely performing. I want to perform for the rest of my life, but I also do want to strive to do songwriting with other artists, because that's so fun -- to collaborate with other artists, and it's still a great way to express yourself and share different ideas with people who are doing the same things as you.
So you met your girlfriend Jillian Jensen during Hollywood Week. How did the rules of dating and starting a relationship change when you're in a situation as unique and stressful as American Idol?
Alex Preston: I mean, it's hard because we're on opposite sides of the country. But it works out because, you know, we're both musicians and we can always talk, Skype and she comes out to shows a lot. And I'm going to be going home before the tour, so it does suck because we can't see each other as much as we'd like to, but you know, we're both in the same industry. So, we both understand.
Jillian was on The X Factor a few seasons ago. Did she have any unique advice for you about being on a reality singing competition?
Alex Preston: I mean, yes, she always kind of kept me -- like I would always be really, like, "Oh, I did horrible," or like, "I'm leaving this week," and she would always be completely honest with me whether it be a good thing or a bad thing. [She'd] tell me what she honestly thought, and she helped me through a lot in that aspect, so that kept me going.
Jessica Meuse had told us that the one week you guys were going to be able to choose your own original songs to perform, they made a last-minute switch and ditched the idea. How was that, trying to learn a song producers had picked out for you with such short notice?
Alex Preston: That was tough, but you know, we were all going to play an original song. But then we had to switch it to a different song last minute, but I feel like it's the name of the game. It's just part of the business. There's always last-minute changes that you need to be prepared for, but it was tough, but we all made it through.
I read that Dexter Roberts and some of the other finalists are planning to move to Nashville. Are you planning any type of move?
Alex Preston: I do want to move to either Nashville or Los Angeles -- or maybe even New York City -- but I'm not quite sure which one yet. I have some thinking to do.
Do you have one favorite memory from your whole experience?
Alex Preston: Well the home visit was incredible, like, especially when I played the concert at the end. There were thousands and thousands of people in this arena, and I really got to show people who I really am, you know, outside of the show. That was probably the coolest experience for me.
When you first performed on the Idol stage, what was running through your mind?
Alex Preston: I honestly was just... incredibly nervous, but I was also really excited. Because being onstage is where I can really show who I am, so I was excited to show America what I could do, and I was glad I got that opportunity.
Throughout the whole competition, it was very obvious that you and [Sam Woolf] were very good friends. Do you plan on someday making a collaboration with him?
Alex Preston: Yeah, totally. I mean, we're already talking about it, and hopefully we can do some stuff on tour as well. A lot of people have really, really been pushing for us to get something out there together, so hopefully that works out. I'm sure we're going to collaborate.
Was it overwhelming to go home and see the tremendous support you've been receiving from your community?
Alex Preston: It was, but it was a good kind of overwhelming. It was probably the coolest thing that's ever happened to me, especially the parade and the concert and the hometown thing. It was just absolutely insane.
Idol brought a doctor onstage during Wednesday night's show to talk about Caleb's issue with his vocal cords, and it kind of got mentioned an awful lot. But you were sick too and that didn't come up at all. Was it your decision to keep a lid on that?
Alex Preston: I just didn't really want to say anything really, I don't know. I remember Harry during Hollywood Week was like, "Don't tell us you're sick because that will take our attention away from the performance."
So yeah, I mean, I wasn't as sick as Caleb obviously -- because he had the vocal hemorrhages and stuff -- but I wasn't completely there. But I didn't want people to know during the performance.
Any final remarks, Alex?
Alex Preston: I just want to thank y'all for asking all these questions and taking your time to do. I also want to thank all my fans, who have gotten me to this point. I never expected to get here at all, so I love you guys, and please continue to follow my updates on Twitter... and Instagram. Also, definitely come out on tour and rock out with us. I really appreciate it.
Above is a portion of Alex's Friday conference call with reporters. Click here and here to read more.
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