'American Idol' eliminee Alex Preston: I wasn't in top shape at all
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/19/2014
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.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Alex talked about his Idol experience. Below is a portion of Alex's interview. Click here to read another portion, and check back with Reality TV World soon for more.
You met Jason Mraz through Alex and Sierra, the winners of The X Factor's most recent season. So how did you meet Alex and Sierra initially?
Alex Preston: They actually messaged me on Twitter and said that they dug my style and wanted to meet up, and then it kind of clicked from there. We hang out all the time now, and like, go to the movies and hang out at their apartment and stuff. They're really good friends of mine and Caleb also and [Sam Woolf]. We're all really tight with them.
When Alex and Sierra were on The X Factor, their act sang "Say Something" and you also did a rendition of that song this season. Did you take that into consideration at all when you chose to perform it or did Alex and Sierra's performance not even cross your mind?
Alex Preston: It actually didn't cross my mind. Before I sang that, I didn't know that they had sung it as well. But I looked it up on YouTube and they killed it, so it's cool that we have such similar styles in music and taste in music.
What's on the horizon for you now?
Alex Preston: I am hoping to get into the studio and record an album, and I definitely want to write with as many artists as I can and songwriters that I can. I really want to start collaborating and working the wave of publicity that American Idol has offered me and start using it for the future.
Coming into the Idol competition -- besides winning -- did you set any personal goals for yourself that you really wanted to achieve while you were on the show?
Alex Preston: I mean, I always set smaller goals while I was on the show, like, when I was in the Top 30, I just wanted to make it to the [Top] 13 and then to the 10 and the tour. And once I made it to the Top 3, I was just like, "Wow, this is the Top 3 of American Idol. No matter what happens, this is really awesome."
And so, once I hit Top 3, I just really started thinking about a couple months from now and where I want to be, and I'm now starting to set some more long-term goals for the future outside of the television show.
Although it wasn't really mentioned on the air, you were really sick when performing Wednesday night. How tough was that? Did you feel it had affected any of your performances at any point, and why didn't you mention it on the show?
Alex Preston: Yeah, I mean, I didn't have any vocal hemorrhages or anything, but I wasn't in top shape at all. I'm on a couple antibiotics and steroids for my asthma. But I mean, I don't know, it didn't really -- well, it kind of affected it, like I could feel the strain in my voice, but I knew that that's what happens and I just had to push through it.
How many instruments do you play, 12?
Alex Preston: Something like that, I think.
How did you learn all those instruments? Did you take lessons for any of them or did you just naturally pick them up by ear?
Alex Preston: I never really took lessons. I took maybe, like, three or four guitar lessons in my life and, like, two or three vocal lessons. But that's about it. Well, when I was younger, I actually took violin and piano, but that was when I was like really young. And after that, I kind of just fell in love with learning new instruments and really writing songs on new instruments.
I thought it brought a really interesting flavor to songwriting with all the different tones -- like mandolin, ukulele, all these different things. Yeah, I just love buying weird, exotic instruments and messing around with them. It's one of my favorite things to do probably.
You remind me a lot of Casey Abrams. Will we be seeing you use any of those instruments on the tour?
Alex Preston: Actually (laughs) I was just on the phone with Casey, that's cool. He's the man. But I do want to pull out as many instruments as I can on the tour, for sure.
You were just talking to Casey? That's ironic. What did he say to you?
Alex Preston: Yeah, I mean, we're really good friends and we've hung out a bunch of times. He's like one of the coolest dudes and he just called me up to say that he was proud of me and that we should jam this weekend. (Laughs)
The judges labeled you a real artist all season long, and when you played drums and stuff during your performance of "Pompeii," Jennifer said you elevated yourself to another level. How does that make you feel, when the judges give you such great feedback about your musical artistry?
Alex Preston: I think it's awesome. I love hearing that because that is what I wanted to give off this season, is kind of an original vibe. And the fact that the judges were picking up on it and America was picking up on it, it meant a lot to me and made me think that I was doing something right. (Laughs)
What were your expectations when you auditioned forAmerican Idol and began the process, and how has that changed now that you've made it to the Top 3?
Alex Preston: When I first auditioned, I never expected to even make it through. But Top 3, I mean, it flew by, man. It's a dream come true and I can't wait to see what's next.
Have you gotten much sleep since the show?
Alex Preston: Um, (laughs) not too much.
What was it like performing an original song on the show?
Alex Preston: Playing original music on the show was definitely an amazing opportunity. It was in front of millions of people and that's your own lyrics and composition that you're playing.
It's a really cool feeling, and I think that original music being allowed on a national television show, like American Idol, is kind of awesome and pushes [the show] to the next level. Because it starts to show the artistry in all of the singers, and I think that's a good thing.
What did you learn about yourself during your American Idol journey?
Alex Preston: I learned a lot about myself as a performer and a musician and as an artist, like, we worked with so many professionals in pretty much every aspect of the performance.
I never knew that there was this much that went into something like this, like, meeting with choreography and stylists and the vocal coaches and the arrangement coaches. It was an absolutely insane and educational experience for sure.
Above is a portion of Alex's interview. Click here to read another portion, and check back with Reality TV World soon for more.