'American Idol's Janelle Arthur: I've been wanting there to be a female idol for a long time
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/23/2013
American Idol eliminated Janelle Arthur during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, determining the twelfth season's Top 4 finalists.
Janelle, a 23-year-old from Oliver Springs, TN, became the sixth finalist sent home from American Idol's twelfth season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 5 female finalists each performing two songs -- one of which was a favorite from the year she was born and the other being a tribute to any female diva.
Janelle's elimination became official after American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Keith Urban announced they were not going to prevent his departure by using their one "The Judges' Save" of the season. The decision would have to be unanimous amongst the judges to utilize the special save, and in Janelle's case, the vote was not.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Janelle talked about her American Idol experience. Below is a portion of her call. To read what she had to tell Reality TV World, click here. Check back with us on Wednesday for more from Janelle's interview.
What do you have planned now, Janelle? What does your future album look like?
Janelle Arthur: I think my future album will definitely be more on the traditional side of country. I definitely think that there's room for some more rootsy-country music to come back into play. A lot of the females right now are doing more of the pop-country thing, so I definitely want to do what makes sense for me and for my life and for my raising.
And I think that's definitely something more traditionally country, but at the same time, finding that same balance of making it current and radio-worthy, if you will.
When you first sang in front of the big Idol audience, what was running through your head?
Janelle Arthur: I was performing in front of big audiences, so it was actually really exciting. That's when I felt more at home I think, was when I was performing in front of the big audience.
What's your reaction to the fact there's finally going to be a female Idol winner for the first time in six years?
Janelle Arthur: I've been wanting there to be a female idol for a long time -- even though I've loved all the guys who have won -- but I definitely know that it's time for a female to win. And the best part about it is I'm such good friends with every single one of these girls that America can't go wrong with any of them. So I'm just very happy that it's going to be a female this time.
You got some nice words of encouragement from Dolly Parton. How did that get to you? Was it via text or a phone call? Did somebody pass it on to you, and what's your reaction to what she said?
Janelle Arthur: It was actually just shown to me on the show. That was the only way that I saw it and I don't know how she got it to them, but they showed it on the screen behind me. My reaction to that is just feeling very thankful.
The fact that she reached out to me and she took the time to do that, I'm just very honored to do her song and the fact that she wanted to say something to me about it, that really meant the world.
You mentioned being such good friends with everybody. I wanted to ask you how you guys were able to remain such good friends despite the fact that this is such an intense competition?
Janelle Arthur: Well, you know what? I just think somehow this group of girls in particular, we're just not out -- I just think we're not out to get each other. It's just strange. All of us are just really laid back, I mean, it's crazy.
The girls and I were talking; I think we were more laid back than some of the guys. They had a little more energy than some of us, I think. It was so funny. I think that we just all really love each other, and we've gotten to know each other so well throughout this whole thing and we just don't think of it as a competition. We know that it is, but at the same time, we still want the best for each other.
With the judges' table being almost all new this year, what did you think about the dynamics among the judges?
Janelle Arthur: You know what? I actually really loved this panel. From the beginning, they made me feel so comfortable. I didn't feel intimated by them at the beginning and that really meant a lot to me. Especially doing this two years in a row and then coming back for my third year, it felt really nice to just walk in there and feel at home and not intimidated.
So you are a big Keith Urban fan. I remember you saying earlier in the season how excited you were that he was on the show. Are you guys going to keep in touch and are you going to have him kind of mentor you throughout the rest of your career? Are you planning to at least keep him posted on what you're doing?
Janelle Arthur: I really hope that he would want to be a part of that. I don't know. I don't know if he would. I'd hope he is wanting to stay in touch with me. That would really mean a lot, because like I told him last night, definitely I feel like I was his biggest fan there at the show and just really looked up to him. So I would definitely hope to keep in touch with him, if not work with him in the future.
You said that you want to kind of go back to roots country. Is there a specific country artist that comes to mind whom you might like to model yourself after?
Janelle Arthur: It's just so hard because it's kind of the mixture, because you have to find that balance of what's old school but what works for today. I think if you could mix Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Jewel all together, I think that would kind of be what I'm going for.
Do you think there's a side of Janelle that America didn't get to see that you wish you could've shown everyone?
Janelle Arthur: You know what, I think I got to show every side I wanted to, luckily. So I'm really glad that I got to do that. I really got to show my softer side with "I Will," I got to show my guitar with "Keep Me Hangin' On" and my ability to work the stage with a lot of my faster songs.
So I kind of feel like everybody saw almost every side of me, other than maybe my ability to write songs. They didn't get to see that because I didn't do an original song on the show. But other than that, I feel great about being able to really showcase myself.
Did you ever get your boots back from Nicki?
Janelle Arthur: Yes, I did get my boots back from Nicki, but I think they had to chase her down and take them off her feet.
You said that you wanted to stick to some more of the old-school country. Could you ever see yourself doing a collaboration with maybe some more pop-country stars like Taylor Swift?
Janelle Arthur: I absolutely would. I would love to collaborate with all kinds of artists, not just country artists on the traditional side. But I just know that for my main album, that's what I definitely want to do for myself.
Who's your dream collaboration?
Janelle Arthur: You know, I would love to collaborate of course with Vince Gill. He's number one on my list. I love Shania Twain and then of course Dolly. Dolly's just kind of a no-brainer for me.
You are probably one of the best students of the show. I understand you know everything about almost every season?
Whom do you think is left in the competition that's probably going to make the most strategically perfect decisions with the upcoming themes each week? Who do you think has a good strategy?
Janelle Arthur: It's like they all kind of have their own thing going, so I think it really just depends on what the judges think. In so many ways, I believe truly that it's not about song choice.
They say always, "Song choice, song choice, song choice." I believe it's not the song you choose; It's what you do with the song that you choose. So I really think that it just depends on what the girls do with it and then what the judges think and ultimately, of course, what America thinks.
You chose to sing "Dumb Blonde" by Dolly Parton Wednesday night for the diva theme. Do you think that song might've been just a little too obscure for the Idol audience? What do you think with what happened there?
Janelle Arthur: I think that was the only song of Dolly's that I had this sort of current arrangement in my head that I had come up with about a year and a half ago. So it made sense for me to kind of show my artistry again -- even though they didn't really talk about it.
Yes, that was one thing -- I just knew I wanted to do it because I think this is such an awesome opportunity to kind of bring your ideas to life. I mean, why not bring that idea to life when it was my turn to do a Dolly Parton song? So that's sort of the one I wanted to do.
Above is a portion of Janelle's Friday conference call with reporters. To read what she had to tell Reality TV World, click here. Check back with us on Wednesday for more.