Casey Abrams: Haley Reinhart and I aren't dating and never were
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/29/2011
Casey Abrams' American Idol journey ended when he was eliminated during Thursday night's live results show which determined the competition's Top 5 finalists.
The 20-year-old Idyllwild, CA resident became the eighth finalist sent home from American Idol's tenth season after he received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show -- becoming the third-straight male finalist eliminated after the finals began with five female finalists being ousted.
During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Reality TV World asked Abrams if he and fellow Idol finalist Haley Reinhart have ever dated and how much further he expected to get in the competition after American Idol judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson used their one-time "The Judges' Save" to prevent his ouster during the season's Top 11 results show.
Reality TV World: Did you expect to get this far after "The Judges' Save" or did you only think you'd get another week or two further?
Casey Abrams: That's what I was really afraid of, and that's why I knew I had to work hard. I was like, "This would be kind of embarrassing if I just got cut the next week." So, I really tried to work hard. So, I didn't really expect to make it to the top. I expected to make it this far. That's exactly what I expected. So, I can't be mad at that.
Also in the call, Abrams discussed the rest of his American Idol experience with reporters -- including how he knew he was going home as soon as Scotty McCreery was the only other finalist in danger of elimination, what he envisions his debut album and concert performances will be like, and whether Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler is a better kisser.
How are you feeling now that you've been eliminated? Do you feel any worse or better than Thursday night?
Casey Abrams: No, no. The same. I felt good even afterwards. Maybe I'll break down crying some other time, but right now, I feel really good about what happened last night and what's happening today.
You gave a shout-out to Haley Reinhart at the very end of your song last night. So were you saying goodbye to more than a duet partner then?
Casey Abrams: No, I was just saying goodbye to my very special musical friend. That's all it was.
Casey Abrams: The guitar, which I actually played on the show, the piano and the melodica are the ones that I played on the show. I also play the drums, the sitar, the accordion, the clarinet, the spaz, and I took lessons for about a month on the sitar but everything else was just kind of self taught.
You said you "sort of" had vocal training in your past. What does that mean?
Casey Abrams: I've had vocal training in Colorado and I've had some singing lessons many years in the past -- maybe like fourth grade or something like that.
What were you thinking while you were singing your goodbye song during Thursday night's live results show? It looked like you were having a great time.
Casey Abrams: Oh, well what was going through my mind was, "Make this good." I don't know. I was completely on "random mode." I didn't plan on ending up on Haley. It just happened that way, so that wasn't really planned.
Nothing was planned, and that's what I think, that sometimes that's the best performance. Like in jazz, when you improvise and you play a different solo each time, it's the best feeling in the world.
Casey Abrams: "Pure Craziness" is probably the title. There would be everything like my last two performances, "Harder to Breathe" and "Nature Boy," I think are a perfect -- it sums me up -- it's like, let's just rock this hard and have some fun and then let's slow it down and play some smooth jazz.
Would it just be Casey then or a lot of special effects like pyrotechnics?
Casey Abrams: No, no. Just straight up Casey. Yeah, yeah -- probably more instruments than you'd expect -- bring some trombone, some gulfgamers, I don't know -- some random stuff, random sounding instruments.
Has appearing on American Idol raised your confidence in an aspects as a performer?
Casey Abrams: Everything. It's done every single thing. It's like -- because I used to not like singing in public -- and now, I feel like I'm singing a little bit too much. I'll sing in hallways with random people I don't even know. Maybe it's a bad thing, but I just feel a lot more comfortable onstage and I feel like I can do anything onstage on.
Who do you sing to while your onstage? Anyone in particular?
Casey Abrams: Mmm, not really. I just try to look at random people and try to get random strangers to feel my pain or my happiness. If I were on a street corner, I'd want everyone walking by to look me in the eye and just feel the story that I was saying.
Are you the kind of guy that would normally kiss somebody rather than shake their hand? We saw that a lot on your time on Idol.
Casey Abrams: Um, that's a good question. No, I'm not a big kisser, no. I feel like maybe when I'm on the stage and people are watching, I tend to do things nobody would expect. So, I think people were going to expect that I was going to kiss JLo again, so I tried Steven Tyler and then I tried the whole audience.
I think that was kind of unexpected. I don't know. I just try to think, "What are you going to say?" and then, "What am I going to say that's completely different from that?" So, that's just what that was.
You tended to growl a lot during your performances and in-house Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine said, "The family dog does not vote on this show." Do you think that's cruel or good advice?
Casey Abrams: That, honestly, is hilarious and it is good advice. I listened back and I think, "I was growling just a little bit too much." I wasn't really paying attention. I think I was having more fun actually paying attention to what was going on musically and you have to have that good balance, and I don't think I had that balance that time. But, Jimmy Iovine is funny.
You previously went to the hospital because of an ulcer problem. How did you get that under control because you never made any obvious trips back?
Casey Abrams: Yeah, yeah. I just kept getting injections of that good old medicine. That really helped me out, and I just learned how to deal with the stress a little bit more than I had been. The show has been helping me because I learned how to talk to people, communicate.
Talking to Jimmy Iovine and really standing up for myself, I think it really is stress, because I usually just hold it in. But the fact that I told people how I felt, it's made me a different person. So, it's going to be less ulcers.
What would your debut album be like?
Casey Abrams: It would definitely have a beard on it and it would probably have an upright base on it.
What about the style of music for your album?
Casey Abrams: That's a really good question. I don't know. It could be rock, it could be jazz, and it could maybe be a mixture of both. I have a feeling it's going to be that -- a mixture of rock and roll and some jazzy chords.
In terms of the growling, the judges told you to tone that done and stop staring into the camera. It seemed like you took the advice early on but then it came back. Were you ignoring their advice or was that just naturally how you sang?
Casey Abrams: No, it is kind of how I sing when I don't think about it, and I think that's a good place to be -- when you don't think about how you sing. But I think maybe the Maroon 5 song needed it and maybe the "Hi De Ho" song needed it, but maybe I gave it a little bit too much. But it's a great area, so it's hard to define what's a good growl and what's a bad growl, you know?
You touched upon the stress you were under during the competition and how you learned to deal with it better. What actually stressed you out?
Casey Abrams: I guess I was just scared of looking stupid onstage because I didn't know a certain song, and I wasn't stressed out this week because I really didn't know both of the songs that I was supposed to sing and I think I had more fun with Haley because, I don't know. I just fed off of her energy, you know?
But I would have been more stressed, which may have helped going into this week, just trying to learn the song and learn how to make it a little bit better. But I didn't stress out. So, it's the little things -- just relaxing a little bit more -- I don't know. It's just something that you gotta do in your brain. It's pretty hard.
Casey Abrams: Yeah, well not even the fact that we're both from Chicago, I think the fact that we're a little bit different and go off the beat in our paths, it feels -- we had a nice conversation. She gave us a really nice gift. She gave us these cool little microphones for all of us. She was really nice.
She waited outside when I was in a little conference and she just waited so she could give me the microphone. I don't know. It's just the little things, you know? She didn't let stardom ruin her. She's awesome and I loved her performance [Thursday night] because it was so different. She had an organ solo and the fly guitar -- it was just so fun -- she's awesome.
Pia Toscano said she had a premonition going into the night of her elimination that she would be out. Did you have any feeling like that?
Casey Abrams: Yeah, yeah. I don't know what it was. I feel like everyone was just so incredible that time. I felt like my performance was pretty good, but seeing Jacob [Lusk] kill it and seeing Haley kill it, and seeing Scotty [McCreery] and Lauren [Alaina] kill it, and [James] Durbin, obviously.
It just made me feel like, "These guys are incredible! These guys could carry the show. I don't really need to be here. So, if I go home tomorrow, I'm prepared."
Do you feel that American Idol will hurt you being accepted as a serious musician going forward?
Casey Abrams: I always worry about that, but my goal is to bring that kind of music into the popular culture. I don't think the serious musicians have to take me seriously. I just want to get them better known. It's stuff like that. I basically want to be the middle man that's like, "I want you guys to be heard by a popular crowd." That kind of stuff.
Would you or have you ever considered shaving your beard?
Casey Abrams: I thought about it, but I don't think it would work. I think the beard makes the face. I think if I shave, I just don't have a chin anymore... I'll send you pictures of what it looks like. It's okay.
If you could take one memory from American Idol, what would it be?
Casey Abrams: Definitely the people you meet because anyone, well not anyone, but there's a lot of people that can get up on that stage and sing. There's even people that got cut that really can sing and get up onstage. It's the experience. It's living with all these other serious singers and musicians that really just make the experience what it is. That's what I'm going to miss most about it, to be honest with you.
What were you thinking and feeling when you were standing with Scotty in the end, especially since you were in the bottom two but American Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced the bottom vote-getters were at random and the format was changed up?
Casey Abrams: Kind of just a little bit of nervousness, but more like, "Let's just get this over with. Let me sing. Just call my name already." I just had this feeling since Jacob and Scotty were there and Jacob went off. I was like, "Oh, well, no one's going to do anything to Scotty, so I'll see you guys later." That's how I felt.
So when it was you and Scotty you just basically knew you were going home?
What did the judges tell you at any point in the season that will stick with you forever?
Casey Abrams: I remember during a rehearsal show Steven Tyler kind of looked over at me and he did this motion where he pretended he had a razor and he started shaving his beard. So, I followed that. I'll remember that because it was really nice of him, and I remember him -- actually last night after my dress rehearsal -- he came up and said some really nice things and some constructive criticism.
So did Jennifer Lopez and Randy [Jackson] said some nice things backstage too. He said he's going to teach me how to flat-bass, because I really need to learn how to do that. So, he's been showing me. He's been like air-bassing, you know? So, it's been useful.
Do you think you will stay in touch with the judges?
Casey Abrams: I sure hope so. I think so. We had a little conversation. We'll see what happens.
Of all the instruments you mentioned that you're fluent in, which one is your favorite?
Casey Abrams: I didn't mention it, but I really like the cello. I don't think I play it the best, but it's just -- I love the sound -- it can be like a violin or a bass. It's got that versatility. It's beautiful.
Any closing thoughts?
Casey Abrams: Don't take yourself too seriously. Take music seriously, but not yourself. That's all I have to say.
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