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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 6

'Idol' finalists Blake Lewis, Jordin Sparks surprised to make it so far


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/18/2007 

Either Jordin Sparks or Blake Lewis will become the next American Idol at the conclusion of the sixth season's finale on Wednesday night.  However both are surprised that they've made it this far.

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"I never thought I would get this far in the first place.  I never thought I'd be on the show in the first place," Lewis told reporters during a Friday conference call.  "For the finale, I don't know [who has the edge] or whatnot, I'm just going to stay true to myself and hopefully have three good performances.  That's all I can hope for."

Sparks echoed Lewis' thoughts about what a longshot it was to even appear on Idol, and added she also had to overcome the hurdle of actually bringing herself to audition.

"I didn't think I would make it at all," said Sparks during a separate conference call with reporters on Friday.  "Trying out, you'll never know if you don't try.  Trying out has been one of the greatest things that's ever happened because now I'm here.  I'm actually here.  I can't believe it.  I can't believe I even remotely thought I wouldn't try out for it because I was too scared or whatever.  If you want something, just work hard at it.  If you work hard for something, you want it bad enough, you can get it.  It's just been so amazing to actually take my own advice because I've been working so hard towards this and now that I'm actually here I can't even believe it.  It's really amazing and I feel so blessed."

The 17-year-old from Glendale, AZ said while she is a good student and did well playing sports -- singing was always her passion -- which helped her squash the apprehension of auditioning.

"It's so crazy.  It's something I always wanted to do.  And when I auditioned and I made it and I was surprised because you walk into those arenas and there's thousands of people and you're like, 'Oh my God.  I have like a 1 in 10,000 chance of making it,'" said Sparks, who auditioned for Idol 6 in Seattle.  "And so I was really surprised when I made it through that round.  Then Hollywood Round came, and I made it to that.  I got to the Top 12... Everything has been surprising me now that I'm here it's just so amazing because I'm doing what I always wanted to do."

Lewis, the 25-year-old beat-boxer from Bothell, WA, also auditioned for Idol 6 in Seattle but said he never approached it as a competition, which may have something to do with why he's made it so far.

"I think everybody feels [the pressure].  They want you to up yourself every week.  You know, strive for being better every week.  On a personal level, you want to do that too... progress as an artist," explained Lewis.  "I've kind of looked at this competition not as a competition and just try and go out there and have fun each week.  If I'm having fun, hopefully the viewers and the people that have supported me are having fun.  That's all I can hope for.  I look at this more of a remix competition from a producer's stand point, because when I dig into a song on a theme week, I want to remix it.  I don't want to do it like the original.  I think that's helped me."

While she's treating Idol as a competition and is keeping her eye on the prize, Sparks said winning isn't everything.

"I came into this competition, and I really do want to win, but at the same time if I don't it's not going to be the end of the world," she said.  "It's not going to be, 'Oh my gosh, I'm never going to sing again.'  I would be happy if I won and I would be happy if Blake won.  So I think it's pretty cool.  I'm just glad I got to be a part of it and made it this far."

Even if her name isn't called by Idol host Ryan Seacrest at the end of the show's sixth season finale, Sparks said she's a "better person" for having competed.

"I feel like this whole experience has made me stronger... I can handle so much more than I thought I could," she said.  "They throw a lot at us, and it's pretty intense, but each week I go out there and I get the criticism and the praise and whatever.  I don't know, I take what I can get from it and then I put it towards myself or towards something that I can use for the next week... It's made me a better performer, helps me emote better."

Lewis said he also feels as if he's already won, considering both former Idol 6 finalists and the show's judges have commented he's the most original performer in the history of the series' six seasons.

"I've never looked at it as a competition because I'm such an eclectic artist, I just tried to represent myself, be true to myself the whole time," said Lewis.  "I think I've done that.  I think the support from the show and all the fans have seen that and that's why I've gone this far.  I never looked at it as a competition, so I think I won regardless.  I won when I got in the Top 10, so I already reached my goal."

Just as Lewis has had to overcome some criticism that his beat-boxing might be a bit excessive at times, Sparks has had to deal with the fact that she's the youngest of Idol's sixth season finalists.

"Being 17, I am young and I guess people don't really think I can handle what is going to happen if I win," explained Sparks.  "I guess people just think I'm a little young to break into this industry because it's harsh I guess.  But it's something I want to do.  It's what I want to do, and I take that risk.  A part of this competition, [my age] could be a plus or a minus.  A plus because I am 17 and I'm doing something so out of the ordinary and at the same time there are a bunch of older more experienced singers so people think I don't have enough experience to actually keep doing it.  So I don't know, I guess it works both ways.  I think that it's working out kind of good right now I guess!"

Lewis said Sparks' age is one of the reasons why she has appealed to him since the beginning of Idol's sixth season.

"For Jordin, she and [ousted Idol 6 finalist Gina Glocksen] were my pick in the beginning to win this whole thing," said Lewis.  "I think [Sparks is] an amazing woman.  She's 17, and she's already a woman.  She performs, she's good looking, she has a fantastic personality and it reads really well on camera.  I love Jordin Sparks. Regardless of the finale, she already won it in my mind because she won it in the beginning.  To me, she's a record label's dream."

Sparks said she's also fond of Lewis and what he's brought to Idol's sixth season.

"Blake and I are just two totally different singers so it's really crazy," she said.  "He's an amazing performer and he's so entertaining and he's great.  I feel really honored to be in the finale with him."

Heaping praise on each other, both Sparks and Lewis also gave reasons why they should win Idol 6.

"I'm very, very strong-willed and this is what I want to do, this is what I've wanted to do for so long," explained Sparks.  "I think if people did vote for me I could represent it well if I actually won.  It would be amazing.  I would love to win... I don't really have a strategy.  I guess if I had any strategy, if I was to call it that, it would be to give all I can give.  I know that sounds so cliche, but when you're out there and you have to leave it all out there and give every single ounce of yourself to the song or it's not going to work.  I'm just going to try and do my best and hopefully people like the songs that I picked.  Whatever happens on Wednesday will happen."

Lewis kept the reasons why viewers should vote for him short and sweet.

"For all those people out there who like to use their imagination, be creative everyday, and promote positivity... Vote for me!" he said.

American Idol's sixth season will conclude next week, beginning on Tuesday, May 22 at 8PM ET (PT tape-delayed) with a one-hour live performance episode that will see Sparks and Lewis each performing three songs: the one chosen by viewers via American Idol's sixth season songwriting contest; a second song of their own personal choosing; and a third one that they previously performed during Idol 6.  The next night, Wednesday, May 23 beginning at 8PM ET (PT tape-delayed), Idol will air a special live two-hour results show that will reveal the sixth-season's winner.

"I mean we're both going home this week," correctly stated Lewis.  "Maybe I'll go home a winner, maybe I'll go home a loser."


(Photo credit Fox)


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