Jared Cotter, Sundance Head, Sabrina Sloan dish on 'Idol' experience
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/12/2007
Antonella Barba's elimination might have been the big news, but Thursday night's sixth season American Idol live results show also saw the Fox reality series send three other semifinalists hopefuls home.
Jared Cotter, a 25-year-old from Kew Gardens, NY; Sundance Head, a 28-year-old from Porter, TX; and Sabrina Sloan, a 27-year-old from Studio City, CA, all discussed their own Idol journeys during a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon. And not surprisingly, they were surprised and disappointed to have been eliminated on the cusp of the finals.
"I was shocked... I was definitely surprised and really hadn't prepared myself for going home," said Sloan. "Part of that is because of the judges' comments and saying, 'You'll definitely be here. You deserve to be in the Top 12.' I think I took it into consideration, America took it into consideration and thought I was safe and didn't need to vote. It feels like that's kind of what happened."
Head said he feels like the same thing might have happened to him, but he can't be sure.
"I'm not real sure what happened. I don't know if America just considered me to be safe. That I didn't need the vote and that I was a shoe-in for the Top 12. I really don't know," said Head. "I was really shocked. I thought I was going to make it to the Top 12, and I couldn't believe it. In fact, Top 12 was nothing; I figured I'm going to get real down to it, maybe to the top six even. I'm sorry that I didn't have that opportunity."
Cotter also used the word "shocked" to describe how he felt upon being eliminated, and added it was also "disappointing." But he thinks it had more to do with Simon Cowell's comments than viewers assuming he was safe.
"I honestly think it was Simon's comments last week, man, and the previous week, actually," explained Cotter. "My performance did not warrant me going home. I'm still very disappointed and still shocked. I just did not expect to be going home this early."
While Cotter took exception to Cowell's comments because it might have played a role in getting him eliminated, Head said he wasn't too happy about the sharp-tongued British judge criticizing the guys for getting emotional.
"I'm a very emotional guy, I don't think I have to tell you guys that. One thing that really insulted me was for Simon Cowell to say those were crocodile tears. That really insulted me and it made me incredibly angry," said Head. "It's hard being away from your family. My kid, he's only three months old, and I just missed out on a huge step in his life. The last time I saw him, he couldn't do anything, but sleep and eat. Now he smiles, he laughs. He moves around, he crawls. He holds his head up, and he's figuring out what his hands are. That's terrible to miss that. That's a lot to think about everyday."
Despite the fact that she said the criticism is also constructive, Sloan added the three Idol judges should be a little more cautious about what they say to contestants following performances.
"I think that it's hard because I'm sure [the judges] are not thinking about it as they're giving the comments, but America absolutely listens to them. People who maybe didn't catch the show and just caught the comments will take that into consideration and vote for who they think doesn't have a shot at getting in that they want in," said Sloan. "At the same time, of course, I'd want them to say that, so it's hard to tell... Knowing that they were shocked by [my elimination], too, was definitely a consolation that they didn't mean for it to happen."
While they all wished that they had stuck around a bit longer in the competition, Cotter, Sloan and Head all expressed very few regrets about their Idol adventure.
"It's a wonderful experience. I'll do it again, if I could, every time. It's just been great," said Head. "I just want to say that the American Idol family is truly a family. The things that you read in the tabloids about them brainwashing you or trying to make you do things, trying to make you into people that you're not, that is not true. The only thing they want to do is make you into the best possible star you can be. They just want to bring the best out in everyone. They do a fine job of it. I've got to say that I'm very proud and honored to have been a part of this team, and the people that I've met on this journey has been extraordinary. I'm just blessed."
Cotter said his Idol experience was "surreal" -- and despite saying "I don't think it's something you could really describe in words" -- he put it into words anyway.
"I don't have any regrets," said Cotter. "To know you're singing on stage in front of 30 million to 40 million people, it's a dream come true. I mean, I know sometimes, it sounds like I'm probably bad mouthing the experience, but you know what? This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I've had such a great time. I've made such great friends. I consider some of these people lifelong friends. I couldn't trade that for the world."
Cotter said "a lot of people look at American Idol as a jumping board for their career," which is why he auditioned. "I know that going in I was like well, even if I don't win, if I make it far enough I can kind of spring it off to something really big," added Cotter. After releasing an independent album last year, Cotter is hoping the Idol springboard works, as he said he plans on staying in Los Angeles for "a little bit" to see what offers he receives before going back to New York.
"I just can't go back to waiting tables," he assured his adoring public. "I can tell you that."
Her days of appearing in Broadway's run of Hairspray are "over for sure," but Sloan said she'd go back to Broadway for the right role. She added she's also thinking about a solo career.
"Singing and performing, that's my passion and I'm going to keep doing it. I started writing some music before I got here and collaborating with some friends, so I'm going to keep doing that and try to put out an album for sure," she said. "The great thing about Idol is that other doors might open because of it or are also going to be there. Hopefully, there'll be lots of opportunities, whether it's acting or fashion or anything. I'm really excited."
Head is also excited, and it's not just because appearing on Idol "gives me more gas in my tank" as he fields offers.
"Part of me is actually really happy that I get to go home and spend time with my family and reroute my life," said Head. "I just want to thank everyone who is concerned. I hope that people still know who I am eight months from now whenever I release a record, or whatever happens to me. I just want to let all of America know... that I'm very proud to have been in American Idol."