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Naima Adedapo: Teeny-boppers are wiping out 'American Idol's girls


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/01/2011 

Naima Adedapo's American Idol journey came to an end when she and fellow female finalist Thia Megia were eliminated during Thursday night's live tenth-season results show which revealed the competition's Top 9 finalists.

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Naima and Thia became the third and fourth finalists sent home from American Idol's tenth season after they received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show -- continuing a streak in which four of the season's seven female finalists have been eliminated while all six male finalists still remain.

During a brief conference call with reporters on Friday, Reality TV World asked Naima about the increasingly obvious gender-based split that is occurring in Idol's finals (four of last season's first five eliminated finalists were also girls) and whether she and her fellow female finalists had ever discussed the situation.

Reality TV World: What was the sentiment in the mansion among the women this season? Last season, four of the season's six girls were cut early in the finals and this season, obviously, the first four eliminated finalists have all been girls. Was that something yourself and the girls had been concerned about or discussed before the finals began?

Naima Adedapo: We weren't really concerned. We weren't discussing it because I think we all had faith in ourselves. It's just, when it comes down to it, the reality is that more than 50% percent of the audience is like little teenage girls and once they get a crush, then we're done. You know what I mean?

It's just like they dominate and that's alright. But I feel like we didn't have too many conversations about it because we were all pretty confident in our work.

Reality TV World: So you guys just figured it was just the reality of the situation, basically?

Naima Adedapo: It is. It is the reality of the situation. The teeny-boppers, once they fall in love, it's like -- and they were in that generation -- so yes, my audience was more kind of the older crowd who are not necessarily more technology-savvy sometimes.

So, I would get people who said, 'Yeah! I voted for you three times!' And it's like, 'Well you could have voted like 500 if you just text and what not.' But yeah, that's just the reality of the situation.

Also in the call, Naima told reporters what she will miss most about the competition, what her dance background entailed and how much of her training she wanted to incorporate into her Idol performances, and whether she thought her pursuit to portray her individuality and personal artistry on the show may have actually hurt her chances to move forward in the competition.  

Lauren Alaina looked so upset when she found out you and Thia Megia would be going home. What did she say to you afterwards and how did you console her because you were a mother figure to her during the show, right?

Naima Adedapo: Yeah, she kind of cries out a little bit, but that's the natural thing. It's alright to do that. It is. I think it was very hard for her because not only was it like me kind of going, like I've been a mother figure a little bit. I always tell her to have confidence in herself and believe in herself and that she's beautiful and don't let anyone alter how she feels.

But I think more so was Thia, because that was her ace. They were in school together all the time, they were really really close and they were really really tight. That really is like losing a best friend. I had my moment where I couldn't hold it together saying, 'See you later,' to [Jacob Lusk].

That's been my ace, and so yeah, you get emotionally attached to these people because you're living in such close quarters. You start to learn their stories, you start to learn their personalities, and you get attached. So, it hurts to see people go, but we will reunite.

What will you miss most about the competition?

Naima Adedapo: Shopping! Shopping! I think that was one of the biggest best parts for me. I mean, performing is everything. It really is, but when you get to shop and you get to do the accessories and the shoes and the oh my God! I get such a kick out of that. You know?

Then I get an even bigger kick when it's not expensive. Then I can get more things, but that was my relief time, actually. It was really awesome to be able to kind of co-create things with [someone] and tag team things back and forth. She really knew my style. She studied me, I feel like, and she knew my style.

She would have stuff hanging on the rack before we even went shopping and I would be like, 'Oh! I'll just wear that! We don't even have to go shopping!' That was one of the best parts for me I have to admit.

Could you talk more about your dance background, for example, you were in a dance troupe, correct?

Naima Adedapo: I've been a part of many dance troupes, actually. I used to do hip-hop, but for most of my life, I've done African dance. I was a part of Ko-Thi Dance Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Probably any dance company that you name in Wisconsin, I've been a part of -- or in Milwaukee, I should say -- I've been a part of.

Dancing has always been a part of my life. I mean, since I was young, I was playing around on the street in Chicago doing the hand clapping and dancing. It's always been something I've connected to. I did go to college and study dance. I got a BS in dance, so I know all different forms of dance.

I could have passed on some ballet if I wanted to, but that's not necessarily my realm. It would probably look a little weird doing like pirouettes in a reggae song, (laughs) but dancing is something I am truly connected to.

Were you always planning to incorporate dance into your Idol performances or was it suggested that you should do that?

Naima Adedapo: No, I've always, always incorporated dance into my performance regardless. I had a reggae band back home with my husband and we always move onstage. It's unnatural not to for us. You have to dance, you have to move, you have to physically be engaged, I feel like, to be able to connect to the audience.

Did your Chicago years have a big impact on your musical development?

Naima Adedapo: Oh most definitely. Chicago is a wonderful city. It's a beautiful city. It's just rich with culture and the community that my mother kept me around growing up was definitely all artists. She was a storyteller and she would incorporate me into her storytelling. She would make me mime out the parts and what not.

I was always around artists whether it was dancers or singers or actors, and Chicago of course, is full of that. Full of entertainers and I think that really was the early shaping of my artistry.

You had been in the bottom three before this past week's episode, so did you feel that with the reggae performance you needed to really shake things up and get some people's attention?

Naima Adedapo: Really and honestly, I just wanted to really show every piece of me. That's what I've been trying to do. I've been trying to take opportunities every time to show a new thing, show something different about me, and I hadn't really gone roots reggae and that is a big part of me. I love, I connect to it, and so I did.

I had some people telling me, 'Oh, I don't know about it.' But me, I'm really about staying true to myself and once I have my brain set on something or my mind set on something, I just kind of go after it. So, I did what I did and I have no regrets about anything I've done on the show. I'm happy that I was able to show that side of me.

You were very charismatic on the show and you mentioned how you love being true to yourself, so do you think people just weren't used to an American Idol contestant bringing so much of their own artistry to the show?

Naima Adedapo: I think yeah, that was a big thing. I think sometimes people just didn't know where to place me or I don't know. I felt like maybe they didn't understand me sometimes, but honestly, the reactions that I've gotten from people have still been positive. It was like, 'I don't know about you, but I kind of like you.'

I think it was -- I definitely struck people in a different kind of way -- I think that because it was kind of hard to place me in a certain category, that did have an affect on how people voted or how they perceived me. 



(Photo credit Fox)


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