'American Idol' eliminee Jessica Meuse: I wanted to do more original songs but higher powers wouldn't let me
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/09/2014
American Idol's thirteenth season eliminated Jessica Meuse and determined the competition's Top 3 finalists during Thursday night's live results show.
Jessica, a 23-year-old from Slapout, AL, became the tenth finalist sent home from American Idol after she received the fewest home viewer votes cast following Wednesday night's Top 4 performance show, which featured each contestant singing three songs about love -- a breakup, a makeup and a dedication song.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Jessica talked about her Idol experience. Below is a portion of her interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more.
Now that you've had time to reflect, how do you feel about going home and what's next for you?
Jessica Meuse: I mean, I feel really good about it. I'm leaving on a good note. I left myself on the stage and I'm really happy I did an original song. That's me as an artist and I stayed true to myself the entire run on American Idol. And it's definitely not over for me.
The judges seemed to really love when you did original songs. Why not do more of those on the show? I know it didn't fit into every theme, like say 80's week, but something like breakups and makeups?
Jessica Meuse: Oh, I was going to, but then I couldn't. So, like, it's kind of out of my power at that point, because trust me, I would've done originals every week if I could have.
Was it a question of the band learning your original songs or...?
Jessica Meuse: No, it's not even about that because they're pretty easy to learn. It's just, I guess, the higher powers than myself, and they want cover songs. I guess a lot of people want to hear songs that they know, and I mean, it is a popular music show. So it's hard for a singer/songwriter, who does a lot of their own material the majority of the time, to kind of adjust to that.
Will you be going back home between now and the finale?
Jessica Meuse: I have one day and apparently I'm getting home tomorrow at like noon and then leaving very early the next morning to go to New York and do more press.
What will you be doing with your one day in Slapout, AL?
Jessica Meuse: Well, it looks like I'm going to be sleeping because I got to be in the airport all night.
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If you had time to visit just one place in your hometown that day, where would it be?
Jessica Meuse: I would go anywhere with sweet tea, I mean, immediately.
Dexter Roberts and C.J. Harris said they're going to be moving to Nashville. What about you?
Jessica Meuse: Yes, sounds like a plan!
You showed a lot of emotion when you got eliminated. Were you surprised by how emotional you got then? We hadn't seen you get emotionally really all season.
Jessica Meuse: No, I'm a big baby, like, I'm always that way. But I believe that I have showed emotion throughout the weeks. I've definitely grown as an artist and there's always things to work on. I believe that was probably my weakest spot, but I definitely did get better.
And, you know, it's going from bars -- where you're not necessarily getting any attention, like you're just a bar singer in a corner and there's the bartender listening to you -- to being on a national stage where everyone's looking at how your eye twitches, you know?
It's a big difference and you have to get used to it. But I really do believe that I came into my own and I really figured out myself on the stage ultimately. So, I'm very proud of that.
We know you had auditioned for The Voice and you already have a released album. How did you think this experience in the music industry helped you on American Idol?
Jessica Meuse: Well, it definitely got me conditioned to be in front of cameras, and that's a major part of American Idol, because you're constantly working a camera like it's millions of people. One camera symbolizes millions of people. You've got to look around and see which one is turned on and when. And so, you kind of have to get used to that.
You've got to learn how to talk in front of a camera and it's a lot more difficult than people think. It's like you're pulling everything together out of thin air right then and there and you've got to say it the right way. You got to do everything a certain way and not look like a fool, so, I would say that that's probably the biggest thing.
Was there a particular judge you looked up to the most and why?
Jessica Meuse: I really like Harry and Keith, but you know, after last night, I think Harry's probably my favorite. Because he's -- I like to compare him to somebody in the stands while you're playing a football game. You don't necessarily see what's about to happen or the things you're doing wrong out there on the field because you're down there and that's your perspective.
But he's up there and he can see everything and he knows what he's talking about. He's like, "Oh, you're doing this. You need to do this." And he has the correct terminology and he understands it. He can pinpoint things and ultimately help you grow.
What's the best advice Harry gave you?
Jessica Meuse: Probably just like, feeling it. I think that's the best advice anyone could give, like, make sure you're feeling what you're doing and convince people.
We didn't know you guys would be singing three songs Wednesday night. It had been widely reported each finalist was only going to sing two songs each. Is there a reason why that information was withheld?
Jessica Meuse: I really don't know why it was withheld. I didn't know it was, but we were aware there were three songs ahead of time, and it was originally going to be originals because we're all songwriters in the Top 4.
So all four of you had practiced original songs during the week?
Jessica Meuse: Yeah. Everything -- the "So What" song was a last-minute switcheroo, and I had to learn it in like a day.
When did the switch actually take place? On Monday?
Jessica Meuse: Pretty much the day of rehearsal we made the cut for that third song.
You all must have felt a lot of pressure to learn a brand new song with such short notice.
Jessica Meuse: Yeah, I tried not to think about the pressure and I just tried to like, I guess do the unhealthy thing and bottle it all up. (Laughs) I really like to focus on what I do because I genuinely love to be up there and I really have a great time. I loved being up there.
I did a P!nk song, had fire. It was really sick, so I had fun all the same, but it was definitely a little bit stressful because I had to like cram all that into my mind.
So they didn't tell you why they decided to switch from performing original songs to cover songs?
Jessica Meuse: No, they were just like, "Oh, there's a change. You have to do this."
How exactly did you feel about not being able to perform more of your original songs? Did that frustrate or disappoint you?
Jessica Meuse: I didn't really let that frustrate me because I do know a lot of cover songs since I'd sing three or four-hour gigs back at home. But I would've really liked to do originals -- at least one a week -- and really get it out there and push it, just because that's me as an artist.
Were you surprised to get eliminated and would you attribute your elimination to song choice? Because I know the judges had kind of an issue with your first two songs Wednesday night although they agreed your third song was excellent.
Jessica Meuse: I just kind of got to the point where I was like, "Whatever, and I will always do what's right for me and I'll always do what I believe is the best thing I could do in that situation," and I did that every week. And, I mean, that's what matters. If I get cut, you know, I'm going to get cut for being myself, and that's exactly what happened. But that's the best way I could go out.
Above is a portion of Jessica's Friday conference call with reporters. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more.