Hollie Cavanagh: I'd had a feeling my time on 'American Idol' was over
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/11/2012
Hollie Cavanagh, an 18-year-old from McKinney, TX, was ousted from American Idol during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, which determined the eleventh-season competition's Final 3 finalists.
Hollie became the tenth finalist sent home from American Idol's eleventh season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show. The performance show featured the Top 4 finalists each performing two songs, with the first having a connection to California and the second being a tune that inspired them and they wished they had written themselves.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Hollie talked to Reality TV World about her American Idol experience -- including whether she was surprised to be eliminated considering she didn't get upset following the announcement and whether she believed Jessica Sanchez has it in her to beat the male finalists and become the first female winner of American Idol since Jordin Sparks.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Skylar Laine last week, she said you were convinced you were going to be the one eliminated but she kept insisting to you that you were going to be surprised. So what was going through your mind last night? Did you think you were going to be eliminated again and therefore weren't surprised at the results? I know you said you had a little bit of a gut feeling, but were you surprised at all? Because you didn't end up crying and you seemed to take it really well. It looked like you were almost prepared to hear the news.
Hollie Cavanagh: Yeah, I think -- when Skylar was there, I was very shocked. I was shocked with that one because Skylar had killed it every single week and she did amazing every week, so that was a shock to me. And then this week, something was just different than I felt last week. Skylar kept insisting that I wasn't -- that it wasn't me going -- but you just never know. But this week, I think I just felt it. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: There hasn't been a female winner of American Idol since Jordin Sparks in 2006. Do you think a woman can actually win at this point, or do you think given the voting public seems to mostly be girls, do you think the show is going to just keep having guy winners every year?
Hollie Cavanagh: I think it's tough for girls now, because I mean, there are a lot of girls that go for the boys. But you never know with this show. The three that are left, they all have the biggest chance to win, and so, they're all going to bring it each week. I know they are. So, it's going to be tough for America, I know that.
Reality TV World: Do you think Jessica Sanchez is the girl who's capable of pulling that off?
Also during the call, Hollie told reporters whether she thought the judges were too hard on her and if their frequent negative feedback dampened her confidence a bit, how she became such close friends with Joshua, whether she agreed with Jimmy Iovine on his criticism that she had trouble emotionally connecting to a song's lyrics, and how she felt about being called the "dark horse" of the competition.
You said you woke up with a gut feeling the morning of the results show that you were going to be voted off. Where did that feeling come from and had you felt that before during any of the previous weeks?
Hollie Cavanagh: No, there was definitely something different about that Thursday. I'm not sure what it was, but I guess my gut was just telling me. I was just preparing myself for it, but at the same time, I was staying hopeful because you never know what can happen. But I'm not quite sure what the feeling was. It was just different on Thursday.
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What kind of album do you see yourself making?
Hollie Cavanagh: I would like my album to be kind of on the pop side but with a little bit of soul. I'd like to make music that's like what's on the top of the charts right now. So, something along those lines.
Hollie Cavanagh: I think probably when I sung "Rolling in the Deep" and "Son of a Preacher Man." I think that was definitely my moment to, you know, like my turning points on the show. Also "The Climb" because that was my first standing ovation on the show.
Who do you think is going to take it all this season?
Hollie Cavanagh: I honestly have no idea. I'm definitely with America and the judges on this one and I have no idea, because the show can go either way. I honestly just don't know. But whoever it is going to be -- I mean, they're all amazing, so, it's definitely going to be a fight to the finish line.
Could you describe each of the three remaining finalists and their strengths?
Hollie Cavanagh: Phillip is very unique, and the way he performs, you don't see a lot of people perform like that. He has his own style and his voice is amazing, and Joshua, he takes you to a whole other place when he sings.
If you watch the show, he just amazes everybody each week. And then Jessica is only 16 and the way she sings, she sounds like she's in her 20s. So, I mean, she's amazing as well as the other two, so it's definitely going to be tough. The finale is going to be a big one.
When did you first become really close friends with Josh and what did you guys do when you actually had some downtime?
Hollie Cavanagh: Well we started to get really close in Hollywood Week and then kind of after that, we were just attached at the hip from there. Any time when he would rehearse, I would be in there watching him rehearse. And I don't know, when we could ever go out to dinner, we'd go out to dinner -- me, Jess and Skylar -- we'd always go out. Any time that we had, we just kind of hung out and relaxed and kept each other sane.
Jimmy Iovine said you didn't quite understand the song "I Can't Make You Love Me," but you told American Idol host Ryan Seacrest you always liked the lyrics. So do you agree with Jimmy's comments or do you think you performed the song just the way you had intended to?
Hollie Cavanagh: I definitely stand by that song. I love that song, and I think the lyrics of that song are so beautiful. I've loved that song for so long and I'm really glad that I got to perform. As far as what Jimmy said, I definitely felt that song and I understood the meaning of it, but it didn't come across the way Jimmy wanted it to and that's fine.
I could've -- I re-watched and I do agree that there were some parts I could've made more or did more with it I guess. But I think I stand by it. I just really enjoyed performing that song.
You took a lot of criticism from the judges and some of your fans got pretty angry. Did you think that actually helped you in a sense in the competition because it got your fans to rally around you?
Hollie Cavanagh: I mean, a lot of people say how they felt the judges were really hard on me, but I kind of took it in a positive way to keep fighting, and I think that's how my fans kind of saw it as well. They saw me wanting to keep fighting, so they just had my back and got me through it each week.
When you watched the show, were you worried about entering the competition considering you weren't shown much during Hollywood Week?
Hollie Cavanagh: At the beginning, I was a bit, "Oh, um..." and my friends were like, "Are you sure you tried out this year? Are you sure you're on the show?" And I was like, "Yeah, I'm coming on there. I promise." And then I got shown in Vegas Week, so I think it helped me in a sense though. I was okay with it. I had like 20 different thoughts going through my mind about why I wasn't shown, but I think it was a good thing.
A lot of people were calling you the dark horse of the competition. How did you feel about that description?
Hollie Cavanagh: I mean, I would take it as a compliment, I guess you could say. I never really looked into what kind of everyone was saying. I really was just kind of focusing week by week and making sure that my songs were right and my songs were good enough.
I just went out there and I wanted to improve each week and I think people were seeing an improvement in me each week. I definitely feel like I've grown so much, so I'm just really proud of that.
What was your hardest week during the season?
Hollie Cavanagh: I think my hardest one was definitely Billy Joel week. That was one that was not that great for me. (Laughs) It was a tough one.
What was tough about it in particular? Did it just not really apply to your strengths as a vocalist?
Hollie Cavanagh: Yeah, it just wasn't really my style and obviously I had two different songs, and I ended up with "Honesty" and I had never heard it. I was learning it and it was a very tough song, but I mean, I got through it, so I was glad.
Do you think maybe the competition would be easier for its contestants if the themes were more current, because you especially, like recent pop songs.
Hollie Cavanagh: Yeah, I mean, sometimes it's difficult when we get songs and we have no idea what they are. But I mean, I guess that's just the competition. You're going to get songs thrown at you that you don't know and you have to learn. You don't have a choice, and you know, that was a part of the competition you could say.
Sometimes we did wish we could sing songs that are on the radio now, because a lot of teenagers and all that watch, but I think it would've been nice to have a mixture of both a lot. But I think they've done that pretty well this year.
Do you wish there were any British artists' songs you could've performed during British Week that you were unable to do?
Hollie Cavanagh: I mean, there was a lot. I was going to do a Spice Girls song to change it up, but I stuck to [Leona Lewis]. (Laughs)
Which judge or mentor do you feel gave you the best advice and what advice was that?
Hollie Cavanagh: I think I've definitely always felt that loyalty to Jennifer just because she's been with me -- she's always been rooting for me and always had my back since last year and always believed in me. So, I think she's definitely been a big inspiration for me since last year and this year.
And in my mentor session, I would definitely say that Stevie Nicks was a big one for me because we kind of had moments where it got really personally and kind of beyond the lines of me in a singing competition. She just really cared about us in that moment.
What are you going to miss the most about being on American Idol and what are you most looking forward to about going on tour?
Hollie Cavanagh: I think -- I mean all the American Idol crew and production and everyone, because it's so fun working over there with them. They're all so nice and just so lovable and you just have a good time. That's going to be hard leaving all that.
Even leaving the Idol stage is going to be difficult, because we spent so much time there. It's like a new home, so it's going to be difficult, but we're all so excited for tour -- just to start singing for our fans and not being judged and just enjoying the whole thing.
Out of all your fellow contestants, who would you most like to collaborate with?
Hollie Cavanagh: I'd love to do a duet with Josh. That would be amazing, because he's amazing. I think he's up. I've done a duet with Jessica and I've done one with Skylar so far in the competition, so I'd like to do one with Josh. That'd be pretty fun.
What kind of advice would you give your fellow competitors or future contestants on the show?
Hollie Cavanagh: I would just say to just be confident in yourself and have self-belief and just if you're going to go for it, go for it. Don't let anybody steer you in the direction you don't want to go and just stay true to yourself and anything can happen and you just have to believe that and keep pushing forward. If they try bringing you down, you just pick your head up and you just fight harder the next time and prove them wrong.
Hollie, did you also audition for The X Factor in between seasons? Is that true, and if so, what happened with that?
Hollie Cavanagh: No, I think that was -- I can't really remember when that was, but I wasn't allowed because I was under contract with Idol.
How different has it been for you living in Texas when you are from Liverpool in the U.K.?
Hollie Cavanagh: It's a huge dramatic change. I mean, I went from a completely different lifestyle to this lifestyle, but it was a good change. My dad kind of moved us out there to be here and follow our dreams here and make a better lifestyle for us, so it was a good change.
What changes did you notice about how life is different here?
Hollie Cavanagh: In England, where I lived, it was very -- you do the same thing everyday -- see your family or do this or do that. And here, there's just so much more to do I guess. There's so much more to -- I guess I can go out and achieve something like this. Much more of that makes sense.
Any closing remarks?
Hollie Cavanagh: Just to all my fans, thank you. And thank you for everybody's questions. I definitely [am excited] to see what happens in the future and we'll see what happens. And to all my Holliepops, you're all amazing, so thank you guys so much.