Skylar Laine: I had a gut feeling my time on 'American Idol' was up
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/04/2012
Skylar Laine was axed from American Idol during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, which determined its Top 4 eleventh-season finalists.
Skylar, an 18-year-old from Brandon, MS, became the ninth finalist sent home from American Idol's eleventh season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 5 finalists each performing two songs, with the first being a hit from the 60's and the second being a British pop song.
During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Skylar talked to Reality TV World about her American Idol experience -- including whether she was surprised to be eliminated and what she thought of Jessica Sanchez's controversial white performance dress.
Reality TV World: I know you've said you weren't surprised to be eliminated, so would you mind elaborating on that a little bit? At first glance, it seems like you might have been surprised given Hollie Cavanagh had landed in the bottom three many more times than you throughout the season.
Skylar Laine: Well, I wasn't surprised, because I don't know. I just got a gut feeling when I came back up there and I stood there, I told Hollie, I said, "I think you're about to be surprised," because she thought she was going home.
And she was like, "No, I'm not." And I said, "Yeah, you're going to be surprised." And I said, "I told you so" after, because I wasn't surprised. You can't be because you never know what's going to happen.
Reality TV World: During last night's show, Jimmy Iovine said Jessica's dress was "too mature and racy" for her age and probably made people uncomfortable. However, Jennifer Lopez came to Jessica's defense and said although some voters might've thought her outfit was a little too much and rightfully so, people in show biz have different standards and it would be considered acceptable. So what's your opinion on that debate? Do you think Jessica's dress was age-appropriate or too much for the show and the Idol audience?
Skylar Laine: I really don't know what to say about that. (Laughs) Her dress, I loved her dress. Jessica's got a body to die for. She's stick-thin. Don't we all want to be that way?! But I don't really know. I loved the dress and if people were offended by it, then they were offended by it. But I didn't really have a problem with it.
Also during the call, Skylar told reporters whether she had any regrets in her song choice throughout the season, what she refused to do during the competition, whether she thought being a strict country artist hurt her from accumulating more votes from a broad audience, and how she described her moments onstage when performing.
Is there anything you wish you could have shown to America or done differently in the competition?
Skylar Laine: I mean, I really think that I showed everything that I could, you know? I showed ballads, I showed upbeat songs. I showed passion; I showed anger in my songs. I really think that I showed a lot of stuff and I wouldn't change a thing that I did on the show.
What are looking forward to the most about theAmerican Idol tour?
Skylar Laine: I'm looking forward to meeting fans on the tour, because they're the ones who have gotten me this far and they're the ones that are still supporting me now even though I'm not on the show anymore.
I'm just looking forward to meeting them, and then seeing all the places that we're going and finally feeling like I've made it, you know? -- by being on a stage and giving a concert. I'll feel like I finally made it.
What advice were you given during the show that you're going to carry with you from this point on?
Skylar Laine: I'm definitely just going to carry the advice to just be myself -- don't let anybody change me as an artist. I'm not a pop-country singer. I never will be, and I don't want anybody to try to make me one. I need to sing the kind of country music that I want to sing and that comes out when I write.
Do you choose your own dresses or is what you wear more controlled by a stylist, and do you get to keep the clothes?
Skylar Laine: We get to keep most of the stuff that we wear and the stylist helps us, but if I didn't like something, of course she would always say, "Okay, well we'll find something else," but she was really good at finding me stuff. She kind of knew that -- I told her, I was like, "Bring me dresses that have something that's a little bit like maybe hardcore -- not something so girly."
Skylar Laine: I've actually wanted to audition for like two years and always had something else going on that I couldn't. So this year, I finally got the chance and I was like, "You know, I'm just going to go out for it but I don't think I'll make it past the first round." But I did, and now I'm Top 5. It's incredible. It's unbelievable to think I've made it this far.
Was it a conscious decision to promote yourself solely as a country artist during the competition and do you think that might've alienated you from the votes and support of non-country fans?
Skylar Laine: No, it's definitely a conscious decision. I pretty much know -- I've accepted the fact that if I get to make an album and I have singles out, that they're probably only going to be played on country radio, because that's just the way it is and that's the way my songs are going to sound.
I pretty much accepted that, and I'm fine with it, because I want to make real country music -- like honky tonk songs -- just the good old country stuff. I mean, that's what's going to make me happy and that's what comes out when I write.
What growth have you seen in yourself from the beginning of the competition up until now?
Skylar Laine: I definitely got more confident each week. I've always been confident onstage rocking out, but I've gotten more confident each week and I'm just happy to have made it this far -- just the Top 5 -- I think this place is good for me!
Your idol is Miranda Lambert, so do you have any hope of working with her and maybe doing a duet with her in the future?
Skylar Laine: It would be my dream to write with her and do a duet. Justin Moore is another one of my favorites. Miranda and Justin are my idols and I would love to do a duet with both of them and write with both of them. So hopefully one day, I will be able to.
The judges kept saying how great you were, but then you got voted off. Did you ever think about trying to please the viewers more so than the judges?
Skylar Laine: I really always thought about that. I was always thinking about that every time. I was trying to please the viewers and the judges, and maybe it was just my time to go. I just didn't get enough votes.
You said you were actually relieved to be voted off American Idol because you no longer had to deal with all the stress. Could you compare the stress you had to endure for Idol to something else that's happened in your life?
Skylar Laine: I really can't. This has been the most stressful time. The thing is, I loved it, but I said I was relieved because I won't have to have that crazy, hectic schedule just because I won't have to worry about song choice and being judged, you know? I just am relieved about that stuff.
Do you still plan on helping out at your family's restaurant despite how busy you must be now after Idol?
Skylar Laine: Oh of course I want to help out. I just want to help out in any way possible that I can.
Who were you closest with on the show and did anything really funny happen?
Skylar Laine: I was closest with [Joshua Ledet] and Hollie. We just had a bunch of funny stuff we'd always say, like I would wake her up with a duck call sometimes. That was pretty funny.
Were you surprised to be eliminated?
Skylar Laine: I'm never surprised on Thursdays. You never know what's going to happen. This season has been really unpredictable and it's going to keep being that way now. I was just happy to make it as far as I have.
Skylar Laine: I think that she was so sweet about it. She actually said in one of her interviews, I think, that the country community has already welcomed me with open arms and that just means the world to me. So, all of her comments were sweet and I was so happy to hear them.
You always sang with so much energy onstage. Did you feel an adrenaline rush every time you got up there to perform?
Skylar Laine: Yes, definitely. Even if I was singing a ballad, I would feel an adrenaline rush, you know? It's crazy to be up on that stage and you just feel so much -- I can't ever remember anything that happened onstage.
Skylar Laine: No, I really don't remember anything. I just have to watch them back.
So what are you planning to do for the tour?
Skylar Laine: I'm definitely going to sing country. I don't want to have to sing pop, and on the show of course, we have to sing what they give us and everything. And I just want to sing country music and hopefully I'll get to sing some of my songs.
How important do you think song choice is and do you think that had anything to do with your elimination?
Skylar Laine: I don't know if song choice had anything to do with me being eliminated. I really don't know what it was. It could have been. I will never know, so I don't really like to linger on it. But I'm just trying to remember my good times and everything that I've had on the show. And I had a great time the other night performing.
You're a tomboy at heart, but are you planning on incorporating some of the glamour from Idol into your everyday wardrobe from now on?
Skylar Laine: I don't know about in everyday life, but maybe once in awhile. I will always try to keep something a little more hardcore in my outfit -- a cute little dress but I'm going to put something with it that is a little bit more tomboyish.
How did you manage to stay so positive and energetic throughout the competition, especially during the results shows?
Skylar Laine: I definitely just forgot about everything and would sing a song -- songs I love -- and I just forgot about it all and rocked out, you know? I just wanted to go out with a bang last night and I think I did a good job of it.
Who was your favorite mentor and why?
Skylar Laine: My favorite mentor was probably Stevie Nicks because she just spent so much time learning the songs the night before and everything, and she kind of wanted to have an idea of them. And then she came in the next day and really had done her homework, and she really showed that she respected us. And we respected her.
What was your favorite performance throughout the season?
Skylar Laine: My favorite performance was probably, I'd say, "Stay with Me" and "Gun Powder and Lead." I loved both of those.
What was running through your head the first time you sang onstage in front of the huge audience?
Skylar Laine: I really can't remember what was running through my head. When I get onstage, I kind of just block it all out. What was probably running through my head -- but I just can't remember -- was, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Don't fall, don't fall..." I don't really think about it, because I can never remember what was going through my head when I was performing.
Are you saying that your mind kind of just draws a blank when you perform and then you can't remember anything about it afterwards? Could you not remember the judges' comments either?
Skylar Laine: I mean, I could remember but I can never remember what was going through my head in the middle of the performance. Sometimes my mind just doesn't think of anything in the middle of a performance.
I'm just singing it, or sometimes I could be thinking about something completely different in the middle of a performance like, "Hmm, what am I going to eat when I leave here?" I don't know what it is. It's weird but it just happens that way, and I can never really remember what it is.
You always slapped fans' hands who were near the stage. Did that come naturally to you or did you purposely try to do that each week?
Skylar Laine: I really loved coming up and touching the fans' hands. They're the ones that have gotten me here. They're the ones that love me. They're the ones that are going to buy my album, hopefully. So I just wanted to show them that I know they're there and I know they're supporting me.
Do you have any plans to start writing an album now and are you currently working on any songs?
Skylar Laine: I have a lot of songs. I have songs I've written before of course, and then I have a catalog of them. I have stuff that needs to be finished. I want to write with other people, so anything that they can have me do, I'm really excited about.
If you had to pick somebody to win the competition, who would it be?
Skylar Laine: Oh, I could not pick at all. I wouldn't pick even if I could because they're all so amazing and I love them all.
How did you feel you performed your two songs during Wednesday night's show and do you feel you connected to the lyrics? Because Jimmy Iovine said you didn't understand the lyrics to "Fortunate Son," while he said you didn't have enough darkness in the Dusty Springfield song.
Skylar Laine: "Fortunate Son" is a war-protest song, so it's kind of like -- I didn't really think I should -- I didn't really know if I should connect to the lyrics or not. I was just kind of singing the song because I really liked the melody.
Sometimes you just sing a song because you like a song, and in Dusty Springfield, I feel like I had the darkness. I felt like I had a lot of passion, but Jimmy always has his opinion, and he's not where he is today without knowing a couple things. So, I respect his opinion.
What did you find was the most challenging thing for you during your time on the show?
Skylar Laine: The most challenging was probably just staying true to myself and walking in high heels. (Laughs)
Any closing remarks?
Skylar Laine: I just want to thank everyone for all the support. I just want to say that I hope to be talking to ya'll in the future -- maybe if I get to make an album or about tour. Thank you all though for everything and I hope that you all have a blessed day.