When 19-year-old American Idol contender Alex Lambert was voted off the show on March 11, fans of the Texas native were shocked — and so were the judges. But one Idol fan was so disappointed to see Lambert go, she started her own online petition to get him back on the show, getting 18,000 signatures in support of the mullet-haired singer/songwriter.
Fast-forward three weeks, and Lambert is back in the spotlight — but he’s not on American Idol. Later today, he’ll be moving into the If I Can Dream house, joining the ranks as one of Hollywood’s aspiring musicians. In anticipation of his move, Hulu spoke to Lambert yesterday to ask him all about his new haircut — the mullet is mostly gone now — as well as what he thinks life in the Dream House will be like. Oh yeah, and we asked him a few questions about Idol, too. Who’s his pick to go all the way? Read on to find out. — Rebecca Harper (), Hulu’s Editor
So you cut your hair!
Yeah, they cut it.
They cut it? Did you have any say in whether or not they cut it?
Is it for the house, then?
For the photo shoot. He asked if I wanted to keep my mullet. I said yeah, and he kind of cut it off. It looked alright.
Are you going to grow it back?
You should do an online poll to see if your fans want you to grow it back or keep it shorter. People love to share their opinions… But anyway, you have this reputation of being a shy guy. Do you think that’s true?
I guess I’m a little bit shy at first, but when I get to know somebody, I don’t think I’m shy at all. My friends wouldn’t say I’m a shy person. I guess around some girls or something, I guess I’m a little bit shy.
And members of the press, maybe?
Yeah. And on stage.
What was it like performing on stage for Idol?
Performing on stage for Idol was intense because it really forced me to become like a performer and stuff. I’ve never performed for … well, I’ve always had this stage fright. And when I go on Idol, it’s like you have to pretend you don’t have it. I really couldn’t do that for some reason. I’ve always had this thing where I can’t really act… I suck at acting like something I’m not. I suck at lying. It’s pretty much what you have to go up there and do — not lie, that sounds bad. You have to lie, because I don’t have any experience on stage, but I had to act like I do. It’s kind of like lying, I guess.
Was it the stage fright that got to you, that got you sick? Or was it the thought of having Simon Cowell pick apart your performances?
I wasn’t too worried what the judges had to say, because I didn’t go up there to perform for the judges. I go up there to perform for my family, my hometown and my fans. I’m not too worried about the judges. So I don’t think it was the judges that really made me nervous. Before every performance, I would think in my head, like, if I blow this, whatever happens on stage is going to change my life, whether it’s bad or good or even in the middle. Whatever happens is going to change my life. That was what was scaring me more than anything.
What made you decide to move into the If I Can Dream house?
Well, when I got the call to do the Dream house and be on If I Can Dream, I was stoked, because it’s pretty much perfect for what I need right now. Who wouldn’t want to go live in a giant house with beautiful women?
Have you been there yet?
No, I haven’t been there, but I’ve been watching it live and on Hulu.
Have you met any of them yet? Who are you most excited to meet?
No, I haven’t met any of them. I’ll probably be most interested in meeting Justin because he’s also a musician, a singer/songwriter. That’ll be cool, to hear his ideas. I listened to his music. When you talk to an artist, you really understand their concept of what kind of album they want to put out, what kind of future they really want to have with their music. I’d really like to know that about him. I would like to write some songs with him, too. He’s got a pretty good vibe with his music.
Do you see any competition between you two to win Giglianne‘s attention?
[Laughs] No, I have a girlfriend back at home. I can’t see there being any competition at all, to be honest with you. I just did Idol and it’s supposed to be like this competition, and I really didn’t feel like I was in a competition on that show.
You made some good friends on that show, right? Are you keeping in touch with any of them?
Yeah. Every once in a while I’ll hit Andrew [Garcia] or Lee [DeWyze] up, and every once in a while, I’ll text Siobhan [Magnus]. Those are probably like the only people I really talk to. I just throw them advice and stuff, because that’s we’d usually do, like “oh, this sounds good” or “you should do this song.” There are a few songs that we’ve jammed out to that I’m really looking forward to hearing if Lee or Andrew go on in the show.
Can you spoil any of the songs?
No, I don’t want to do that!
Come on, we’re Hulu! But in that case, who are your picks to win? Who are you voting for each week?
I haven’t really voted for anybody. I know that sounds kind of bad, but I just feel like, if I vote for one person, I’ll feel bad for the other people. I know everyone on the show, and I’m friends with everyone on the show, even if there’s certain people I’m friends with than others. But for me, I feel like Siobhan [might win]. I don’t know, every time Siobhan sings, it gives me the chills. I think Lee has that, too. Those two people are probably my picks to win the show.
Are you looking forward to being on camera 24/7 at the house?
[Laughs] Being on camera … I’m probably not too excited about that because I’ve always had problems writing music when people are watching me, and it’s just going to be weird to not have any privacy at all. I’m not looking forward to that, but I am looking forward to working with vocal coaches and people who’ll help me write my songs. I’ve never had that. I really feel like the Dream house is going to take my music to the next level and take me, as a person, to the next level.
So there’s a lot of talk about how Jessica Bongiorno started a petition and collected 18,000 signatures to get you back on Idol. Have you talked to her at all?
I haven’t been in contact with Jessica, but I know a lot about her and she probably knows a lot about me. [Laughs]
Do you think you’ll ever get in touch with her?
Hopefully, because I think it’s awesome that she started a petition. I really feel like a lot of this wouldn’t have happened without all the fans, and when one person can take time to make a petition, write all of it out, and all that stuff — it really feels good.
What do you miss the most about Idol?
Probably hanging out with Andrew and Lee, just jamming out, writing songs. We would sit up every night until 2 o’clock in the morning. We’d have our new guitars that we got, and we’d just be trying to figure out guitar parts for each others’ songs, or figuring out harmonies. I don’t know, it just felt awesome to be working with other musicians and artists and learn their music.
Do you know that Kara from If I Can Dream sings as well?
Yeah, she plays the piano also.
Do you think you and Justin will do some collaborating with her, maybe come up with a follow-up to her “Kitchen Song?”
Definitely. I mean, whoever plays music and sings in the house is going to get together to work on their thing. I feel like that’s how it’s been my entire life. Anyone that has musical ability, they throw their two cents in.
Where are you going to sleep at the house? Which bedroom is yours?
In the guest room — no, I’m not going to sleep outside. [Laughs]
What are you bringing to the house? Your guitar, obviously.
My guitar. I’ll bring in some posters of ZZ Top and Bob Marley and some Elvis. I don’t know if they’ll let me hang them up, but hopefully. Something else I’m bringing to the house [will be] a picture, it’s like a little one, but there’s four of them of me and my girlfriend. I have to put that up.
Well, you better put it up.
Yeah, I know. Otherwise, she’ll kill me.
Yeah, you’ve got 18,000 fans out there thinking “great, I can move in on him.”
Is your girlfriend going to come visit you at the house? Is she going to be on camera?
I don’t know, maybe she’ll hide in those off-camera spots that I’ve heard about. You’ll find those pretty quickly. I’ve heard that you kind of forget the camera there, actually.
But you can’t forget that the cameras are there.
No, you shouldn’t forget that the cameras are there.
You always have to keep in mind that you don’t have any privacy.
Yeah, you never know who’s watching. Do you use Hulu at all?
I don’t really use Hulu all that much, but a lot of my friends do. Because, before all this stuff, I didn’t have internet at home. A lot of my friends watch stuff like Family Guy on Hulu, though.
Do you have a favorite show on TV — other than American Idol?
No, American Idol is all I watch. [Laughs] No, before it went off the air, I liked to watch Conan. Conan is like my favorite. And I like 16 and Pregnant, too. That’s like my girlfriend’s favorite show.
Who are your biggest influences in terms of music?
My biggest influences would probably be like The Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bob Marley, John Mayer, James Morrison, John Legend, people like that. I really like James Brown, Marvin Gaye. I like Sam Cooke, all the old-school stuff. More new stuff, I like MGMT, the Kooks. I like the Kooks a lot, too. I like Dashboard [Confessional] a lot, too.
Do you think you’ll get to meet any of these modern-day people?
Hopefully, that would be awesome — especially if we get to jam out or they get to help me with my music, not just say “hey, nice to meet you.”
Tell me something I don’t already know about Ryan Seacrest.
[Laughs] I don’t really know that much about Ryan Seacrest.
Do you know that much about Simon Cowell?
Simon’s a nice guy. That’s what I know about Simon. He has to act that way on the show because it’s his job, but off-camera, he was really a nice guy.
Did he ever talk to you off camera?
Yeah, after I got eliminated, he talked to me for a while and was telling me that I have a great voice and that this is the beginning. He was like, “How old are you” and I said “19.” He told me this was just the beginning, don’t even worry.
Did he give you any advice?
He didn’t really give me advice, he just told me to go out and get experience, like everyone else is telling me, but the judge that gave me the most advice was probably Randy — and Ellen, obviously, because I was on the show.
What was it like being on the show?
Ellen was awesome. It was so laid back. I was so used to Idol being so stressful, like “do this perfect” and all that, and I get on Ellen and she’s just like “who cares.” We just chilled out.
Did you get the Ellen boxers?
No, I didn’t get the boxers. I got the mug and the shirt for my girlfriend. So maybe we’ll see them in the house.
What’s your view of what L.A. and what your lifestyle is like right now?
It’s crazy. It seems like every time I’m in Texas — because I’m from Fort Worth, but the town I’m in is really small, so nothing really goes on. Every day I’m just kind of sitting around. When I come back from L.A., I’m always just like what do I do. When I get back [to L.A.], I feel like I’m in the right. I like being busy, it just seems like everything is fast-paced. It just seems like where I’m from, everything isn’t fast enough.
Thanks, Alex for talking to us — have fun at the house!
Watch If I Can Dream live at ificandream.com.