Didi Benami held her final conference call on Thursday morning after being eliminated Wednesday night. Among other things she revealed how at one time she was living in her car in L.A. She’s come a long way to the AI Top 10.
Following is a transcript of the interview:
How did you deal with the critiques that the judges gave each week?
DB: “No, I wasn’t prepared for that (criticism). I wasn’t an avid American Idol watcher so I didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, I was just being myself. I wasn’t expecting that, no. But I’m OK with that. It was interesting because it fit into my Los Angeles experience. You get kicked down and you gotta get back up again. You have to get over it. It has nothing to do with the four of them.”
How did all the contestents get along with one another this season?
DB: “We seemed to get along pretty well. Kind of like having little families in all of our apartments. I enjoyed meeting all of them.”
Can you expand on that Los Angeles experience. You have been there four years now.
DB: “It’s been crazy. I moved out here when I was 19 and I’ve had crazy roommates and all kinds of ridiculous experiences. I moved around a lot and at one point I didn’t even have a place to live. I was living out of my car (between 2006 and 2007). It’s been rough. I wanted to be in entertainment and I wanted to sing and do a bunch of songs. I managed to find my way along the way cause I didn’t know what I was doing other than I moved out to L.A. to pursue what I loved. I was waiting tables. It’s a crazy experience in L.A. You get kicked down a lot. I taught myself how to play guitar. And the things that I couldn’t say in reality in front of somebody I just started writing in songs. I taught myself to write. I worked really, really hard to get where I am and I am just thankful for the opportunity to be on American Idol. It’s been a great platform for me to get my music out there … my love, my passion, what I was put here to do.”
How do you feel about making the Top 10?
DB: “Well, I get to go on Tour and I don’t have to work as a waitress anymore. The fans that are reaching out and supporting me are amazing. It’s nice to know that I’ll be able to make a living through the summer doing something that I love to do. And hopefully that will last the rest of my life.”
It’s been an emotional time for you the last couple of weeks. This emotion, has it been a releif for you or is this the way you are ordinarily?
DB: “Of course it’s been emotional cause this is something that I’ve always wanted to do. Getting on the show It was emotional. You think when you work so hard good things will come and when they do it’s almost like disbelief. And it brought me to tears.”
Next week is Beatles week, what songs were you thinking about doing?
DB: “I am so bummed. I was planning on coming back next week. I wanted to do Blackbird, that was my first thought, or Across the Universe.”
When Kara said to you at one point that you had lost your way, what was your reaction to that?
DB: “I don’t feel like I lost my way. I feel like they (the judges) wanted me to do something specific and kind of went out on a limb and they were kinda surprised. I’m a singer/song writer and I tap into every single emotion that I have and that I do very well. I was being me. I think they were all trying to be really helpful. It isn’t every day you get to sing in front of 30 million people and I wanted to show that I can do other things.”
What sort of an artist do you see yourself being going forward?
DB: “I think I’m gonna be like acoustic, low-key, relaxing music. I’ll put my heart into it everytime like I always do.”
What was it like working with Miley Cyrus and Usher?
DB: “It was cool. I think it made me finally realize where I was, ‘Hey, I’m with Miley Cyrus and Usher. I’m in the Top 10. This is pretty cool.’ Honestly, I got further than I ever thought I would.”
At the end you had an emotional moment with Shioban, what did she say to you?
DB: “She is a unique, amazing person. We met the first week of Hollywood Week and at first I thought, ‘Oh, who is this girl?’ She is just herself and never anybody else but herself. She doen’t care and neither does Crystal. That’s what I love about both of them. I just really respect them. They both are going to go very far. Both are really amazing. It’s tough. Like leaving summer camp.”
Your sister Maya lives in Israel and gave you your nickname. Can you talk about your family there?
DB: “My sister went there to get her Masters degree. I have some family over there. When I was real young my sister couldn’t say my real name so she just said Didi.”
Can you tell us a little bit about the pace while you are on Idol?
DB: “Wow, it’s like insane, intense. Very, very little down time. It’s a lot of pressure. You want to give it everything you have. I can’t wait to sleep. I’m exhausted but I’m really, really grateful.”
There were times when the judges didn’t have much good to say about any of you. What did that do to the collective confidence of the group?
DB: “It’s tough, but you gotta get back up and do your thing regardless of what anybody says. It’s about your passion and not what anybody else thinks. It’s tough, but you have to hang in there and be resiliant. It can be confusing.”
What was it like waiting last night while the judges considered the save?
DB: “It was tough. The whole crowd was chanting and that was pretty cool. But ultimately I kind of felt like I was going home, but it would have been cool if they have exercised the option and I could have come back next week for Beatles week. But regardless of what happened I was OK with what happened either way. So I’m not distraught in any way.”
What do you do now going forward?
DB: ” Yes, they have me doing all sorts of things. They have me doing David Letterman next week, not sure what day. They have me doing a lot of shows. I’ll just go where they tell me. I’ll rejoin the group the week after the finale for rehearsals for the Tour.”