Following is a transcript of a conference call held last Friday with eliminated contestant Naima Adedapo:
Q: I was just wondering what the sentiment had been in the house among the women this season? Last season, four of the season’s first six girls were cut early on and this season, obviously, four girls have gone early on. Was that something you and the other girls had been concerned about, discussed, before the finals began?
Naima Adedapo: “We weren’t really concerned. We weren’t discussing it because I think we all had faith in ourselves. When it comes down to it, the reality is that more than 50 percent of the audience is like little teenage girls and once they get a crush, we’re done. You know what I mean? It’s just like they dominate and that’s alright. We didn’t really have too many conversations about it because we were all pretty confident in our work.”
Q: So you guys kind of figured that was just the reality of the situation?
NA: “It is. It is the reality of the situation. The teeny boppers, once they fall in love it’s like … and then we’re in that generation fiesta, like my audience was more kind of the older crowd who are not necessarily as technology-savvy sometimes. So I would get like people saying, ‘Yes, I voted for you three times!’ and it’s like, ‘Well, you could’ve voted for like 500 if you just texted,’ or whatnot. But yes, that’s just the reality of the situation.”
Q: Lauren seemed so upset last night with the decision that you guys were going and I know you guys were really close. How did you console her? What did she say to you afterward, because you were kind of like a mother figure to her during the show too, right?
NA: “Yes, she kind of cried it out a little bit, but that’s a natural thing. It’s all right to do that. I think it was very hard for her because not only was it like me kind of going … like I’ve been a mother figure a little bit. I always tell her to have confidence in herself and believe in herself and that she’s beautiful and don’t let anybody alter what she thinks of herself, but I think even more so it was Thia because that was like her ace. They were in school together all the time. They were really, really close and they were really, really tight and it really is like losing a best friend. I had my moment when I couldn’t hold it together saying, ‘see you later’ to Jacob. That’s been my ace and so, yes, you get emotionally attached to these people because you’re living in such close quarters. You start to learn their stories. You start to learn their personalities and you get attached, and so it hurts to see people go, but we will reunite.”
Q: What’s the one thing that you’re going to miss most about the competition of all the stuff that you got to do?
NA: “Shopping! I think that was like one of the biggest, best parts for me. I mean, performing is everything. It really is, but when you get to shop and you get to do the accessories and the shoes and the … oh my God! I get such a kick out of that. Then I get an even bigger kick when it’s not expensive. Then I can get more things with the budget or whatnot. That was my release time, actually.
“It was really awesome to be able to kind of co-create things with Soyon, and just tag-team back and forth on things. She really knew my style. She studied me, I feel like, and she knew my style. She would have stuff hanging on the rack before we even went shopping that I would be like, ‘I’ll just wear that! We don’t even have to go shopping!’ That was one of the best parts for me, I have to admit.”
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your dance background? Because certainly, you showed off your dance moves on the show so well. I understand you were part of a dance troop, is that right?
NA: “That’s correct. I’ve been part of many dance troops, actually. I used to do hip-hop, but for most of my life I’ve done African dance. I was a part of Ko-Thi Dance Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Any African dance company, probably, that you name in Wisconsin I’ve been a part of … or in Milwaukee, I should say, I’ve been a part of. Dancing has always been a part of my life. Ever since I was young, just playing around on the streets in Chicago doing the hand clapping and dancing. It’s always been something that I’ve connected to.
“I did go to college and study dance. I got a B.F.A. in dance and so I know all different forms of dance. I could have tapped … some ballet if I wanted to, but it’s not necessarily my realm. You would probably look a little weird doing pirouettes in a reggae song, but dancing is something I am truly connected to.”
Q: Were you always planning to incorporate dance into your Idol performances or was it suggested that you should do that?
NA: “No, I’ve always incorporated dance into my performance, regardless. I had a reggae band back home with my husband, and we always move on stage. It’s unnatural not to for us. You have to dance, you have to move, you have to physically be engaged I feel like, to be able to connect to the audience.”
Q: I spoke with your mom, who was very sweet. She told me that you’re a fourth generation entertainer. I was wondering if your Chicago years had a big influence on your musical development?
NA: “Oh, most definitely. Chicago is a wonderful city. It’s a beautiful city. It’s just rich with culture and the community that my mother kept me around growing up was definitely all artists. She was a story-teller and she would incorporate me into her storytelling. She would make me mime out the parts or whatnot and she … I mean, I was always around artists, whether it was dancers or singers or actors. Chicago, of course, is full of that, full of entertainers and I think that really was the early shaping of my artistry.”
Q: Before Wednesday, you had been in the Bottom 3 of the competition. I was wondering if you, with this reggae performance, had decided that you needed to shake things up and get some peoples’ attention.
NA: “Yes, really, honestly, I just wanted to really show every piece of me. That’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been trying to take opportunities every time to show a new thing, show something different about me and I hadn’t really gone roots reggae, and that is a big part of me. I love it, I connect to it, and so I did. I had some people telling me, ‘I don’t know about it.’ But for me, I’m really about staying true to myself and once I have my brain set on something or my mind set on something, I just kind of go after it. So I did what I did and I have no regrets about anything I’ve done on the show and I’m happy that I was able to show that side of me.”
Q: You talk about just kind of being yourself on the show. I wonder if, maybe, you were one of the more charismatic people on the show this year, do you think that that was maybe a little off-putting as well, like people just weren’t used to somebody bringing so much of their own artistry to the show?
NA: “I think, yes, that was a big thing. I think sometimes people didn’t know where to place me or, I don’t know, I felt like maybe they didn’t understand me sometimes, but honestly the reactions that I’ve gotten from people have still been positive. They didn’t know-it was like, ‘I don’t know about you, but I kind of like you.’ So, I think I definitely struck people in a different kind of way. I think that because it was kind of hard to place me in a certain category that did have an effect on how people voted or how they perceived me.”