Exit interview/conference call with Adanna Duru and Maddie Walker:
Q:. So can you two first talk about what’s the one piece of advice that one of the judges gave you that you’ll take with you that you think helped you the most?
Adanna: I’d have to say that my favorite piece of advice was control and being completely in control of everything that you’re doing on stage, in control of yourself and being confident in everything that you’re doing, because if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, then no one else will.
Maddie: And I think mine for sure would be trust. Like you really just have to trust in your ability and trust in yourself that you will do what you’re meant to do and everything will work out the way you’ve practiced and planned, and I think that’s key. You really do just have to trust yourself and others.
Q: What, if you remember back, the first time you guys were on the big stage in front of the big audience, what was kind of running through your head for you?
Adanna: I was really scared. Yes, and I’m sorry. It was really scary at first. It’s like what the heck, I’m on this huge legendary stage, what am I going to do, people are watching me, but then it’s like wait, I’m going to do what I was born to do, you know, and that’s to entertain and to make people happy. Put smiles on people’s faces and that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. When people, you know, they’re cheering for you and they’re smiling and you’re making them happy, that’s what you really love getting out of all of this.
Maddie: Yes, for sure. When I saw the stage for the first time, I was like oh my gosh, this is incredible. And you would think you would be intimidating or scary but you get out there and you’re like wow this seems like home, like it feels right. So, I think that’s, that’s really just—it was an incredible feeling.
Q: Based on your performances last week, were you shocked that out of everyone in the top 11 you apparently did get the lowest votes? I mean a lot of viewers didn’t see that coming.
Adanna: I mean, you know we don’t ever really see anything that happens coming. We just kind of let it—we just kind of let it happen and take it day by day, and we don’t like to second guess ourselves or regret things. We just kind of, take things in and take them as they are and go with it. So you just have to—at the end of the day, you have to be okay with whatever happens because you can’t change what happens. All you can do is be happy from it, be happy for the other people, be happy that you did what you did and move on.
Maddie: Yes, no doubt. I think it’s not one of those things where you can regret anything. You want to be happy and you want to feel like you did all that you could do, and in all reality, I think that mainly I was just happy for the other contestants. There was no sadness, or regret or anything like that. I think honestly I was just so happy to see so many incredible people make it through.
Q: Okay, and you know, Keith, however, did seem sad because when you girls got eliminated, he said it was “like a dagger in the heart”. I guess, did the judges tell you anything after the show and what was their reaction because I guess the judges seemed like they were going to regret using their save in the—
Q: It was just so early to use it, especially on a guy when girls tend to go very early on in the competition. You know what I mean?
Maddie: Yes, I think Harry was kind of upset about it because he came backstage afterwards and he was like, just to us two, can I talk to you guys alone. And we were sitting there, and he’s like it’s really hard to see you guys go, but I see huge things in the future for you. And so that was really sweet of him to take the time to talk to us and try to make us feel better, because it was a tough one. But at the same time, no matter what, this journey is going to end for everyone whether it ends because you win or whether it ends because you got cut. But in the end, it’s always going to end.
Q: I’m great. So, last week Maddie, you sang the song, “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” and Adanna, you sang, “Love You, I Do” from Jennifer Hudson.
Q: So those were two very romantic songs. So what was going through your mind when you sang those songs and were you thinking of anybody in particular when you sang them?
Adanna: “Love You, I Do” is one of my favorite songs from Dreamgirls. It actually is my favorite song from Dreamgirls. I saw it when it first came out in theaters when I was ten, I believe, and that song always stuck out most to me. So I was like I would love to perform this one day and I never really found the perfect time until there was a movie theme, and I was like this is the perfect song. And I wouldn’t have done anything differently, I mean, of course, there’s—you’ve got to take in the criticism, and, of course, there’s always room for improvement, and I’m not saying anyone’s perfect, but if I did this entire experience over, I would’ve, I still would’ve sang that song, I still would’ve sung all the songs I sang and I’m happy the way everything turned out. You just got to be grateful for being given this experience in the first place.
Maddie: Yes, I really enjoyed my song. I had so much fun with it and I think it was a very multi-generational song just because it did—they did make the remake of the Footloose movie so I figured that could reach out to not only people who watched the original and loved the original from the beginning, but also loved the newer version. So I had so much fun with it and working with Scott and him helping me figure out the dynamics of what I wanted to do with it was really cool. And I wouldn’t take anything back because I had a really good time.
Q: What is next for you in your journey, in your musical journey and your career? What do you see as your next move?
Adanna: Definitely just constantly staying active because fans want to see that you’re doing things. They don’t want to see you being sad and moping, they want to see that you’re—they look up to us, so we have to show them that you don’t stop, you have to keep going no matter what happens. So that’s what I’m going to do. Writing, recording, everything I possibly can, performing, because I love it and it’s what makes me happy.
Maddie: Yes, my thing is I’m definitely going to start writing and I’m going to hopefully start recording country because that’s really my goal and what I want to do and I think that, in all reality, I just need to keep working and moving forward because this motivated me so much and it taught me so much that I could’ve never learned anywhere else.
Q: Maddie, you just chatted a little bit about wanting to get into the country genre, so you were basically the only country artist left in the competition and country is mentor Scott Borchetta’s specialty, so do you think there will be a missing piece there without you this season?
Maddie: Yes, I think it’s kind of sad that no one’s representing country. It kind of breaks my heart a little bit, because I really do think that it should be represented well and I had such a good time and I loved working with Scott. I don’t think I could have asked for a better mentor because he really is in that wheelhouse and that’s what he works for. So I was just very, very happy and blessed to have worked with him. I had so much fun and I learned so much, so I think, I think honestly I hope to work with him in the future and hopefully do big things.
Q:. And obviously we know there are so many highs and lows in this competition, it probably helps to have each other to rely on in the process, but Adanna, how do you work through those emotional highs and lows and how does your face play a role in that process?
Adanna: You have to honestly just stay calm, stay as calm as you possibly can and know that everything happens for a reason. I have a lot of faith, I’m a spiritual person, I believe that whatever happens is in God’s will. You can’t complain, you can’t keep questioning why, why because there’s some things in this world that we just don’t have control over. So, point blank, whatever you believe in, whether it’s just energy, whether it’s just the universe, the universe has its way of working things out and some things we just can’t control, so you got to just remember to say as calm as you possibly can. If you are given these opportunities, you’ve got to execute in the most controlled, calm, professional manner. It does get scary and you get emotional and you kind of want to scream sometimes, but you also have to realize that whatever happens, happens for a reason and when you’re given these opportunities, you’ve got to seize them and you’ve got to go for it with all you can.
Q:. You got a lot of advice and mentorship from there. Can you share with us something, a technical skill which you got from the mentors that you intend to put into your craft as you move forward?
Maddie: I think personally, for me, I really learned how to get my feelings across within this last week or so. I really had such a good time of knowing what I wanted to do with my face and my voice and how to get the feelings through vocally and facially, and so it helped so much. And I think that was one of the biggest things I really needed to work on, because if you’re going to perform, if you’re going to sing for a camera or for anyone in person you really do, you have to emote, you have to get those emotions across to them or they won’t want to listen. So, I think I worked so hard on that this week and I was really hoping to convey that in my “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” performance, but I think that it would have been awesome.
Q: Absolutely. Okay, my first question is for you both. What did you guys learn while performing on the show in front of such a large crowd that you’ll be able to take with you in the future and future performances?
Adanna: Man, you learn so much because it’s such a professional atmosphere. You take in everything that you’re told from the judges, from the mentors, Scott, the vocal coaches, all the celebrity mentors, and just personal experience, because I’m all for self-improvement. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to be better, how to better myself and I think it’s just all about knowing how to, knowing how to improve and knowing where to draw the line between being happy for yourself and being sad for yourself, which is never, which should never be the case. You should always be confident, you should always be grateful and I’m so grateful to have been given this experience.
Maddie: Yes, I really think that I learned so much while I was there, and everyone was so sweet and so kind. There’s no way to take anything other than positivity from being there. You learn so much, and I think for me, personally, it was working with stage and feeling comfortable with moving around and having a good time without worrying about what others were going to say if you looked silly. So I think that was the hardest thing to get through to me, but once it did, it really paid off.
Q: Do either one of you, or both of you, have plans for the future to continue a path professionally as a performer?
Maddie: Oh, of course.
Adanna: Of course.
Maddie: Yes, for both of us, there’s definitely a plan to do big things in the future.
Adanna: Definitely, definitely. You got to keep going. There’s so many successful people who have been knocked down countless times and you have to just remember that, I mean that’s what life is. You’re given opportunities and then these opportunities slip away, but then that just means it leaves room for more opportunity. So now we’re in the real world, we’re in the pool of life and we’re ready to snatch up the next opportunity.
Q:. I’m from Jax’s home town newspaper, but I wanted to ask you a little bit about the relationships that you guys had all together. It seems like you were a very close group. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Adanna: Man, we were so close to each other, and everyone on the show is so tight. On television, it seems like it’s just a competition and there’s so much tension and everyone, oh wow they must hate each other behind the scenes. It’s not the case at all. We’re all genuinely happy for each other and we’re just hoping to see each other succeed in life, honestly.
Maddie: Yes, I think we’re all working towards the same dream and no matter what happens, even if someone is making it further in the competition, but you still support them and you have so much faith in everything that they do. There’s no way to be anything but positive. Everyone deserves the same opportunities and they are building up their careers and I’m so happy.
Q:. Do you have any pieces of advice for those left in the competition?
Adanna: Keep going. Believe in yourself.
Maddie: Keep killin’ it.
Adanna: Yes, seriously. Proud of them.
Maddie: Thank you. They’re so incredible.
Q:. I assume you all will be watching?
Adanna: Of course, I’ll be watching. So much. I have too many friends on that show.
Maddie: Of course.
Q:. What have you learned about yourself during this whole process?
Adanna: I’ve learned that I can push myself very hard and I can still perform well under very, very high pressures. Because this entire thing has, there’s lots of pressures, there’s lots of stress behind it and—I mean it’s all good. It’s preparing you for, it’s preparing us for what’s going to happen when we do become big superstars. It’s like superstar college, it’s like university.
Maddie: Yes, I feel like I’ve learned so much about myself and the industry. Like, you wouldn’t think you’d be sitting here saying you know I think I found myself being on a singing competition, but you really learn a lot about what you want to do and a lot about what you’re trying to conquer. So I think that for anyone in this competition, you really are learning who you are throughout the entire process.
Q: What, if any, surprises did you experience with Idol? I’m sure you went into it with some preconceived notions of what it was going to be like, especially getting this far. Was there any surprises for either one of you?
Maddie: Oh, goodness. I think that it kind of hits hard this fast pace lifestyle and just working so hard, but I think my biggest surprise is definitely the sing off. That was definitely the biggest thing that hit me pretty hard because you do go in there thinking I think I did pretty good, I might be okay, and then you get things thrown at you such as that, or in Adanna’s case, her being the wild card. There’s so many different things you get brought into that you don’t expect.
Adanna: Yes, I’d have, yes, I’d have to say it was for me it was the wild card definitely because, oh man, that was just an unbelievable experience, but I’m so happy that it did happen because otherwise I would not have made it this far, so I’m very grateful for that.
Q:. You both finished tenth and eleventh—one ten and one eleven. Was there any indication about the summer tour? Is there going to be one? Are you both going to get to go on it? What’s the status? Do either one of you know?
Maddie: We really don’t know.
Adanna Yes, we really have no idea about that, but we will be getting information about it eventually, which is probably going to be private information until it’s officially announced.
Q: Maddie, I wanted to ask you. I know you were really ill last week and was there ever a moment where you thought you might have to drop out of the competition?
Maddie: Well, the biggest thing is that they were asking me, “Do you think you can sing” and they were like you got to put your health first and don’t worry about the competition and all this stuff, and the thing was is that people did vote me through and I wanted to make it up to them and myself that I could do this. And I didn’t want to just because of being sick and in pain and not feeling well that I couldn’t perform because, in any case, maybe one day I’ll have a concert and have the same thing happen. You never know, but you also don’t want people to think that you aren’t strong enough to conquer anything. And so I think that was my biggest thing. I wanted to prove to people that no matter what happened, I was in it for them, not just the competition itself, but—and it was because they were supporting me.
Q: But were you in a lot of pain while you were performing last week?
Maddie: Yes, well I think my thing was, I think the adrenaline really kicked in afterwards. I was shaking and I had a fever and I knew it was a terrible idea, but at the time, I felt like that it was my only option because I wanted to make sure that I’d made it up to people. And I was in a lot of pain, but I think with music and anything else, you can block that out until the right time. Because I just wanted to put on a smiling face for the— The thing for me is there were people in the crowd with signs that had my name on it and I was standing there and I was how can I sit here in pain and say that I’m not going to sing for the people who have taken the time to make a sign and be cheering for me.
Q: And for both of you, could you tell us what was the most important piece of advice you got from Scott Borchetta?
Adanna: Man, Scott, I’d say most important advice I got from him was to be confident in myself and to constantly trust that I can do anything that I really set my mind to. And to know that if I don’t believe in myself, no one else is going to believe in me. No one is going to believe what I’m saying if I don’t believe what I’m saying. You have to constantly be in control and in control of your vocals, your stage presence, you’re emotions you have to be in control and you have to be in command.
Maddie: Yes, for me I think that Scott was probably the perfect mentor, any mentor I could have asked for just because he was in that country vein and he taught me so much about the industry and about everything. The music and how I present myself and I think that everything he said to me thus far has been gold and I’m taking it as that.
Q: This question is for Maddie. Despite the fact you’re clearly a country singer, I know Harry gave you the critique a couple of times of not really knowing what kind of artist you are or— So I guess what performance this season do think was best representative of what type of artist you’d like to be and why?
Maddie: Honestly, I think “Suitcase” was because I think that showed from the beginning and as I improved, that I wanted to stay in this vein, and it was very sad to me that there was a miscommunication with who I was and I didn’t want it to come across like that and I think “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” would’ve been my best performance thus far because it did have that vulnerable side and it showed who I wanted to be as an artist and it showed a different way of doing such a classic and iconic song. So I think “Suitcase” definitely best represented who I wanted to be as an artist but “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” would have topped that.
Adanna: Thank you so much, everybody, for voting. All the fans have been so supportive. I love going into the crowed and seeing people who take the time to make signs with my names on them. Just everything you guys do. I love making you guys happy and I love that you guys make me so happy and I want to thank you so much.
Maddie: Sitting here, I really wanted to thank you guys for all of the support and I read all the articles and retweet as much as I can, so feel free to @me and follow me on Twitter, Instagram. I’d love to see you guy’s write-ups. So thank you so much for asking all the questions and supporting us this far. It feels really great.