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March 5, 2009
'American Idol': A chat with Lil, Scott and Jorge


MICHAEL BECKER/Fox

The last three "American Idol" finalists selected by viewer votes were tired but eager to talk about making it to the Top 12 and, in no small part, were appreciative that they were picked by fans. They are Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre and Jorge Nunez. (pictured).

Not that the wild card winners from tonight won't get the same shot at the title, but will it feel different to be sent through by the judges rather than voted in by America?

Here's a sampling of what last night's winners had to say to "Idol" reporters.

Lil Rounds, 23, Memphis:

Q: What were your feelings going into last night's results show, and how did you feel about the performance and Simon Cowell's comments about it being a little "copycat"?
A: The whole day I was really nervous. But I had no regrets. I got positive feedback, but it was up to America. As far as Simon's comments, I don't look at the performance as a copycat. Mary J. Blige and I have our different ways of singing. (Judge) Kara (DioGuardi) said I remained Lil from the beginning. Now I'll give you something to look forward to every week.

Q: Song choice is such a big part of the competition. How did you choose "Be Without You?" And how will you continue to pick songs?
A: I have to go with songs I can relate to. Not so much the beat, but the meaning. The song reminds me of my husband, my children and family. You think about how close you are to them. I plan to continue to sing with feeling. What comes from the heart reaches the heart.

Q: Why did you decide to audition?
A: I had been seeing the show for a few years, but I was also pregnant some of that time. It really was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I looked on the Internet thinking the auditions were over. The closest location (to Memphis) was Kansas City. My husband and I just got up and went. I felt it was the right time.

Q: Are there any mentors you would love to work with?
A: Stevie Wonder. I would just love to see him out there. It would be great if he could give me a couple of pointers - if he wouldn't mind.

Q: You and Alexis Grace are both from Memphis. Do you share any musical traits? Are you buds?
A: Well, I've been singing mostly in my church. Memphis has all genres of music. I just kind of picked what I felt in my heart. I'm more R&B. Alexis and I already were getting to know each other. We just clicked right away.

Scott MacIntyre, 23, Scottsdale, Ariz.:

Q: Have the show's producers worked with you on how to deal with your tunnel vision? What about the choreography?
A: I'm so up to rising to the challenge. I've actually had some dance in my background. Some salsa. There are lots of camera changes in the group song. I just have to learn where my focus is by memorizing distances and angles. The producers can throw whatever they want at me. They've been great helping me and so have the other contestants. I'm good at keeping an awareness of my space. I'm not too worried about it as long as I don't fall off the stage!

Q:Will you have the same person helping you on stage?
A: Not necessarily. That was my brother (last night). My mother was here during Hollywood Week. I'm hoping to spread the love around between my sister, dad and brother.

Q: Were you surprised when Simon criticized the lyrics to "Mandolin Rain?"
A: I had an answer for him, but I didn't want to interrupt. The lyrics are great. The song talks about listening - listening to rain, tears roll, hearts break. They're very applicable to me. I thought it worked because it represents a small part of what I perform and write. Whatever the theme is coming up I'm always going to choose something that I can make work for me.

Q: The judges talked about how excited they are to see you playing the piano. Do you feel the same way?
A: That's the entire reason I'm here. I've let them (producers) know that I do what I do best from behind a piano. It's not a substitute for my vocal presentation, it's just another layer. Here's where the magical moments happen musically. Next week I can start showing America who I really am.

Q: You finally got Ryan (Seacrest) do get the high five right. How did you accomplish that after he biffed it during your audition?
A: That's happened to me my whole life! I'm the last person who would ever be offended. People are always waving or high fiving me. He grabbed my hand then, and I had to return the favor. He's an awesome guy.

Jorge Nunez, 21, Carolina, Puerto Rico:

Q: How far do you think you've come since Hollywood Week?
A: My first solo there was my best. That was John Secada's "Angel." Our group performance was a mess. It was horrible! Luckily, when I sang "Closer" for the third round the judges liked it and I made it through to the Top 36.

Q; How do you feel about all this talk about your accent and working with a diction coach? Were the judges' comments confusing?
A: What they wanted me to do was change it (accent) when I was singing. I understand. It's distracting. I wanted to listen to what they say. Now, I'm more comfortable on stage.

Q: Will you perform in Spanish?
A: I'm hoping to get to a part of the show where I can sing American songs that are popular translated. "Killing Me Softly" is an example. I think my voice sounds best in Spanish. I might integrate a few verses in Spanish. I'm just very proud to represent my country in this competition.

Q: What kinds of music do you want to sing on the show, and do you think your emotions will get the best of you?
A: I like to make beautiful music, like the Elton John song I sang. I'm a pop artist, but I'm always looking for a softer side. And no, I'm not always crying!

Q: What are some of the cultural differences you've noticed being in L.A.?
A: Puerto Ricans are innocent people. Sometimes too nice, too hospitable. I'm definitely not used to such a big city. And yes, it's cold here!

Tonight at 8 on FOX40, the wild card round will determine the final three contestants who will make up "Idol's" Top 12. Check back to 21Q tomorrow for a recap and interviews with the judges' choices!


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