April 2, 2010

Idol’s Didi Benami: “This is not the end!”

Posted: 08:47 PM ET

Editor's note:  Singer and songwriter Didi Benami was the latest contestant to be voted off “American Idol” this week.  The judges liked her, but not enough to “save” the 23-year-old from the audience’s vote Wednesday night.

She spoke to the Larry King Live blog today about the experience, what her future plans are and why “Idol” is sort of like summer camp.

LKL Blog:  You’ve had two days to sort of analyze this and maybe get a little perspective.  How are you feeling about your time on “American Idol?”

Didi:  It was a really great experience.  I feel like it is only the beginning for me, really.  It was really great that I got to get onto the show.  And people really know who I am now.  I can get my music out there and write and do my thing.  

So you know, regardless of what happened – it sucked that I got eliminated so early, I wanted to stay longer – but in the long run, I’m fine. 

LKL Blog:  As much as this hurts or is disappointing to happen, there’s not really any bad outcome.

Didi:  No.  Really, there’s not.  And almost, it’s kind of a relief in a way.  Because there’s a lot of stress, a lot of pressure and it’s amazing to perform in front of that many people, but at the same time I was starting to get really sick towards the end of it and I didn’t want to keep pushing myself too hard because I knew I was going to get worse.

It’s an interesting thing.  I’m glad that I went through it. 

LKL Blog:  You mentioned stress and pressure, how difficult is it?  You’ve got different people telling you different things.  You’re trying to take the judge’s advice and criticism…but also trying to stay true to yourself as a singer and songwriter…

Didi:  It’s tough because you have so many people that you’re working with.  You’re still trying to do your thing and people are telling you what they think you should do – they want to see something different and exciting and new.  That can cause you to be like, “huh?”

More than anything I wanted to keep the show interesting.  I didn’t want people to know what I was going to do week after week after week.  I wanted to them to keep tuning in to watch and to see. 

It’s a lot of different perspectives and people encourage you to branch out and do other things.   I kind of went with that and it did not end up working out in the long run [laughs].

LKL Blog:  Was there anything that you were planning on doing down the road that you obviously don’t have a chance to do on the show now?

Didi:  Well, I really, really wanted to be there for Beatles week.  I did want to do “Blackbird” or “Across the Universe.”  I really wanted to do “Hey Jude” with the full band, too.  Because I got to sing part of that for my audition.  It would have been amazing with the full band.  And I wanted to get the crowd involved.  It sucks because I’m a huge Beatles fan!

LKL Blog:  In terms of your future – you spoke about struggling in Los Angeles for a while before “American Idol,” even living out of your car.  Things will obviously be different for you now, so how do you expect to use the experience moving forward?

Didi:  I definitely want to put an album out of my own music that I’ve been writing and co-writing with people. 

I started working a little bit on a record before “Idol” even came into my life.  So really, it’s a great thing for me, people know who I am.  So when I put a record out, I already have an amazing, wonderful, supportive fan base.

It’s not the end by any means; it’s the beginning of a great, great future for me.  I know that.  I had struggled for so long in LA to start writing and to even make ends meet.  And it feels like now this huge weight has been lifted off and I can do what I expected to do all along – so that’s great.  I’m really energized and excited about it.

LKL Blog:  You obviously get close to the other contestants and bond as a family over what you’re going through.  Did you guys get together and talk about your performances and the show or did you just try to have fun and keep it neutral while you were on your off days?

Didi:  You know, it depends on who they are.  It depends – for the most part, I’m an open book but sometimes I keep to myself.  It just depends on the mood we’re in and how the performance went and everything. 

Usually we’d have group rehearsals after our performances.  And that was fun.  You’d get over your performance and everybody gets into a good mood and we’re all dancing and doing a group number, which was always silly. 

There were different groups of people who were closer than others.  I know for myself, I was definitely close to [fellow contestants] Siobhan [Magnus] and Crystal [Bowersox] and those were two people I always went to for advice and for comfort. 

It’s really, really great to have these people there.  These friendships, it’s like summer camp, you meet them and you’re going to have them in your life for the rest of your life.  Hopefully I’ll get to write with Crystal.  We were already talking about it during “Idol” – she’s amazing.  The girl is amazing.  Not only is she cool, but she’s a genuine, wonderful person.

I can’t wait to see what happens with everybody.  Everybody has been so supportive of each other.  It’s such a good crew.  Things are going to work out well for everybody.

LKL Blog:  Anything else you want to add?

Didi:  I’m really just excited about my future and I really just want to say thank you so much to everybody who voted and who supported me.  I’ve been reading some really wonderful things that people have written to me and that have touched my heart, even made me cry. 

I’m excited.  But it’s tough – people are like, “We’re going to miss you,” and I’m like, no, this is not the end.  I’m coming back.  It’s great because now I get to make a comeback.  And do my own thing with the tour, with my music and what I really and truly love to do. 

And I just really want to say thank you to everybody who supported me.  They’re what kept me in the running the entire time and got me into the top ten.  For that I am forever grateful.  I can’t even say thank you enough.

Filed under: American Idol

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Richard Donaldson   April 2nd, 2010 9:44 pm ET

Dear Larry
Grow up about the cheating thing. How come it's all the women being indignant here. With Tiger and how many women, home the women being upset with tiger or Jessee aren't furious with all the sisters who be sleeping with married men, like they didn't know Tiger and or Jessee were maried. Ladies be angry with your sisters. Example , be mad with your kids for doing drugs, but be furious with the drug dalers in your neibourhood. Clean up the drug dealers and your kids won't have drugs. Point being, Ladies clean up your availability or your sisters, like call on thgem on air to not be available to these Tigers and Jessies. Where is your integrity?

Hugh in California   April 2nd, 2010 10:43 pm ET

Well, sticking to the subject, it IS the end for her on American Idol, but it may open doors for her she would have not otherwise been given. I wish her all the best. It is a very stressful thing participating in any talent show, and to do it in the national spotlight shows lots of courage and self-determination. Not many Idol contestants have achieved outstanding musical careers, but I'm OK with that. These types of shows are hugely sucessful and give many talented artists a place to showcase their talents - that's a good thing.

kathe   April 2nd, 2010 11:22 pm ET

Sorry to see you go so soon. I did like you . There were a couple of other guys that should of went first. I really think this is a strange
american idle this season. Kara drives me crazy ,Ellen is being to
quite and I think it just feels strange.

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