Andrew Garcia was not pleased to learn he'd been dubbed the odds-on favorite to be the messiest member of the men's bus by his fellow performers on this year's American Idols Live! tour.
"Really?!" he exclaimed to Billboard.com before expressing his disappointment to Season 9 champ Lee DeWyze and Michael Lynche. "I didn't say that," noted DeWyze - who, in fact, did just a few minutes earlier. But Garcia contended that, "I'm not messy. I like to be organized. It's like a beautiful mess. That's what I'd call it."
Not to fear: Casey James will be there to help clean up. "I'm a clean freak," James confessed. "The bus is not that big, so it can't get that dirty, but I'll clean it up if it does. I'll be the maid."
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There was no argument amongst the women, however; Crystal Bowersox gave herself top slob honors - "My mess is usually organized in its own way," she explained - while fellow "Idol" finalists Didi Benami and Siobhan Magnus agreed.
All of "Idol's" final 10 were loose and in high spirits on Thursday as they chatted with reporters before the tour launch at night at the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit. The previous evening the production staff had pulled what Bowersox called "a little whammy" on the performers, giving them a look at the full capability of the tour's light show. "I got emotional," Benami recalled, "like, 'We're here. We're really really here now.'"
This year's tour will take the "Idol" contestants through Sept. 14 in Pittsburgh, with all 10 mixing and matching songs that made them famous on the show - including DeWyze's acoustic version of U2's "Beautiful Day," his first single - and an assortment of personal choices. "The tour really is an opportunity to show what kind of artists we want to be and what kind of music we want to sing," said Katie Stevens, hitting the road just a week after graduating from high school back in Middlebury, Conn. "You're definitely going to her a lot of how different we are, our diversity as artists."
For all but DeWyze and Bowersox, who have already signed recording contracts, the tour will also be an audition of sorts, both for "Idol" parent company 19 Entertainment, who have an option on all the performers until late summer, and for other potential labels. James, who was slated to duet with Lynche during the Idols Live! show, reported that "it's looking like Sony Nashville is going to work with me," while Garcia said he'd be using his Macbook to work on his material.
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Others, however, are not in as much of a hurry. Benami said she's looking forward to "a vacation or a spiritual journey" after the tour, while Stevens said that she "won't release my album for, like, a year. I want to make sure it's the best it can be…and develop a really good album for my fans." Tim Urban said he's been taking some acting lessons and even has "homework" from his coach during the tour, while Magnus hopes to do an album but also said she'd like to to explore opportunities in film, theater and fashion design.
DeWyze, meanwhile, has already started work on his album and plans to be "flying in and out and recording all over the place" during the tour, which he knows will mean he'll miss out on some of the fun. "It's kind of a bummer," he acknowledge, "but it's all for the greater good at the end of the day. To be on tour and making an album...that's my dream come true."
Bowersox will also be juggling tour and album-making duties, as well as taking advantage of rare opportunities to see her young son. But she's no stranger to multi-tasking. "I was a mom full-time; I never had a minute to myself," explained Bowersox, who's reached out to Linda Perry, Michael Franti and Melissa Etheridge to collaborate on the set. "As soon as I got to the hotel room here...I didn't know what to do with myself. I was alone. It was quiet. All I had to do was pick up my guitar and start playing. It's definitely going to be easier to write on the road."
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