AI OD: A farewell to Brooke White - VIDEOS

by Jason Hughes, posted May 2nd 2008 7:25PM
Brooke WhiteWhen the end finally came for Brooke White, none of us were too surprised, and her least of all. "I've been packed for two weeks," she said in the Brooke White exit interview. But while she may have expected to go, she had mixed feelings about it. "Part of me wanted to keep going," she indicated. "Song selection and the pressure has really increased with two songs and preparing for the finale. So in that sense, it does feel kind of good to be done with that, but I was welcoming the challenge as well."

There were times throughout her run where Brooke was clearly in over her head, but that was generally more due to the restricted theme week being so far out of the zone of what she does. As she herself said, she really connects with "the singer/songwriters of the '70s." Thus, while a pop career would seem very much not in Brooke's future, if she can find a place in the modern music scene for a modern singer/songwriter, like a Tori Amos, then she should do just fine.

Brooke really benefited from the addition of instruments to this season's American Idol, as she was much more confident when behind a guitar or piano. Honestly, I think had she appeared in prior seasons where she wasn't allowed the comfort of instrumentation, she wouldn't have made it nearly as far as she did. The majority of times when she would bounce back from a weaker performance, it was by sitting behind a piano or grabbing a guitar. But at those moments, Brooke had some of the most amazing and memorable performances of the whole season.

An early morning chat with one of her legends Carly Simon gave Brooke a boost of confidence as she faces her post-Idol career. After hearing Brooke's performance of her own song "You're So Vain," Carly became a fan of the soft-spoken innocent. Brooke survived also after her infamous restart on Andrew Lloyd Webber week with "You Must Love Me." Unfortunately, it was a tough week for her and she followed it up with another tough week, though I thought she was wonderful on "I Am I Said."

She thanks her Idol experience for helping her grow in self-confidence as a performer. From her first audition the judges have been trying to convince her to grow some confidence, because she's more talented than she realizes. "We always say this show brings everything to the surface that might be an issue for you, and that one is certainly one of them, but I worked through it, and at times, had to work through it in a very public way."

She compared herself with other contestants throughout her run, worrying that because she didn't have their power or range she wasn't as deserving to be on a singing competition. But she's managed to overcome a lot of this inferiority complex and appreciate her talents the way so many of us have. In the future, she's going to continue pursuing music, sticking to the singer-songwriter format she's best suited to. Had she somehow miraculously managed to win American Idol, I wonder if the producers would have allowed her to make that mellow, heartfelt album or if she'd have been shoehorned into more of a pop sound. Maybe, like Daughtry before her, getting cut now will ultimately help her career.

Brooke eliminated and swan song performance:

Top 5 (2) "I'm a Believer," Neil Diamond:

Top 5 (1) "I Am I Said":

Top 6 - "You Must Love Me," Evita:

Top 7 "Hero," Mariah Carey:

Top 8 - "You've Got a Friend," Carole King:

Top 9 - "Jolene," Dolly Parton:

Top 10 - "Every Breath You Take," The Police:

Top 11 - "Here Comes the Sun," The Beatles:

Top 12 - "Let It Be," The Beatles:

Top 16 - "Love is a Battlefield," Pat Benatar:

Top 20 - "You're So Vain," Carly Simon:

Top 24 - "Happy Together," The Turtles:

Hollywood week:

Initial audition:

Independently produced music video for "Free":

At age 16, here she is with "So Far Away":

[via Wikipedia, MySpace and more!]

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