Haley Reinhart Says Judges Liked to 'Fire Her Up,' Had Fun with Casey Romance Rumors

by Hilary Rothing, posted May 20th 2011 2:30PM
Haley Reinhart, en route to 'Idol' finale rehearsal, hopped on the phone for her exit interview with the press, this afternoon to discuss her often rocky run on the show and what's ahead.

The Top 3 finalist may have won viewers over after four trips to the bottom three, but the judges still gave Haley a hard time, which many fans and apparently some of her fellow contestants, took issue with. Asked about their unnecessary roughness, Haley said she took it all in stride.

"I believe their intentions for it, throughout this whole process was simply to push me along further because it was apparent that they liked to get me to where I could be at the top of my game, get me a little fired up inside so I'd come with something they really, really didn't expect or what not. It could go both ways, it's up to America. As far as if it hindered me anything, I mean, I got to Top 3, so that's quite alright."
"Its apparent on stage, even Lauren and all them coming up to me and they just don't understand. The only thing I can get out of that is that they really just wanted to push my buttons, push me as far as I could possibly go to get whatever they wanted to get out of me. And that was more of the fire that they wanted so that I would get all 'grrr,' aggravated and try to take it out on stage. It is what it is. Randy and them always told me it's all love and I was like 'I understand, you want to see what you can get out of me.'"

Haley also remarked on the support she received from former 'Idols,' in particular Adam Lambert.

"I'm not too big on the blogs. I don't like to look into anything that could possibly be negative but I definitely look at the Tweets. I pretty much read everything that everyone sends me and getting that support from Adam meant so much because in my opinion, he's just spectacular. He's one of the best that ever set foot on that stage."

Indeed, fans and 'Idol' pundits rallied around the Chicago-based singer in the past few weeks. But it took some time for Haley's unique blend of blues and jazz to really catch fire, which she elaborated on, during today's call.

"I think I took a lot of risks in the beginning, early on, when usually you do the opposite and maybe they didn't know how to take me. I started getting into my own little niche with the rock, bluesy, sultry feel throughout and I think America finally started to catch on and they kept me around."

But does Haley regret any of her decisions along the way? The judges took issue with a number of her song choices, in particular an unreleased Lady Gaga tune and Michael Jackson's 'Earth Song.'

"I don't live in regret, really. I mean, of course there's going to be things. I do nitpick, I'm a Virgo but other than that I don't regret anything because each step along the way has gotten me to where I am today. And all these different songs and the genres I got to show off in the early stages, I wouldn't trade that in for the world. I got to show versatility and I'm proud to do that."

Remarking on her repeat trips to the Bottom Three and her seemingly inevitable elimination, Haley said she never gave up on making it to the end.

"I don't like to sell myself short and I believe that taking that all in stride and realizing I've been in (the Bottom Three) so many times and I'm still around, there's something going on, I just have to step up my game week to week and I pulled it off."

Like James Durbin before her, Haley was one of the more polarizing contestants this season. Though she may have come off a bit cooler than her fellow contestants, Haley insists there's more to her than what America saw.

"It's easy to get depicted in different ways on the show. It's all just the way the cards end up playing out with the footage that was taken. I'm usually messing around with all the camera guys, we're all cracking up together. I like to have a good time. I'm usually always bubbly. It's different to see what comes out in all reality but also, you know, you're on that stage and you have to perform in front of the judges and it's not like you have a one on one where you get to talk and show everybody that personality inside so it's really hard to get that all out in that short minute and a half but it's time now that I get to really get that out there."

But after last night's results came down, Haley definitely seemed stunned, almost angry, some suggest.

"(I wasn't) angry, of course everybody is always surprised with the verdict but all in all, I accepted it very quickly and took it in, took it all with a grain of salt and said 'hey everything happens for a reason and this is a good thing.' This happened for a reason and it only means I'm going to start my career as a solo artist even sooner.

"You literally have seconds to think about it so I took a second to think about it and then I said 'alright, ok, this is it and guess what, I have to sing a song in five seconds so let's move on to that. Let's have a good time with it and show America why they kept me there for so long and hopefully give them a good show."

And finally, what about the Casey Abrams showmance rumors?

"It started a long time ago. I forget which week, it's when we just really started bonding a lot more and getting really close and really just confided in each other and had a different connection than the rest. So we'd sit by each other and all that jazz and we laughed about it. Obviously we have a really strong relationship maybe not the dating but just the musicality between us. We never said 'yes' or no' (about dating). It's funny, we got so many questions about it but either way it's not gonna hurt anybody. We had a lot of fun with it, we played the game.'

A few more tidbits from Haley's call:

- Excpect Haley Reinhart record to have a "sultry, bluesy rock feel" with some jazz influence

- Haley, who grew up around classic rock, would love to work with Steven Tyler, who she said was very supportive of her throughout the competition

- Haley's first big performance was on her 9th birthday at an international tattoo festival where sang LeAnn Rimes' "Blue."

- Fellow Chicagoans and former 'Idols,' Jennifer Hudson and Crystal Bowersox are a source of inspiration to Haley. "Seeing (Crystal), in second place, get to do the music she really wants to do in life so, it's a beautiful thing so I'm excited for the future."

'American Idol' airs next Tuesday and Thursday at 8PM ET on FOX.

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OLENELY be careful how you judge again!!!!!! I'm no young whippersnapper I am 52. I haven't forgot how cocky teens can be so quit being so harsh. Give Hailey a chance to grow up and if she makes a positive influence on entertainment tip your hat to her for a job well done. Otherwise life happens maybe she'll get the rite song ops and maybe she want but she is strong and spunky she want quit.

May 24 2011 at 10:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jackie smith

no more watching show, i will watch voice-and if i want country the cmt show-but two country one a crybaby and another too common voice,it is now a teen age show not worth an adult time if they appreciate music

May 23 2011 at 11:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Haley, attitude shows in your face. Not a good attitude either. Watch the replays and you will understand. If you expect to go anywhere you have to basically wash your face of the attitude and take things with a grain of salt. You have a fabulious voice and if you tweek it more towards Janice Joplin you will go very very far. I love the roughness in your voice so show it more. Make it happen girl! Actually Randy and Jen were hard on you because they wanted to bring it out more. The problem was you attitude killed you (more like a spoiled brat that has gotten everything in life). Work on it then America will be buying your music. Good luck in your future of events-smile-a real smile and don't let the smile sag!

May 22 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michelle's comment

She is a kid and what teen doesn't have a hard headed smart a-- I know it attitude time to time bet you did two.She will mature and she has already gleened from the critiques and grown talent wise by leaps and bounds.I beleive she knows more about who she is and brings a new markatable style to music.Don't forget it you put your heart in it and compete to win you will know where you competiters stand .Of course a 17 year old is going to show expression I bet if the camera was on you in a stressful and emotional moment you might be shocked how you are judged . So quit with the holier than thou.I'll by her music and enjoy it regardless of the judging opinions.

May 23 2011 at 9:17 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

By the way isn'tit always dog randy who is telling them to make a song their on & let us know who you are?If thats what he wants why when she sings m.jackson song does he start telling her to be like him?At least I would buy her cut of that song and I didn't care for his.I also woulb buy her benny and the jets before I bought Elton Johns.She is good enough to out sing pros on their on songs.

May 22 2011 at 3:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

She is a soon to be successful entertainer without the help of idol.She knows who she is shes syrong and competeive. Since when do you have to be a wimp in this country to be respectful. She stood up for herslf in an attack on who she is and she is getting better fast because of it.I'm proud she knows who she is none of the other 2 do yet even if Scotty has a voice.She brought something original.

May 22 2011 at 3:21 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
I can't wait to

She was a spoiled brat who deserved every criticism that she received and more.

May 22 2011 at 10:01 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to I can't wait to's comment

You know her so well so when did you meet her and how long have you known her.She is a kid I don't know you but I hope you are young to because you are casting stones that show your imaturity.

May 22 2011 at 3:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rad1959's comment
I can't wait to

I would bet that you are a young whippersnapper. When I was her age, I was polite when someone in authority criticized me. As it turned out, it resulted in a very successful career and a happy life. For your sake, I trust that you will learn to accept criticism, as well as how to spell immaturity.

May 22 2011 at 8:00 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

Haley was getting to me in a negative way, the best female voice is still Pia!!!!

May 21 2011 at 8:19 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

haley is gone yay she was a screaming no good singer the look on her face like they got rid of me cant be was great soo long good ridance

May 21 2011 at 5:15 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jec7906721's comment

You apparently have a hearing issue, this girl is strong and will go far. Lets see you display that kind of diverse and strong talent I want to be your talent agent if your that good . Quit your judging you have tet it become personal.

May 22 2011 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I'm not sure where people get that Haley acted like Diva. I never got that impression. Now Jacob on the other hand and Pia, both of them were marked Diva's from day one! Poor Mark Ballas is being used by Pia to keep her name relevant until the tour. I never thought she was that amazing. I thought Haley and Casey were the best 2. Haley has stage presence and I think that is what people are mistaking as maybe "Divaness". She knew how to work the stage and how to play up to the camera and not to just stand in one place and sing. Casey is so great with the instruments but he seemed to be so angry in his songs towards the end and I personally think that is what got him booted. Steven Tyler really liked Haley the best. I am sure he will make sure she is guided in the right direction maybe duet with her on her CD. I read that 19 had already signed her to a record deal. She will probably be better off not winning. She just won't get the free Ford Focus, which if she signs a record deal she can buy a much nicer car of her choice. Also out of the final 3 Haley came from a much humbler background if you happened to glimpse her home in Wheeling Alabama. Music for Haley is a family affair as she showed by having her Dad play on her song. I thing perhaps the song was chosen because she knew she was going home and wanted the chance to perform with her Dad in front of millions. Go Haley. This is one 40 something woman that was pulling for you. I guess we didn't stand a chance against the tweens.

May 21 2011 at 3:21 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kim's comment

Yup! This 40-something mom was pulling for her too. Will buy her music the minute it comes out.

May 21 2011 at 5:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Cant wait until she comes out with her album . She will start her solo career and best of luck.
what a winner she is from the harsh comments. just so glad she was able to go home a winner go haley and far from the end of the road for you

May 21 2011 at 9:25 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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