We spoke with "American Idol" contestants Candice Glover, the 12th season winner, and Kree Harrison, the runner-up, when they were in Manhattan recently. We met them at Planet Hollywood.
Candice what was your life like before "American Idol" and how did it change?
Candice: Before "American Idol" I was working on this island and I would give people golf carts and mopeds and stuff. Fun stuff. . . . It was a lot of fun, but I'm glad I did the show.
Kree: Now we could get some and have them.
Candice: Yeah, now we could go rent some and ride them for fun.
Kree, what was it like being in the top two?
Amazing, because I got to stand next to this one [Candice] and got to sing for you all for one more week. That was awesome.
Candice, did singing ever help you through hard times?
Yes. Actually, the song that I sang called "I Am Beautiful," that song made me feel very good. You know, when people say mean things to you and make you feel not so pretty, that song really helped me feel beautiful.
Kree, when did you first realize you had a talent?
I think my parents [helped], because I sang when I was really, really little. They told me I could sing before I could talk.
Candice do you plan on moving now that you've won "American Idol," or are you staying in your hometown?
I don't think I could stay in my hometown [St. Helena Island, S.C.]. I'm going to be recording songs and doing fun stuff like going on tour, but definitely, I might move here to New York, or I might move to L.A. Build a big tree house in New York and all of us can live together. Wouldn't that be cool?
Candice, who is your favorite judge on "American Idol"?
My favorite judge, well, I like all of them for different reasons. Like Mariah [Carey], she was so elegant and wore the nice gowns and pretty dresses. She's very pretty and she's a singer that's been singing for a long time, so I looked forward to her advice. Nicki [Minaj] was really fun and animated and stuff. So I loved her.
Kree, how did you handle the demands of "American Idol"?
It was so much fun. The whole process is a dream come true. I mean, there were hard times when we were exhausted and tired. It was all worth it because we get to do things like this. Sing for you all and meet amazing people.
If you had to sing with someone, who would that be?
Candice: This girl right here. We made top two together, and, basically, I thought she was going to win. I was telling her over and over, I told her all the way from Hollywood week that she's going to win.
Kree: I told her the same thing.
Candice: We told each other the same thing. We went through the whole thing together, and I would have been just as proud of her as she is of me.
Candice, how did you celebrate the night you won?
I went to a party. I had a lot of interviews like this one. I went to a party, but it was so funny because I fell asleep at the party. The party was, like, on this rooftop at this really nice hotel, but I was like knocked out on the couch. So I had to go home and get some rest. I was happy, but I was tired.
Kree, how much sleep did you actually get each day?
Oh, my gosh, none. Every day was different, but we didn't get a lot of sleep. But it's so much fun that you're kind of careless that you're not sleeping. You know what I mean. You're having so much fun, you're just like, OK, I'm ready.
Candice, is your family supportive of your career?
Yes, my family is very supportive. Every week that we had the show, they would fly out from South Carolina to California, and that's a really long way. My dad hates planes and everything. They put everything aside so they could come and support me. That meant a lot.
Kree, you sang Carrie Underwood's "See You Again." Why?
I love that song. I love it so much and do you like ["American Idol" winner] Carrie Underwood? I do too. She's one of my favorite singers. So I just thought that maybe I could do a good job, and people seem to really like it.
Candice, who did you become closest to on the show?
Candice: I think everybody was really close. I was close to Kree and I was really close to all the girls.
Kree: We spent so much time together.
Candice, have you ever sung in front of that many people before?
No. Finale night, when we sang in front of 7,000, that was most people I ever sang in front of, but I know when we go on tour, it's going to be even more than that.
Candice, what advice would you give to someone who might want to be a singer?
I would say, if you want to be a singer, make sure you be yourself and don't let anybody tell you that you're not amazing. Don't let anybody tell you you're not beautiful. Go out there and sing your heart out and you'll be successful.
Kree, what was it like getting your own song and performing it on live TV?
I can't even tell you how excited I was. And the fact that I get to sing it on tour every night is so amazing. Have you heard my song? Do you like it? I love it so much. I'm so proud of it. I'm excited to make a record and put it out.
Candice, what part of the whole process did you find most stressful?
It was very stressful when we had to sing songs that we didn't really know and there were different themes and stuff that we had to go by. Like we had The Beatles and we had rock and roll, and that was stuff that I didn't really grow up listening to as a kid. So it was really hard to get those songs and make those songs my own.
Candice, does anyone else in your family sing?
I got my singing from my grandfather. He was actually a country singer. So I didn't get a chance to do it on the show, but I definitely would love to sing a country song and, like Kree, the amazing country singer that she is. We can do a duet on tour.
Kree, how did you change so quickly before your next song?
We had to do that a lot. I felt, like, run as fast as I can. Wardrobe were the people who helped me get dressed, pick out outfits. They're such big help. I'm so happy that they helped us out, because we'd probably run out there with no shoes on.
Kree, did you ever play an instrument in school and what was it?
I've played guitar for awhile. I played drums. Nobody really knows that.
Candice, were you excited when you and your grandmother won the Ford car?
Yes, I was very excited. My grandma was super-excited. She was crying. I think she almost, like, passed out. She was overwhelmed. She couldn't take it, but yeah, she was excited.
Kree, if you could sing with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?
I would have to say Candice. Because we had so much fun at the finale singing together, but maybe next time it could be something that we know and that we choose. That would be fun, right? Maybe on tour we will be able to.
Candice, why do you think it took three years before they realized you were an amazing singer?
I don't think it was so much my singing, because I was always a singer since I was 4 years old, but I think this year I embraced who I was a little bit more. I wasn't afraid to be myself, so that's why I told you, like, if you want to audition for the show or be a singer, like, don't be afraid to be yourself because that's what always works.