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Merrick's Robbie Rosen talks about 'Idol'

We interviewed "American Idol" contestant Robbie Rosen right before school ended at our elementary school, Chatterton in late June.

Between sports, school and singing, what aren't you good at?

I can't say that everything just came naturally because I had to work at everything; like singing, I knew I could sing from very early on, but it took days and days, months and years of practice to get to where I am now. And pretty much the same goes for everything else that I do. It takes a lot of hard work and practice, and practice makes perfect, to get as close to perfect as possible.

Were your teachers starstruck when you came back to school?

No, they were actually very good about it. They were really understanding with all my work and stuff. I think the kids were, I mean they were definitely excited for me, but I think the kids were OMG, he's on TV. I don't know, I think the teachers just took it in stride and just made sure I was still on top of my work while I was out there. But they were definitely rooting for me and supporting me and everything.

Who is your most inspirational teacher so far?

Mr. [Richard] Nasto. I would have to say all my music teachers were most inspirational. Just because this is all I've known, I've always wanted to be ever since I was a little kid, so every stage in my education, I guess, they all had a different influence on me. Each one had their own special teaching quality and I formed different relationships with all of them.

Do you think you might try for "American Idol" again sometime?

Well, I am able to but we're actually starting to meet with different people and we can't sign anything because the contract is for a couple more months. But we're starting to meet with some people and talking about what my future's going to bring. So I would say no, because things are already in the works.

Even J.Lo thinks you're cute. Do you have a girlfriend?

No. I have a lot of friends that are girls, but not a girlfriend. I just think, I don't know, I guess it's better now with a career ahead just to stay friends with so many people, which I am. So many different groups of people actually, but no one girlfriend. Still single.

Are you happy Scotty won?

Yeah. I had a really cool relationship with Scotty because we were the two [base]ball players, and he's just a really cool kid and obviously such a talented kid. He's just so nice and respectful. He's like a true Southern boy. He's just this really, really cool kid and I'm happy for him.

Who was your childhood hero?

I'd say two people. One in music and one in baseball. Derek Jeter in baseball and still to this day he's like my role model, kind of. Just on and off the field. Everything he does is so right on. So it's him in the baseball area. And in music, Stevie Wonder has always been my role model and inspiration. Just because everything he does is just indescribable, like just listening to him sing and playing piano the way he does and the energy he puts into a performance is just like incredible; and that's how I learn, by watching others. And he's definitely one of them.

Why is Steven Tyler your favorite judge?

I don't know if I could pick a favorite because, I mean I love him, he's just so funny and is so respectful of everything. He's always so positive and complimentary. But I couldn't choose because Jennifer was so sweet and Randy's just like, "Yo Dog," all the time. I love all three of them, just working with them, getting to meet them, getting to know them. Yeah, I couldn't pick.

Did you watch yourself on TV at all?

I did. I pretty much watched everything. Watching over and over what I can improve on, what I can work on. At first, it was kind of weird watching. I was actually more nervous to watch me on TV than I was to actually get in front of the judges. But as time went on, I got really used to it, got accustomed to it. It's really cool just like seeing me sing and doing what I love on TV in front of millions.

Who inspired you to go on "American Idol" and why?

My mom was a professional singer for 26 years, so she was definitely one of them who inspired me. But just all my friends and family and just after watching the show every single year, the contestants each made, just made me just want to try it even more. I couldn't wait. It was 9 years waiting to get to that audition. So when it finally came, I was so excited to try out for the three amazing judges. It was cool.

When you returned to school was it weird to see your face on all the posters?

Yeah, it was definitely a different experience for me. I use to be just a kind of shy kid, but now I can't really be because things have been happening so it's definitely weird. Kids were texting me pictures of -- they have a little, like Robbie shrine. It was like a video looped over my performances. It's surreal, just like crazy seeing all this in school and stuff. It's cool.

How long have you been singing?

I've been singing, well my mom told me I was humming before I could speak. So even I don't remember that. She told me so I trust her. I think everything really started when I was about 8. That's when I started acting and singing in musicals, writing songs and everything, piano, everything I started around 8. And that's when I knew I really wanted to do music for the rest of my life.

Do you think your classmates treat you differently since you were on "American Idol"?

No. I think they're more excited now knowing that I actually achieved a goal that I wanted for so long. I think they're really excited for me. In terms of treating me different, as like a kid, I think it has gone back to the way it was, which is a good thing. But they're definitely excited going forward. Like we always talk about music. I always keep them up to date. They're real excited for my career but things haven't changed personally.

How did you choose what song you were going to sing for each performance?

I took into consideration a couple different factors. A) The meaning of each song and how I can relate to it. Because that's really important. B) How I could get it across; get the meaning of the song across to the audience. See how it would sound. There's so many different things that go into a performance. I guess everything mixed in with what the judges would think to and how the people could relate to it. Just in the audience and at home.

Do strangers approach you and ask for autographs?

Yeah, just like every different type of person that you could think of -- kids, adults, grandma and grandpa. Any person you could imagine just walking down the street, if they noticed me, they would probably come up to me and say something like congratulations at least. It's just really to have people appreciate me for what I love to do and that's all I ever wanted was for people to love my stuff. It's cool getting noticed.

What was your life like during "American Idol"?

It was definitely very hectic. Busy, but, above all, it was so much fun. The people, the experience, the music aspect of it, plus everything was just surreal because after watching it on TV from my couch and living it is amazing.

How would you feel if Simon Cowell was still a judge when you auditioned?

Actually I was always thinking about that. I kind of wanted him to be a judge in a way, just because he was so brutally honest with everything he said. I really like how these three judges jelled together, but I always wanted to know what Simon would think of me and maybe down the road we'll see.

Who is your favorite contestant besides yourself?

I don't know if I could pick. I love Scotty and Lauren, and me and Haley had an awesome relationship. She's just like my buddy. It was so cool. But man, I really loved all of them. I love how Scotty's voice is so unique at that age. Like 17. I've never heard a voice so low, but I just love them all as people, as individuals, and as musicians, the talented people they are.

How did you feel when you first tried out for "American Idol"?

I was more excited than nervous because I had just waited so long and I had anticipated this since I was 7. So there weren't really any nerves. I couldn't wait to get into the door and see them. There are actually rounds before you actually see it on TV. I was definitely proud to get to each stage, my confidence kept building, but most of all I was just so excited to keep on moving on and to advance in the competition.

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