Didi Benami may have only come in 10th on “American Idol,” this season, but it’s better than she ever expected.
“Honestly, I got further than I ever thought that I would and it was a really cool experience,” said Didi during her farewell news conference Thursday.
Certainly she’ll never have to live out of her car again, as she did when she moved to Los Angeles from Knoxville, Tenn., in 2006. Nor will she have to wait tables once more. Now, Didi, who was eliminated Wednesday night, can look forward to the “Idol” tour this summer and then making an album of “Didi music,” which she describes as “acoustic, low key, chill, relaxing music.”
During her conference call, Didi shared her thoughts about what the future holds, her experiences in L.A. before and during “Idol,” and why her emotions often got the best of her on the show.
On her tough times in L.A.
“I moved out here when I was 19, and I’ve had crazy roommates and all sorts of ridiculous experiences. . . . There were points where I didn’t even have a place to live, and I was living out of my car, and it’s been rough. I wanted to do some entertainment, and I wanted to sing and do [my best friend] Rebecca’s songs, and I somehow managed to find my way along the way because I didn’t really know what I was doing. … And, I just faced a lot of ridiculous hardships. I was waiting tables and it’s never predictable. I switched jobs many times.
“It’s a crazy experience in L.A., and you get kicked down a lot. I taught myself how to play guitar and write out everything that was bothering me or anything that I had on my mind and couldn’t say in reality to somebody because I wanted to be nice. And, I was able to start writing songs and meet people that wanted to co-write and from there, just really started working on my skills and trained myself to write and took voice lessons. I worked really, really hard to get where I am.”
Is she glad her “Idol” journey is over?
“Yes. I am relieved. I get to go on tour. I don’t have to work as a waitress anymore, which is nice. I get to do what I love more than anything, and … it’s a relief to know that I will be able to make a living at what I love to do over the summer, and hopefully, for the rest of my life. So, yes, it’s been a really, really awesome experience, and I am relieved, yes.”
Was it weird when Ryan was pressuring her to explain why she became so emotional singing “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” on Tuesday’s show?
“It was kind of awkward for me. … I was trying to convey a message through the song, not by somebody asking me why I was singing it. I think it was pretty obvious to people why I was singing it. … It was kind of an uncomfortable situation for me because I didn’t want to answer the question, but ultimately, I think I did what I thought was in my best interest, and it’s all good.”
Did, as Kara suggested, Didi lose her way in the competition?
“I feel like they wanted me to do something specific every week and I kind of went out on a limb several different weeks and . . . they weren’t expecting it, and it was kind of a surprise. Just to show that I can do other things. I am a singer-songwriter and I have that, but I also tap into every single emotion that I have and that I do very well. That’s something that is artistry. Through these songs I was just showing a different side to myself. It probably wasn’t necessarily the side that they wanted to see, but I have them and I think everybody does. So, I was just being me.”
What will her album be like?
“I’m going to put my heart into what I do, like I do every time. It’s me and I can, it’s like acoustic, I guess, all acoustic kind of fusion stuff. A little jazz, a hint of bluegrass, a little bit of everything that I’ve experienced in my life.”
How exhausting is it being on “Idol”?
“Wow, it’s like insane, intense; like boot camp for singers kind of thing. It’s like here, get a song, learn it in like very, very little time, sing it on stage in front of everybody. It’s a lot of pressure and it’s an amazing experience at the same time, so you want to take full advantage of it and you don’t want to mess up. And you want to do everything you can to give them everything you have. So, it’s definitely an interesting experience. They definitely always keep you busy with like four shoots and photo shoots, there’s always something. It’s a really amazing and valuable experience. I’ve learned a lot and I can’t wait to sleep.”