Michael Sarver praises East Texas for its support in American Idol contest - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Michael Sarver praises East Texas for its support in American Idol contest

HOLLYWOOD, CA. - The first three American Idol contestants voted into the Top 12 participated in a telephone conference Thursday afternoon.  The following is a transcript of that call.  Among them is Jasper native Michael Sarver.  His interview is highlighted below in blue.  The other two finalists are Alexis Grace and Danny Gokey.

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS:

Alexis Grace

Chloe Ellers

Michael Sarver

Danny Gokey

PRESENTATION

Moderator                   Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the American Idol interview call with Alexis Grace. I'd also like to remind you that today's conference is being recorded.  I'll now turn the conference over to Chloe Ellers for opening remarks.  Please go ahead.

C. Ellers                      Hello, everyone.  Thank you so much for joining us today.  We're going to run the call 20 minutes with each of the Idols that have made it into the top 12 starting with Alexis Grace, moving to Michael Sarver and then Danny Gokey. 

Just as a reminder, the Idols are here to talk about their experience on the show and if we feel like anyone is harping on a question too much, we reserve the right to move on.  With that being said, we'll take the first question.

Moderator                  Thank you, and that will come from Matt Mitovich with TVGuide.com. 

M. Mitovich               Hello, Alexis.  Congratulations.

A. Grace                      Thank you, Matt. 

M. Mitovich               I'm wondering if because of the set up this season where we're doing like a dozen at a time, don't you kind of sort of feel like the third batch of 12 they might have a little bit of an advantage going into their performance week?

A. Grace                      I mean you could go both ways.  They could have an advantage, but they could also really know that there's a lot of pressure to get through to the top three.  But you know what - they just need to go out there and have a good time and that's it.

M. Mitovich               Okay, and I was just wondering; could you shed a little light on the process as far as like Simon was pointing out a lot of problems with the arrangements this week.  What's that process like?  Who do you meet with and when to go over the arrangements?  What kind of input do you have, and does anybody ever say to you, "That's not a good idea."?

A. Grace                      Well, the thing about American Idol is that it's a show that helps form you as an artist and we have the best people working on the show to help you.  You should really just listen and take their advice because they know what they're talking about. 

Rickey Minor, he has a big to do with the arrangement and song, and you have input.  You just kind of work together, but as I said, the people that work on the show in the music department, I mean they're amazing.  They've worked with the best from Whitney Houston to Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones.  I mean they're amazing.  So, you'd be silly not to listen to them and take advice from them.

M. Mitovich               Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go next to Antonia Blyth with US Weekly Magazine

A. Blyth                      Hello, there.  Congratulations.

A. Grace                      Thank you.

A. Blyth                      Now, I wanted to ask you about your daughter.  Does she understand that her mom is a singer on television?

A. Grace                      That's funny.  I would hope that she'd understand.  That would be really cool if she did, but I know that she watches the show with all my family when it comes on.  When I come on the TV, she points at it and she screams for me and says, "Mommy."  So, I think she might figure something out soon.

A. Blyth                      Juggling being a mom and being in the top 12, are you going to bring her to Hollywood?  Are you nervous about that juggling at all?

A. Grace                      I am nervous.  I mean any mom would be nervous because it's their kid and they are so attached to their child.  I mean that's their responsibility.  But, it's only for a little time and this little time apart.  As long as I work hard and dedicate myself to it, I know I can get it done because I have the best family in the world and they're going to help me out with whatever I need and they'll be traveling back and forth.  So, I'll be able to get to see her, but not as much as I would like to.  This is all to better our lives.

A. Blyth                      Thank you, and good luck.

A. Grace                      Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you and next, we have Daniel Feinberg with hitpicks.com. 

D. Feinberg                 Hello, Alexis.  Congratulations to you. 

A. Grace                      Thank you.

D. Feinberg                 My question is now that you're safe and sound in the top 12, who from your group would you like to see get another change in the Wild Card Round?

A. Grace                      That is a tough question because everybody was good in our group.  I mean I would have said that could be top 12 right there.  The thing about our group that was in, everybody has something different to offer to America.  So, I mean it's really up in the air.  I mean I wouldn't even know where to begin with that one.

D. Feinberg                 Come on.  You can give me a name or two of someone who you think just deserves another shot.

A. Grace                      No.  Honestly, I enjoy everyone from Anoop to Jackie to Casey to Ann Marie.  I mean I really enjoy everyone's voice.

D. Feinberg                 Fair enough.  Thank you very much.

A. Grace                      Okay.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next we have Victor Balta with Comcast.net. 

V. Balta                       Hello, Alexis.  How are you doing?

A. Grace                      I'm good.  How are you?

V. Balta                       Good.  Good.  Thanks for taking the time.  So, you got a little bit attention about your look and the way it's changed.  I was wondering what kind of input you've had in that process, in the makeup and the wardrobe and that sort of thing and sort of what direction you're heading in.

A. Grace                      I kind of like the whole like ‘60s kind of soul cocktail dress kind of vibe thing.  Yes, I have a lot of input in my wardrobe and my girlfriends as well.  We all get together and do shopping and just kind of try to work on it as a product almost - not a product, but just trying to really form my look together because I think that's very important in this business, too, especially as an artist because you want to be able to identify with an artist.  Part of that is their look.

V. Balta                       Right.  Right, and is that sort of like - I mean not to lump you into any groups, but like an AmyWinehouse/Duffy kind of like sort of throw-back look or something?

A. Grace                      I mean I like their style in clothing.  I wouldn't say I'd be in their style of singing though I think because I sing more almost like blues kind of stuff.  So, kind of sort of the look in there mixed in with some blues, like some Joss Stone and then there I come out.

V. Balta                       All right.  Well, thanks a lot.  Good luck.

A. Grace                      All right.  Thanks.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go to Darla Atlas with the Dallas Morning News.

D. Atlas                       Hello, Alexis.  Congratulations. 

A. Grace                      Thank you.  Wow, you're really energetic.

D. Atlas                       By the way, I'm a native Memphian. 

A. Grace                      Oh, cool.

D. Atlas                       Yes.  I want to ask you; one of the contestants, obviously, had a little case of the nerves the other night, but you did not seem nervous at all when you were singing.  I mean how do you pull that off?

A. Grace                      Well, it's funny that you should say that because I was nervous.  I don't know.  I don't know what was going on with the other contestants that night.  I don't know what they were thinking in their minds while they were singing, but I can tell you what I was thinking.  I was just thinking, "You know what?  I'm going to make the best of this night."  I'm going to take in everything that the people on this show have been telling me and just like cherish this moment forever and just go out there and have fun and perform because that's what you want to do, right?  I mean that's what I want to do.  I did it for my family back home.

D. Atlas                       Yes, that's awesome.  I mean do you do a lot of performing around your home town?

A. Grace                      I do.  I do like the bar scene.  That's what I do back home.

D. Atlas                       Yes.  Well, congratulations.  I'm really excited to see what happens next with you.

A. Grace                      Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go next to Colleen Joyce with popstar.com. 

C. Joyce                      Hello.  How are you doing today?

A. Grace                      I'm good.  How are you?

C. Joyce                      Good.  So, can you explain to us what a typical day is like on the set of Idol?

A. Grace                      Well, there's a lot of waiting around.  No - you know what?  Backstage, we're just all hanging out, trying to keep calm and relaxed.  We like to play board games.  I'm a big fan of Scrabble and Scattergories.  We just sit around, chit-chat and just have fun, just trying to ease the tension a little bit.  When you get out there on stage, it's show time and you do what you're there to do.

C. Joyce                      Great.  Well, thank you.  Good luck.

A. Grace                      All right.  Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next is Mike Hughes with TV America. 

M. Hughes                  One of the things that I just marveled at is that this sound comes from such a tiny package.  First of all, define that a little bit.  How tall are you and how much do you weigh?

A. Grace                      Okay.  Yes.  Most girls wouldn't like this question.  I think I might weigh like 99 pounds, maybe 98 and I would I'm 5', maybe 4'11".

M. Hughes                  Okay.  Cool, and then the sound that comes out- tell us, I mean it's not a sound that anyone your age usually hears, this extremely bluesy sound.  Tell me how you first fell in love with this sound.

A. Grace                      From my hometown, Memphis.  I mean you hear blues all the time and my dad is a big influence and my mom too.  I mean they listen to soul and my dad plays it.  So, when you grow up listening to it all the time that's what you end up singing like.

M. Hughes                  Okay.  Cool.  Thanks.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go next to Leigh Grogan with the Sacramento Bee. 

L. Grogan                    Hello, Alexis.  Congratulations.

A. Grace                      Hello.  Thank you.

L. Grogan                    Season eight: Can you tell us if you'd watch in the past seasons and how having four judges on the show, can you see a difference - if that's made a difference for your?

A. Grace                      Yes, I've watched the shows.  I've actually watched every season.  I think it's great that they added a fourth judge, especially with Kara DioGuardi.  I mean she's an amazing songwriter and singer.  She knows the business and knows music.  So, it's just only for the better.  She gives us just more advice.  It's just good to have the extra critique in there.

L. Grogan                    Right, and my last question is with this new format, what happens with you and Michael and Danny between now and the time all 12 finalists are selected?

A. Grace                      Well, we'll keep busy and you'll see more of us.  We'll be around.  So, just keep watching the show.

L. Grogan                    Okay.  Good.  Good to know.  A lot of people were asking me that this morning, so thank you very much.  Congratulations.

A. Grace                      All right.  Thanks.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go next to Jennifer Smith with Fancast.com.

J. Smith                       Hello, Alexis. 

A. Grace                      Hello.

J. Smith                       Hello.  So, you chose an Aretha song, which sometimes can be good, sometimes can be bad, especially if it's not performed to perfection.  Why did you decide to tackle such a big voice like Aretha? 

A. Grace                      Well, I knew that I can sing in that range for that one thing.  That's my range.  I'm pretty comfortable with that, but I don't know.  I feel connected to her music somehow.  I feel like that's just my style.  So, I went with it. 

J. Smith                       Also, Simon and Paula compared you to Kelly Clarkson.  How flattering is that for you to be compared to one of the best Idols that the show's ever seen?

A. Grace                      It's more than flattering.  I mean it really just shook my world when they said that, in a good way.  What it does, though, is it just pushes me to do better each time now.  Now, I'm really going to step up my game and prove to them that they're right.

J. Smith                       Okay.  Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go to Carita Rizzo with TV Guide

C. Rizzo                      Hello, Alexis.  Congratulations also.

A. Grace                      Thank you.

C. Rizzo                      What did it feel like to have your family watch the performances and the criticism live?

A. Grace                      Well, it was my dad that was there and his girlfriend.  It was amazing.  I really loved having them been there because it made me feel comfortable when I was singing because actually, my dad and I are in a band together back home.  So, it felt like not only my dad was there, but my band member was there.  So, the support was really nice there and especially when the judges gave me great critiques.  I just new my dad was so proud of me and it was an amazing moment to share with him.  I'll never forget it.

C. Rizzo                      Do you know if anyone was particularly devastated last night after the results?

A. Grace                      I'm sorry; what?

C. Rizzo                      Was anyone particularly devastated after the results last night?

A. Grace                      I mean I think everybody was.  I mean I was, too, just because they're my friends and I know it sounds cheesy and you don't want to see them go, but you really don't.  I know it's a competition, but you become friends.  They become your family.  So, it's really hard to watch people go.

C. Rizzo                      Well, there's always Wild Card, right?

A. Grace                      That's true.  There is always Wild Card that gives you hope.

C. Rizzo                      Thanks a lot.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go to Vicky Arkoff with Nickelodeon Magazine.

V. Arkoff                    Hello, congratulations, Alexis.  Our young readers really connect with you a lot.

A. Grace                      Really?

V. Arkoff                    They love arbitrary things.  They want to know what movie you've seen the most and why.

A. Grace                      What movie have I seen the most?

V. Arkoff                    Yes.

A. Grace                      School of Rock.

V. Arkoff                    Why?

A. Grace                      Because Jack Black is awesome and it's about music.  I mean it's the message and the story.  I just love that movie and I could watch it over and over and over again.  It's hilarious and it's timeless.  I love that movie.

V. Arkoff                    Thank you very much.

Moderator                   Our next question is from Gary Graff with United Stations Radio.

G. Graff                      Congratulations to you. 

A. Grace                      Thank you 

G. Graff                      I hear what you said about being in a band with your dad.  Are they all a little worried that if this thing really pans out for you that's going to be it for you and the band?

A. Grace                      Yes, they're terrified.  Oh, my gosh.  My dad couldn't be more happy for me that I'm doing this.  He is so supportive.  This is my dream.  So, he wouldn't wish anything more for me than this.

G. Graff                      That's great.  That is great.  Now, at the end of the show of course they teased everything with Tatiana and whether she would be the last one or not.  What's been your experience with her and how that all panned out last night?

A. Grace                      Well, honestly, Tatiana and I never really talked a whole bunch just because I kind of kept to myself a little bit.  But what I can tell you about Tatiana, that girl, she is determined and she is going to be something someday - I'm telling you.  She is hilarious.

G. Graff                      Well, thanks.  Good luck to you.

A. Grace                      Okay.  Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next, we have Tim Cuprisin with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

 

T. Cuprisin                  Hello.  I apologize for my voice.  I'm battling a cold here.

A. Grace                      That's fine.

T. Cuprisin                  Based on Tuesday night's performance and the judges reaction, I was convinced you'd make it through.  You made it through.  Were you convinced, or were you surprised?  What went through your head when you heard the word that you had made it?

A. Grace                      This is my dream and it's happening.  That's what went through my head when I heard I made it through.  To tell you the truth, I wasn't convinced.  Just because judges give good critiques doesn't necessarily mean America agrees with them.  So, I just went in there not expecting anything, just getting the results pretty much.

T. Cuprisin                  Great.  Thank you.

A. Grace                      Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go to Matt Whitfield with Yahoo!.

M. Whitfield               Hello, Alexis.  Congratulations. 

A. Grace                      Thank you. 

M. Whitfield               I was just wondering if you could tell us about the transformation we saw between your original audition and when you came back to Hollywood with the new hair color and a little bit of the outfit selection.

A. Grace                      Well, as soon as I left my live audition, I really started working on my look because that was what they told me - "You need to work on your look."  So, I think over time it's gotten easier and I've kind of really come to know what kind of style I like and comfortable with wearing certain things and knowing what looks good with my look - just playing around and having fun.

M. Whitfield               Okay.  Perfect.  Thank you.

A. Grace                      Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and our final question for this portion will be from Marnie Brodersen with americanidol.com.

M. Brodersen              Hello, Alexis. 

A. Grace                      Hello.

M. Brodersen              I was just wondering about the quote "Finding the dirty" or what the judges said to you.

A. Grace                      "Dirty up your look."

M. Brodersen              Okay, "Dirty up your look."  I was just wondering if beyond the look though, they were kind of saying that you came out of your shell.  How do you think you were able to do that in between the first audition and what happened this week?

A. Grace                      Well, there were just a bunch of things.  Talking with some of the Idol mentors that we work with has helped me come out of my shell.  They're encouraging.  I listen to what they have to say and also my daughter.  Just thinking about her and our future, it helps me just be more encouraged and then also, I think I might have a little alter ego on stage a little bit maybe.  So, I think it's a combination of a lot of things.

M. Brodersen              Yes, that makes sense.  Also, real quick, who, if you could have any mentor work with you this season, who do you think that you would want to work with most?

A. Grace                      Well, I don't have one I'd want to work with most, but I do have a couple - Aretha Franklin, of course, and Fleetwood Mac I would love, and Bruce Springsteen. 

M. Brodersen              Oh, great.  Okay.  Thank you so much.  Good luck.

A. Grace                      Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and Alexis, do you have any closing remarks?

A. Grace                      I just want to say thank you, guys for watching and supporting and hope to see you soon. 

Moderator                   Okay, thank you.  Then ladies and gentlemen, you'll be back on a music hold while we get a hold of Michael Sarver and we'll be back underway shortly.  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for holding.  We're backing for the American Idol interview call with Michael Sarver.  We'll take our first question from the line of Angela DeGregorio with Life and Style Weekly.

A. DeGregorio            Hello.  How are you? 

M. Sarver                    I'm incredible.  How are you today?

A. DeGregorio            Good.  I just wanted to know did it intimidate you more going into this season knowing that there was going to be a new judge? 

M. Sarver                    No, actually.  I wasn't intimidated by knowing there was a new judge at all.  I think it just adds more flavor, more intellect, more knowledge and I think it benefits us as contestants rather than hurts things for sure.

A. DeGregorio            How was she as a judge?

M. Sarver                    Oh, gosh; Kara DioGaurdi as a judge - it's really incredible because she brings an incredible mind for music to the table.  She brings incredible talent that she has herself and she really knows how to interpret what she's saying when she's commenting.  It's easy to understand what she's trying to get across.

A. DeGregorio            Okay.  Great.  Thank you.

M. Sarver                    Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next we have Monica Sotomayor with FlashNews.

M. Sotomayor             Hello, Michael.  Congratulations. 

M. Sarver                    Thank you very much.

M. Sotomayor             Now, have you been a fan of Idol in the past?  Have you watched the past seasons or anything like that?

M. Sarver                    I have watched American Idol from season one and not voted every year, but most of the years I have from the very beginning, beginning with Kelly Clarkson. 

M. Sotomayor             Okay.  Now, was there anything that you found really surprising or unique about the Idol experience that was kind of unexpected once you were actually in it?

M. Sarver                    Something unique that I didn't expect about American Idol is how close you get to the people you work with and the other contestants.  You find yourself watching the show going, "Oh, come on."  Now, you know it's a competition.  You can't be that excited for them, but you really do grow as friends and you really develop a bond that there's no sense in it.  You can't make sense of it and put it into words, but it's there.  I really have been completely and pleasantly surprised by the relationships that I've experienced.

M. Sotomayor             Great.  Thank you so much.  Good luck.

M. Sarver                    Thank you.  I appreciate it.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go next to Shawna Malcom with People Magazine.

S. Malcom                  Hello, Michael.  How are you? 

M. Sarver                    Hello.  I'm on top of the world; how are you?

S. Malcom                  Good, thank you.  I know you have young children.  Will they be in L.A. with you, or who will be taking care of them while you're doing Idol?

M. Sarver                    I have an incredible wife who never drops the ball on our family.  She makes sure that our kids are taken of.  So while I'm in L.A., my wife is the number one person who takes care of business, but we have an incredible family that surrounds us that will always take care of the kids.  There will be times in and out.  We don't know now.  We'll take it one step at a time as far as when they'll be able to come out, but you know I'll love it when they do.

S. Malcom                  What kind of feedback have you gotten from your kids so far?

M. Sarver                    Well, my two-year-old son is not really aware of what's going on.  You wouldn't think that my three and a half-year-old daughter is, but apparently so.  She's very smart and ahead of her age and very excited.  She says she wants to go on American Idol.  So, maybe we have another one in the future.

S. Malcom                  That's great.  Thank you so much.

M. Sarver                    Thank you so much.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next, we have Nadine Rajabi with TVgasm.

N. Rajabi                     Hello, there. 

M. Sarver                    Hello.  How are you?

N. Rajabi                     Good.  How are you?

M. Sarver                    I'm incredible.

N. Rajabi                     It was so funny watching as the episodes progressed and I want to know what our biggest transition has been coming to Hollywood.  What was not your biggest shock, but what did you think Hollywood would be like and what are you actually seeing?

M. Sarver                    A lot of people have good comments on that.  I guess when you hear of Hollywood and you see it on TV, you see flashy and fancy and clean and this and that.  I was actually surprised to come and find out that it's very simple.  It's beautiful.  The hills are incredible and you see all the great scenery and the Hollywood sign is incredible, but it's still simple - real people with real lives all around you and it's really cool.  It's a great place.

N. Rajabi                     So, you like it.

M. Sarver                    I do.  I really do.

N. Rajabi                     Cool.  Thanks, Michael.

M. Sarver                    Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next we have Andrea Dresdale with ABC News Radio.

A. Dresdale                 Hello, Michael.  How are you doing? 

M. Sarver                    I'm well.  How are you?

A. Dresdale                 Michael, how much do you think the fact that you got moved on to the next round was down to Simon actually making a public plea that the viewers would give you a second chance because you were such a nice guy?

M. Sarver                    I can't deny that I think that that could have had something to do with it.  Simon making a plea for me on my behalf; I don't take that lightly that at all.  I really take a lot from that as a compliment because I appreciate compliments on my voice and my singing and things, but to be complimented on the person I am really means a lot to me.  I have no doubt it had an impact and I appreciate it.

A. Dresdale                 Well, do you feel that viewers somehow feel like you really deserve to be there because this could really help you in your life; it would really make a big difference in your life?  You're a hard working guy.  Do you think that that's the basis of your appeal here?

M. Sarver                    I can acknowledge that the hard working American is part of the appeal.  I believe that real life people can relate to me, especially in the economy and the day that we live.  It's very difficult for a lot of people and I see it as a chance to see someone rise from the ashes.  It's not that my life is bad, but things are tough and to see some excel and succeed, I think people relate to that and it's special to their hearts.

A. Dresdale                 Great.  Well, best of luck to you.  Thank you.

M. Sarver                    Thank you so much.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go to Steve Gidlow with In Touch Weekly.

S. Gidlow                    Hell, Michael.  Congratulations. 

M. Sarver                    Thanks so much.  I appreciate it.

S. Gidlow                    You're very welcome.  I was just wondering; kind of following on the last question, the fact that you got a lot of air time during the audition round, do you think that sort of endeared you to people; people kind of knew who you were when some of the other people didn't have that advantage?

M. Sarver                    You definitely can't deny that extra exposure helps.  It definitely tells people who you are and I think that's one of the main things that we try to get across.  You can't deny that it got people a little closer to me.  I can believe that.

S. Gidlow                    Is there anyone else's story that you saw while watching the show that really impacted you as a viewer?

M. Sarver                    As a viewer, another story on the show that really hits me is Danny Gokey because my wife is my absolute best friend and I tell you; if she did pass away, I don't understand how I could wake up the next day.  To not only view him on the show, but to be around him and see the incredible person that he is; I have mad, mad respect for Danny Gokey.

S. Gidlow                    Great.  Well, good luck.

M. Sarver                    Thanks so much, man.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next, we have Matt Mitovich with TVGuide.com.

M. Mitovich               Hello, Michael.  Congratulations.

M. Sarver                    Thanks so much, man.

M. Mitovich               I don't know; maybe I heard something last night, but did they specify between you and David who was the top male vote getter and who wasn't?

M. Sarver                    I don't believe I've heard news about that really.  I believe that Ryan had said something about 20,000 votes separated me an Anoop.  There are different things going around, but I haven't really heard the facts on that.

M. Mitovich               So, we don't know for sure which one between you and David who was the top male?

M. Sarver                    Who's David?

M. Mitovich               I'm sorry; I mean between you and the other guy--

M. Sarver                    Oh, Danny?

M. Mitovich               Danny.

M. Sarver                    Yes, I don't know.  According to some FOXNews outlets, I was, but I don't think anybody cares at this point.  We're both there.  It's amazing.

M. Mitovich               You were in the first group of 12.  Would you rather have been in the first group of 12 or last group of 12 singing two weeks from now?

M. Sarver                    I tell you; I couldn't ask for anything better than the spot I got put in because it's done and we have a chance to kind of sit back and watch the process and soak it in and enjoy it like we should.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.

M. Mitovich               All right.  Good luck going ahead.

M. Sarver                    Thanks so much, man.

Moderator                   We have Rhonda Cloutier with the Walton Sun.

 

R. Cloutier                  Hello, Michael.  Congratulations. 

M. Sarver                    Thank you so much.  How are you?

R. Cloutier                  I am just fine and I read on I believe it was Belief.net about this group of contestants as being quite a few worship leaders and worshiping in their various churches.  I was wondering if you can tell me a little bit about your experience and how that's affecting you on the show and if you have a prayer group started there.

M. Sarver                    I will tell you; being a worship leader has been a huge part of my life over the last several years.  I take it very seriously and I love God and He's a big part of my life.  It has everything to do with my step forward.  It is party of my inspiration and part of the reason that I believe that I can do this.  It has everything to do with my tomorrow and believing that there's even better things to come.  Was there more to the question; I'm sorry?

R. Cloutier                  Yes, and have you started a prayer group there on the set?

M. Sarver                    I didn't have to start it.  Those of us who believe in God and are Christians, we definitely just kind of attach to each other and we're already there.  Danny and I, we pray together and we have times where we talk about God and the things of God and we keep it center in our lives.

R. Cloutier                  That's wonderful.  Thank you so much for sharing that and good luck.

M. Sarver                    Thank you so much.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next we have Mike Hughes with TV America.

M. Hughes                  I just wanted to follow-on that a little bit because I always wondered how a guy working in the oil field also develops a good voice.  Does some of that go back to church?  Were you singing in church even as a kid?  Tell me how your talent for singing developed.

M. Sarver                    I wouldn't say that it began in church.  It really began at a time in my life that was really tough.  I won't go into personal details, but I had a little family situation in my life when I was 11-years-old and I resorted to music.  I found joy in music.  I found the peace that I needed.  Music just kind of made everything make sense to me and that's when I really attached myself to what music means. 

And then, I started singing and really realizing, "Well, wow.  There's actually something there" and then I'd hear compliments from my mom hearing me sing around the house.  Just over the years, being in and out of church; it may not have been exactly where it started as much as it had definitely been a huge part of where I've developed as an artist.

M. Hughes                  Has that been most of your music when you were working?  Have you also had a chance to perform in clubs and bars and things like that?

M. Sarver                    I have not performed in clubs and bars.  I have performed in arenas, civic centers and things like that, but never in clubs and bars.

M. Hughes                  Arenas, you mean in a Christian music concert?

M. Sarver                    Yes, not just concerts, but just different things like youth conventions and things through my teenage years with the youth departments and things in our churches.  We'd go and be a part of different things and some concerts also.

M. Hughes                  Super.  Thanks a lot.

M. Sarver                    Thanks so much, man.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next we have Daniel Feinberg with hitpicks.com.

D. Feinberg      &nbs, p;          Hello, Michael.  Congratulations.

M. Sarver                    Hello, man.  Thanks so much. 

D. Feinberg                 My question is since you're safe and sound and you're in the top 12, who from your group would you like to see get a second chance in the Wild Card Round?

M. Sarver                    Oh, gosh.  That is a big-time loaded question.  I would be doing myself a disservice by even answering a specific person because I tell you; I really thought that this first team could have actually been the top 12 of the show.  So, anybody out of this group that makes it, I would not be disappointed at all.

D. Feinberg                 Okay, and changing cards a little bit, you mentioned earlier that you've been a fan of the show since the first season.  Why was this the year that you decided to commit to Idol?

M. Sarver                    That is a very excellent question.  I've been watching Idol over the years and never felt the option to go for Idol.  I believe it had to do a lot with knowing somewhere inside of me that I still had a lot of growing up to do.  This year, my sister-in-law voiced her desire to try out and she said something to me and it really just hit me all of a sudden - let's do that.  We did and I made it and for some reason, it was just a moment and a right time and a right moment in my life that just fit and it never fit before.  I moved on it knowing it was the right time for me and obviously, it's working out.  So, great.

D. Feinberg                 Congratulations.

M. Sarver                    Thanks so much, bro.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We have Carita Rizzo with TV Guide.

C. Rizzo                      Hello, Michael.  How it goes?

M. Sarver                    Oh, it's awesome.  How are you?

C. Rizzo                      Pretty good, thank you.  What did it feel like to have your family watch you perform live and then also receive criticism on live television?

M. Sarver                    To have my family see me sing live like that, and they're used to it.  They've seen me at church and stuff, but to see me on that scale of performance was really enjoyable.  You can imagine the text and the phone calls that I had afterwards - just loaded.  My phone, I think, is going to hate me after the next week or so.

                                    But, the criticism that I received was my family receives it really well because number one, we go into this knowing that nobody's perfect, but knowing that I can deliver who I am on that stage through my music and they're happy with that.  They're satisfied.  I tell you; I couldn't be more proud of myself and the way I sold out on that stage, and I wasn't perfect and I acknowledge that, but I gave it everything I had. 

                                    The things that came to me constructive criticism wise, I guarantee you they won't have to ask me to fix those things more than once probably.  We take them in stride and we appreciate them. 

C. Rizzo                      As a fan of the show, what do you think of the Wild Card element that they've added to the competition?

M. Sarver                    The Wild Card element for American Idol is very special because it means that, for instance, last night is not the end for a lot of people.  It means not only a second chance, but it kind of carries them through because I can't imagine the disappointment that I would have felt last night had I not made it through.  It gives you that extra hope.  I love the Wild Card round because Clay Aiken was a Wild Card and good things come out of "wild" things.

C. Rizzo                      Thank you so much.

M. Sarver                    Thanks a lot.

Moderator                   We'll go to Denise Hoepfner with Luskin Daily News.

D. Hoepfner                Hello, Michael. 

M. Sarver                    Hello.

D. Hoepfner                There are some big fans of your back home in East Texas and I just wanted to know if you had any special words for them.

M. Sarver                    Well, to my fans, I love you guys and what you did for me this week is absolutely amazing and blew me away.  My heart jumped a beat, probably even stopped a little and I'm amazed at how many people not only voted, but because of the fact that you voted means that you get something out of what I bring and that really means a lot to me.

D. Hoepfner                Okay, and also, I know that you said you bonded with Danny.  What about Kendall Beard who is another native East Texan?

M. Sarver                    That's a good question too.  Me and Kendall are friends and I couldn't be more excited to have somebody right there next to me.  She's originally from Lufkin and she's just like an hour north of me, very close and I'm ecstatic to see her perform and see her excel.  It's incredible.  I love it.

D. Hoepfner                Thank you so much.

M. Sarver                    Yes, ma'am.  Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next we have David Constantine with Beaumont Enterprise. 

W                                Hello.  This is ... standing in for my colleague, David Constantine.  Well first of all, Michael, congratulations.

M. Sarver                    Thank you so much.

W                                Good.  Well, I think you have the entire Southeast Texas region rooting for you here and I know it was a little bit of a close shave last night.  What did you think when the judges said that you had lost your originals soul?

M. Sarver                    Well, I don't remember the exact words, but I don't feel like they were trying to portray that I had lost something as much as telling me not to step away from it.  I actually found it to be a compliment rather than criticism because it means that they saw something in me that made them set a high standard for me and that's a huge compliment because for them to expect great things out of me says that they've already seen greatness in me and I can step up; I can bring it just like they want it. 

W                                How are you planning to overcome that position?  You mentioned stepping up.

M. Sarver                    I think stepping up for me would mean to just continue to be true to who I am.  I'm not ashamed of the song I sing at all.  In fact, I still to this day, even a few days later completely stand by my decision to sing it because all the right things made sense.  The song made sense.  The words mean a lot to me and I know they'll probably mean a lot to a lot of other people.  What I will do is continue to be true to who I am as an artist, but I will probably begin to flirt more with my roots, which is a lot of R&B and soul.

W                                All right.  Well, thank you very much and we'll continue watching.

M. Sarver                    Thanks so much, Beaumont.

Moderator                   Thank you, and next we have Ed Waytt with the New York Times.

E. Waytt                      Michael, can you tell me what producers have told you you're going to be doing over the next three weeks while the other groups perform?  Are you staying in Los Angeles?  Are you going to be performing on the result shows, or just continuing to rehearse, or what are you going to be doing?

M. Sarver                    Well, a lot of what we'll be doing is what we're doing right now and then there are rehearsal and things.  They keep us busy.  We'll obviously be out here, working the whole time.  There's plenty for us to do even though we're not a part of the immediate show each week.  You guys will probably be treated to times with us, I'm sure.  But, they keep us busy and they have plans for us way ahead of time.

E. Waytt                      Okay, but they haven't said specifically if you're going to be performing on shows or not?

M. Sarver                    No.  They have no made it clear.  There are opinions floating around about how things should go, but they have not made it clear exactly what's next for us.  So, we just kind of take it one step at a time and say, "Yes, sir.  No, sir.  Yes, ma'am.  No, ma'am" and go there. 

E. Waytt                      All right.  Thanks.

M. Sarver                    Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and our final question for this portion will be from Darla Atlas with the Dallas Morning News.

D. Atlas                       Hello, Michael.  Congratulations.

M. Sarver                    What's up Dallas, Texas?  Thank you so much.

D. Atlas                       Actually, you have a lot of fans all over Texas.  So, good for you.

M. Sarver                    It's awesome.

D. Atlas                       You had mentioned earlier on the call that the economy, obviously, it's hit a lot of people hard.  Can you talk a little bit about your industry?  Has it been something that's affected you in the roughneck business?

M. Sarver                    While I was there and of course, I'm not there right now.  So, I'm not feeling the punch like a lot of other people are; but the industry itself is feeling the hit.  There are a lot of people that I've heard that have been laid off.  I know for a fact that there are some hiring freezes going on in the oil field and it's very crucial because these guys, they live off of what they know they're going to bring home every month and they provide for their family accordingly and I know it's tough. 

D. Atlas                       Yes.  So, what did your friends in that business say back when you said, "I'm going to try out for American Idol"?  What was their response?

M. Sarver                    Believe it or not, there was a lot of positive.  A lot of people said, "Go for it" and then there were those that were like, "Yeah, right."  I guess you don't expect to see something like that that close to you.  But believe it or not, I actually had one person, I won't say his name, but he told me, he looked me in the eye and he said, "I heard you wanted to be a singer."  I said, "Yes, sir.  I do."  He said, "Let me tell you something, son.  It'll never happen."  He couldn't have meant that more than he did.  I don't mean to get back at anybody, but I'll tell you; no matter what people tell you, no matter what people think, you keep trying and you keep trucking and it works out.

D. Atlas                       That's wonderful.  Congratulations.  I'm really excited for you.

M. Sarver                    I appreciate it.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Michael, do you have any closing remarks? 

M. Sarver                    Ma'am?

Moderator                   Do you have any closing remarks?

M. Sarver                    Yes, ma'am.  To everybody that's called in to talk to me, I appreciate you guys.  This is an incredible experience for me and you guys being a part of it means a lot.  You get us out there.  You make us look great.  You're a part of our success and we appreciate you. 

Moderator                   Okay.  Thank you.  Ladies and gentlemen, you'll be back on music while we get Danny Gokey on the line.  We appreciate your patience.

M. Sarver                    Thanks, guys.

Moderator                   Ladies and gentlemen, thank you again for your patience.  We're back for the American Idol interview call with Danny Gokey.  We'll go for our first question to Jennifer Smith with Fancast.com.

J. Smith                       Hello, Danny.  How are you? 

D. Gokey                     Good.  How are you?

J. Smith                       Good.  My first question is how does it feel to have so much support so early on in the competition?

D. Gokey                     Well, I'm honored.  I'm, first of all, honored that people support me.  I think very highly of everyone who supports me.  It's just an honor to see that they think this way of me and that they want to see me succeed; people who I've never met.  I just hope that I can keep them all the way through the competition.

J. Smith                       How did it feel to have to see some of your friends be disappointed and have to go home?

D. Gokey                     It's not fun.  I remember watching the show and I specifically would be like, "Oh, come on.  Are you serious?  This is a competition" when people would start crying and get emotional when people left.  But, living it out, it's a whole different story.  You get to really know what happens and you get to know these people.  Music is the underlying factor as common denominator and you really connect with these people.  They're genuine and it's their dream.  You want to see them succeed. 

J. Smith                       Great.  Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go next to Colleen Joyce with popstar.com. 

C. Joyce                      Hello.  How are you doing?

D. Gokey                     Good.  Hello.

C. Joyce                      Good.  Okay.  Can you take us through your thought process when you picked your audition song, "Heard it Through the Grapevine?"

D. Gokey                     Yes.  The thought process behind that was it showed my range.  It was a fun song and the number one thing is it showed my ability.  And so, that was actually the whole point of singing that song. 

C. Joyce                      Great.  Thank you very much.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go next to Victor Balta with Comcast.net.

V. Balta                       Hello, Danny.  How are you doing? 

D. Gokey                     Good, and yourself?

V. Balta                       Good.  Good.  Thanks for taking the time.  So, I wanted to know how you feel also about the reaction that Jamar has gotten.  I don't know if you see too much online or anything, but he's the one who didn't make the top 36, who people seemed most attached to and most disappointed by his absence in the top 36.

D. Gokey                     As you can see from the show that aired it, I was mad.  I had a pretty upset look on my face because I expected him to go through.  I don't know-- If you pay attention carefully to the tapes, I even said, "I'll see you in the top 36" after I made it through and we were talking.  I mean I was just so confident that he showed his ability and what it takes to get there.  And so, disappointment was completely in my mind and heart, but the thing is he received such recognition.  I know it's not the end of the world for him.  He has a bright future ahead of him and it doesn't stop here.  It only gets better from here.

V. Balta                       I really hope you don't take this as insensitive, but it definitely isn't, but how are you going to try to sort of balance how much the background story of your wife plays into your future process on the show so that people don't think that it's a whole sympathy kind of thing?

D. Gokey                     People coming in from an outside view probably won't think it's too much, but it's only been seven months since she's passed.  This is who I am.  It's not that I throw it in people's faces, but I get asked about it all the time, especially like right now.  I'm talking about it at this point.  In a previous interview that I did today, everybody wants to hear what I have to say.  It weighs on my mind a lot though because honestly, this is a sob story I don't want.  I don't want this story, but it is shaping my life and it's causing hope for a lot of people knowing that it's causing hope for my life.  I didn't want to live any more after she passed. 

                                    So now, I have my mission set in stone of what I want to portray myself as and just who I am.  I don't have to portray myself as anybody, but as far as being me, but there's a fun side to me that's going to come out.  And so, people have to stay tuned in.  I apologize to everybody if they feel like it's shoved down their face, but it's so fresh in my mind.

V. Balta                       All right.  Thanks a lot and good luck with the rest of the season.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We have Mike Hughes with TV America.

M. Hughes                  Hello, Danny.  We talked to Michael Sarver a minute ago and he was talking about church music was one of his early points in getting started.  How was it with you?  Was church the first place you sang, or what first got you going?

D. Gokey                     Well, I come from a musical family.  I have four sisters and a brother.  And so, including my parents, there's eight of us.  We would all sing together as kids and we started going to this one church and we'd go up, all eight of us, as a family.  My dad would play guitar and we would sing songs in front of the church.  So, that's really where I got started.  I didn't really take it too serious though.  It got really serious when I started going to the church I attend now and I was 20-years-old.  So, 20-years-old was pivotal in my music career.

M. Hughes                  That's the one where you've been a church music leader?

D. Gokey                     Yes, that's the one.  I've been there for eight years.

M. Hughes                  One totally different question.  Were those different glasses you had on last night, or have you had those all along?

D. Gokey                     Yes, those were a different pair that I wore on the TV show.  I've taken pictures with them, but I never wore them on TV yet.  I have a couple more pairs that I want to wear, but they've not been approved because our logo is on them.  So, I'm kind of disappointed.  I'm hoping that somehow, it can be worked out where I can wear more glasses because I love glasses.

M. Hughes                  Cool.  Thanks a lot.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next, we have Jill Sargent with Reuters.

J. Sargent                    Hello.  Good morning, Danny.  How are you?

D. Gokey                     Good morning.  I'm good; thanks, and yourself?

J. Sargent                    I'm great, thanks.  What do you think of this whole new process of the top 36 and having nine people go in one group?  It's pretty brutal.  Did it feel that way for you guys there?

D. Gokey                     Yes, it really is.  Here's how I feel about it.  I've been saying this since day one.  It's never been harder to get into the top 12, but yet also, it's never been easier because of the fact that you don't have to go from 36 or 24 even all the way down to 12.  I mean you get from 36 right to 12.  So, you skip all that.

                                    But, the thing is that makes it so like gut wrenching is that there's amazing talent that is being sent home and it's almost like an unfair shot.  It makes sense, but it doesn't make sense.  It's so hard to explain.

J. Sargent                    Okay.  Thanks.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next is Daniel Feinberg with hitpicks.com. 

D. Feinberg                 Hello, Danny.  Congratulations to you. 

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

D. Feinberg                 Following up on what you just said; so, nine people went home last night.  Who do you think from your group deserves another shot in the Wild Card Round?

D. Gokey                     Honestly, I think they all do.  I really do.  I really think that every single one of them does, but I-- Only three, at this point, get a chance.  So, I mean I'm just so sad to see them go.

D. Feinberg                 Okay.  Sort of an unrelated question; last night, you seemed very calm and cool when you were standing in the spotlight with Tatiana.  Was it hard to stay that composed with her being sort of the emotional ball right next to you?

D. Gokey                     With Tatiana, you expect the unexpected.  She really is a great person.  I mean she wants it so bad and you see the desire and the passion in her and I think at times, that's maybe her image on TV.  But yes, I maybe looked calm and cool, but I wasn't on the inside.  I have family members say that I looked that way, but I have to be honest, man.  On the inside, I feel kind of like a wreck.

D. Feinberg                 And you just sort of kept the look on the outside?

D. Gokey                     I really try to keep the look.  I try to.  I just hope it doesn't come off the wrong way to the American public or the voters, I should say.  I'm not the president, but anyone who's watching the show.  It's just that my whole thought process at that time was-- I was preparing myself to go home.  I really was because I just said "Anything can happen.  Anything's possible."  Tatiana showed up that night when she sang and I think she had the surprise element.  So, I said, "No matter what, I got my message across that I wanted to get across to people."  I wanted to go out gracefully.

D. Feinberg                 Fair enough.  Well, good luck to you, man.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next, we have Steve Gidlow with In Touch Weekly.

S. Gidlow                    Hello, Danny.  Congratulations. 

D. Gokey                     Thanks a lot.  I appreciate it.

S. Gidlow                    You must be thrilled.

D. Gokey                     Yes.  It's awesome.

S. Gidlow                    I'm just wondering, Jamar was a great support to you and we know that he's been a great support for you in the past.  How is not having him here now to sort of go through this process with you?

D. Gokey                     Well, I really can say this, and I hope you will take it the right way.  At this point of the game, it's easier now.  Even though I want him to be here, but I feel more emotionally stable.  I wanted him to be here, but I'm glad he was in Hollywood.  I'm so thankful he was in Hollywood because in Hollywood, what people don't know is that Hollywood was very, very tough for me.  I put on this face, but I was miserable on the inside.  Only he knew that because I poured my heart out to him. 

                                    But since Hollywood, as crazy as it sounds, but I've let go of some things that I was gripping on to so deeply.  I think letting go of the toxic emotions tied to the situation has really set me free to be able to start enjoying this.  It just so happens that even though he's not here, I'm at that point. 

I never forget the memory of my wife, but the hurtful emotions that were really tying me down, especially during Hollywood week with all the pressure, the producers, and all the pressure that's put on you from the show because you're herding all these kids around and all that talent there.  Do you know what I'm saying?

S. Gidlow                    Yes.  I noticed last night that there was a tribute paid to your wife because they showed a photo of her; one of your friends had one.  Do you keep a memento with you when you perform of her?

D. Gokey                     Keep a what?

S. Gidlow                    A memento, a photo or something like that?

D. Gokey                     No, I really don't.  But the thing is, she's in my heart.  You can never take that away.  I really don't hang on to charms or anything like that or any mementos.  I have, obviously, pictures at home, but she's so deeply engrained in my heart and mind that she's a part of who I am.

S. Gidlow                    Well, we're all rooting for you.  Congratulations.

D. Gokey                     Thank you so much.

Moderator                   Thank you.  We'll go to Tim Cuprisin with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

T. Cuprisin                  Hello, Danny.  How are you doing?

D. Gokey                     Hello.  Good to hear from you again.

T. Cuprisin                  Pardon me; my voice is a little bad.  I have a cold, which I know would be much worse if I was a singer than if I'm a reporter.  Let me ask you sort of a serious question.  You are a guy who really strategies this thing that you're doing.  You're thinking it through.  You think out the songs and you have an end game and you have, as you said earlier, a mission set in stone.  Can you ever just relax?  Do you relax when you're singing?  Do you forget the strategy?  How do you deal with that?

D. Gokey                     Well, it's kind of hard to relax in this competition.  I want to relax.  I really, really do.  I do have a mission.  With the top 36; I believe I've talked to you before, right?

T. Cuprisin                  Right.

D. Gokey                     I told you I had my mission set in place because I figured if that was going to be my last time, at least I was going to get my message across.  Well, I feel like I've gotten my message across.  But now, I want to lighten up and just have a little fun with it and enjoy the ride because now I've made it to the top12.  I still have it mapped out in my mind what I want to do and who I want to be, but I just want people to enjoy-- I don't know.  I guess maybe sometimes the consensus is that people are getting tired of my story or whatever.  That's totally fine, but it's such a fresh thing right now.  I want to be able to appear to people just on a fun level too and also the deeper level that I showed them.

T. Cuprisin                  Now, have you had a chance to talk to your pastor since yesterday?  Have you had contact with him and if so, how did that go?

D. Gokey                     Yes, I talked to my pastor yesterday and he cried.  He cried on the phone.  That never happens, but he was so emotional.  You have to understand; he was there the whole entire process of my wife and he saw how much it devastated me.  To see a person's life right before your eyes transform from such a low point to now a high point, it's emotional.  He apologized.  He said, "I'm so sorry for crying."  He was so happy for me, and he's a big part of who I am.  He's a huge mentor in my life.  He's never taken anything from me; he's only given to me and I just love it.  It's been awesome.

T. Cuprisin                  Great.  Good luck to you.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next, we have Matt Whitfield with Yahoo!.

M. Whitfield               Hello, Danny.  Congratulations.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

M. Whitfield               I just wanted to mention that the judges have seem to shower you with praise ever since your first audition.  I was wondering if there was anywhere you think that you can improve going forward.

D. Gokey                     Oh, absolutely.  I know I can improve.  I want to improve.  I want to clean up my vocals.  That's what I want to do.  I notice when I'm singing I sometimes get a flat and sharp here.  That really bothers me because I know that I can do a clean performance.  But on the other hand, I like taking risks when I'm singing.  I don't like to just be in the safe box, singing a song, but I want to, so to speak, jump off the bridge and somehow land on my feet.  Sometimes, I kind of lose my footing when I'm coming back down. 

                                    So, that really is my strategy - to clean up and become more professional.  Also, like I said before, I want to loosen up a little bit, not be so nervous.

M. Whitfield               One other random question; are there any guilty pleasures you're listening to in your iPod right now?

D. Gokey                     No, not really.  I'm a big fan of salsa.  I love listening to salsa.  There's also this group called Family Forest Five that is like a heavy metal rock group.  I just love listening to that stuff.  I don't sing that kind of music.

M. Whitfield               Right.  Thank you.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   We'll go next to Antonia Blyth with US Sixteen Magazine.

A. Blyth                      Hello.  I hope you can hear me.  I have kind of a bad connection.

D. Gokey                     Okay.  Yes, I can hear you kind of.

A. Blyth                      I was just going to say I feel like you must have been really nervous standing next Tatiana.  Did you think at that point that that might be it for you?

D. Gokey                     I did.  I really did.  I prepared myself mentally while I was up there, while Ryan was talking.  I said, "If this is it, I am going to go out gracefully" and just thankful for the opportunity.  I'm telling you; you just never know.  In this competition, you just can never be too confident.  I mean I want to be confident, and I want to portray like a level of confidence, but man, sometimes, you just don't know.  So, I prepared myself.  But, thank God, I didn't go home. 

A. Blyth                      Yes, absolutely.  You're being very open about your feelings and your grief.  I just wondered if your wife had lived to see your success now what do you think would be her reaction?

D. Gokey                     Oh, my wife would just be telling all her friends.  She would be going to the story, trying to buy clothes and trying to get herself all cute and just telling people that she's going to go watch me on the show.  She was spunky and she was just so cute and she had a little attitude there herself.  She'd be so happy.  She'd just be so happy.

A. Blyth                      That's wonderful.  Thank you.  Best of luck.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you.  Next, we have Andrea Dresdale with ABC News Radio. 

A. Dresdale                 Hello, Danny.  You have an excellent voice.  Congratulations. 

D. Gokey                     Thank you so much.

A. Dresdale                 Danny, a lot of people who have been blogging about the show in the media seem to think that you're getting a lot of attention in terms of the way the show is editing, like more than every other contestant, like the producers are really trying to push you forward.  In watching back the shows, do you feel like you're getting that amount of attention?

D. Gokey                     Honestly, I do feel like that I was highlighted.  There's no getting around that.  I didn't do anything to get that.  I can say this; I'm grateful that they would do that.  I have no control over it.  I know everyone's not going to like me.  That's goes without saying, but it's a bummer when people are just real mad about it.  I had nothing to do with it and I hope people can see past that and just see that I genuinely just love to sing and that's what I want to do.

A. Dresdale                 Well, as a follow-up to that, say you advance far enough in the competition that you did get a record deal and you made an album, do you think you would be a Christian artist because it's so important in your life, or do you think you'd go for a rock pop thing?

D. Gokey                     Honestly, I don't know yet, but the answer I'm leaning towards right now is it would be out in the mainstream market.  That's where I want to be.  I think I can have a lot of affect on it.  I mean there are a lot of good Christian singers, but I think I would like to go out and do something with my box.  I can just be a Christian who sings mainstream music instead of having to be a Christian who has to somehow just sing Christian music.  I believe that I can just be a singer who is a Christian. 

A. Dresdale                 Okay.  Great.  We'll be watching.  Thanks.

D. Gokey                     Thank you.

Moderator                   Thank you, and ladies and gentlemen, we are out of time.  Danny, do you have any closing remarks?

D. Gokey                     No, I don't.

Moderator                   Okay.  Thank you.  Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today.  Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference.  You may now disconnect.

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