March 11, 2010 09:55 AM by Christine McDow
We were more surprised that Haeley Vaughn made it into the American Idol top 24 than were were that she got voted off last week. She just seemed a little too young still and immature to be a real competitor this year on American Idol. She recently talked to us about her experience on American Idol, her future, whether or not she will go back to high school and her love for fashion design. Do you think she left too soon?
Question: So I loved all your little headbands and hair accessories and stuff on the shows. So Iâ€™m kind of just wondering how long youâ€™ve been doing that and if you made any for like the other girls on the show or anything like that.
Haeley Vaughn: Oh, Iâ€™ve been making headbands for a couple months actually. I started right before the show started. And I havenâ€™t made any for the other girls but Iâ€™ve made them for a couple of my different outfits I have.
Question: So maybe weâ€™ll see you on Project Runway in a couple years?
Haeley Vaughn: Oh, my gosh, maybe.
Question: I wanted to ask you, thereâ€™s been a lot of discussion about the judges giving conflicting advice. Did you feel that that happened to you at all?
Haeley Vaughn: No, not really. I felt like the judges had really good comments and feedback to give me, and Iâ€™ll definitely learn from it and work on the stuff that they told me to work on.
Question: There was a lot of talk on the blogs and websites about the nerves of the contestants. Can you talk a little bit about the nerves of the guys and the girls going into the first week of live performances?
Haeley Vaughn: Oh, yes. The first week was really tough. We were all super nervous and scared and worried about our song choice. The first week, actually, yes, we were all like just freaking out and trying to pick the right songs and make sure that America would like them. And nerves are always going to play a huge factor in what we do on the show.
Question: Do you feel like those nerves kind of settled down in week two, and had you been able to stay in the competition, do you think like you would have gotten more used to being in front of the cameras, being live, taking the judgesâ€™ criticism? Do you think like you would have gotten more comfortable as you went along?
Haeley Vaughn: Yes. I think the nerves kind of settled down week two, but they were definitely still there, for me anyway. If I would have continued to be on the show, I think as the weeks went on, my nerves would have kind of gone away because I would have gotten more used to it. Yes, but theyâ€™ll always be there.
Question: I just wanted to find out, so whatâ€™s next for you? Are you going to return to school or are you going to start working more on your career?
Haeley Vaughn: Iâ€™m definitely going to keep working on my career. Iâ€™m going to keep singing and hopefully, doors will open up for me. Iâ€™m a really big fan of Disney and Disney Channel. So hopefully, thereâ€™s something there that I can work on and Iâ€™m just going to keep working on my career and doing what I love to do.
Question: Have you been contacted at all from any managers or agents or labels or anything yet?
Haeley Vaughn: Not yet. Itâ€™s only the day after Iâ€™ve been eliminated, but weâ€™ll see what happens for me.
Question: Kara DioGuardi had said a comment to you about taking a year and really seasoning your voice. How did you react to that? What was your thoughts when she said that to you?
Haeley Vaughn: Yes, I kind of agreed with her. I think that more experience and more time working on my vocals would be good. I think experience is always better for someone, especially since Iâ€™m only 16, and this is the first really big thing that Iâ€™ve done ever. Iâ€™ve never performed in front of millions of people before. Iâ€™ve never even performed in front of 100. And so, I think itâ€™s always good to get more experience and work on the things that I need to work on.
Question: You were understandably emotional last night after getting the results. What goes through your mind as you watch that video of your Idol journey and then perform live? Iâ€™m just curious.
Haeley Vaughn: Oh, yes. Watching the video right before I had to sing was definitely hard. I was just thinking about my journey through the show and everything that Iâ€™ve done and how far Iâ€™ve made it, which was really emotional and then having to sing afterwards, oh, my gosh, was so hard. And I was just trying to get through the song and I really connected with the song the time I sang it last night and the lyrics really meant something to me.
Question: I just wanted to ask you about the situation that happened with Crystal. Is there anything you can tell me about that, about her illness and what ended up happening this week?
Haeley Vaughn: I actually donâ€™t know much about Crystal. I know that sheâ€™s doing better, and congratulations to her for making it to the next week. Hopefully, she continues to make it far.
Question: Well, youâ€™ve talked a little bit on the show about wanting to do some sort of country music. So moving forward, is that the sort of album youâ€™d want to make and kind of, to go along with that, you talked about the Disney Channel a few minutes ago. Is there any Disney artist you want to work with like Miley or Demi Lovato or the Jonas Brothers?
Haeley Vaughn: Oh, yes, definitely, I love Disney. And so if I was given a chance to work with Disney, I would love it. Miley Cyrus is one of myâ€”like, oh, my gosh, I love her. And so, thatâ€™d be awesome. And, yes, country music is definitely my genre, pop country. And playing my guitar is awesome. So yes, if I were given the chance to do that, I would definitely jump on it.
Question: One of the previous questioners talked about Kara DioGuardiâ€™s comment about having more time to season your voice. Was that maybe a little bit upsetting that you didnâ€™t get that chance, that maybe the judges didnâ€™t tell you to come back next year and you can try out for the top 24 again?
Haeley Vaughn: No, I actually kind of agreed with Karaâ€™s comment. I think that a little more time to work on my vocals and get all the technical things worked out would actually help me and I think that Iâ€™m going to do that. And have moved forward with my career.
Question: I guess the point I was making was that you wonâ€™t be able to come back and do it on Idol again now that youâ€™ve got this far in the process.
Haeley Vaughn: Right. Yes. I wonâ€™t be able to be on Idol again, but Iâ€™m sure that there are other things that I can do from here on out. Idol was an amazing platform for me and so from here on out I can just work on more things and hopefully, more doors will open for me.
Question: Talk a little about the song choice. How did you come to pick the songs you did? Was it all your selection or did you have help from people and were you a little confused when the judges kept giving you sort of conflicting advice on how to pick songs?
Haeley Vaughn: Yes. When I chose my songs, they were all my decisions. The first week I sang â€œI Want to Hold Your Hand,â€ which is one of my favorite Beatlesâ€™ songs and I played my guitar. I kind of added my own pop country twist to it. And I wouldnâ€™t change anything but doing it better that week.
And this week, I sang â€œThe Climbâ€ by Miley Cyrus, which is one of my favorite artists and one of my favorite songs. And so that song definitely means a lot to me and if I were given a chance, I would just make it better and work on like the technicals, think of my voice and just really sounding better and not pitchy.
Question: From a previous question, am I to understand youâ€™re not going to go back to high school then or you will?
Haeley Vaughn: I think I might go back to high school, but I think if thereâ€™s anything else, like any other doors that will open for me, I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™ll go back to high school or if Iâ€™ll just do my school online and focus on my career, which is what is really important for me right now. But Iâ€™ll definitely finish school.
Question: Did you get a chance to talk to any of the former Idols and get any advice from them about what to expect?
Haeley Vaughn: I talked to Allison for a bit when she came and she performed the first week. And she just told me to stay true to who I am and keep doing my thing and keep singing my genre of music and just be really strong and confident throughout the competition.
Question: I know that you said that you wanted to be a country artist and I was just surprised that you didnâ€™t actually pick any country songs during these past two weeks. Why was that? Did you just want to show them that you were more versatile?
Haeley Vaughn: Yes. The songs I chose, I made them kind of pop country, and so that was my whole thing. I wanted to not have to sing Martina McBride every week just because I wanted to be a country artist. When Carrie Underwood was on her season, she didnâ€™t sing only country songs. She was very versatile and she chose songs of different genres and she made them fit her country style and that was my whole thing that I did, too.
Question: And just following up to what people were talking about, you say youâ€™d like to be involved in Disney. What kind of thing could you see yourself doing? Would you like to appear on a show on the Disney Channel? Would you like to just perform music with the people who are signed to Disney Records? What kind of thing do you see yourself doing in the Disney universe?
Haeley Vaughn: Yes. With Disney, I would love to be on a show. My favorite show is Hannah Montana and just because I love Miley Cyrus so much. Thatâ€™s a really big inspiration to me. And so being on Disney would be awesome and performing with the artists would be great, too. But also kind of singing my pop country and staying true to who I am.
Question: Did you bond with the other contestants who were around your age like Katie or Aaron?
Haeley Vaughn: Katie and Aaron are awesome. Theyâ€™re also minors and we did school together. I really bonded with everybody. Everybody was so awesome and weâ€™re all really close and we kind of created a bond and like a family.
Question: I know that you said that you didnâ€™t feel that there was conflicting direction from the judges. But let me ask you this, in the beginning, they were praising how they liked your young sound and your youthful approach and then last night they told you youâ€™re too young. I meanâ€”
Haeley Vaughn: Right.
Question: –didnâ€™t that sort of confuse at all?
Haeley Vaughn: Kind of. I donâ€™t think they necessarily meant that I was too young. They meant that my voice needs to mature and I need to work on the technical aspects of my voice. And I think that theyâ€™re right. I think that there were moments in my songs in my performances that I was pitchy and I need to work on that. And so Iâ€™m given the time to work on that and hopefully, Iâ€™ll come back full force.
Question: But didnâ€™t it surprise you that youâ€™re two weeks into the Top 24, that all of a sudden they say your voice is not mature enough? Didnâ€™t that surprise you at all?
Haeley Vaughn: Yes, it was a little surprising. It definitely made me think and gave me something to work on. Yes, it was a little surprising.
Question: We work within the dance industry so Iâ€™m just wondering when youâ€™re onstage singing, do you ever feel a little self conscious about your movement or your choreography while youâ€™re singing onstage?
Haeley Vaughn: Kind of, yes. It was weird for me singing without my guitar. Iâ€™m used to having my guitar in front of me, but when I sang â€œThe Climbâ€ I didnâ€™t and so it forced me to have to work the stage and move around. And that was a little hard. And I have a little confidence issue sometimes. Iâ€™m worried about what I look like and if Iâ€™m doing it right and if I sound okay, and so that was definitely one of the harder battles for me.
Question: Just another one, do you think that things would have been different for you if Paula Abdul had still been a judge and did you think that Simon Cowell was harsher? I know a lot of people have said that he was.
Haeley Vaughn: I think that Paula Abdul is great, but I really appreciated the judges this season. Ellen DeGeneres brought amazingâ€”like, oh, my gosh. She was amazing whenever she would give back criteria and Iâ€™d love to hear what she had to say. I donâ€™t necessarily think things would have been different if Paula were there. I think that they probably would have been the same. Itâ€™s just another judge.
And yes, Simon was definitely really harsh this season. But I mean, he has reason to be. With all the comments that he gave us were good and we kind of like, we think about them. Sometimes, he should soften the blow a little bit, but, I mean, thatâ€™s Simon Cowell. Heâ€™s been like that for nine years.
Question: Any final comments?
Haeley Vaughn: I just want to say thank you to everybody for taking the time to ask some questions. It means a lot. And yes, hopefully, Iâ€™ll continue on and do what I love to do and opportunities will come with Disney and my singing pop country and everything will just fall into place. Thank you, guys, so much.