Kimberly Locke on this season's 'American Idol': 'They just need to get back to the basics of singing'

Kimberly-LockeImage Credit: Paul Hebert/Icon SMI/CorbisIn an extended new interview in Out magazine, Kimberly Locke, the third-place finisher on Idol‘s second season, talks about keeping former roommate Clay Aiken’s gay secret (“It wasn’t really a secret to me but it wasn’t really my place to push him in any direction”), her upcoming reality show Making the Curve (“It’s about putting together a plus-sized singing group, which I know my gay boys are going to love”), and working with Randy Jackson’s new “strictly dance” label, Dream Merchant 21 (“I don’t think I knew that Randy was so into dance music!”).

But she saves her sharpest words for her alma mater. On the widely panned current season: “I think that they’re going to have to go back to the raw talent. The other night, on the show, I think everybody except for two people, maybe, played the guitar. I don’t play an instrument. I love people who play instruments — I think it’s great — but American Idol is a singing competition and I think it distracts and it takes away. I think some of them are better musicians than they are singers — if you really want to know the truth about it. When I was on American Idol it was about raw talent; you had a microphone, a microphone stand, a spotlight, and a track. We didn’t even have a band on my season! So, I do think it’s still a great way to find talent. I think they just need to get back to the basics of singing.”

And, with refreshing honesty, on her own struggles as a contestant with the show’s advertorial side: “One of the things I didn’t like about Idol was the Ford commercials. It was like, ‘Come on.’ For a lack of a better word they would whore us out, we did all these commercials for free, they got to use our image and our names. But the thing that upset me the most about it is that it took up so much time in our day. We were already exhausted running around doing press, people pulling us in a thousand directions, now we’ve go to do Coke and Ford and all these different spots for the sponsors. Those things would take, like, an entire day. Some nights we wouldn’t get finished from doing just that until midnight. It’s like, ‘Really?’ And then they’re like, ‘Practice your song in your sleep.’ I was like, ‘Really? Come on.’ So, the Ford commercials were kind of annoying. And, we didn’t get a car. So, go figure.”

So, how do you like them apples? Or would you dub them sour grapes? For all that hustle, would it have hurt Idol to give the kids their own Ford Focus, or even a limited lease on a used Festiva?

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Comments (16 total) Add your comment
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  • ceebee

    LOVED K-LO – she was my pick to win….she has a great voice and I am glad that she has stood w/the gay community!!

  • T.J.

    Her candor is refreshing. It’s nice to read an interview that contains an actual opinion, rather than a bunch of P.R. soundbites. Thank you Kimberly for your honesty.

  • the Ricker

    Love Kimberly too, but I disagree about getting rid of instruments. No one would watch AI if they went back to how it started. Seems so bland when you watch rewind episodes. My two favorite seasons were last and the year before because of the instruments and the genius of David Cook and Kris Allen to make the songs cool!

    • Jennifer

      I agree, I’ve found a lot of the Rewind episodes prior to about Season 4 really boring. It doesn’t help that I really don’t like the emphasis on belting and smooth R&B either.

  • Yena

    That’s not sour grapes, that’s just opinion and experience. I always really liked Kimberly Locke. I wish her luck in her endeavors.

  • sam

    I know where she is coming from on the instruments issue. I am in favor of using instruments, but now it has gone so much in that direction. Maybe they can institute a rule that you can only play an instrument 3 or 4 times throughout your AI journey.

  • Ramo

    They didn’t have a band in her season?

    • danny

      Kimberley was my pick in her season and she should of won. I also love that she always speaks her mind and does not care if others agree or disagree. BTW for the most part I always agree with her :)

      • danny

        I did not mean to reply to urs sorry..

  • Sadeigh

    No, doesn’t sound like sour grapes. I think people are burned out on “new” singers/artists in general as the industry is flooded. Idol alum do ok, but also get drowned out by the Bieber, hip hop artists, trash artists (think Kesha), big huge band artist (Muse, Nickelback, etc…) It’s a tough sell these days to make it post Idol. Many alum have fantastic voices but if they don’t end up with one or two killer songs, that doesn’t matter it seems.

  • Terry, Jr.

    To those haters that be trashing Kimberley Locke for her honesty, SHUT UP!!!! This season is like a bloodbath compared to Her season (season 2). This season has no standouts, no ummph….. It’s just plain dull!! So I agree with Kimberley on this season!! Kimberley, I SO appreciate your honesty, I don’t care what ANYBODY says!! This current season SUCKS!!! Hopefully thee finale would be a change of pace to make up for the dried-up talent pool!!

  • Karen

    Love Kimberley, I thought she should have made it to the finales. I completely agree that enough with the instruments are only getting in the way of the true singers.

  • Scott

    I appreciate Kimberley’s honesty. Obviously the current formula isn’t working because it’s no secret that the general consensus is this season is one of the most bland seasons in the history of the show.

  • anonymous

    The isnstruments are not the problem. The lack of talented contestants, poor judging, and out-of-touch theme weeks are what need to be fixed.

  • Daryl

    Love you Kim! Tell it like it is. You are so right about Idol. Its been really sucky this year. We need more folks like Kim on Idol if they want to keep me watching!

  • J.D.

    Am I the only person on the planet that is enjoying this season? I don’t find it dull and boring at all. Every season has had its share of bad singers and boring theme weeks. I agree that this season isn’t as good as the last two, but boring? Not for me. I like that the kids can play instruments. That’s how it will be in the “real world”…why not show that talent now? If its just a singing competition, then it shouldn’t matter if they have stage presence either. Its all a package deal — singing talent, musical talent, stage presence, style, personality, etc. Changes I think need to be made: (1) Get rid of the weekly themes. Instead, let the singers sing songs that show who they are. Why should someone like Casey have to sing Frank Sinatra songs when that is obviously not the kind of singer he is? Let them show us who they are all season long by singing the genre they are most comfortable with. (2) Limit voting to 10 or 25 votes instead of as many as you can get in. (3) The judges need to quit giving conflicting advise. First its “make the song your own and change it up” and then the next week its “that song is so good you don’t need to make any changes in it”. Sheesh, no wonder the contestants are unsure about what to do. (4) Less fluff and more singing by the contestants. I don’t want to hear Lady Gaga or Usher sing. (5) Forget the mentors, unless its Harry Connick Jr. In fact, bring him on as a judge!

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