EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ace Young: Life after “American Idol”
As part of our ongoing "Where Are They Now?" "American Idol" coverage, Souleo checked out season 5 headliner Ace Young....
Ace Young is the charming, easygoing singer from the fifth season of “American Idol,” who was perhaps just a little too laidback for his own good. While his carefree attitude didn’t lead him to winning the show, it did help him win over a legion of followers who took to his voice and let’s not forget, his hair too.
Since the show he was nominated for a Grammy for co-writing Daughtry’s lead single ‘It’s Not Over,” has released a self-titled debut album, and is currently on Broadway in the musical, Hair!
TeenMusic.com spoke to Ace to get an update on life after “American Idol,” as he talked how ‘Idol” hid his early music career from the public, why he didn’t take the competition seriously, why he doesn’t think the show can survive without both Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, his charity Highrollers with Heart and more.
On success before the show:
Watching how things were being edited for the public was the biggest thing I noticed. They really didn’t show the depth of what I'd done before the show. I talked to them about being in L.A. for four years and opening for Brian McKnight and New Edition and touring with them. For some reason it never hit TV and I never knew it didn't make it on the show until I got off. I’ve gotten over that hump where people know what I've done since and I am having a blast.
On why he didn’t give “American Idol,” his all:
I laugh every time I watch myself on “American Idol.” I loved doing the show but it didn’t feel like a competition to me. We were all in the same boat and we were living together. If it were a competition we would have been separated and seen each other only on stage. So it was weird for me which is why I didn’t compete. I didn’t have the drive to really compete ‘cause I felt like I was hanging out.
On the bloopers you might have missed:
One of the contestants, Melissa McGhee sang for the first time and she sang in the dress rehearsal. Then she went up in the performances slot and sang again and forgot some lyrics. They didn’t have enough time to edit the live performance for the playback. So when they showed the playback they showed the part where she messed up the song. It was so live that they couldn’t flip it quickly. Not too many people caught it but we did.
On practical jokes with fellow idols:
We were always throwing practical jokes and hanging. When we were bored we did pranks like the shaving cream on the hand and tickle the nose thing. We really became a family.
On what he learned the most from the show:
The biggest thing I've learned is to know what you’re going for in this industry. “American Idol,” puts you in front of everybody so if you don’t know what you want to pursue when you come off the show you can get really distracted. Many idols get into the party scene and they disappear quickly.
On his favorite new idols:
I really enjoyed last year’s season ‘cause I hosted “Idol Extra,” and I grew really close to that whole season of people. I dug Chikezie. He didn’t know if he had to be polite after Simon [Cowell] said something rude. He was always trying to say something just as rude but it always came out nice 'cause he said it in the nicest fashion. It made me laugh all the time.
On the possible end of the show:
I always hope that there is somewhere for people to have an opportunity to change their life. That’s the American dream especially with jobs falling out across the country. I don’t know what “American Idol,” will do with Paula [Abdul] gone and Simon wanting to leave. With those main two characters of the show gone you’re left with a “Real World/Road Rules Challenge,” season 20 and people really aren’t going to watch it.
On his charity:
Right after “American Idol,” I helped raise over three million dollars for families through Highrollers with Heart. It’s for people who live out of town but need a place to stay while their kids or loved ones are getting treatment in a different state. My brother Ryan broke his back in a car accident and we went 2 or 3 times a week to visit him. So we wanted to make sure we gave back.