Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Photo: Casey Abrams Strikes a Pose at the American Idol Grand Finale on May 25, 2011

For Casey Abrams, Season 10 of American Idol was a rocky road. Not only was the contestant battling health issues while competing on the biggest show on television, he battled record industry legend Jimmy Iovine on almost a weekly basis to prove that jazz had a place in the mainstream. So, really, who better to give survival tips than this guy?

In an exclusive interview, Casey tells Wetpaint Entertainment that the key to making it through Idol is to let go of perfection.

“You have to have this certain, ‘not-caredness’,” he told us at the 4th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at L.A. LIVE & Opening of LA Kings Holiday Ice. “You have to go on stage and be kind of fearless. Honestly, I don't hit all the notes all the time, but I feel like I have a little bit of confidence because I know I'm having fun up there. And I think that's what they see in me, you know. And look at Paul [McDonald]. Paul doesn't have the greatest voice, but he's so interesting. And he cares about the music.  The same could be said about all [the contestants].”

After Idol, Casey has adapted his attitude of “not-caredness,” as he calls it, to any performance he does in front of a large audience.

“You have to go on stage thinking you're going to make two or three mistakes, and that’s usually the case. Note-wise, rhythm-wise, lyric-wise, you always go up there knowing it's going to happen,” he says. “And then your fears go away. For me, at least.”

Despite all the drama, Casey looks back at his time on American Idol with fondness.

“I loved it,” he says. “I was like, I'm going to enjoy this year. I talked to past contestants who were like, ‘Listen guys, live this moment because you're working seven days a week and no breaks. So you get tired, but you have to enjoy it.’ I wish I did a little bit more even though I did all I could do. But I had to sleep every once in a while.”

Casey still stays in touch with his fellow contestants, recently calling up Jacob Lusk to tell him how much he liked his new song, and teaming up with Haley Reinhart for the performance at the tree lighting ceremony. Now he’s getting ready for James Durbin’s wedding.  

“He really grew on me after I was his roommate. He was really nice,” says Casey. “He was really concerned about me. We can joke about stuff.”

Speaking of concern, Casey says we no longer have to be worried about his health. “I’m better. Way better,” he told us. “All is good.”

 

Credit: Idolator Photo: Cute! Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams Debut "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Music Video