On American Idol 2013 last week, Janelle Arthur experienced an extreme roller coaster ride of emotions after falling flat in her duet with Kree Harrison, and then roaring back with one of the best solo performances of the night.
After the show, Kree Harrison spoke with the press about the harsh criticism from the judges on her duet performance, and why she loves never knowing exactly what she’s going to get when Nicki Minaj weighs in.
WP: Did you feel like your solo was a little bit of a redemption after that harsh start with the duet?
A: Yeah, yeah, and I'm just glad that I didn't let the criticism get to me because that can easily happen. There were a few seconds of just me thinking oh this could just make me do awful. This could just totally make me—I thought I'm not gonna let some negative comments from one person or a couple people—even though I respect the people that are telling me these things I cannot—looking at my life and all the hard work that I put into my craft and everything that I love to do, I couldn't let that stop me from showing what I do. I couldn't let that drag me down. So I definitely was so emotional. I wanted to cry, definitely, you know, during the song; before the song and I did cry after the song cuz I knew it was over with!
Q: When Nicki throws out tough comments, do you ever want to throw back at her, well, show up on time, stop texting?
A: I don't know, you're funny, oh my gosh. You know, you always think of all these things—you always think of all these things that you could say—just kind of a comeback, not like, anything rude or disrespectful but just something like okay, da da da. But you don't because it's just better I think if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all, you know, just be classy about it. That’s just how I roll. That's just how I roll, I don't know.
Q: Nicki seemed extremely harsh tonight, there was like anger, did you feel that?
A: Yeah, you know, It's just one of those things, um, that's just her personality, you just have to, you don't know what you're gonna get. I never know with her, she loves me one day, she doesn't love me the next, and so, so I just um, I just let it kind of go in one ear and out the other and hope that it's good though.
WP: Why does she call you her little marshmallow?
A: She's so random and I love it. I love that about her. She is so random. he's good. I'm just glad that I made it through my performance is literally all I can say because I felt just like, oh Lord. See, I told Kree, this is what's going to happen, you know, I said, they're going to compare us and da da da da da. And um, that's just show biz. It's just show biz.
Q: Do you agree that it was a little unfair, this is just my judgement, you guys have to sing before you do your solos as a duo or a trio or whatever, do you think it's fair-would you rather be in the mode for your solo song?
A: Well, if they told me I did a great job during my duet, it would have been awesome to know that before I got out there with my guitar in front of Keith Urban for the first time!
Q: But maybe it fueled you more, in a way, you never know.
A: Yeah, I think with me, I do better I don't know, it just depends.
Q: Can you talk to us more about your tears tonight, you kind of touched on it, but I felt for you and I was just wondering, was it all the passion you felt for the song, mixed with the comments that you had gotten earlier, all of that together?
A: Yeah, it was definitely the tears came from being so proud that I was able to deal with something like that.
Q: You knew you rocked it though, right? You knew it?
A: Well, I knew that I got through it and I didn't feel like ugh, that was terrible! You know, I just felt like, okay, I made it through and then I just started crying because I'm just like, you know, I'm not gonna let anything stop me from doing my thing, so.
Q: Why were you so nervous in from of Keith?
A: Because he is a genius of a guitar player. He is—people, Keith Urban is SO underrated. Like he is so amazing, he needs to win entertainer of the year like ten times in a row. I don't care what he says about me. I don't care if he tells me I'm terrible. I will always say, he deserves that. He is so good.
Q: What's your favorite Idol performance ever from the show that you can think of?
A: Like ever in history? Oh Lord, maybe Katharine McPhee, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". I remember her specifically talking about her ear monitors, did not work so she couldn't hear the key and she came in on the right key. I was like, hey, she should win the whole thing just because of that!