‘Idol’ Alum Lisa Tucker: ‘I Love Ellen. She’s Really Good For The Show.’

Lisa Tucker (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Lisa Tucker (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

This season of ‘Idol Rewind’ is currently spotlighting the fifth season of ‘American Idol,’ which was won by Taylor Hicks and which also spawned the rock career of Chris Daughtry. One of the season-five hopefuls was a young Californian named Lisa Tucker, who came in 10th that year. We caught up with her while she was on a break from working on her album.

You’ve been doing some acting and are in the studio – what’s new?
I have a pilot in the works. I have a couple of movie things that I’m looking into right now. And I’m working on my album that I get to write on and I get to play on. I play piano. It’s going really well, and I’m signed to Compound Entertainment, that’s Ne-Yo[‘s company]. We’ve been working together, and he’s awesome, so it’s been really great.

I love Ne-Yo.
Me too. When I first met him, I was like, “Oh my God, he’s a genius.”

Are you co-writing with him or are you writing most of the material on your own?
I haven’t co-written anything with him yet. He’s had some ideas that he’s put into a song, and I’ve had some ideas that I’ve put into a song. Honestly, just to watch him work is such a lesson, and he’s just so great at what he does.

Have you been watching ‘Idol’ this season?
I was actually watching a TiVoed episode last night. I didn’t watch the season before, but I would TiVo it and fast-forward to Adam Lambert, because I loved him so much. This season, I was like, “I really want to see what it’s going to be like with Ellen on there.” I love Ellen. I think she’s really good for the show. She’s nice, but she gets the point across if you didn’t do well, but she puts it in a way where it’s not so bad, she sugar-coats it a little bit. I remember everybody would ask us, “So who’s your favorite judge? Paula’s always so nice.” When you’re up there and you’re on that little X and people are criticizing you, sometimes it’s really nice to have Paula there.

When you watch the experiences that the contestants are having now, what do you remember most about that experience from four years ago?
I think Hollywood week is tough. I’m just glad I’m not there anymore, to be honest. The whole competition is extremely stressful, and it’s just so much pressure, but I think Hollywood week really is a hell week. All the pep talks that you get — “Don’t forget your words.” Then half the people forget the words. They really, really mess with your head — they wake you up early, you get to sleep late, and they really are trying to bring people down during that time. I remember I had my parents there, too, and it kind of helped me keep a level head through the whole thing, and just not get emotionally overwhelmed by it. It’s really a crazy week, that’s not a put-on, it’s a really scary week.

Everyone seems sleep-deprived.
People are going to cry a little more if they’re a little more tired. I think that’s intentional.

Your season is on ‘Idol Rewind’ now. What moments from that season stick out the most to you in the context of 2010?
I think I look back on it, and of course, I remember each performance right before I went on. When you just have an out of body experience… that’s how I felt during all my performances, so I remember right before I stepped on the stage. The behind-the-scenes stuff is what I remember most. I don’t know if I blanked out when I was onstage or what, but I remember going to school with Kevin and Paris, and I remember picking songs and all of us hanging out. I remember that really, really well.

How much school did you have during the show?
We needed three hours a day by law, and I’ll admit we definitely goofed around a lot. It’s hard to focus on economics when you’re about to go onstage in front of millions of people.

What do you think of the Howard Stern rumors? There are rumors that when Simon leaves, Howard will take Simon’s place.
Wow. What have I been missing? That’s interesting. I started watching the show when I was 12 years old, and by the time I auditioned for it, I was 16. It wasn’t the same watching it after I did it, but it was hard for me when Kara came in. It’s such a big change, and I miss just Randy, Paula, and Simon sometimes. For anybody to be in talks to take Simon’s place is just mind-boggling to me. You think of ‘American Idol,’ you think of Simon Cowell, and it’s just weird.

Howard’s pretty salty and opinionated.
Right. I just don’t know how that would go.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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