NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 17, 2013 – American Idol hopeful Janelle Arthur is a rare find when it comes to reality singing competitions. Her down-home charm and skill with a guitar has catapulted the rising star into this season’s Top 5 — alongside Kree Harrison, Candice Glover, Angie Miller and Amber Holcomb. Despite this remarkable milestone, Arthur admits that the whole experience is overwhelmingly unexpected.
“It feels unreal,” the spritely singer told reporters on Tuesday (April 16). “I’ve said that from the beginning, because I honestly didn’t think I’d make it past group day.”
She added, “After two years in a row of not making it, I think the only thing you can picture in your head is what you’ve seen with your own eyes, which was leaving the competition.”
Despite her hard work even cracking the Top 10, she never quite realized how much blood, sweat and tears it took to endure the competition.
“You just don’t have a second, even to love L.A. You just have to keep going and love what you do,” she noted. “I enjoy doing the commercials and the press stuff and all the things you have to do all the time.”
While Arthur might not have as big a voice as her competitors, she admitted that her small, intimate vocals might be the way to go for her. “I think somehow that’s my niche,” she said. “It’s dynamics. I can deal with the push and the pull of everything, not just push, push, push. The nuance that I try to bring to the songs is part of what sets me apart. I don’t watch other people and say, ‘Oh, that’s what’s working for them, so I need to do that.’ I’m thinking about what I need to do for myself.”
Song selection is, perhaps, the toughest part of being on the show, and the 23-year-old singer said asserted that is her strong point. She explained, “I take songs and try to make them my own and relevant and taking old songs and making them sound new. When I did ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ I felt like that was my strongest choice. In my head it was also my biggest risk.”
As with most contestants her age, she has watched the show from the very beginning. So, admittedly, she knew what she was heading into and hasn’t been nervous one bit.
“I’ve watched the show from the beginning and I think I’ve gotten more nervous watching the show than actually doing the show at times,” she said. “I think something kicks in that’s like ‘Yes, this is where you’re supposed to be and you’ve worked your whole life to get here.’ Something comes over you and you just do it.”
Even when she’s performed at less than her best, Arthur is thankful for the judges’ feedback. “It seems like even when they do say negative things they always find something positive to say, too. I just want people to realize that this is a television show and the judges can persuade people and people need to watch the performance and really think about their own opinion.”
“I’m just having a good time,” she said of remaining steadfast during the judges’ critiques. “The main thing to do is smile and be classy! This is my opportunity to be an example, especially to young girls. I’m not going to give comebacks or try to be sarcastic when they give me some pointers.”
Making it to the Top 5 is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment, and Arthur isn’t taking one minute for granted. “To be among these other girls who are so talented, I feel like it says a lot about my talent and it makes me feel good. Just the fact that I’m still here and I just want to do a good job this week.” [Quotes via Knox News]
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